There is no agreed-upon definition of the concept of intelligence neither in psychology nor in philosophy. Experts’ definitions differ widely. I know of two studies of experts’ definitions of intelligence: one was done by the editors of the Journal of Educational Psychology (“Intelligence and its Measurement”) in the year 1921. Contributors to the symposium were asked to address two issues: 1. What do I conceive “intelligence” to be, and by what means can it best be measured by group tests? What are the most crucial “next steps” in research? Fourteen experts gave their views on the nature of intelligence, with such definitions as the following: — the power of good responses from the point of view of truth or facts (Thorndike) — the ability to carry on abstract thinking (Terman) — having learned or ability to learn to adjust oneself to the environment (Colvin) — the capacity for knowledge (Henmon); the capacity to acquire capacity (Woodrow) — and half a dozen more. The other study of experts’ definitions of intelligence was done 1986 by Douglas Detterman and Robert Sternberg, two leading figures in the psychological research on intelligence. They sought to update the 1921 symposium. They solicited two dozen brief essays by experts in the field of intelligence, who were asked to respond to the very same questions that were posed to the experts in the 1921 symposium.


Science Teacher Human Intelligence Rational Thought Intelligent Behavior Journal ofEducational Psychology 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Lanz
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität BielefeldGermany

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