The term intelligence is quite a broad one; it has been given multiple definitions. For example, there is the view that intelligence is a general concept comprising two elements: fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. The former refers to the ability of an individual to solve complex challenges and problems, while the latter is the capability of retrieving and applying learnt knowledge (Spielman, Jenkins & Lovett, 2020). Intelligence is also defined according to the triarchic theory, which depicts intelligence as a three-faced concept comprising three elements: analytical, creative, and practical. In brief, creative intelligence is all about using innovativeness and imagination to solve problems, while analytical intelligence essentially refers to the capacity to evaluate and analyze issues. On the other hand, practical intelligence is about using one’s own experiences and knowledge to solve day-to-day problems (Spielman et al., 2020).

Intelligence is also defined using the multiple intelligences theory. As the name suggests, the multiple intelligences theory postulates that every person possesses multiple intelligences notably linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, musical intelligence, spatial intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and naturalist intelligence. These different intelligences are manifested differently, such as people being highly capable of interacting with one another with understanding and appreciation; perceive how objects relate with one another; applying logic together with reason; and understanding words and their meanings (Spielman et al., 2020).

A common aspect in the above definitions is that intelligence is a multifaceted concept. For this reason, I totally agree with the definitions provided by Spielman et al. (2020). In my opinion and observation, a person may demonstrate exceptional ability in one area yet perform below average in another area. This is commonly seen in classroom settings where different students excel in different subjects. It would therefore be misleading and unfair to say that an intelligent student is one who excels in all subjects whilst ignoring or ruling out another student who shows exceptional ability in language or math, for example.

Between the multiple intelligences theory, the general intelligence theory, the cognitive abilities theory, and the triarchic theory, the multiple intelligences theory is arguably the most accurate. The triarchic theory focuses more on solving problems and tackling issues, but multiple intelligences theory goes beyond solving problems to acknowledge the role and importance of social relationships. In today’s multicultural world, and with there being more to life than merely solving problems, multiple intelligences are needed in crucial matters such as choice of spouses (Plomin & Von Stumm, 2018). Moreover, as Spielman et al. (2020) state, the value and meaning of intelligence may vary across cultures. This is why multiple intelligences ought to be valued.


Plomin, R., & Von Stumm, S. (2018). The new genetics of intelligence. Nature Reviews Genetics19(3), 148-159.

Spielman, R., Jenkins, W. & Lovett, M. (2020). Psychology 2e. OpenStax.

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