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Intelligence

  • By: Cynthia A. Riccio, Olga Rodriguez & Melisa Valle
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Although there is no universal definition of intelligence, the attributes used to describe it have remained somewhat unchanged over time. The term intelligence generally encompasses the ability to adjust or adapt to the environment, the ability to learn, or the ability to perform abstract thinking.

The conceptualization of intelligence can involve multiple perspectives, including biological, cognitive, motivational, and behavioral foci. Biological theorists define intelligence from a structural perspective, linking different parts of the brain to various intellectual functions. Not completely separate from the biological perspective, cognitive perspectives involve not only what is known, but metacognition—knowledge about and control of one's thoughts. Motivational factors are proposed to influence intelligence by determining the level of interest an individual has in learning and in demonstrating what they know. The ...

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