The word “intelligence” comes from the Latin Word intelligentia, which in turn derives from inteligere. It is made up from two other terms: inter (“between”) and legere (“choose”). Therefore, the etymologic origin of the concept “intelligence” refers to knowing how to choose: intelligence allows us to choose or discern the best options for solving a problem.
There are several types of definitions for intelligence:
- Psychological intelligence (cognitive capacity to learn and relate)
- Biological intelligence (capacity to adapt to new situations)
- Operative intelligence, and etc.
In all of the cited cases, intelligence means the capacity to understand, assimilate, elaborate and use information adequately.
Some authors explain intelligence as:
- Affecting all dimensions of conduct. Essentially, adaptive ad assimilative. (Piaget)
- Capacity to understand something (ability). Capacity to assimilate new knowledge (Patty Horta R.)
- Capacity to learn and understand. Usually synonymous with intellect (comprehend) but is differentiated from it by emphasizing the ability and aptitude to manage concrete situations and to take advantage of sensorial experience. (Jonathan Castillo)
Although genetics undoubtedly plays a role in the development of intelligence, there is controversy whether human nature and vital experience as well as upbringing have a relative importance in determining the intelligence of a person. Even the nature of intelligence and the validity of the instruments to measure it can be debated. While some aspects of intelligence, such as mathematical ability, lend themselves to standardized testing, others are more difficult to quantify. Recent studies estimate that in primary infancy a 25 – 40% individual variation in the measureable intelligence can be attributed to genetics. In adults, this number increases to approximately 80%.
As mentioned above, there are several types of intelligence (psychological, biological…) which have led to the development over time of various types of tests.
“Intellectual coefficient” is a number which allows us to qualify the abilities of a person in relation to other persons of the same age.
Intelligence is measured by a test designed to evaluate certain knowledge, aptitudes or functions; these tests are known as intelligence or intelligence coefficient (C.I. or I.Q.) tests. They are comprised of a series of exercises that have to be completed in a specific time limit; the results are a number which is the measurement of intelligence. It is not an exact measurement as there are also many things that are influential such as how nervous a person is on the day of the test or the person’s emotional state at the moment.
The average C.I. in an age group is 100; if a person is above this number by more than 15 or 16 points, then they are considered "gifted". This type of person comprises about 2% of the population. When the number is inferior to 100, this person is considered to have an intellectual deficiency.
- Normal = 100
- Mental disability, less than 70
- Highly gifted + 120
Gene or region studied