Sternberg’s theory of intelligence states that intelligence is made up of three components; analytical intelligence refers to the ability for understanding and assessing ideas and for problem-solving and decisions making. Creative intelligence refers to the person’s ability to create new and interesting ideas and practical intelligence is the ability of individuals to transform their environment or themselves to realize their goals.
These three intelligences is what Sternberg refer to as successful intelligence, which means that this intelligences can ensure that a person will become successful in his/her life within his/her sociocultural context (Sternberg, 1999). Sternberg’s theory has been borne out of his researches on intelligence wherein he found that most people had the capacity to work with math problems, number equations and to reason logically in practical situations but failed in traditional intelligence tests (Sternberg, 2000).
He also reported that the context at which intelligence is viewed is an important determining factor for measuring intelligence (Sternberg, 2004); he found that Kenyan children scored well on indigenous intelligence tests but did poorly in western intelligence tests. Lastly, he also observed that when creative and practical intelligence is integrated into the definition of intelligence, the group of Yale students corresponding to these intelligences became more diverse in terms of race, background, sex and socioeconomic status than the traditional concept of intelligence (Sternberg, 2004).
Taking into consideration Sternberg’s theory of intelligence, I found that my list of everyday intelligence did correspond to his definition of intelligence. My everyday intelligence list includes doing the laundry, cooking, and gardening, following directions and bargaining. People who cook well seem to know the correct amount of ingredients to put in the dish and yet might not get good scores in tests of fractions and ratios, then those who are excellent gardeners know when the weather is just right for sowing or when to transfer the seedlings to the pots but cannot actually explain humidity and soil content.
Doing the laundry also takes the ability to know how much soap goes with what type of cloth and the temperature of the water, but I am sure that they would not answer a math problem of the same variables. Following directions is also an everyday intelligence because it involves abstract thinking and imagery and a sense of direction.
Now most people could find an address based on landmarks and street names but the same person would have difficulty working on pattern recognition and sequencing and bargaining is an ability that takes rapid computational skills to calculate the discount of the item or to assess how much one is willing to pay for an item. When intelligence is defined according to Sternberg’s concepts I then realize that intelligence is not just about perceiving relationships and analogies but it is being able to make use of ones strengths and abilities to become successful at life.
Practically speaking, the person who knows how to cross the street safely arrives at their destinations and is more able to achieve their goals. Sternberg also emphasized that intelligence is defined in terms of the sociocultural context of the individual thus a fisherman who knows the ocean and the types and behaviors of fishes cannot be called unintelligent if he fails in an intelligence test because as a fisherman those are what constitute intelligence.
References Sternberg, R. (1996). Successful Intelligence. New York: Simon & Schuster. Sternberg, R. , Forsythe, G. & Hedlund, J. (2000). Practical Intelligence in Everyday Life. New York: Cambridge University Press. Sternberg, R. (2004). Why we need to explore development in its cultural context. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 50; 3, pp. 369-386. Sternberg, R. (2004). Successful intelligence in the classroom. Theory Into Practice 43; 4, pp. 274-280