Intelligence: a set of abilities, talents, or mental skills. The ability to solve problems or fashion products that are of consequence in a particular cultural setting or community. (Gardner, 6) The ability to function effectively within a given “environment.” (Cardwell, 131) The ability to make predictions about the future. (Hawkins, 6)

A biopsychological potential of our species to process certain kinds of information in certain kinds of way. As such, it clearly involves processes that are carried out by dedicated neural networks. No doubt each of the intelligences has its characteristic neural processes, with most of them quite similar across human beings. Some of the processes might prove to be more customized to an individual. From an evolutionary point of view, it seems probable that each intelligence evolved to deal with certain kinds of contents in a predictable world. However, once such a capacity has emerged, there is nothing that mandates that it must remain tied to the original inspiring content. (Gardner, FAQ)


Artificial Intelligence (AI): a combination of expertise from “cognitive psychology” and computer science which focuses on the development of computer programs that are able to perform complex tasks. (Cardwell, 17) The study and implementation of techniques and methods for designing computer systems to perform functions normally associated with human intelligence, such as understanding "language," “learning,” "reasoning," and “problem solving.” (MeSH)

Competence: "power," ability, capacity to do, for a task, etc. (Oxford) The need to effectively learn and master appropriately challenging tasks. (Hockenbury, 325) The quality of being qualified for some purpose; having suitable or sufficient skill. (NCIt) The ability to understand the nature and effect of the act in which the individual is engaged. (MeSH) The ability to relate the new to the old. To recognize the similarities between seemingly new problems and previously solved problems. A competent person has a vast collection of mental “representations.” Each mental representation captures the essence of a wide range of specific situations. Captures the most effective actions associated with these situations. (Goldberg, 79) Also referred to as ‘competency.’

Ability: possession of the means or skills to do. A special power of the mind. Talent, skill, or proficiency in a particular area. (Oxford) The quality of being able to perform; a quality that permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment. (NCIt)

Aptitude: the ability to acquire general or special types of knowledge or skills. (MeSH)

Cognitive Competence: the ability to solve problems and achieve. (Cardwell, 219)

Cultural Competence: the ability to get along with others. (Cardwell, 219) The ability to understand, interact, and work well with people of different cultures. In medicine, one goal of cultural competency is to help make sure that the quality of the healthcare is equal among different cultural groups. (NCIt) Also referred to as ‘social competence.’

Physical Competence: what we can and cannot do. (i.e for early childhood - run, play football, etc.) (Cardwell, 219)

Domain: any organized activity in society, where individuals can be ranked in terms of expertise. Any occupation, any art or craft or sport, is a domain. (Gardner2, FAQ) An area of knowledge considered as a discreet unit for some purpose. (NCIt)

Emotional Intelligence: the ability to recognize which feelings are appropriate in which situations, and the skill to communicate those feelings effectively. (Wood, 331) Abilities such as being able to "motivate" oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one’s "moods" and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope. (Goleman2, 34) A one-person psychology - those capacities that an individual has within. (Goleman, 5) The capacity to understand and manage your own "emotional" experiences, and to "perceive," comprehend, and respond appropriately to the emotional responses of others. (Hockenbury, 326) The ability to accurately interpret your and others emotions, and use this information to manage emotions, communicate them constructively, and solve "relationship" problems. (McCornack, 129) Emotional intelligence is a measurement of one's ability to socialize or relate to others. (MeSH)

Fluid Intelligence: an “abstract” form of intelligence which involves reasoning and the ability to find solutions to novel problems. It is believed by many to peak before the age of 20. (Cardwell, 105)

Intelligence Tests: attempts to measure general mental abilities. (Hockenbury, 276) 

Achievement Test:  a test designed to measure a person’s level of knowledge, skill, or accomplishment in a particular area. (Hockenbury, 279)

Aptitude Test: a test designed to assess a person’s capacity to benefit from education or training. (Hockenbury, 280)

Intelligence Quotient (IQ): a way of comparing the ‘mental age’ of a child (what a child can do relative to other children of their age) with their chronological age. (Cardwell, 131) A (questionable) measure of ‘general intelligence’ derived by comparing an individual’s score with the scores of others in the same age group. The score on the Stanford-Binet Test, originally conceived by Alfred Binet. Binet did not believe that he was measuring an inborn or permanent (or objective) level of intelligence. Rather, he believed that his tests could help identify 'slow' children who could benefit from special help. (Hockenbury, 276) Editor's note - dated, Published in 1916. Represents a narrow definition of intelligence (logical-mathematical/spatial).

Matrix Text: a visual-based measurement of IQ. (Doidge, 74)

Stanford Binet Intelligence Test: a standardized test to evaluate intelligence and cognitive abilities, suitable for both children and adults. It assesses five factors: Fluid Reasoning, Knowledge, Quantitative Reasoning, Visual-Spatial Processing, and Working Memory. In order to accurately assess individuals with deafness, limited English, or communication disorders, each factor is assessed in both verbal and nonverbal domains. (NCIt)

Mental Age: a measurement of intelligence in which an individual’s mental level is expressed in terms of the average abilities of a given age group. (Hockenbury, 276) A level of intellectual functioning which is appropriate for children of a particular age. (Cardwell, 150) The average mental ability displayed by people of a given age. (Coon, 367)

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS): provided scores on 11 subtests measuring different abilities which were grouped to provide an overall ‘verbal score’ and ‘performance score.‘ Editor's note - dated. First published in 1955. (Hockenbury, 279)

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence: an intelligence test published by Harcourt Assessment and designed for children ages 2 years 6 months, to 7 years 3 months. It provides subtest and composite scores that represent intellectual functioning in verbal and performance cognitive domains, and provides a composite score that represents a child's general intellectual ability. (NCIt)

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC): subtests include vocabulary, arithmetic, arranging blocks to match a design, and arranging pictures so that they logically tell a story. (Hockenbury, 279) An individually administered clinical instrument for assessing the cognitive ability of children aged 6 years through 16 years 11 months. It is a psychometric test that assesses a child's current cognitive abilities in both verbal and nonverbal areas, including verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. It was first published in 1949 and revised in 1974. The third edition was released in 1991 and the fourth edition in 2003. (NCIt)

Intelligence Types: J.P. Guilford in the late 1960s enumerated 120 separate intellectual abilities, thirty of which had to do with social intelligence. (Goleman, 332)

Multiple Intelligences (MI): (the theory) proposed by Howard Gardner, that there are eight distinct varieties of intelligence. (Bamford, 10/18/10) Categories of intellectual talent that people use every day that are not measurable by IQ tests. The categories don’t always intersect with one another. To date, Gardner’s efforts represent the first serious attempt to provide an alternative to numerical descriptions of human cognition. However, categories of intelligence may number more than 7 billion - roughly the population of the world. (Medina, 64) MI theory is framed in light of the biological origins of each problem-solving skill. Only those skills that are universal to the human species are considered. The biological proclivity to participate in a particular form of problem solving must also be coupled with the cultural nurturing of that domain. (Gardner, 7) Editor’s note - the theory of multiple intelligences proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983 originally included seven intelligences. He later considered additional intelligences and chose to add “natural intelligence” to the theory.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: (skill sets) likely to be displayed by athletes. (Bamford, 10/18/10) I don't find it odd to speak of the bodily skill used by, say, an athlete, a dancer, or a surgeon as embodying intelligence. The performances of these individuals are valued in many societies and they involve an enormous amount of computation, practice, and expertise. (Gardner, FAQ) Control of bodily movement is localized in the “motor cortex,” with each "hemisphere" dominant or controlling bodily movements on the (opposite) side. The existence of “apraxia” constitutes one line of evidence. There is little question of its universality across cultures. (Gardner, 10)

Interpersonal Intelligence: builds on a core capacity to notice distinctions among others - in particular, contrast in their “moods,” temperaments, “motivations,” and intentions. In more advanced forms, permits a skilled adult to read the intentions and desires of others, even when they have been hidden. Appears in a highly sophisticated form in religious or political leaders, salespersons, marketers, teacher, therapists, and parents. (Gardner, 15) Likely to be displayed by salespeople and people who love social interaction. (Bamford, 10/18/10)

Intrapersonal Intelligence: knowledge of the internal aspects of a person: access to one’s own feeling life, one’s range of emotions, the capacity to make discriminations among these emotions and eventually to label them and to draw on them as a means of understanding and guiding one’s own behavior. (Gardner, 17) Likely to be displayed by people who know and understand themselves. (Bamford, 10/18/10)

Linguistic Intelligence: activated when individuals encounter the sounds of language or when they wish to communicate something verbally to another person. Not dedicated only to sound. It can be mobilized as well by visual information, when an individual decodes written text; and in "deaf" individuals, linguistic intelligence is mobilized by signs (including syntactically-arranged sets of signs) that are seen or felt. (Gardner2, FAQ) The gift of language is universal, and its rapid and unproblematic development in most children is strikingly constant across culture. (Gardner, 13)

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: powers of “deduction” and "observation" indicate one form. In the gifted individual, the process of problem solving is often remarkably rapid. There are savants who perform great feats of calculation even though they are tragically deficient in most other areas. (Gardner, 11-12) Logical-mathematical and linguistic are typically assessed by IQ tests. (Bamford, 10/18/10) Also referred to as ‘scientific thinking.’

Musical Intelligence: certain parts of the brain play important roles in the perception and production of music. Evidence from various cultures supports the notion that music is a universal faculty. Special populations, such as “autistic” children can play a musical instrument beautifully but cannot otherwise communicate. There is clear evidence that “amusia,” or a selective loss of musical ability occurs. (Gardner, 9) One core of musical intelligence is the sensitivity to "pitch" relations. (Gardner, 7)

Naturalist Intelligence: persons keenly aware of how to distinguish the diverse plants, animals, mountains, or cloud configurations in their ecological niche. Core capacity to recognize instances as members of "species." Evolutionary history of survival often depending on avoiding predators. These capacities are not exclusively visual. (Gardner, 19) Found in individuals who understand processes in nature. (Bamford, 10/18/10) 

Social Intelligence: the capacity to utilize the major functions of the social brain: interaction synchrony, types of empathy, social cognition, interaction skills, and concern for others. (Goleman, 324) Our ability to manage our own emotions and our inner potential for positive relationships. A two-person psychology - what transpires when we connect. Moments that emerge as we interact. (Goleman, 5)

Spatial Intelligence: spatial problem solving is required for navigation and for the use of the notational system of maps. Other kinds of spatial problem solving are brought to bear in visualizing an object from different angles and in playing chess. The visual arts also employ this intelligence in the use of space. The posterior regions of the right “cerebral cortex” prove most crucial for spatial processing. (Gardner, 14)

Wisdom: the combination of experience and knowledge with the ability to apply them judiciously. (Oxford)

Phyletic Wisdom: wisdom reflecting the ‘collective experience’ of mammalians over millions of years. Stored in “pattern-recognition” devices in our brains. (Goldberg, 86) Also referred to as 'wisdom of the phylum.'