The 5 hierarchical theories of intelligence

Intelligence has long been a frequent subject of study in psychology, in particular with regard to fundamental and differential psychology. This concept refers to the ability of human beings to adapt successfully to the environment and can effectively use the available cognitive resources in order to establish action plans, capture the relationships between different stimuli, reasoning and logical reasoning and behavior management.

There are a large number of theories and conceptualizations about what intelligence is or how it is structured, a variety in which it has evolved from a single, general ability to a relatively independent set of abilities. One of these conceptualizations is that of hierarchical theories of intelligence.

    Hierarchical theories of intelligence

    Hierarchical theories of intelligence are those based on the view that intelligence is made up of a set of dependent skills each other, which establishes a hierarchy with respect to each other in which an order is established in which each factor consists of several sub-factors.

    It is a type of theory based on a factor model and in which there are capacities that dominate and allow the existence of others. For example, from one of the models (in particular the Vernon model), we can consider that the ability to write comes from the language ability, which in turn is part of and depends on the verbal ability, which along with the ability engines is part of general intelligence. .

    In this way, we would have very specific skills that would be responsible for specific behaviors or govern specific parts of them, and in turn those skills. they would depend on a cognitive ability or a higher order factor which encompasses a whole set of these skills. In turn, that skill and others of the same sublevel would depend on another that would influence them all, and so on.

      Main hierarchical models

      they exist different models derived from hierarchical theories of intelligence, Which have established different ways of interpreting the pecking order between the factors or even the type of factors in question. The most well-known and relevant hierarchical theories are presented below.

      1. Burt’s model: hierarchical model of mental levels

      The model developed by Cyrill Burt focuses on the proposition of the existence of a structure formed by four main factors and a general intelligence that subsumes them, Organize this structure in five levels ranging from the capture of stimuli to their processing and their connection with other cognitive elements.

      More specifically, level one is that of sensation, which includes the various sensory and motor skills that we have. This is the most basic and the easiest level. Subsequently, at level two or perception, Burt incorporates all of the processes that they allow the passage to knowledge of the information captured, As well as the ability to coordinate movement.

      Level three encompasses associative abilities, such as recognition, memory, or habit, To find later at level four or relationship of different processes that coordinate and manage different mental processes.

      Finally, at the fifth level is general intelligence, which enables, influences and encompasses the previous levels.

      2. Vernon’s hierarchical factorial model

      One of the best-known hierarchical models is that of PE Vernon, who established the existence of a general intelligence from which they came. pedagogical-verbal and motor-spatial factorsFrom which also emerged skills such as fluency, digital, linguistics, creative capacity, mechanical capacity, spatial, psychomotricity or induction.

      However, the most important thing about this model is the fact that Vernon would indicate the existence of three types of intelligence depending on the level of development of biological potential in reality. I would name as intelligence A al ‘ biological potential of the person in terms of its ability to develop and adapt to the environment, as intelligence B to the level of competence demonstrated behaviorally in reality and as intelligence C to that removable as an intelligence target of test B extracted in intelligence tests.

      3. Gustafsson’s HILI model

      The model developed by Gustafsson is called the Hili model. This model includes i incorporates aspects of Vernon and Cattell, And is based on a three-level structure in which at the simplest or lowest level are found primary skills such as rational ability, verbal fluency or memory, while at the intermediate level are found the factors of l ‘intelligence. resilience and cognitive speed and finally a higher level at which general intelligence is located.

        4. Guttman’s Radex model

        Another of the hierarchical theories of intelligence is that of Louis Guttman, who proposed a model in which the factors obtained in different psychometric tests were ordered and organized into sections according to the similarity of complexity and content.

        Establish a hierarchy in the form of concentric circles with three main factors which are the spatial visual ability, verbal ability and quantitative numerical ability. From there, it establishes the level of proximity of the various tests with the G factor of intelligence, the central and hierarchically superior point.

        5. Carroll’s stratum model

        This model divides cognitive abilities into three interrelated layers, the most specific being the first and the more general the third.

        In the first of the strata, Carroll establishes specific skills such as induction, visual memory, musical discrimination, writing or speed of perception. These are a total of twenty specific factors required to perform various actions both mentally and behaviorally.

        The second of the strata comprises eight more general and broader factors in which those of the previous stratum are included. They include fluid and crystallized intelligence, memory and learning, visual perception, auditory perception, resilience, cognitive speed, and processing speed.

        Finally, the third layer refers to general intelligence, from which all previous processes and abilities are derived.

        And a mixed model: the Cattell and Horn model

        Cattell’s model, in which he divided intelligence into fluid, crystallized intelligence, is widely known around the world. however this model was then extended with the collaboration of John Horn, Resulting from this collaboration in one of the hierarchical models or theories of intelligence.

        In this model, they can observe three levels. In the first order factors we find the primary abilities (Thurstone and Guilford dams), which are encompassed by the second order factors.

        Finally, the third-order factors are historical fluid intelligence (from which secondary factors such as fluid intelligence emerge as an element that allows links between elements). by induction or deduction, Visual intelligence, resilience and cognitive speed). On top of that, alongside historical fluid intelligence is the common learning factor, which involves crystallized intelligence.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Amor, PJ and Sánchez-Elvira. A. (2005). Introduction to the study of individual differences. 2nd edition. Sanz and Torres: Madrid.

        • Maureira, F. (2017). What is intelligence? Bubok Publishing SL Spain.

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