Recently, there have been many new insights on the research of intelligence. Not only has the concept of intelligence been extended but also the traditional assessment of intelligence has been challenged tremendously. Among these studies, two models are specially valued. One is Harvard University Professor Howard Gardner's (1983, 1993) Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The other is Yale University Professor Robert J. Sternberg's (1985, 1988) Triarchic Theory of Intelligence and his concept of Successful Intelligence (Sternberg, 1996) which has been presented lately. They both claimed that the intelligence assessed by traditional IQ tests can not portray the complete intelligence itself and is only related to the ability of academic achievement. It cannot predict the achievement of future career and the fulfillment of life. Gardner and Sternberg both have been seeking the useful intelligence in daily life. Gardner(1983) constructed seven components of intelligence, including linguistic ability, musical ability, logical-mathematical ability, bodily-kinesthetic ability, spatial ability, interpersonal ability, and intrapersonal ability (the last two are called personal intelligence). Sternberg (1985, 1988) defined intelligence from three aspects--componential, contextual, and experiential. In the book, Successful Intelligence, Sternberg (1996) indicated that successful intelligence is combined with academic intelligence, creative intelligence, and practical intelligence. People cannot succeed in their real life only through academic intelligence (analytical intelligence).
Among Gardner's seven abilities, the linguistic, logical-mathematical, and spatial ones are commonplaces (linguistic, mathematical, and spatial abilities are common components of various intelligence tests, especially the group ones). The new insight he brought to intelligence is that he included the musical, bodily-kinesthetic and personal (including interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence) as components of intelligence, which can be developed individually and merged with the other intelligence. The most special one among these intelligences is personal intelligence which, in the Western society, usually belongs to how to be a person (personality) instead of how to handle things (ability). I appreciate this excellent idea that knowing oneself and the others and loving oneself and the others are not only a virtue but also an ability. I also think that this idea contains very much "Chinese flavor". It seems to have existed in the Chinese philosophy, Confucianism and Taoism in particular, for a very long time. There is a wonderful saying in our ancient book, Tsai Ken Tan, "Being perspicacious to things around makes knowledge everywhere; being adept in human relationship makes a good writing." So, what is knowledge? What is a good writing? They are simply "handling personal affairs reasonably and sensibly"! Doesn't "handling personal affairs reasonably and sensibly" mean "personal intelligence"? Knowledge can be advanced to be wisdom by means of personal intelligence which helps people handle things reasonably and sensibly (Wu, 1994). I really think that the focus of gifted education should not be on imparting knowledge but should be on promoting wisdom. If we want to advance knowledge to wisdom, we have to do "extra work" on it. On this aspect, Gardner's perspective gives us good direction. Recently, Emotional Intelligence (Goleman, 1995; Salovey & Mayer, 1990) has attracted very much public attention. The concept of Emotional Intelligence is closely related to Gardner's theory of personal intelligence. They are very much in common. But these thoughts and skills originated from the classical Chinese culture appear to be neglected in current Chinese societies (Preface of Chinese version of EQ, forwarded by Goleman and translated by Chang, 1996; Wei, 1991).
Sternberg's (1985; 1988) Triarchic Theory of Intelligence took into account both sides of an individual's capacity and his/her surrounding environment, and their interaction as well. Furthermore, it analyzed the components of intelligence from the viewpoint of metacognition and information processing, which gave emphasis on "process" and "practicality". From his conception stated in Successful Intelligence, Sternberg (1996) stressed that an individual with a successful career knows his/her own strengths and weaknesses and, therefore, can continue his/her self-enhancement; his/her success does not have much to do with his/her academic achievement. This conception was like a stunning blow to the traditional conception of intelligence of which the validity criterion used to be academic achievement. So, it is a very insightful viewpoint and very meaningful for guiding our educational process to the right track.
Gardner and Sternberg both view the development of intelligence as dynamic but not static. This dynamics of intelligence was also highlighted in another Harvard psychologist David Perkins' (1995) book, in which he described as "learnable intelligence". In fact, there are some experimental research on Gardner's (1993) and Sternberg's (1996) constructs of intelligence, which has made initial steps on promotion of their constructs of intelligence. However, on the aspect of personal intelligence, though some discussions have been made, the empirical studies are limited.
The Implications of Non-academic Intelligence
Social intelligence, practical intelligence, and personal intelligence are non-academic intelligence in nature and are very much interrelated but still different in some ways.
The term and the concept of social intelligence has been initiated by eminent educational psychologist E.L. Thorndike (1920). According to Sternberg (1985), social intelligence is a cognitive ability of social learning, independent from academic intelligence. Although many researchers, including Thorndike (1920), Strang (1930), Sternberg (1985), and Gardner (1983), define intelligence differently in some way, they all basically think that social intelligence is an ability of adaptation in social life and interpersonal relationship, which includes:
- Ability of being aware of the other person's thoughts through observing their behaviors.
- Ability of establishing friendly relationship with others.
- Understanding the social norm and behaving appropriately in a social setting.
- Ability of adjusting to a new environment.
- Ability of getting involved in social activities.
- Ability of adapting to society for survival.
- Ability of self-understanding and retrospection.
Sternberg (1988) divided ability of social cognition into social intelligence and practical intelligence. Although he admitted that social intelligence, which includes abilities in adaptability, sociability, and establishing relationship with others, can be part of practical intelligence, he still insisted that these two types of intelligence are different. Social intelligence emphasizes ability of social involvement and cognition of social morality, which are related to "human beings". Practical intelligence stresses more on ability of doing jobs and making decisions, which are more related to "things." In other words, social intelligence is the ability of dealing with "personal" relationship, and practical intelligence is the ability of managing "things".
Practical intelligence is a cognitive/learning ability different from academic ability. It is an ability of dealing with trivial things happening in daily life. The problems that we encounter every day are unorganized and chaotic. To solve these problems, you have to use the information you have at hand and make a subjective judgment or decision. Usually there is not only one way to solve the problems. Unlike academic intelligence, there is no single or standard right answer in this case.
As to personal intelligence, one component of Gardner's (1983) multiple intelligences, it consists of intrapersonal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence. The multiple intelligences include:
- Linguistic Intelligence: This is an ability to use languages to transmit information, facilitate, and entertain others. Poets, novelists, editors, and journalists all need this ability.
- Musical Intelligence: It is an ability to enjoy musical rhythm, performance, and composition. Music performers and composers usually possess this talent.
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: This is an ability to operate symbols orderly or the relationship within sentences. Individuals who have this intelligence could properly be mathematicians and scientists.
- Spatial Intelligence: This is an ability to sense, create and balance on visual arts and spatial performance. Artists and engineers usually have this predisposition.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: This is an ability to perform in sports and performing arts. Sportsmen, actors, and dancers tend to have this intelligence.
- Intrapersonal Intelligence: This is an ability to understand one's own feelings, dreams, and ideas, and to self-retrospect and self-control, as well. Novelists and religious usually have this predisposition.
- Interpersonal Intelligence: This is an ability to know other persons and get along with them. Individuals with this intelligence fit in the career of teaching, social work, and salesmen.
The traditional intelligence tests mainly assess linguistic, logical-mathematical, and spatial intelligence. Those tests don't usually value bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and interpersonal intelligence, which exist in our right hemisphere of brain. Therefore, people should not get frustrated if the results of traditional intelligence tests show that their intelligence is not high. His or her potentials related to creative arts and practical intelligence probably are the treasures that have not yet been dug out.
As a matter of fact, Grader's intrapersonal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence are much the same as the social intelligence or emotional intelligence advocated by many scholars in the field of intelligence. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) which has been introduced by Goleman (1995) recently is also an intelligence dealing with personal affairs, but not the intelligence to deal with things. Individuals with these two kinds of intelligence are more capable of self-examination and self-assertiveness. They are more likely to establish good relationship with others, accustom to social life, and have excellent performance in society.
An Integrated Construct of Successful Intelligence
Integrating Gardner (1983; 1993) and Sternberg's (1985; 1988; 1996) constructs of intelligence, I try to propose an integrated construct (Figure 1) and the relationship between a successful career and a successful intelligence, in which personal intelligence is the core component (Figure 2).
Figure 1. A Construct of Successful Intelligence
Figure 2. The Relationship of Successful Life and Successful Intellogence
Explanation on Figure 1:
Explanation on Figure 2:
Exploration of Personal Intelligence
The gifted education in Taiwan also emphasizes more on assessment of academic intelligence and promotion of academic achievement than on cultivation and promotion of the non-academic intelligence (e.g., social, emotional, and creative abilities). This is not only because of our traditional values on intellectualism and academic achievement but because of the difficulty in assessment and the lack of knowledge in cultivating and promoting non-academic intelligence. Garder (1983; 1993) and Sternberg (1985; 1996) indicated that individuals who have outstanding academic achievement and high IQ (traditional IQ) are not necessarily outstanding in their future careers. On the other hand, non-academic intelligence can predict the future more validly. So, why should we continue to do our educational investment solely with this way -- although it is hard to say that this is a mistake in investment? Personal intelligence, creative intelligence and practical intelligence, which are more influential to a successful career, should be valued as much as academic intelligence. Because personal intelligence has its root in classical Chinese philosophy, Confucianism in particular, its importance is increasing day by day in our society. However, the empirical studies on personal intelligence are very few. There is really a need to start empirical exploration on such a fruitless garden, establish assessment models and methods, and design an educational project in order to promote personal intelligence.
The assumptions on this kind of research are:
Chinese Cultural View of Personal Intelligence
It is believed that studying philosophical conceptualization of intelligence, in general, and Eastern conceptualization of intelligence, in particular, can help us understand better how others as well as we think and expand our own present ways of thinking (Das, 1994; Sternberg, 1992; Sternberg & Yang, 1997). Confucian conceptualization of intelligence help us especially to reflect upon the relation of intelligence to wisdom, because intelligence and wisdom are constructs that are more integrated in Chinese ways of thinking and in the Chinese language than in European and American ways of thinking as well as in their languages (Yang & Sternberg, 1997).
The main sources of citation and references referred to Confucianism are the "Four Books," the Classics of Confucian tradition, including The Analects of Confucius, Mencius, Great Learning, and The Doctrine of the Mean.
Believing that character is the foundation of human acts, Confucians put much emphasis on persolality cultivation; a chun tzu must work very hard in cultivating a considerable number of virtues. Among these, the most important one is benevolence, jen in Chinese. More specifically in Chinese connotation, jen indicates an ideal interpersonal relationship, which involves more than just being nice to people. It is a virtue that can be reached only after life-long self-discipline. One needs to "overcome the self" - to guard oneself against all things that are likely to impair one's moral judgement and to deflect one from one's moral purpose, such as the pursuit of self-interest. This meaning is clearly seen in The Analects, where Confucius repeatedly reminds his students that even when one can gain profit, one should think of what is right.
According to Confucius, knowledge is a key to achieving benevolence. To be benevolent requires one to control oneself so as to behave in accordance with a knowledge of rightness. For Confucians, intelligence is a matter of the ability to make the right moral judgement and to defend the validity of that judgement. It therefore comes as no surprise that Confucius said that "the intelligent man is a person without perplexity" (The Analects, IX.29, XIV.28), meaning that an intelligent person ought not to be perplexed in his or her judgement about right and wrong. He or she also has to know and improve him/her self first in order to understand and help others. The crucial way of understanding and improving one's self is by means of "retrospection" - self-examination on daily basis. Furthermore, one should be always open to knowledge and enjoy learning so as to be an actualized person. Being humble and honest is important to an intelligent person. According to Mencius, "Say what you know and don't pretend that you know, then you will be more and more knowledgeable."
To summarize, from the Confucian perspective, the image of an intelligent person is one who know him/her self well and devotes his/her life to personality cultivation and social service. The true intelligence is thus an wisdom, which is beyond knowledge.
Appraisal of Personal Intelligence.
Although many scholars suspect the reliability and validity of scales assessing social intelligence, some studies have showed their validity in assessing people's social adaptability. For example, although the purpose of Tennessee Self-concept Scale is to assess an individual's personality characteristics, self-assertiveness, and self-concept, but not to assess an individual's personal intelligence, Ford & Miura (1983) found that self-assertiveness is apparently correlated to personal intelligence. An individual with positive self-concept has strong involvement and adaptability to society. A student with negative self-concept tends to become the one who needs school counselors to pay more attention to (Wei, 1996).
Generally speaking, there are major directions to assess social intelligence. One is to assess the characteristics of social maturity (e.g., assessing the characteristics of social behaviors on self-assertiveness, self-identity, social morality, gregarious ability, and sympathy). Many personality tests can predict an individual's social intelligence effectively, and so can Tennessee Self-concept Scale. According F. Erikson's theory, Ochse & Plug (1986) developed the "A Sense of Personal Identity" scale. This self-rating scale which includes items such as "I think my life style fits me," "I change my life plan constantly," "When I leave the people I am acquainted with, I feel I can own better my real self," is primarily to assess self-identity (Wei, 1996).
The other direction of appraisal of social intelligence focuses more on assessment of an individual's exterior behavior, but not on assessment of the characteristics of interior maturity. Its basic assumption is - What an individual is doing is more important than what he or she is thinking about, which is more valid for personal intelligence assessment (Sternberg, 1985).
There are many tests to assess social intelligence. For example, George Washington Social Intelligence Test (Moss, Hunt, Omwake, & Woodward, 1949) primarily contains ability of judging different social situations, awareness of the real meaning of ther person's words, ability of remembering different names and their faces, and ability of observation and humor. Another example is Social Insight Test (Chapin, 1967). After the examinee describes a difficult situation, examinee has to put himself or herself in the situation and then try to apply different strategies to solve the problems.
Gardner (1993) thought that traditional methods of intelligence assessment should be improved. The methods of improvement he indicated were (1) emphasizing assessment, but not testing; (2) administrating assessment under simple, natural and daily circumstances; (3) focusing on ecological validity; (4) free from the impact of traditional intelligence (i.e., verbal, logical-mathematical); (5) applying various assessment instruments. (not only IQ tests); (6) considering about students' individual differences, development, and specialty; (7) adopting materials that can motivate students' interest; (8) being able to use the results of assessment to help students.
Gardner (1993) attempted to develop a battery of instrument to assess different aspects of intelligence. Under the "Project Spectrum", he and D.H. Feldman explored preschool children's intelligence (Feldman & Gardner, 1989). They believed that children have their individual differences and their own potentials in different dimensions. The assessment instruments they adopted were teaching tools or toys that children could often get in touch in daily life. What made the assessment method different from the traditional assessment is that, in the whole process of assessment administration, the examiners tried their best to provide children a nourishing learning environment to cultivate their interior potentials and then assess their performance of intelligence from different angles. The whole process of assessment took one year. The assessment primarily comprised fifteen different assessment activities. Some of the activities were more structured, such as the assessment on mathematical and musical domains. Some were more observation-oriented, such as the assessment on scientific and social ones. The program design was based on Gardner's perceptions of multiple intelligence. There were two important things in these assessment activities. The first thing was to assess children's cognitive learning abilities in seven types of intelligence through these fifteen activities. The second is to assess the children's learning attitude and ways of finding solutions. In other words, they tried to understand whether or not children could use different strategies to solve various problems.
From the social aspect, there are two ways of assessment (Gardner, 1993):
From what has been mentioned above, the assessment of personal intelligence should be different from the traditional ways of assessment. It should be multiple, dynamic, nature, and interesting, and free from the influence of academic intelligence (verbal, logical-mathematical, etc.). The cultural differences and individual reaction styles should be taken into account.
Promotion of Personal Intelligence
Goleman (1995) indicates that most recent brain studies have showed that, it is not the traditional IQ that can decide human intelligence, but affections. Those who are apt to manage emotions and sensitive to other's feelings are more likely to become outstanding in society. On the other hand, those who are easily affected by emotions, uninhibited, and have difficulty in getting along with people, even though might be very talented, will still alienate themselves from society and swamp themselves in a terribly difficult situation.
In the famous Candy Experiment (Michal & Deake, 1990), each of the four-year-old children was given candy and told that they could eat only one piece of candy now, but, if they could wait till the adult came back, they could eat one more piece. The researchers found that some of the children put the candy into their mouth as soon as the adults left but some could wait for a few minutes but gave in later on. They also found that, still, some of the children tried their best either to distract their own attention from the candy or to play by themselves and thus finally get the reward they desired.
Following up these children' development to their high school age, the researchers found a close relation between what they presented in childhood and their development in adulthood. The children rewarded with two pieces of candy were more able to adapt to the society, more easy-going, more self-confident, more motivated, and more trustworthy. Those who could not refuse temptation were lonelier, easily giving-up, more stubborn, hardly able to stand pressure, and more likely to avoid challenge. The SAT results showed that these strong-will children had 120 points higher than the average scores.
The ability of refusing temptation seems to be a higher-level skill. It tells that ration suppresses impulsiveness and can be viewed as revelation of Emotional Intelligence. It is not absolutely related to general I.Q (Goleman, 1995).
Emotional Intelligence (EQ), same as IQ, is basically neutral, and can not be classified as good or bad. Human beings' prefrontal lobe that is in charge of our emotions would probably not be mature until puberty so children's ability to control emotions can be trained. In other words, EQ can become exquisite by means of training. But how to train is the further step to be explored.
Recently, Gardner led a research group to complete a collaborated research project, which was called as Practical Intelligence for School; PIFS. It combined Gardner's model of Multiple Intelligence and Sternberg's model of Triarchic Intelligence to look for the sixth-grade and seventh-grade students with potentials and then trained them with a series of program (Gardner, 1993).
Firstly, PIFS tried to understand each student from three aspects:
The basic assumption of PIFS is that students should learn, apply, and integrate all the academic knowledge and the practical knowledge which is related to self, academic work and school environment. The strategies of the above three aspects of knowledge are:
The effects of PIFS were remarkable according to project evaluation. The main effects were: increasing students' academic achievement, motivating learning, and enhancing responsibility of self-education (Gardner, 1993). This research, though is comprehensive in nature, appears to focus more on academic and cognitive domain, but not too much on personal intelligence.
Nowadays, the conception of emotional education or social intelligence education has been developed in the United States. Self-Science workshops is the pioneer in this area and its main topic is the feelings happening in interpersonal interaction (Goleman, 1995). The other similar classes are increasingly developed under various names, such as Social Development, Life Skills, Social and Emotional Learning, and Personal Intelligence (Goleman, 1995).
Goleman (1995) has summarized related appraisals of effectiveness of social-development courses and found that these courses were very helpful to students' affections, social abilities, behavior in and off campus, and learning ability. The evaluation of W.T. Grant Consortium found that successful plans should include the following components (Goleman 1995):
All after all, the purpose of education is not only for potential development but also emotional education so as to promote a holistic development of a person. Gifted education should value these as well. The ideal of whole-person education can be implemented down to the earth only when the idea of personal intelligence be incorporated in it.
Lately, some theories have brought new insights to the construct of intelligence. H. Gardner's (1993) Theory of Multiple Intelligence and R. J. Sternberg's (1996) Triarchic Theory of Intelligence are the most typical models among these theories. This article attempts to integrate both viewpoints on the basis of the conceptualization of Successful Intelligence (Sternberg, 1996) to illustrate that a successful career requires balanced development on academic intelligence, personal (social) intelligence, and practical intelligence. Personal intelligence, which is very Chinese culture-related and rooted, is the core of the requirements and the catalyst of them. It should be viewed in terms of human wisdom beyond traditional cognitive ability. Though appraisal and promotion of personal intelligence is not easy, personal intelligence is highly valuable and worthy to be explored.
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