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Other Conceptions Of Intelligence
It is interesting to compare Binet's conception of intelligence with the definitions
which have been offered by other psychologists. According to Ebbinghaus, for example, the
essence of intelligence lies in comprehending together in a unitary,
meaningful whole, impressions and associations which are more or less
independent, heterogeneous, or even partly contradictory. "Intellectual
ability consists in the elaboration of a whole into its worth and
meaning by means of many-sided combination, correction, and completion
of numerous kindred associations.... It is a _combination activity_."
Meumann offers a twofold definition. From the psychological point of
view, intelligence is the power of independent and creative elaboration
of new products out of the material given by memory and the senses. From
the practical point of view, it involves the ability to avoid errors, to
surmount difficulties, and to adjust to environment.
Stern defines intelligence as "the general capacity of an individual
consciously to adjust his thinking to new requirements: it is general
adaptability to new problems and conditions of life."
Spearman, Hart, and others of the English school define intelligence as
a "common central factor" which participates in all sorts of
special mental activities. This factor is explained in terms of a
psycho-physiological hypothesis of "cortex energy," "cerebral
The above definitions are only to a slight extent contradictory or
inharmonious. They differ mainly in point of view or in the location of
the emphasis. Each expresses a part of the truth, and none all of it. It
will be evident that the conception of Binet is broad enough to include
the most important elements in each of the other definitions quoted.
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