Is Intelligence One or Many Abilities?

Intelligence is one of the most talked about abilities in a given society. However, its definition and description are not entirely standard. Some define it as the capacity to learn quickly or to understand concepts. Others view it as the ability to deal with trying and new situations with relative ease compared to other people. In the traditional definition of intelligence, Drigas and Papoutsi (2018) term intelligence as the ability to reason and a skilled use of logic to learn, understand concepts, and maneuver difficult situations. Sometimes, intelligence may be measured and determined through objective criteria such as tests and life stages. From these definitions alone, it is clear that intelligence includes a myriad of abilities. It denotes the ability to be an all-rounded individual, one with the ability to interpret different situations and to analyze where to apply a variety of skills. It includes a range of different skills, talents, aptitudes, abilities and the overall capability to apply these variants with the right combination wherever applicable. For example, an intelligent person in a classroom setting may not be one who scores very well in one subject and fails in others but rather one who is able to meet the minimum requirements in almost every area of examination including co-curricular activities and socialization. In this example, intelligence looks at various elements, including skills, comprehensive capacity, understanding concepts, people skills, and application of all these in a real life setting. Even the ability to apply certain knowledge in order to manipulate an environment requires that one is skillful in more than one area and with many abilities. Therefore, intelligence is an amalgamation of different mental abilities that can be summarized to include problem-solving, planning, logic, and reasoning encompassing associative memory, numerical abilities, perceptual speed, spatial visualization, word fluency, verbal comprehension and different combinations of these abilities.


Drigas, A. S., & Papoutsi, C. (2018). A new layered model on emotional intelligence. Behavioral Sciences, 8(5), 45.

What are the Developmental Tasks of Childhood?

Developmental tasks represent the broad indicators or “jobs” within childhood that an individual needs to accomplish in every stage for a child to learn and gain life skills at the required (appropriate) times. According to McElroy et al. (2018) the tasks of a given stage does not necessarily need to be complete or fully mastered before one can begin the jobs that mark the next stage. Nonetheless, the sooner a task is mastered the easier it is for a child to tackle the next stage’s tasks. Throughout childhood, a child will go on working on a majority of tasks despite having one stage that has a more prominent task. There are tasks of infants through 18 months, 18 months old to 3 years, 4 and 5 year old tasks, 6 years through 11years old, and tasks of 12 year olds to 18 years. In the first task, the child is expected to trust their environment, believe that their needs are important, feel loved, establish a bond with caregivers, and explore the world. For 18 months and 3 year olds, they are expected to become more independent, see themselves as separate from the caregivers, own things, continue to explore the world, and begin to identify feelings. 4 and 5 year olds learn planning and executing in a task, continue to explore and be part of their world, learn about power and how to use it, learn that behavior has consequences, and gain socially appropriate behavior. For 6 year olds to 11 years, the tasks include mastering trying tasks, following rules and accepting them, gaining responsibility, gaining a variety of new skills such as social skills, selecting role models, continuing to learn about the world, increasing independence, enhancing reasoning ability, and becoming cooperative. For 12 through 18 years old, the tasks include establishing individual identity, separation of emotional attachment with parents, experimenting with values and deciding what to adopt, learning relations with opposite sex, and renegotiating relationships with other family members.


McElroy, E., Belsky, J., Carragher, N., Fearon, P., & Patalay, P. (2018). Developmental stability of general and specific factors of psychopathology from early childhood to adolescence: dynamic mutualism or p‐differentiation?. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59(6), 667-675.

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