What is Intelligence?
Among professionals who take psychology careers, the
word "intelligence" is a common term encountered.
People also use the word to describe a person who rises
above the others in terms of their ability to think and
comprehend things. But what really is intelligence? How
do experts define the word intelligence?
Definition of Intelligence
Simply put, intelligence is the inner and developed
capacity of an individual to acquire knowledge, skills,
and attitude or KSAs and use these KSAs to practical
use. Intelligence, as many experts believe, is not only in
terms of intellectual or mental capacity. There is a
growing recognition that people also have emotional
intelligence or the ability to be sensitive to the emotional
needs of other people. They are compassionate to their
fellow men. Some people also have different levels of
inner and developed agility or capacity to move. This is
referred to as physical intelligence.
The definition of emotional and physical intelligence is
further explored below. The first one is a demonstration
of emotional intelligence and the second one, an example
of physical intelligence.
The candidate medical student easily passed the mental
part of the examination as he is a very bright person. In
fact, he is very good in memorizing medical terms as
well as the names of the different parts of the human
Upon oral interview, the human resource management
personnel who is also a practicing doctor noticed that the
applicant is too arrogant in answering questions which
aim to measure applicant attitude. When asked about his
social life, he said he focuses most of his time to his
studies and had no time interacting with friends or
classmates. He disdains being in a social setting.
The interviewer was not impressed with the attitude of
the candidate medical student. The reason: medical
doctors should establish good relationships with their
patients for them to be useful members of society. If
patients dislike the doctor, chances are they will not seek
medical help from him. Thus, investments made for
training of that doctor will come to naught; he will be
become a worthless professional as he cannot put his
knowledge and skills to work for the benefit of society.
He lacked emotional intelligence.
The candidate medical student did not make it to the
In any group of individuals studying ballet, there will be
individuals who will easily learn the gestures and steps
required in performing a musical piece or promptings of
the ballet coach. While physical skill is honed, this can
be developed by an individual possessing physical
intelligence to a maximum, exceptional level. Thus,
physical intelligence can range from poor to excellent
In summary, intelligence can both be intrinsic or inner or
acquired. If a person is not that intelligent mentally,
chances are he can do very well in other respects. In
teaching students, therefore, the different dimensions of
intelligence must be recognized.