Taking a Class on Cognitive Psychology

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Learning-about-cognitive-psychologyHello lovely lady,

I’m taking a class on Cognitive Psychology. I just started it and I wanted to post some of the assignments I’m doing so that you can also enjoy it. I love psychology, and although my major is in web design and multimedia  I decided to take this elective to learn more about human behavior.

Here’s one of my assignments. I hope that this will be interesting for you and that you do further research.

How would you define intelligence?

Before exploring this question with some further research, I thought that intelligence was the ability of an individual to process external or internal situations/actions in a way that the person could derive a conclusion and/or decide in a plan of action, as opposed to just reacting by instinct as animals do (and many humans do as well actually). Apparently there’s a confusion in psychology about what intelligence really is. Part of the confusion surrounding a definition of intelligence in psychology comes from the reality that there are a number of psychological perspectives on intelligence. For example, in modern psychology, the term intelligence can be defined in two ways:

  1. The first way is to use intelligence to refer to acts of the intelligent, like writing a book or designing a new software.
  2. The second way is to use intelligence to refer to processes of the mind (analyzing and synthesizing information) that give birth to intelligent acts.

At one extreme, there’s the proposal that each intelligent act is associated with an exclusive mental process. The other extreme proposes that a single mental ability underlies all intelligent achievements. One observation says that, for example, Mozart was born with a specific talent to write his music. Writing music is an intelligent act and Mozart was born with this talent. The other extreme says that Mozart’s music was an accident of time and place. In other words, Mozart was in the right place at the right time to develop unique mental processes needed to write his music. They believe any other person could have written what Mozart wrote. I think neither extreme view is accurate. However,  there’s Dr. Howard Gardner, a psychologist and professor of neuroscience from Harvard University, who developed the theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) in 1983. The theory challenged established beliefs in the fields of education and cognitive science. Contrasting the established understanding of intelligence, that people are born with a uniform cognitive capability that can be simply calculated by short-answer tests, the theory of Multiple Intelligences reconsiders the educational practice of the last century and provides a new option.

Learning-about-cognitive-psychologyAccording to Gardner, human beings have nine different kinds of intelligence that reflect different ways of interacting with the world. Each person has a unique combination, or profile. He teaches that we each have all nine intelligences, and that no two individuals have them in the same precise configuration (this can be compared to our fingerprints.)

Gardner’s nine multiple intelligences are:

  1. Linguistic intelligence
  2. Logical and mathematical intelligence
  3. Musical Rhythmic intelligence
  4. Bodily and kinesthetic intelligence
  5. Spatial intelligence
  6. Naturalistic intelligence
  7. Intrapersonal intelligence
  8. Interpersonal intelligence
  9. Existential intelligence

Personally, Gardner’s perspective makes more sense, and gives the individual the understanding that he or she has the potential to develop any of these intelligences.

Is intelligence the single best predictor of success? Why or why not?

I think that i intelligence alone is not the best predictor of success, simply because if the person doesn’t know how to develop that intelligence, use it and create a successful life with it, it doesn’t serve him much. For example, if a person who is “less intelligent”, but knows how to be persistent, is optimistic, works hard, and believes in his dreams, will most likely be successful, even if he is less intelligent than a person who was born with higher potential, failed to develop it and shows a general negative outlook on life and on himself.

Apart from your intellectual abilities, identify the skills and/or abilities that aid you the most as you move through school, work, and life. Explain.

I think I’m pretty intelligent, not a genius, but when I put my mind to something I learn it and can apply it well, I am also very creative and can easily understand people. All of these things help me in school, my family, my social life and work. However, I think that my awareness of the importance of developing inner virtues has enabled me to be more patient, positive, responsible, enthusiastic and perseverant. I believe there is a spiritual factor to us humans, and that the brain is a tool, not who we are, and that when we develop our spiritual awareness, our intellect also develops and expands.




“Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences: A Theory for Everyone.” Education World: Multiple Intelligences: A Theory for Everyone. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2012. <http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr054.shtml>.

Gilman, Lynn. “Human Intelligence: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.” Human Intelligence: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2012. <http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/mitheory.shtml>.

“Human Intelligence (psychology).” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/289766/human-intelligence>.


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