Intelligence in Cognitive Psychology

Topic: Cognitive Psychology
Words: 1396 Pages: 5


Cognitive psychology is concerned with the study of mental processes associated with individuals. They include information processing, perception, as well as the development of aspects such as memory and language. One of the significant aspects of cognitive psychology is intelligence. The study of this characteristic of a person is of interest for this scientific work and how various kinds of scientists saw its concepts. Within the framework of this paper, intelligence will be examined through the works of such scientists as Robert J. Sternberg and Howard Gardner.

Intelligence on the Context of Cognitive Psychology

Intelligence is one of the most complex aspects of the human psyche and cognition, which determines the importance of its in-depth study. This fact motivated many researchers and scientists to make attempts to define it and form basic concepts. Thus, the study showed that some define intelligence as “higher level abilities, the ability to learn, emotional knowledge, creativity, and adaptation to meet the demands of the environment effectively” (Ruhl, 2020, para. 6). This statement can be called basic since it mentions the main aspects of the phenomenon being studied.

Cognitive psychology aims to study how thought processes help people solve problems and react to constantly changing external and internal conditions. When studying such a complex concept as intelligence, the scientist focuses on how this process differs depending on individuals and their personal characteristics. Thus, during the examination, many scientists came to the conclusion that intelligence cannot be characterized by one feature and that it has several expressions depending on the person.

Triarchic Theory of Intelligence

Therefore, the theories of intelligence that have been developed within the framework of cognitive psychology should be considered. One of the most famous is the theory of Robert J. Sternberg, called the triarchic theory of intelligence (Sternberg, 2018). According to this approach, the phenomenon under study is divided into three main components: analytical, creative and practical. This theory supports the view that intelligence is a cognitive feature that consists of several aspects and cannot be characterized by just one.

Therefore, it is worth considering three types of intelligentsia, which were highlighted by Robert Sternberg. Thus, analytical intelligence is reflected in the thought processes that are implemented in the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of information received by individuals. Moreover, this aspect also affects individuals’ decision-making processes and academic performance. So, this type of intelligence is most often involved in the learning process or in the workplace, where it is necessary to connect people’s analytical abilities.

The second type in the triarchic theory becomes practical intelligence. Following from the name, it can be determined that, unlike analytical, this component focuses on more everyday things. Hence, practical intelligence is also involved in the decision-making process, but this process is based on human experience (Lievens & Chan, 2017). Moreover. An interesting fact that was discovered by Sternberg is that this type of intelligence stands apart from analytical and creative (Sternberg, 2018). Thus, this component helps people to interact effectively with the outside world based on experience and practice.

The third type of intelligence is creativity, which is responsible for using imagination when finding a solution to a problem. Thus, experience and analytical skills do not play such an important role in this case. The study emphasizes that “it integrates natural language processing, creative search and interactive creative thinking guidance” (Maiden & Zachos, 2022, p. 612). Individuals use the existing set of knowledge about the surrounding world and use it to represent and perceive the surrounding world.

Theory of Multiple Intelligence

Another researcher who was engaged in the development of the theory of the study of intelligence was Howard Gardner. The approach he developed was called the theory of multiple intelligence and has become quite widespread in cognitive psychology. Thus, Gardner determined that people have a certain set of intelligence, each of which has a specific task. The number of these aspects can be unlimited since individuals can succeed and master one intellect perfectly and have no abilities in the other. Examples of some of them may include naturalistic, musical, linguistic, or logical intelligence. It is worth noting that Gardner’s theory is quite new for cognitive psychology.

Despite the prevalence of the theory of multiple intelligence, many scientists subject it to some criticism. Consequently, some believe that Gardner’s intellect are defined not by special abilities of cognition and a person’s thought process but by talent or personal traits. Thus, linguistic intelligence may be an individual’s usual predisposition to learning languages and correctly expressing his own rather than a characteristic of his thought processes. Moreover, the fact that Gardner’s theory does not have sufficient evidence base and reliability since it is still undergoing some transformations.

Emotional Intelligence

A special kind of intelligence that stands out among the rest is emotional intelligence. This type is determined by the ability of individuals to understand and be aware of their own emotions and interpret them to make the most useful and informed decisions. Research claims that “emotional intelligence development contains elements to reduce stress by moderating conflict; promoting understanding and relationships; and fostering stability, continuity, and harmony” (Serrat, 2017, p. 329). Moreover, it is worth noting that people with a high indicator of this type have high social skills and strong ties in society.

It is important to understand that the concepts of emotional intelligence are quite new in cognitive psychology. For this reason, many researchers question its basic postulates and the results of the study. Thus, a high level of subjectivity in the process of emotional intelligence research casts doubt on the veracity of scientific papers. In addition, there is no exact evidence that individuals with high indicators of this type of intelligence can successfully possess their emotions, at the same time, effectively determine and manage the emotional state of others.

Measuring Intelligence

One of the most widely known ways to change intelligence is the intelligence quotient test. Thus, it is defined as “an assessment that measures a range of cognitive abilities and provides a score that is intended to serve as a measure of an individual’s intellectual abilities and potential” (Cherry, 2022, para. 1). This kind of assessment of individuals’ abilities can be done both by contacting specialists and on online sources. However, it is worth answering that the value and reliability of this testing are determined by the correct interpretation of its results.

One of the variations of the IQ test is the Stanford-Binet scale. This method implies assessment using five characteristics of cognitive ability. Among them, reasoning, knowledge, visual and spatial perception and memory can be distinguished. It is worth emphasizing that this method of assessing intelligence cannot be considered completely reliable since the studied and measured aspect of cognitive psychology cannot be put in a specific framework. Moreover, it is believed that a person’s intellectual abilities are in constant development, which determines the adaptation of the intelligence quotient test according to the age of the measurement participants.

If there is some criticism regarding the testing of human intelligence abilities, there are also positive aspects due to which the measurement of IQ is relevant. Therefore, this kind of assessment is characterized by reliability and has high construct validity. In other words, regardless of at what stage of development individuals will pass this test, it will show reliable and consistent results. In addition, the validity of this intervention is that it measures specifically the necessary indicators for which they are intended.

Intelligence is also being studied and measured, but it is characterized by the greatest complexity. This is due to the fact that “although there is some clarity within the respectful measures, those external to the field are faced with a seemingly complex EI literature, overlapping terminology, and multiple published measures” (O’Connor et al., 2019, p. 1). Among the most widely used tests are self-reported and ability tests. However, it is worth remembering that the measurement of emotional intelligence may be subject to the problem of unreliability of data.


In conclusion, this work considered intelligence as part of the cognitive psychology of individuals. Hence, it considered various theories that attempted to qualify and define the phenomenon under study. Among the most outstanding are the approaches of Robert Sternberg called the triarchic theory of intelligence and Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence. Moreover, the academic paper carried out an analysis of the phenomenon of emotional intelligence and ways of measuring both varieties.


Cherry, K. (2022). What is an IQ test? Verywell Mind.

Lievens, F., & Chan, D. (2017). Practical intelligence, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence. Handbook of Employee Selection, 342-364.

Maiden, N., & Zachos, K. (2022). A creative intelligence tool for journalists. Creativity and Cognition, 612-618.

O’Connor, P. J., Hill, A., Kaya, M., & Martin, B. (2019). The measurement of emotional intelligence: A critical review of the literature and recommendations for researchers and practitioners. Frontiers in Psychology, 1116.

Ruhl, C. (2020). Intelligence: Definition, theories and testing. Simply Psychology.

Serrat, O. (2017). Knowledge solutions. Springer.

Sternberg, R. J. (2018). The triarchic theory of successful intelligence. The Guilford Press.

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