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 i
to 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

plasticity," etc.

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.