Perkins' Theory of Learnable Intelligence

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  • 0:06 Perkins & Intelligence
  • 0:56 3 Types of Intelligence
  • 2:40 Learnable Intelligence
  • 4:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Roundy

Lisa has taught at all levels from kindergarten to college and has a master's degree in human relations.

What is learnable intelligence? Find out in this lesson and learn to differentiate between the three types of intelligence described by David Perkins in his theory of learnable intelligence.

David Perkins and Intelligence

The year is 1967. A young graduate student is working on a doctoral degree in mathematics and artificial intelligence at MIT when he becomes one of the founding members of Project Zero. This research group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education will embark on a 25-year mission to explore learning processes in children, adults and human organizations. In the process, he will boldly develop a new theory of intelligence that no one has proposed before.

Mathematics and artificial intelligence is a bit of an unusual background for a theorist on human intelligence, yet David Perkins has developed a powerful theory that describes intelligence as three-dimensional. These three dimensions are the neural dimension, the experiential dimension and the reflective dimension.

Three Types of Intelligence

Neural intelligence involves the genetically determined abilities of a person's neurological system. Perhaps borrowing from his artificial intelligence background, Perkins calls this the 'hard-wired, original equipment' that determines the processing speed of our brains, similar to computer hardware. There is not much that can be done to increase neural intelligence. This is the type of intelligence that is measured by traditional IQ scores.

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