The cognitive capacity of the human being it is one of the aspects most studied by psychology. The concept of intelligence has varied over the course of history, although it has mainly been seen as the ability to solve problems and adapt effectively to the environment.
There are theories which see it as a single general ability, or a set of hierarchical abilities and subject to a basic ability, while other theorists see this concept as a set of more or less independent abilities that allow us to we adapt successfully. One of the existing theories that attempt to explain how intelligence is structured is Robert J. Sternberg’s triarchical theory of intelligence.
Sternberg’s triarchical theory: general concept
Sternberg’s triarchical theory of intelligence is based on Sternberg’s conception that traditional and hierarchical models of intelligence are not exhaustive because they do not realize the use of intelligence per se, conceptualizing simply its nature and functioning without observing how it is related and applied in a real context. the context.
Thus, this theory considers the measure of intellectual ability he only focused on one aspect of intelligence, Ignore the other aspects of great relevance which alone form cognitive skills. In conclusion. Sternberg argues that it is not enough to see what is being done, but also how and why, in taking action.
For Sternberg, intelligence is any mental activity that guides conscious adaptation to the environment and selecting or transforming it for the purpose of predicting outcomes and being able to actively induce one to medium or medium to one. It is the set of thinking skills that are used to solve more or less everyday or abstract problems.
The conception of this author is close to the vision of intelligence as a set of abilities instead of a single unitary, immutable element. It is from this idea and the perception that other theories do not establish how intelligence is related to the real world that the author bases his theory of triarchical intelligence, the name is due to consideration of three types of intelligence.
The three types of intelligence
Sternberg develops a theory that considers the existence of three types of intelligence that explain the processing of information internally, externally and at the level of the interaction between the two.
In other words, consider the existence of three basic abilities that determine intellectual ability. More specifically, it establishes the existence of analytical intelligence, practical intelligence, and creative intelligence.
1. Analytical or compositional intelligence
For Sternberg’s triarchical theory of intelligence, analytical intelligence presupposes the ability to capture, store, modify and work with information. It comes closest to the unitary view of intelligence, referring to the ability to plan and manage cognitive resources. Through analytical intelligence, we can perform mental operations such as defining, making decisions, and generating solutions.
In this intelligence we can find the elementary components or processes that they make it possible to work on cognitive representations of reality, Modify them and go through a treatment that allows you to give an answer.
These components can be divided into meta-components or control processes that enable decisions to be made and mark how to think and act as well as planning, performance or implementation components that are triggered from meta-components and enable to carry out these plans. . established by them and their acquisition components they allow learning and obtaining information.
2. Practical or contextual intelligence
This type of intelligence refers to the ability of human beings to adapt to the environment in which they live. First of all the organism tries to survive from which it already exists in the atmosphere, take advantage of the opportunities it offers to adapt.
However, if this is not possible, the person must put in place other mechanisms in order to be able to adapt and survive. These other processes are the selection of the environment and stimuli in order to improve their situation and / or the shaping of the environment in cases where it is not possible to change the environment, in this case make changes to the environment itself to better adjust their possibilities.
For example, a hungry person may choose the environment and move to a place where there is a lot of food or take advantage of items in the environment that were not previously part of their diet for food, or may decide to change the environment by putting your own food in an orchard. It is about applying cognitive skills for adaptive purpose.
3. Creative or experiential intelligence
This type of intelligence is considered the integration of information obtained from the outside with our psyche. In other words, it is this kind of skill that allows us to learn from experience. It is also related to creativity and problem solving that had not been experienced before.
In this way Sternberg notes that the degree of novelty is important experiences and tasks. Ideally, the task can be new to a moderate degree, so that the subject can create and respond to new stimuli while possessing a tool to cope with.
Automation is another relevant aspectIn other words, the ability to reproduce behavior or knowledge without requiring conscious effort. Repeating tasks multiple times allows you to master them and reduce their level of novelty and the need for attention to every basic element that is part of it. The higher the level of automation, the greater the level of resources available to carry out other tasks.
Hernangómez, L. and Fernández, C. (2012). Personality and differential psychology. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 07. CEDE: Madrid.
Martin, M. (2007). Historical and conceptual analysis of the relationship between intelligence and reason. Spain: University of Malaga.
Sternberg, RJ (1985). Beyond IQ: Theoretical Theory of IQ. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.