Psychologists have defined intelligence in different ways. David Wechsler, a psychologist who devised a number of intelligence tests has proposed intelligence as a global capacity to understand the world, think rationally and cope resourcefully with the challenges of life. Seen in this context, intelligence is a capacity for acquiring knowledge and functioning rationally and effectively, rather than the possession of a fund of knowledge.
Alfred Binet, a French psychologist viewed intelligence as a general capacity for comprehension and reasoning. Binet assumed that he was measuring a general ability, labelled the "g" factor that is employed for abstract reasoning and problem solving. He also identified eight special factors that are peculiar to given tasks - for instance, arithmetic or spatial relations. This approach is known as the two factor theory of intelligence.
J P Guildford elaborated minute distinctions and identified 120 factors of intellect.
Howard Gardner suggested seven distinctive intelligences as follows:
Gardner not only carves up the mind into three separate faculties but also contends that the separate intelligences are located in different areas of the brain.
Quite different from an "abilities" approach to intelligence are those perspectives that view intelligence as a process - they are not so much interested in what one knows but in how one knows.
Jean Piaget concerned himself with the stages of development during which given modes of thought appear. He focussed on the continued and dynamic interplay between children and the environment through which they come to know the world and to modify their understanding of it.
A number of cognitive psychologists have proposed an information-processing view of intelligence - a detailed step by step analysis of how one manipulates information. They try to unlock the doors to the mind by getting "inside intelligence", seeking to understand the mental processes whereby people solve problems in every day life.
Intelligence has been viewed as a composite of many special, independent abilities by some while others depict it as a process derived from the interplay between children and their environment. Still others portray intelligence as an information-processing activity.