** Please note: This blog post was written in whole or in part as an assignment for a class that I was taking. If you decide to use some of my work in your own assignments, please give credit where credit is due and cite your source! Thanks :) **
For this journal entry, we were assigned to answer some questions regarding intelligence.
- In your personal experience, how much is intelligence influenced by nature? Include examples of your own intelligence, and your experience with children in your life to support your ideas.
- Which of Gardner’s and Sternberg’s intelligences do you think you exhibit most? Why?
- Weigh in on the nature vs. nurture debate. Do you believe that intelligence is inherited or learned? Give reasons and use evidence from the textbook and other sources to support your position.
From personal experience, I feel that intelligence is influenced by nature as much as it is by nurture. I come from a family of smart people, both my immediate family as well as my extended family. While some of their, and my, intelligence certainly comes from nurture, we would not have the capability to be as intelligent as we are without some degree of intelligence being within us by nature alone. It is difficult to determine, as an adult, if the intelligence I possess is due to nature more than nurture because I have grown, and learned, through what I determine to be a nurturing environment. The same holds true for the small children that are part of my life. Certainly my sister uses nurturing to encourage her children to grow and learn and be intelligent, but again, this would not be possible without the nature of intelligence to begin with.
Based on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence in our chapter (Rathus, ch 8), I feel that I exhibit language intelligence foremost, with logical-mathematical and spatial relations intelligence coming in second. While I exhibit some of the other forms of intelligence as well, I felt that these were strongest. While in school I did well in my reading, writing, history and language classes and almost equally well in math. On my SAT test I had high marks in those areas as well, and in spatial relations. I enjoy reading most, bringing my Kindle with me everywhere I go, and even on a nice sunny day I prefer to sit and read, although I do move outside to enjoy the weather too. I also enjoy solving puzzles like soduku and math-style crossword puzzles.
While doing some research on the internet I came across an article with a quiz that reinforced my thinking about my own intelligence as well. My results showed that my intelligence is Linguistic-Verbal, centering on spoken and written language abilities (Multiple Intelligences Quiz). In the results, some characteristics of linguistic-verbal intelligence were:
- Good at explaining things to others
- Able to use humor when telling stories
- Strong ability to listen and remember spoken information
- Understands both the literal and figurative meaning of words
- Able to use language in many different ways, such as to entertain, to persuade and to inform
- Strong grammar skills
Based on Robert Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence (Rathus), I feel that analytical intelligence describes me the most, however I do exhibit creative and practical intelligence as well. I like to troubleshoot and problem solve in my own life, and I like to put things together in logical order. I like my space to be efficiently laid out and my actions and activities to be done efficiently. I do this while driving and it sometimes bugs the people in the car with me, because I will take routes that others wouldn’t bother with, because they make the most sense to me in effectively reaching my goal.
As for the nature vs. nurture debate, I really feel that intelligence is typically the result of both. There are plenty of studies, particularly of twins or adopted children, that can be used to prove or disprove either point.
Not necessarily relating to intelligence, but an overall point in the “nature” department, is the study conducted in 1979 by T.J. Bouchard at the University of Minnesota. In his study about twins separated at birth, he found that twins that were raised apart from each other grew up to be just as similar to each other as twins that were raised together in the same household. One example, the “Jim twins,” were adopted at four weeks of age and were raised in different families. They were both named James, and met when they were 39 years old. After meeting they discovered that they both were married to a woman named Betty and divorced from a woman named Linda, they named their first born sons that same, named their dog the same, enjoyed and disliked the same subjects in school, and even developed tension headaches at the same time in life and gained the same amount of weight at the same time (Other Twin…).
One annoyance that I found in my research was the amount of “essays for sale” which had a lot of good information but no way to conduct my own research. An example of this is some information that I found about the Texas Adoption Project where many writers quoted C. Flanagan from a 2002 study which “showed… little similarity between adopted children and their siblings, and greater similarity between adopted children and their biological parents.” I noticed this quote in many different places around the web but was never able to locate the actual article by the so-called C. Flanagan. Try as I may, I could not gather enough information on the Texas Adoption Project to be able to glean any additional information.
As I mentioned earlier, I think that without the capacity for intelligence, intelligence wouldn’t be much of a trait in a person. I do, however, think that “nurture”, the way a person is raised and their exposure to learning and to their surroundings, is what contributes most to our intelligence.
Cherry, Kendra. “Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.” Psychology. About.com. N.D. Web. 5 May 2012. <http://psychology.about.com/od/educationalpsychology/ss/multiple-intell.htm>
Multiple Intelligences Quiz. Psychology. About.com. N.D. Web. 5 May 2012. <http://psychology.about.com/library/quiz/bl-mi-quiz.htm>
Other Twin Research at the U of M. Minnesota Center for Twin & Family Research, University of Minnesota. Web. 6 May 2012. <https://mctfr.psych.umn.edu/research/UM%20research.html>
Rathus, Spencer A. Psych. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009.