Mindy Kornhaber and
All definitions of intelligence are shaped by the time, place, and culture in which they evolve. Although these definitions may differ across societies, we believe that the dynamics behind them are influenced by the same matrix of forces: (a) the domains of knowledge necessary for survival of the culture, such as farming, literacy, or the arts; (b) the values embedded in the culture, such as respect for elders, scholarly traditions, or pragmatic leanings; and (c) the educational system that instructs and nurtures individuals' various competences.In this chapter, we construct a new theory of intelligence—one that considers not only the familiar territory of the human mind, but the societies in which all minds must operate.
Unlike some other intelligence theorists, we do not seek to reduce the concept of intelligence to a less complex form in order to devise a test that measures "it." Rather, we wish to explain the diverse manifestations of intelligence within and across cultures.We hope the theory will help us to see when and where we might expect to find manifestations of intelligence, and how these manifestations might be increased. We favor assessments that are aimed at building on the range of individuals' cognitive potentials or competences. These competences, in turn, enable individuals to participate in the variety of end states human beings have developed. We hope, too, that such assessments may help to create environments that foster individual as well as group potential.