A Framework of Intelligence

Rob Kamp, Netherlands

Version 1.6.5:8 Dec, 2011. (Version 1.0.0: September, 2004.)

The framework is an integrating collection of definitions.

Intelligence is defined as general cognitive problem solving skills. Writing or using the computer etc. are also skills, but they are not cognitive. There are also interpersonal, motoric and musical etc. cognitive problem solving skills (Howard Gardner), but they are not generally applicable. E.g. understanding what somebody thinks when he is emotional is a specific application of verbal intelligence - and in addition to that, evoking in oneself the same feelings. This emotional skill can not or seldomly be applied to other domains (physics, chemistry, biology etc.) in contrast to spatial intelligence and verbal intelligence - and numeric intelligence. So they are not part of somebody's intelligence. So not "multiple intelligences", I think it would be more correct to say: "multiple aptitudes/skills, some of which are intelligences". The subject of aptitudes/skills encompasses the subject of intelligence, just as that the wider field of condensed matter physics encompasses the field of solid state physics. So in a (future) book on psychological skills a chapter could be devoted to intelligence. Defining intelligence merely as "skill" makes the word "intelligence" superfluous whereas many people have the intuition that intelligence is more than just a (cognitive) skill; it's generally applicable. I have the impression, that saying that intelligence is a culturally valued skill whereas the skills have nothing to do with culture - i.e. it is not inherent to any of the skills, makes the addition "culturally valued" irrelevant. Of course one can study whether certain skills are valued, but that is theory and not definition. Furthermore, I think that the term practical intelligence is incorrect. Practical skills are experience/knowledge and the application of general problem solving skills.

There are 12 types/categories of intelligence, which can be visualized by a matrix.

Along the vertical axis (skills):

Along the horizontal axis (content): Thus each of the 4 intelligence skills along the vertical axis is about words,numbers or shapes (geometrical figures). In that case the skills are general and thus intelligence, as intelligence is defined as general problem solving skills. An example of an intelligence category is creative verbal intelligence: brainstorming about how to phrase a sentence clearly. Each intelligence category consists of several Piagetian schemes. E.g. a scheme for comparing numbers in a sequence and finding the relation between them. But not all Piagetian schemes are intelligences. E.g. the suckling scheme is a motoric skill, not an intelligence.

Epistemic intelligence

The skills involved are (see "Handbook of intelligence", ed. Robert J. Sternberg. p.42.):

These are general knowledge and informational skills. Integration of knowledge and information in order to form a (succesful) solution to a problem. E.g. a solution to the knowledge problem: 'What is the realistic (true and complete) picture/model of my situation?'. Epistemic intelligence is the application of analytic, creative and facilitating intelligence. (A thinking style.) The first 3 skills (Selective consideration, deduction and comparison) are also used in the rest (Recognition, definition, task, etc.). It seems that only after somebody has stated a problem he will search for an answer. Now and/or at a later time. E.g. somebody is trying to solve a problem and suddenly he has a bright insight en sees the similarity of the current problem with an unsolved one of the past. Then he can use induction to try to solve the problem of the past too. (See also under "Creative intelligence".)

In "Handbook of intelligence" of Sternberg on page 43: "For example, Wagner and Sternberg (1985) found that some business executives did not score particularly well on standard IQ tests of [analytic] intelligence yet did quite well on tests of tacit knowledge about business." This is not due to a high "practical intelligence" but due to a high epistemic intelligence.

Using the above skills in mentally composing music is not intelligence (not one of the above 12 categories of skills) if you have no images of notes on a staff. When writing down notes on a staff and using the above skills, that's intelligence (spatial epistemic intelligence).

Analytical intelligence

Ability to 'see' automatically (like pattern completion and recognition/classification in neural networks) and easily (if high score) relations/connections and (implicit) knowledge of how to handle a problem and skill at it. There are 2 kinds of relations:

In an analytic IQ-test the need for creativity and epistemic-skills are kept to a minimum. If a person uses creativity he is slowest and he will not find many answers (lowest score). If he uses heuristics then he will get a higher score. If he uses pattern completion he will be fastest (highest score). The problems in an IQ-test are so simple (there is not many data that one has to choose from) that epistemic skills are not very important.

Propositional logic IQ-questions can be handled in two ways: Categorical logic IQ-questions can be handled in two ways:

There are 3 subtypes of analytical intelligence:

Verbal analytic intelligence

Verbal analytic intelligence encompasses:

Numeric analytic intelligence

Numeric analytic intelligence is the ability to see relations between numbers. It is mental arithmetic, completion of a sequence or matrix of numbers or e.g. "how can you combine the numbers 6,2,3 and 4 to form 24?" (Solution: 24 = 6x2 + 3x4). Another type of test item: Forming a numeric model of a given description of a situation. Example: the weight of the object is the difference between twice it's own weight and 10 kg. What is the weight of the object?" A person whith a high numeric IQ is a good bookkeeper, but he may not be a good mathematician. To be good at math in addition to having a high numeric IQ, a high spatial IQ is required in order to be able to think about the larger complex formula's, (which are special cases of shapes/geometrical figures) and about geometrical figures.

Spatial analytic Intelligence

Spatial analytic intelligence is mental rotation, mirroring, translation, comparing shapes, estimation of angles and relative distances and searching (e.g. next number in a random distribution of numbers). This skill is applied in seeing relations between complex shapes. E.g. between large, complex formulas in mathematical analysis and shapes in geometry.

I think that "logical-mathematical intelligence" (Howard Gardner) is less suitable than "spatial intelligence", because mathematical skill is not fundamental; spatial is. Spatial intelligence is used in seeing spatial relations between formula-shapes in mathematics and physics books. And it is used in painting. Logic is a fundamental skill but can be applied in verbal, numeric and spatial content. Thus it is not a seperate IQ-category; it spans verbal, numeric and spatial IQ.

In solving lexical intelligence test-questions also spatial intelligence is used (secondary skill). E.g. to solve the question "orwd", one uses his spatial intelligence also. When in daily live a person is searching for the right word, exclusively pure lexical intelligence is used. In verbal categorical logic questions, spatial intelligence is used also (e.g. images of and relations with regard to Venn-diagrams, see "categorical logic" above). Only when the person uses pattern completion and doesn't use intermediate skills (such as handling Venn-diagrams), he uses his verbal intelligence exclusively. Of course he may have some vague imagines of Venn-diagrams but he doesn't use them to derive an answer.

Verbal and numeric intelligence are not 'pure' intelligences. Verbal intelligence is a mix of (spatial) images of words, sentences, text and meaning. Numeric intelligence is a mix of (spatial) images of numbers and meaning of numbers (e.g. a collection of dots). They are applied spatial intelligences.

The difference between the skills used with regard to the images in spatial and verbal intelligence is that in spatial intelligence, seeing simple and clear relations between shapes/figures is the main skill, whereas in verbal intelligence, relations between meanings, words, etc. are important and these relations are more complex and vaguely understood (intuition).

In solving numeric IQ-test questions the test-taker visualizes the numbers and translates and transforms them. These relations are just as simple as spatial relations. The difference is that one has to remember and use the multiplication tables.

Spatial intelligence is the most pure intelligence. It includes numeric intelligence though: counting and comparing numbers of lines or dots. It may also include comparing colours, but recognizing the difference between colours is a secondary spatial skill.

Creative intelligence

The ease with which somebody comes up with a plethora of novel possible solutions to a problem. It is free (loose) association between the givens of a problem and the knowledge the person has. It's using your fantasy. The possibilities need not be of high quality. They are subsequently evaluated by the person and discarded or adopted as a succesful solution to the problem at hand. Especially the creative idea's that are somewhat close to the right solution may give hints about the searched correct solution. (Feedback). Using creativity for solving a problem is guesswork. Analytical skill is plan A (systematic problem solving), otherwise revert to brainstorming (plan B; guessing) and try it out. A random idea can become a heuristic for that type of problem. Next time the originally creative idea may be remembered while solving a similar problem. It is not created anew (thus it is not creativity anymore). There are three categories of creative intelligence: verbal, numeric and spatial. If somebody has a higher epistemic intelligence then his initial creative idea's tend to be more succesful. One can get inspired while searching for a solution by considering other (somewhat) similar problems. That's not creativity but analyticity. It's induction (probable inference).

Facilitating intelligence

Remembering sound is not intelligence. Thus remembering music is not intelligence. Remembering what somebody said, is also not intelligence, although it is conducive to verbal thinking. It is a supporting skill. Remembering a face is (spatial facilitating) intelligence.

Some theoretical remarks

The text below is theory. I got the idea's by doing IQ-tests from books like "Check your own IQ" by Hans Eysenck.

Somebody who is more gifted on a category of skills needs less instruction on how to think. E.g. he knows without instruction how to approach (cognitive procedure) a numeric problem. If he has a high IQ on numeric IQ-test problems, then he sees automatically the numeric relations or has a set of succesful heuristics. If he is less intelligent, he has to resort to creativity (random approaches). When he has to resort to creativity (plan B), he may not find the answer. E.g. : test: 2,1,5,7,?. Somebody with a low IQ tries to come up with a possible answer, but doesn't succeed in it. Somebody with a higher IQ also tries some alternatives and may find 2^0+1,2^1-1,2^2+1, etc. And somebody with an even higher IQ will see it (almost) without trying. So the more analytically intelligent a person is, the more he sees the answer without thinking (pattern completion).

Anybody can learn/get experienced at making IQ-tests and thereby they will become more intelligent/skilled. According to Hans Eysenck ("Check your own IQ", page 17 in Dutch translation), it has been shown experimentally by Skinner that somebody's IQ can be raised considerably. This can also be shown e.g. via internet by having thousands of people do (computer generated) IQ-tests and recording their improvements (which depends on how much time they spend on it) over some years. Of course they should be able to study the correct answers after they have done a test.

I think that increasing your IQ from e.g. 120 to 130 is more difficult than increasing your IQ from 140 to 150. Below an IQ of approximately 140 there are many questions the test taker just can't do. In order to increase his IQ he has to do two things: 1.) being able to make the more difficult questions too and 2.) making the questions faster. This takes more time to learn than just increasing your speed of making the questions in case you can do almost all of the questions and you have an IQ of approximately 140 or higher.

If somebody has a high average score on verbal skills and high average score on epistemic skills, then he will probably have the highest score on verbal epistemic IQ. (Can also be tested)

A person with a narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder has a low verbal epistemic intelligence. Verbal epistemic intelligence is necessary to form a coherent/clear understanding/visualization (meta cognition) of the thoughts the person himself has. If a person has a low verbal epistemic intelligence he is not able to think realistically about his own thoughts (which is a flow of visual/spatial images). In addition to that the quality of his thoughts is also low. He may know how to react (what to say, how to say it, what to do- which is analytic intelligence) to his environment, but the justification he has is completely self-centred and selfish. Ethical thinking is complex thinking. A person with a low verbal epistemic intelligence can not think ethically. That causes most (severe) criminals to be therapy resistant. They just do not understand what the therapist says, although they may know what behaviour is expected from them. (Of course an antisocial person is not just antisocial due to his poor epistemic intelligence. Temperament is also important, or being a thrill seeker.) (On average:) An antisocial (which has a low epistemic IQ) with a lower analytic IQ will have a greater change of being caught. If he has a higher analytic IQ, he will get more of what he likes and he has more to loose. (They may become criminal when it is an anarchy.) They both have equal difficulty with understanding their own emotions and thoughts and those of others. They have equal difficulty with controling their emotions and refraining from impulses. A person with a higher analytic IQ will try to 'get even' nonviolently. The exact relations between the two intelligences, other personality traits, personal circumstances and behavior etc. can also be researched.

Somebody with a high analytic IQ is (super-)smart. Somebody who has an IQ-score of at least 115 on each of the 4 intelligences can be categorized as follows: Average overall intelligence scores and their category names:

Example: Somebody has the following IQ scores: His overall average score is between 140 and 150 and according to the categorization, he is a genious. An adjusted definition gives more credit to the essential characteristics of a gifted person that distinguishes him from the highly intelligent that are not gifted: being highly creative and highly effective and efficient in selective thinking (epistemic intelligence). The weights of the adjusted averaging formula could be: According to the adjusted averaging formula, the above mentioned hypothetical person is a super genious.

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