Examples and Definition
Anne is considered smart by all of her friends. She typically understands how to navigate any environment she is in and makes good judgment calls. In other words, she makes good decisions and uses common sense.
Mark likes new challenges. He enjoys figuring out puzzles and trying new things. His friends always come to him when they need a creative approach to a new situation.
Beth can process and organize information very effectively. She is an expert at analyzing material and uses this talent to obtain high grades in school and high scores on standardized tests.
These three examples exemplify Robert Sternberg's triarchic theory on intelligence. The triarchic theory describes three distinct types of intelligence that a person can possess. Sternberg calls these three types practical intelligence, creative intelligence, and analytical intelligence.
Practical intelligence relates to how you react to your environment and your ability to adapt to it or change it to suit your needs. Practical intelligence is the ability to thrive in the real world. You might compare practical intelligence to common sense or street smarts. It involves the ability to understand how to deal with everyday tasks. If you were analyzing someone's level of practical intelligence, you might ask yourself questions like: How does this person relate to the world around them? Are they adept at dealing with everyday experiences? Could someone take advantage of this person easily?
Let's look at an example using Anne. She wants to purchase a used car. Anne doesn't want to be taken advantage of, so she is prepared with price comparisons and doesn't let the salesman talk her into purchasing any unnecessary extras. Because of this, she gets a better price than the person who bought a similar car the day before.
Creative intelligence relates to the way a person approaches new information or a new task. You may also hear creative intelligence referred to as experiential intelligence. It involves a person's ability to apply their existing knowledge to new problems. If you were assessing a person's level of creative intelligence, you might ask questions like: How quickly can this person solve a new problem when presented with it? Can they automatically apply a new skill when they're presented with the problem again?
There are two categories of creative intelligence: novelty and automatization. Novelty concerns how a person reacts the first time they encounter something new. Automatization concerns how a person learns to perform repeated tasks automatically.
Our friend Mark demonstrates skill daily in both of these categories. Mark is a spy. He often has to quickly come up with new plans to address the situations he's placed in. Part of the reason he can do this so adeptly is because of his ability to easily reapply ideas he has used before to new situations.
Analytical intelligence relates to how a person processes and analyzes information. You may also hear analytical intelligence referred to as componential intelligence. You could also think of analytical intelligence as book smarts since it is similar to traditional definitions of IQ and academic achievement.
There are three components to analytical intelligence: executive components, performance components, and knowledge acquisition components. Executive components are used for analyzing and choosing strategies for solving problems. Executive components control our cognitive processing. In other words, they tell the other components what to do. You may also hear the term metacomponents associated with executive components.
Performance components carry out the actions that are necessary for solving problems. Examples would be making calculations, retrieving information from memory, or making mental comparisons. Knowledge acquisition components allow new information to be gained and stored in memory. This could also be thought of as a person's capacity for learning.
Beth is a great example of someone who is skilled with all three of these components. Beth is studying to be a statistician. There is a lot of new information for her to absorb, but she has great strategies for organizing and memorizing the information. Her ability to analyze information and compare it to her previous knowledge makes her an efficient learner. Because of this, Beth easily makes straight As in her advanced statistics classes even though many of her friends have had to work much harder to understand the concepts.
Robert Sternberg's triarchic theory of intelligence describes three distinct types of intelligence that a person can possess. These three types are practical intelligence, creative intelligence, and analytical intelligence.
Practical intelligence relates to how you react to your environment and your ability to adapt to it or change it to suit your needs. Someone with practical intelligence has good street smarts and common sense.
Creative intelligence relates to the way a person approaches new information or a new task. You may also hear creative intelligence referred to as experiential intelligence. Two categories of creative intelligence are novelty and automatization. A person with creative intelligence is good at addressing new problems.
Analytical Intelligence relates to how a person processes and analyzes information. You may also hear analytical intelligence referred to as componential intelligence. There are three components to analytical intelligence: executive components, performance components, and knowledge acquisition components. If a person has high analytical intelligence, they will typically perform very well in academic situations.
Once you've completed this lesson, you'll be able to:
- Describe the three types of intelligence identified by Robert Sternberg's triarchic theory
- Identify the two categories of creative intelligence
- Explain the three components of analytical intelligence
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Triarchic Theory of Intelligence – Study Prompts :
Graphic Organizer Prompt 1:
Create a graphic organizer that lists and defines the triarchic theory of intelligence, the three main types of intelligence, and the individual components of the three main types.
You could make a tree and have triarchic intelligence and its definition be the trunk. Then, make three branches to define each type of intelligence (analytical, creative, and practical). Lastly, use the leaves of each branch to define the individual components of the different types of intelligence (novelty and automatization for creative intelligence; executive components, performance components, and knowledge acquisition components for analytical intelligence; practical intelligence does not have additional components).
Writing Prompt 1:
Compose an essay in which you describe and provide examples of each type of intelligence based on Sternberg's triarchic theory.
For practical intelligence: Thomas is 18 and recently saved up his money to buy a new gaming system. He went to his local electronics superstore because of its convenient location, but found they were charging $400 for the system. He then went online and found a reputable site that charged $300, with free shipping. He decided that even though he would have to wait a few extra days for the gaming system to arrive, it was worth it to save $100.
For creative intelligence: Crystal is a therapist whose clients frequently say unpredictable things and have erratic behavior. She has to think quickly to react appropriately and helpfully to each new scenario.
For analytical intelligence: Alex is organizing his fantasy baseball team. In preparation for the draft, he compiled a spreadsheet of each MLB pitcher's ERA and other stats to ensure that he picks the best-performing pitchers.
Writing Prompt 2:
Write an essay that explains which type of intelligence you predominantly use.
Of course, there are no right or wrong answers here, as long as your answer is backed up with terminology from the lesson and appropriate examples.
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