Charles Spearman’s Model Of Intelligence

Unit Four Individual Project
Charles Spearman’s model of intelligence and Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory are two of the most widely used theories of intelligence. In order to understand how similar the two theories are we must first understand their differences. These two men differed in opinion on how IQ and intelligence should be measured, and they differed in opinion on what made a person “smart”. In order to examine these things they first had to understand the human brain and how it works. They had to examine the human study habits and rituals, along with the human test taking habits.
Spearman thought that if all mental tests are mutually related then there is some common factor that causes this. Spearman developed a statistical method called factor analysis that shows that these mutual relations between mental ability tests were the direct result of a common factor among them. Spearman used factor analysis to prove that certain groups of mental ability tests can measure a common mental ability. Charles Spearman’s model of intelligence is based on his observation that “All te3sts of mental ability are positively correlated. Spearman discovered that people who score high on IQ or mental ability tests usually score higher on other types of test, and people who score lower on IQ and mental ability tests generally score lower on other mental ability test.” (
Spearman believed that two factors affect performance on mental ability tests. One was the general factor or general intelligence this factor focused on the mutual relation of all mental tests. Scores on all of these tests were generally related. The second factor was the specific factor “The specific factor related to whatever unique abilities a particular test required so it differed from test to test.” (www.Encarta.msn) Spearman believed that the general factor was much more important than the specific factor.
Howard Gardner developed the Multiple intelligence theory. Gardner believed that the human mind did not have one general intelligence but many that had independent functions. He believed that the previous measure of intelligence did not accurately measure the capability of the human mind. “While formulating this theory, Gardner placed less emphasis on explaining the results of mental tests than on accounting for the range of human abilities that exist across a vast majority of cultures. (
Gardner examined many subjects to decide upon the seven intelligences in his Multiple theories of Intelligence. Gardner finally concluded that intelligent behavior does not come from one single quality of the mind. He believed that different intelligences are generated from different metaphorical pools of mental energy, and that these pools enable people to solve problems or create products that are valued within one or more cultural settings. He came up with this concept from his experiences working with members of different populations where certain cognitive abilities are apparent even in the absence of basic abilities. For example, when an autistic person is a genius at math and lacks the ability to tie his shoes.
Gardner’s theory consisted of seven intelligences the first is linguistic ability, which enables us to read, write, and speak well. The second is logical/ mathematical ability which enables us to think logically as well as solve problems mathematically and scientifically. Spatial intelligence is used when someone is in an unfamiliar situation, it helps you to use deductive reasoning to navigate and maneuver. For example, finding your way around in a strange or new place. Musical intelligence generates skills that allow a musician to play a tune by ear or execute a phrase with sensitivity and grace. Bodily/ kinesthetic skills are useful in problem solving that requires using your full body like performing surgical procedure, or dancing. Interpersonal skills allow you to develop social skills and things like empathy, and intuition about what motivates other people. Intrapersonal skills are similar to interpersonal skills, but turned inward they help us to gain high self understanding, which can be an advantage in problem solving. Gardner believed that linguistic and logical/mathematical skills are over emphasized in most models of human intelligence, but this is based on culture, in different cultural circumstances other intelligences may become more important. (
The biggest difference between these two theories is that Spearman believed that intelligence could be measured by IQ tests and mental ability test alone. On the other hand, Gardner believed that the human brain is so vast that it cannot be measured by test because there are different types of human intelligence. These theories are similar because both of them were criticized by other psychologist for not having enough substantial evidence. The majority believed that they were basing their findings on intuition and speculation and not enough physical evidence. (www.Encarta.msn)
Despite all of the people who did not agree with these theories, they are still taught in institutions around the world and many psychologists still use methods of testing and examining intelligence. Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence is more in line with psychology of today because in today’s society it sometimes takes more than traditional “intelligence” to excel. Athletes are a prime example of well paid admired individuals who are not usually the smartest people in the world. You no longer have to score well on your SAT’s or IQ tests to be a successful person. To get into an Ivy League school today you not only have to score well to average on your graduation test to be accepted, you must also take part in extra curricular activities and have a good GPA. Intelligence today is not solely based upon what you know but what abilities and unique talents you possess. While Spearman’s theory was ground breaking it is no longer relevant today because you may be terrible at one thing like taking tests but you may also be great at another thing like dancing or writing music. Both of these things require some degree of intelligence in order to perform them properly.