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Intelligence

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Updated May 27, 2014

Group of girls (8-10) in science lab working on experiment.
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Definition: Intelligence

There are probably as many definitions of intelligence as there are experts who study it. Simply put, however, intelligence is the ability to learn about, learn from, understand, and interact with one’s environment. It is not quite the same as IQ, although people use the terms interchangeably. IQ, which stands for "Intelligence Quotient," is a score determined by an IQ test. IQ tests are designed to measure a person's intelligence, a general ability. This general ability consists of a number of specific abilities:
  • Adaptability to a new environment or to changes in the current environment
  • Capacity for knowledge and the ability to acquire it
  • Capacity for reason and abstract thought
  • Ability to comprehend relationships
  • Ability to evaluate and judge
  • Capacity for original and productive thought
Additional specific abilities might be added to the list, but they would all be abilities allowing a person to learn about, learn from, understand, and interact with the environment. Environment in this definition doesn’t mean the environment of the earth, such as the desert, the mountains, etc., although it can mean that kind of environment. It has a wider meaning that includes a person’s immediate surroundings, including the people around him or her. Environment in this case can also be something as small as a family, the workplace, or a classroom.
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