Intelligence is an abstract concept that is difficult to be accurately defined. In general, it could be said that intelligence is :

1. Ability to adapt with environment, new situations or facing vary situations;

2.  Ability to learn or have capacity to receive education, and;

3. Ability to think abstractly, using abstract concepts and imagining symbols and concepts.

From several definitions that is defined by experts, intelligence can be meant as ability to think abstractly, to solve problems using verbal symbols, and ability to learn and adapt experience in daily life.


Intelligence in every child is not same and can be detected by measuring. To measure the differences of individual ability, psychologists have developed several intelligence test. One of the psychologist was Alfred Binet (1857 – 1911), a doctor and psychologist from France. Binet is the most meritious in pioneering intelligence test development.

Binet got assignment from Ministry of Education of France to develop a method to determine which students that receive benefit or good result from learning system in school. Together with his college student, Theodore Simon, Binet designed an intelligence test named Chelle Matrique l’Intelligence ( Intelligence Measuring Scale ). This test was proposed to distinguish children in school that can follow education without difficulty and children who are not able to receive education.

The intelligence test which is designed by Binet, was based on Mental Age concept that was also developed by him. According Binet children who were mentally retarded, behaved like normal children with younger age. Mental Age (MA) and Chronological Age (CA/age based on calender) is used as the measure of intelligence. Intelligent children has mental age above their chronological age.

Willliam Stern (1871 – 1938) was a psychologist from German who improved Binet’s intelligence test and introduce a term that popular till now, namely Intelligence Question (IQ). IQ describes intelligence as ratio between Mental Age (MA) and Chronological Age (CA), formulized with :

IQ = (MA/CA) x 100

IQ Classification

  1. Above 139, very genius ( superior );
  2. 120 – 139, superior, able to finish study in university without difficulty;
  3. 110 – 119, above average, able to finish second middle school without difficulty;
  4. 90 – 109, average, able to finish second middle school;
  5. 80 – 89, under average, able to finish elementary school;
  6. 70 – 79, borderline, able to learn something but slow;
  7. Under 70, mentally retarded, unable to follow education in normal school.


Howard Gardner, psychologist, brought idea that we have not only one intelligence, but have many intelligence instead (multiple intelligence), which are different between one another. There are people who are mentally retarded but have unbelievable ability in particular kind, such as painting, music or sport. Gardner also recorded that brain damage maybe can bring down one kind ability but not on another ability.

According to Gardner, intelligence is:

  • The ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture;
  • A set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life; and
  • The potential for finding or creating solutions for problems, which involves gathering new knowledge.

8 Kinds of intelligence that a person has according Howard Gardner are:

  1. Intelligence of Verbal-Linguistic: Linguistic intelligence includes ability to think with words, such as ability to understand and combine word as well as sentence verbally and in writing.
  2. Intelligence of Logical-Mathematical: ability to think in reasoning or counting, such as ability to examine issues logically, scientifically, and mathematically.
  3. Intelligence of Visual-Spatial: ability to think in image and picture, such as ability to imagine form of an object.
  4. Intelligence of Musical: thinking ability with tone, rhythm, melody, and also sound of nature.
  5. Intelligence of Bodily-Kinesthetic: ability that related with body movement including brain motor movement which control the body, such as ability to control body or using body with ease and deft.
  6. Intelligence of Intrapersonal: thinking ability in self-understanding, doing reflection, and metacognitive.
  7. Intelligence of Interpersonal (Social): ability to communicate and interact with another person.
  8. Intelligence of Naturalistic: ability to understand nature phenomena.

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