Self Development

Intelligence: types, levels, and development

Intelligence in psychology is considered a complex of mental and psychic abilities. In the general case, its definition is as follows: it is the mind, the quality of the psyche, expressed in the ability to know, to comprehend something, to learn, to remember. The functions of the intellect are based on experience and its quality. An intelligent person can understand and apply standard and non-standard ideas. He can use knowledge to control the world around him.

You can learn more about what the mind is in the article. We also show development methods and answer the question of how to determine your IQ (intelligence quotient).

What is intelligence?

The connection between the intellect and the mind was shown. Generally speaking, it can be noted that the intellect is a kind of identity with the mind. It is primarily a mental ability. Several personality abilities depend on the quality of their development. We are talking about the ability to solve complex and non-standard tasks and learn new things without problems and special efforts. Such conditional spheres as an understanding of things and the world, knowledge of the surrounding, and external as a complex of objects, objects, people, and events do not only depend on the value of IQ.

To understand the essence of the analyzed concept, one should deal with the historical milestones of its formation, with how various scientists and researchers approached its definition.

History of study: main and important points of view

Speaking about the historical milestones of the concept of “intelligence,” some researchers and scientists should note the developments. There are many theories, approaches, and schools, but it is not advisable to consider anyone or any of them as the only truth without immersing yourself in theory.

Remarkable in the history of the study is the experience of the creators of special tests for assessing IQ – J. Cattell and L. Theremin. But their main merit is not that they created informative methods for identifying intellectual abilities. They were among the first to substantiate the absence of dependence of the development of the intellect on the conditions in which personality formation occurs. Later, all their evidence was destroyed, and the work was declared invalid.

In a sense, the opposite point of view was expressed by A. Binet and T. Simon. In their works, they consider the mind a complex of abilities based on experience as a set of achievements in mental development.

The work done by D. Veksler should be considered noteworthy. He could show that any person’s reasonable behavior is based primarily on the influence of intellectual factors.


From the point of view of child psychology, the contribution that V. Stern made to the study and analysis of the problem is important. He proved that the quality of relationships with other people affects the development of children’s mental abilities. Not only with adults but also with peers, for example, in kindergarten or school.

Let us present the points of view of other researchers, figures not related to science, and their views and approaches to the definition of the analyzed concept:

Thomas Aquinas considered the divine mind as an essence that exists in “parts” in each of the people. He believed that human mental abilities are limited only by the sphere of the mind, which contributes to the contemplation and comprehension of something;

L. S. Gottfredson considered intelligence as a unique mental ability. She said that it included the ability to plan, solve various problems, think, learn and study;

F. N. Ilyasov considers the IQ indicator as an expression of the ability of a material system (a person is a material being for him) to self-study, to build various programs and algorithms of activity.

Ch. Spearman’s opinion should also be noted. He proved that all mental abilities are connected and have a static connection. He justified this by saying that if a person can solve one conditional group of complex and non-standard tasks, he can easily solve others, even if required.

Basic functions of the intellect

Let’s single out four main functions and tie them to real-life examples. This is necessary to simplify understanding the essence and content of individual functions. Here they are:

Promoting the occupation of certain positions in different communities and the adoption of roles and statuses. Without a developed intellect, no person can adequately take on certain duties. An example is adoption by a man of the role of a father after the birth of a child. If the IQ is not high enough, the tasks associated with fatherhood will not be solved satisfactorily.

Gaining knowledge, mastering skills, and development. Here everything is the same as in the case of the first paragraph. We will show everything with an example: an intellectually developed person can learn, independently search for information, process it, and systematize it. Everything is different when it comes to people with weak minds.

Manifestation of talents and realization of potential. The quality of mental abilities determines how fully a particular person reveals his talents and realizes his potential. Example: a highly intelligent person decides to master a new field of activity. It comes easy to her. Lack of mind in this situation will lead either to difficulties in business or to the absolute inability of the individual to use his resources to achieve the goal.

Self Realization. This is almost the same as the third point. But here, it is fairer to speak about the quality of the abilities and the “strength” of a particular person’s impulses in solving problems that stand in the way of his development, including personal development. A simple example: a high school student sets himself the task of finishing the year “excellent,” that is, getting one “A.” If his IQ is sufficient, everything will be fine. Otherwise, there will be problems.

So, we can say that without a developed intellect, any activity, any thought is something that will not have a productive result or embodiment. Neither thoughts nor actions can be effective and productive without a developed intellect.

Types of intelligence in psychology

There is one notable classification. This is Gardner’s classification of intelligence. He is a proponent of the concept of multiple intelligences.

The scientist was able to identify the following nine species:

  1. Visual-spatial. This is about a vivid imagination, the ability to fantasize and navigate in any situation.
  2. Linguistic. It’s about the love of reading and communication. People with this type of intelligence have developed talents in terms of preparing essays and the ability to learn foreign languages.
  3. Musical. In this case, the following areas are developed: perception of music and rhythm, the ability to sing and master musical instruments, and a sense of poetry and tact. With this kind of intelligence, successful people teaching music and conducting skills are most often encountered.
  4. Interpersonal. It’s about the ability to build communications, understanding the mood of people, and productivity when working in a team. Often people with such abilities become leaders, psychologists, and diplomats.
  5. Intrapersonal. In this case, everything is opposite to what is written in paragraph four. However, the ability to reflect on people with such a dominant mindset makes them excellent writers, philosophers, and more.
  6. Naturalistic. This is about a high interest in the outside world. It’s about the craving for biology, chemistry, and physics. Naturalists are often experimenters, geologists, and ecologists.
  7. Body-kinetic. It is characteristic of people who can convey emotions “by bodily means.” High coordination, developed motor skills, craving for sports, and constant activity are all about them.
  8. Logico-mathematical. This type is accompanied by the ability to analyze data quickly, visualize it, reason logically, and quickly memorize information. People with it often become mathematicians, programmers, and engineers.
  9. Existential. It is believed that this species is characteristic of people a priori. It is expressed in the ability to think.
intelligence in psychology

There are two remarkable groups of intellectual abilities identified by scientists based on the criteria “the ability to understand people’s behavior” and “the ability to understand emotions, feelings.”

Emotional intellect

It is customary to consider it as a set of knowledge and skills, abilities of the individual in terms of recognizing feelings and managing emotions. A person can understand intentions and motivations if the emotional sphere is developed enough. Both their own and others. It is customary to talk about emotional intelligence as a flexible skill; that is, it lends itself to development and formation.

There is an opinion that the level of development of the emotional sphere of intellectual abilities determines how successful this or that person will be in life and career.

If this type of mind is poorly developed, if a low level of IQ is observed in this direction, the following qualities will be characteristic of a person:

  • irritability;
  • conflict;
  • indecision.

It can be said, therefore, that if the emotional component of general IQ suffers, then the person experiences difficulties in communicating with other people and is indecisive. However, this kind of insufficiency can be compensated for by developing the appropriate skills in oneself or by “pumping” the social components of the intellect.

Intelligence: types, levels, methods of definition, and development

Social intelligence

The ability to interact in society and the individual’s behavior depends on how developed it is. A socially intelligent person can understand people correctly. He has skills, in a sense, acquired in terms of interpersonal interaction, as well as in terms of social adaptation.

For people in whom this type of ability of the intellectual spectrum is well developed, the following qualities are characteristic:

  • speed of making judgments about others;
  • development of analytical skills;
  • depth of understanding of things, objects and phenomena, and people.

It is generally accepted that if a person has equally well-developed emotional and social spheres of intelligence, he is almost a genius. But this is a rather controversial statement. To achieve success and be an effective person capable of self-development does not mean having outstanding IQ indicators.

Levels of intellectual activity

It is customary to single out three intellectual levels, which have been considered and are being considered by many scientists who have devoted themselves to developments in determining the IQ indicator.

Unique features characterize each intellectual level presented below. Let’s describe them:

Stimulus-productive level. In this case, mental activity depends on how many external factors influence the personality. It is about incentives and the productivity of responses to them. At this level, it is fair to speak of any act of mental activity as being limited by initially received ideas about something. At the same time, a person can solve various problems, but there is almost no coherence and consistency in these decisions: everything is done in a pattern, sometimes mechanically.

Intelligence: types, levels, methods of definition, and development

Heuristic. Here the matter concerns spontaneity in cognition, which often ensures the effectiveness of mastering and understanding various patterns. At this level, a person acquires abilities in terms of compiling general ideas from disparate problems and phenomena. At the same time, she begins to identify various patterns and find explanations for them.

Creative. This level is the highest. Here the person becomes an analyst capable of solving even the most complex problematic tasks. Here, at the cost of efforts or without them, it easily “digs” to the essence of all things, objects and phenomena.

Signs of high intelligence

It is believed that the most obvious signs that everything is in order with a person’s intellect are as follows:

  • Honed professional skills, the ability to master new skills effortlessly. Let’s talk only about the professional sphere. It is inappropriate to use the concept of “intellectual”: even a person who does not have an outstanding mind can become a professional in this or that business. It’s about mechanicalness, about memorization. This is about the pattern in which long-term practice of something almost always leads to at least good results. Such qualities contribute to the fact that any adaptation for a person is always an exceptionally easy adaptation;
  • The ability to focus on the important, switch it to the necessary things, and keep on them. At the same time, inattention and absent-mindedness are considered signs that something is wrong with a person’s IQ;
  • Developed self-control. At the same time, a person can control not only his actions and deeds but also, to some extent, influence the emotions, feelings, and behavior of people around him;
  • A real sense of humor. It’s not that a person appreciates and encourages only intellectual, for example, humor. It is only about what he is aware of, literally feels, and feels the edge of relevance. In this case, a person can equally like both “black” jokes and those that require mental effort to understand. But in any situation, he, first of all, evaluates relevance at a mechanical level. If this or that act of humor is inappropriate, there will be no laughter. There will be only censured, albeit silent.

Which parameter indicates “backwardness”?

There are several such parameters. Of course, it is more expedient to use tests and rely on the opinions of researchers, but the following group of signals that IQ is at an insufficient level can be distinguished. It doesn’t necessarily have to be low. It is only about the lack of development as such.

Here are the symptoms:

  • Suggestibility. It can be explained by the fact that a person is simply incapable of going his way, as they say. It is easier for him to listen to others and to act as others do. It is easier for him to go “on the knurled”;
  • Statement. This is almost the same as suggestibility but in the context of activity and decision-making. Even if a person decides for himself that this or that path will be the only right one for him, for example, he can be unsettled by setting as an example the act or opinion of another “authoritative” person;
  • Poor vocabulary. Poor vocabulary is often linked to problems with memory and learning. This is one of the signals of low intellectual abilities. The simplest example characteristic of obscure youth is the use and abundance in the speech of words and phrases: “well,”; “type,”; “like,” and so on. In the worst cases, young people use five significant words for ten words. Everything else is just verbal garbage.
  • Tendency to think narrowly. This, for example, is about the inability to look at familiar things from an unusual angle.

What factors affect mental ability?

They are influenced to some extent by such factors:

  • Heredity, development of thinking
  • Nutrition, including maternal nutrition during pregnancy
  • Talents of parents’ education and others
Intelligence: types, levels, methods of definition, and development

Here are specific examples:

  • Genetics (heredity). Many studies are confirming the fact that men and women with high IQs raise the same children;
  • Influence of external factors. These are, for example, the methods of education used by the parents of a person in his childhood, the availability of education, and so on;
  • The influence of peers and friends.

It is inappropriate to speak unambiguously about the factors affecting intelligence. Much depends on the individual traits and characteristics of specific people, on their susceptibility to something.

Gender differences

Speaking of them, we should, first of all, dispel the popular myth that men are smarter than women. This is not true. But there are differences, proven by many studies, which can be shown in abstract form as follows:

  • Girls develop more actively in terms of the formation of intelligence before the age of 15, while boys, until this age, often show some signs of inability to grow up and develop;
  • Most male scientists work in areas related to the exact sciences, while women, who are outstanding researchers, work in the humanities.

Age differences

To say that the foundation of intelligence is age is inappropriate. On average, the peak of cognition of something for different people falls on approximately the same age period. Here are specific examples:

  1. IQ rises rapidly until the age of eighteen. Transitional periods slow it down.
  2. In about 20 years, the development of intelligence begins to slow down.
  3. The maximum disclosure of the arithmetic and logical potential falls on the age of about 30 years.
  4. After fifty, some people begin to look at issues of psychology that previously seemed difficult to them as completely understandable and simple.

We can say that all the age differences that have been shown are due precisely to the age at which a person is.

How to increase IQ?

Development methods are simple and obvious. Here are nine recommendations:

  1. Train your brain and memory. Good examples: solving math problems, remembering the phone numbers of people you know, and dialing them without going to the phone book.
  2. Watch your nutrition. With food, the necessary substances enter our bodies. Some people depend on how the brain works. If the food is of poor quality, the likelihood of problems with mental activity will be high.
  3. Don’t overstress. The mode of wakefulness and sleep should be balanced and should suit you.
  4. Read books. There is no need to talk about the usefulness of reading.
  5. Find an intellectual hobby or passion. Plus – the ability to do interesting things for yourself and “pump” IQ.
  6. Learn new things. An example is learning a “pretty” foreign language.
  7. Watch educational films. Comedies, action movies, and thrillers are all great, but your weekly “billboard” should always have some film made by, for example, National Geographic.
  8. Try to start learning what you have long wanted to. Maybe as a child, you liked topics related to space? Then forward to the “stars.”
  9. Don’t let routine eat you up. Change your habits, rearrange your home, and take different routes to work.
Intelligence: types, levels, methods of definition, and development

How to increase the intellectual abilities of a child?

Here are some tips to help develop children:

  • Teach them to eat right and exercise regularly;
  • Make sure that the study, study, and rest mode is balanced. Mental and physical fatigue negatively affects the development of a fragile organism;
  • Teach children to read. It is not at all necessary that they are only interested in books from the school curriculum;
  • Offer during joint leisure intellectual games such as “Monopoly” chess;
  • Enroll your child in foreign language courses;
  • Offer a joint solution to various intellectual problems, passing tests to determine IQ.

If all the tips presented during practical implementation are combined with love and care for the child, he will become very smart. And over time, everything you taught your child will enter the sphere of his habits.

How to increase intelligence in an adult?

Read the section “How to increase your IQ.” There are good recommendations there. You will be able to increase the indicator if you strive to follow them.

IQ: methods for determining

There are several interesting ways to determine the coefficient. These are tests. We see the following five notable:

  1. Eysenck test. Allows you to determine neuropsychic lability, extraversion, and introversion from the standpoint of intellectual development.
  2. Amthauer Intelligence Structure Test. The technique is used to determine the structure of the individual’s intellectual abilities. Suitable for children and adults.
  3. Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test. It is used by psychologists not only to identify the degree of mental development but also to assess the logical activity of individuals.
  4. Wexler test. Most common in English-speaking countries, used to study the mental sphere of people.
  5. Bennet test. This is a technique for identifying mechanical intelligence used by many Western employers to assess the qualities of potential employees.


Intelligence is a concept that is multifaceted and controversial. Some tie it to the mind and put it in an identical position; others call for delimiting concepts. All the skills of any person largely depend on their development, from the simplest ability to learn to self-realization and the realization of one’s potential.

All mental abilities can be developed. The main desire. If it is, try the methods presented by us. They will help you develop in many areas thanks to the “pumping” of IQ!

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