Table of Contents


Intelligence may be narrowly defined as the capacity to acquire knowledge and understanding, and use it in different novel situations. It is this ability, or capacity, which enables the individual to deal with real situations and profit intellectually from sensory experience.
A test of intelligence is designed to formally study, under test conditions, the success of an individual in adapting to a specific situation.
There are a number of different methods which purport to measure intelligence, the most famous of which is the IQ, or intelligence quotient test. In the formation of such tests many psychologists treat intelligence as a general ability operating as a common factor in a wide variety of aptitudes.
Whilst many IQ tests measure a variety of different types of ability such as verbal, mathematical, spatial and reasoning skills, there is now a second school of thought in which it is believed that the earlier definitions of intelligence may be too simplistic.
It is now becoming increasingly recognised that there are many different types of intelligence and that a high measured IQ, although desirable, is not the only key to success in life. Other characteristics, such as outstanding artistic, creative or practical prowess, especially if combined with personal characteristics such as ambition, good temperament and compassion, could result in an outstanding level of success despite a low measured IQ. It is because of this that in recent years CQ (creative quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient), to name just two examples, have come to be regarded as equally important as, or even more important than, IQ measurement.
It should also be pointed out that having a high IQ does not mean that one has a good memory. A good memory is yet another type of intelligence, and could result in high academic success despite a low measured IQ test score.
The object of this book is to identify different types of intelligence and bring together tests for different aspects of intelligence into one book, and provide an objective assessment of abilities in a number of different disciplines.
This will, therefore, give readers the opportunity to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and thus enable readers to build on their strengths and work at improving their performance in areas of weakness.
As well as the identifying of such strengths and weaknesses, the tests and exercises in this book perform another important function, that of using and exercising the brain.
Despite the enormous capacity of the brain, we only use on average 2% of our potential brainpower. There is, therefore, the potential for each of us to expand our brainpower considerably.
It is important that we continually use our brain, for example, the more we practise at tests of verbal aptitude, the more we increase our ability to understand the meaning of words and use them effectively; the more we practise at mathematics, the more confident we become when working with numbers; and the more we practise our ability to move our fingers and manipulate small objects, the more dextrous we become at operations involving this type of aptitude.
Our brain is undoubtedly our greatest asset, yet, for most of us, it is the part of the body we most take for granted.
Our brain needs exercise and care in the same way as other parts of the body. We eat the right foods to keep our heart healthy, we moisturise our skin to keep it from drying out and, just as gymnasts strive to increase their performance at whatever level they are competing, by means of punishing training schedules and refinement of technique, there are exercises, or mental gymnastics, we can do to increase the performance of our brain and enhance quickness of thought.
Many people still have the outdated belief that there is little they can do to improve the brain they are born with and that brain cells continually degenerate with age, but in fact our brain cells continually develop new and stronger connections and adult brains can grow new cells, irrespective of age.
We should all be aware that we have the capacity to put our brain to even more use and unleash many hitherto untapped creative talents by continually exploring new avenues, experiences and learning adventures. By continually exploiting our enormous brain potential, we all have the ability to make more and stronger connections between our nerve cells, with the result that not only our mental but also our physical long-term well-being will improve.
Whilst the aim of the tests and exercises is therefore two-fold, that of identifying individual strengths and weaknesses and that of exercising the brain, they are at the same time, and equally importantly, designed to provide fun and entertainment to those who take them.

Aspects of intelligence

Although it is difficult to define intelligence, indeed it appears to have no formal definition, there is, nevertheless, at least one particularly apposite definition: the capacity to learn and understand.
Scores from standardised intelligence tests (IQ scores) are often used to define one’s intelligence level. It is, however, becoming increasingly accepted that they do not reveal the complete picture and only provide a snapshot of a person’s ability in the area under examination, so that, for example, someone who has scored highly on a verbal test can only be said to have a high verbal IQ and someone who has scored highly on a mathematical test can only be said to have a high numerical IQ. Obviously, therefore, the more different types of disciplines that are tested and examined, the more accurately the intelligence level of the individual can be assessed.
Whilst IQ testing is broadly based on the principle of a measurable and genetically inherited intelligence that is cast in stone for every individual and does not increase throughout adulthood, there is now another school of thought which believes there are many more different types of intelligences, some of which could be as a result of our upbringing and development and some of which could be the result of a natural talent with which we are born.
The concept of general intelligence, or g, was devised in the early twentieth century by the English psychologist Charles Spearman, who established g as a measure of performance in a variety of tests.
Spearman’s research led him to the conclusion that the same people who performed well in a variety of mental tasks tended to use a part of the brain that he termed g. The g factor, therefore, laid the foundation for the concept of a single intelligence, and the belief that this single, and measurable, intelligence enables us to perform tasks of mental ability.
Recent studies have to a certain extent reinforced Spearman’s theory, and research has found that the lateral prefrontal cortex is the only area of the brain where an increase in blood flow takes place when volunteers tackle complicated puzzles.
Despite this, Spearman’s concept remains highly controversial and is becoming increasingly challenged by those who claim that the concept of a single overall intelligence is too simplistic.
At the same time, there is a body of research whose findings suggest that our mental ability is not determined by biological inheritance, but as the result of social factors such as education and upbringing.
Whilst IQ tests are, and will remain, helpful in predicting future performance or potential in many areas, they do not provide us with other information, such as the ability to connect with other people emotionally or perform creative tasks that involve the use of imagination.
Although most IQ testing only assesses what is termed ‘general ability’ in three categories of intelligence, numerical, verbal and spatial (abstract) reasoning, there are several other equally important and valuable intelligences that need to be recognised and developed.
The theory of multiple intelligence (MI) advocates that the traditional view of a single general intelligence, g, is too narrow and that humans have multiple intelligences. By expanding our definition of intelligence to include multiple intelligences, we can identify, appreciate and nurture more of our strengths.
This is important, as it would be as rare for any one individual to be endowed in all the different intelligences as it would for any one individual not to possess some kind of talent. We all tend to be aware of some of our abilities and limitations, for instance, some of us may be great musicians but completely hopeless when it comes to fixing a problem with our car; others may be championship-class chess players but would never be able to smash a tennis ball into the opposing player’s court; and others may possess great linguistic and mathematical skills but feel completely at a loss trying to make small talk at social gatherings. The fact is that no-one is talented in every domain and no-one is completely incapable in every domain.
The originator of the theory of multiple intelligences, Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University, defines intelligence as the potential ability to process a certain sort of information. The different types of intelligence are for the most part independent of one another, and no type is more important than the other.
In all, Gardner identifies seven different types of intelligence. These can be summarized as follows:
1. Verbal=linguistic, e.g. lexical skills, formal speech, verbal debate, creative writing.
2. Body=kinesthetic (movement), e.g. body language, physical gestures, creative dance, physical exercise, drama.
3. Musical=rhythmic, e.g. music performance, singing, musical composition, rhythmic patterns.
4. Logic=mathematic, e.g. numerical aptitude, problem solving, deciphering codes, abstract symbols and formulae.
5. Visual=spatial, e.g. patterns and designs, painting, drawing, active imagination, sculpture, colour schemes.
6. Interpersonal (relationships with others), e.g. person-to-person communication, empathy practices, group projects, collaboration skills, receiving and giving feedback.
7. Intrapersonal (self-understanding and insight), e.g. thinking strategies, emotional processing, knowing yourself, higher order reasoning, focusing=concentration.
Although aspects of it are included in several of the above categories; in addition to the above seven basic types of intelligence can be added creativity, which has sometimes been referred to as ‘the eighth intelligence’.
Additionally, if creativity is the eighth intelligence, then memory must be the ninth, and both creativity and memory are explored and tested in detail in Chapters 4 and 6, respectively.
Whilst Spearman concluded that people who performed well at varying tasks tended to use the same part of the brain, g, Gardner asserts that each of the above intelligences is located in one or more particular areas of the brain. Some of the evidence for this belief is provided by the study of people who have suffered brain damage, either from strokes or other causes, and who may, for example, still be able to sing words despite having lost the ability to use expressive speech.
Although the jury may still be out on the debate as to whether the g factor, as gauged by IQ tests, is just one single general intelligence, or whether there are, as Gardner and others suggest, a set of independent mental domains, it would appear to be coming increasingly apparent that, as we learn more about the human brain and how different parts of the brain appear to generate different intelligences, the more compelling Gardner’s theory becomes.
The main lesson to be learned from this is that people can be intelligent in many different ways. It is completely wrong to write off or even put down someone who has scored badly in an IQ test which, after all, has only provided us with one type of information about that individual. All of us have the potential for achievement in some kind of intelligence and we also possess the potential for improvement in many other areas.
Although there are types of intelligence that cannot be tested in a book, for example, aptitude at performing physical tasks or playing a musical instrument, in the chapters that follow as many different types of intelligence will be tested and explored as is feasible to do.

Intelligence quotient (IQ)

Intelligence quotient (IQ) is an age-related measure of intelligence level and is described as 100 times the mental age. The word ‘quotient’ means the result of dividing one quantity by another, and a definition of intelligence is mental ability or quickness of mind.
Such tests are based on the belief that every person possesses a single general ability of mind. It is this which determines how efficiently each of us deals with situations as they arise, and how we profit intellectually from our experiences. This ability of mind varies in amount from person to person, and is what intelligence (IQ tests) attempt to measure.
Generally such tests consist of a graded series of tasks, each of which has been standardised with a large representative population of individuals. Such a procedure establishes the average IQ as 100.
IQ tests are part of what is generally referred to as ‘psychometric testing’. Such test content may be addressed to almost any aspect of our intellectual or emotional make-up, including personality, attitude and intelligence.
Psychometric tests are basically tools used for measuring the mind; the word ‘metric’ means measure and the word ‘psycho’ means mind. There are two types of psychometric test, which are usually used in tandem. These are aptitude tests, which assess your abilities, and personality questionnaires, which assess your character and personality.
In contrast to specific proficiencies, intelligence tests are standard examinations devised to measure human intelligence as distinct from attainments. There are several different types of intelligence test, for example, Cattell, Stanford — Binet and Wechsler, each having its own different scale of intelligence.
The Stanford — Binet is heavily weighted with questions involving verbal abilities and is widely used in the United States of America, and the Weschler scales consist of two separate verbal and performance sub-scales, each with its own IQ rating.
It is generally agreed by advocates of IQ testing that an individual’s IQ rating is mainly hereditary and remains constant in development to about the age of 13, after which it is shown to slow down, and beyond the age of 18 little or no improvement is found. It is further agreed that the most marked increase in a person’s IQ takes place in early childhood, and theories are continually put forward about different contributory factors, for example, it has been claimed recently, following research in Japan, that the playing of computer games by children, which involve a high degree of skill and agility of mind, have resulted in higher IQ measurement.
IQ Tests are standardised after being given to many thousands of people and an average IQ (100) established, a score above or below this norm being used to establish the subject’s actual IQ rating.
Because beyond the age of 18 little or no improvement in a person’s IQ rating is found, the method of calculating the IQ of a child is different to the method used for an adult.
When measuring the IQ of a child, the subject will attempt an IQ test which has been standardized with an average score recorded for each age group. Thus, a child aged 10 years who scored the results expected of a child of 12 would have an IQ of 120, calculated as follows:
However, adults have to be judged on an IQ test whose average score is 100 and their results graded above and below this norm according to known scores. A properly validated test would have to be given to some 20,000 people and the results correlated before it would reveal an accurate measurement of a person’s IQ.