Academic Intelligence

Academic intelligence, in the context of psychology, refers to the skills that typify our examinations of general intelligence: math reasoning and language among them. These are the skills usually examined to determine the intelligence quotient. Furthermore, academic intelligence is distinguished from other intelligences such as existential intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, logical intelligence, linguistic, spatial, musical and several others proposed by researchers. This can fit into several theories offered on intelligence but is generally associated with the theory of multiple intelligences. Alternatively, academic intelligence might be a general category including a number of the aforementioned and unnamed intelligences while complementing other general categories such as emotional or practical intelligence.

The IQ test, or the measure of the intelligence quotient, was first developed in Europe in the 19th century. Charles Spearman contemporaneously developed the theory of general intelligence that many cite as the first comprehensive theory of human intelligence, which he measured using the general intelligence factor (g). It coincided with the development of the modern field of psychology, constituting the subfield of psychometrics, and won its big boost in usage in the militaries of Europe and the United States in World War I and World War II. With the testing in the United States, there was hope to sort hundreds of thousands of draftees by ability and potential throughout the army to improve the war effort. In the 1950s, many veterans entering the professional workforce and managing their own companies employed these tests believing they would demonstrate who had the most cognitive skill and was best suited for management in the companies. Similar tests have become common place in the developed world, though newer tests regarding personality and the other hypothesized intelligences have grown in tandem with the original test forms' regularity.

Academic intelligence is typically referred to in terms of general intelligence, in that it is usually considered a default or the assumed form of intelligence when "intelligence" itself is mentioned although research tends to name alternative intelligences. Howard Gardner, within his theory of multiple intelligences, considers intelligence often to consider only aspects of linguistic, logical and spatial intelligence while precluding others. These three categories could be another way of defining what constitutes academic intelligence. He also suggests that theories of Jean Piaget regarding intelligence were flawed because he only focused on logical intelligence.

More often, academic intelligence has been paired with the intelligence quotient by researchers of emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman draws the distinction and believes the two complement each other. By distinguishing certain key aspects of emotional intelligence, he offers a negative, deductive definition of academic intelligence. He lists the abilities to recognize emotions in peers and in ourselves, motivating us and managing our emotions to be key skills that ought to be measured in determining emotional intelligence. Some go as far to offer an emotion quotient (EQ) to complement the intelligence quotient, though the names might be confusing as they do not highlight that the EQ would also be, theoretically, an intelligence test. These theories have proven remarkably relevant to researchers of organizational psychology, where the potential success of organizations might depend on the emotional stability of its members and the stable interaction of the teammates with each other. Studies in leadership have been interested in the possible implications that might be born out of personality psychology, where theories abound about how emotion varies in individuals. Additionally, and more directly relevant to academic intelligence, emotional distress could affect performance or inhibit the applied use of general or academic intelligence.

It has also been emphasized there might be a natural intelligence separate from an accumulated, learned intelligence. The latter is also used to reference academic intelligence, the ability to learn and the accomplishments of that learning. This has also been termed "practical intelligence" or in laymen's terms "street smarts." Researchers have been optimistic to point out that this type of intelligence exists and have often been found to be encouraging their readers, presumably students or parents, to relish in this alternative to academic intelligence as a clear opening for those who might be academically underachievers. In the conclusion to their book on multiple intelligences, Ronald Riggio, Susan Murphy and Francis Pirozzolo also point out academic intelligence is more verbal, or expressed, than other aspects of intelligence.

Academic Intelligence: Selected full-text books and articles

IQ and Human Intelligence By N. J. Mackintosh Oxford University Press, 1998
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment: Theories, Tests, and Issues By Dawn P. Flanagan; Patti L. Harrison Guilford Press, 2005
Mind Wars: The Battle for Your Brain By Ian McFadyen Allen & Unwin, 2000
Librarian's tip: "Academic 'Intelligence'" begins on p. 182
IQ and the Wealth of Nations By Richard Lynn; Tatu Vanhanen Praeger, 2002
The Psychology of Intelligence By Jean Piaget; Malcolm Piercy; D. E. Berlyne Routledge, 2001
The Myth of Intelligence By Schlinger, Henry D The Psychological Record, Vol. 53, No. 1, Winter 2003
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Adult Learning and Development: Perspectives from Educational Psychology By M. Cecil Smith; Thomas Pourchot Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998
Librarian's tip: Discussion of academic intelligence begins on p. 112
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