Psychology of Intelligence

What is Intelligence?

The theory of natural selection has been famous for decades, it states that organisms who adapt to the changing environment survive better. 

This means that the genetic structure of that organism will pass to the progeny. 

So if one organism is capable of surviving the current climate, chances are that organism will be able to produce more progeny, which will survive better.

while most of this refers to physical development. For humans in current times, cognitive development is just as important, to predicting chances of survival

This cognitive element can be referred to as intelligence. Every organism has a certain basic level of intelligence, which allows it to work, feed, rest and fight dangers. 

Animals rely more on their instincts, the better those are the more chances they have for survival. For humans, it is majorly about their problems solving capabilities, decision-making, judgements, analysing ability, learning and more. 

This all comes under intelligence.

Many psychologists define intelligence as the ability to learn, build and perform well in the world. It comprises many elements like

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Judging situations
  • Correcting mistake
  • Making decisions
  • Solving problems
  • Learning numbers, the alphabet & other concepts
  • Memory, recall
  • Recognizing and decoding patterns
  • Learning, generalising

Famous Definitions

  • “Intelligence is the ability for judgement or common sense.” (Alfred Binet)
  • “One's capacity to deal effectively with situations”. (Thorndike)
  • “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to one's surroundings”. (Jean Piaget)
  • "Intelligence measures an agent's ability to achieve goals in a wide range of environments" (Shane Legg & Marcus Hutter)

Intelligence exists in multiple aspects. While some elements are a major highlight, there are much broader elements that are just as important as your everyday intelligence levels.


Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to an individual's ability to recognize, understand and manage their emotions and those of others. Emotional intelligence is a big concept under empathy, to understand an individual's feelings, one must be able to identify them and separate those feelings from their personal feelings. 

Ability to convey your words in such a way that an individual can understand exactly what you mean is also a sign of high emotional intelligence. This type is necessary for both work and home life. At home, with friends and family, it is easier to manage conflicts and give enough attention/time to everyone. At work also it is helpful when managing teams or dealing with a demanding boss. 

However the most use it has in situations where you have to work with yourself. Our ability to recognise and manage our emotions is most important. Assessment of emotional intelligence gives us the score in the form of an emotional quotient (SQ), which measures the level of emotional maturity in a person.

Social Intelligence

Social Intelligence refers to the ability to recognise and understand social cues, cultural signals, hierarchy and motivations of self, and others in various situations. This is related to emotional intelligence, but the difference lies in the development of both. This is related to attributions, whether we believe a situation to be positive or negative, a result of the fault of a person or the situation they are in. These types of judgments are necessary to live in a society. Assessment of social intelligence gives us the score in the form of a social quotient (SQ), which measures the level of social maturity in a person.

Intelligence Quotient 

The intelligence quotient or IQ is a measure of intelligence. The term was coined in the 1920s and has been used since to describe the level of intelligence in an individual. The IQ score defines the intelligence level in certain specific ways

  • In terms of the scientific definition of intelligence, which after much research has been understood as an umbrella term including multiple subterms like memory, learning, judgement, decision making etc.
  • In terms of formula, IQ is calculated by dividing mental age and chronological age and multiplying the result by 100. For example, if your age is 22 and you have a mental age of 25 then your IQ is approximately 114. 
  • In terms of range, IQ scores are given interpretation, each interpretation guide came through extensive research. So if your IQ is ranging around 100, then in most countries, you would be seen as a person with an average IQ.
  • In terms of testing, IQ is tested by Psychologists using scientific tools, which are standardised for the Indian population. These tests usually have subtests, assessing individuals in multiple categories.

So IQ is essentially supposed to tell the efficiency at which an individual can or tries to acquire, understand process and use a given information.

Assessment at Udgam

When you go online, you will find countless IQ tests, claiming to be authentic and reliable. But here is a secret, they aren't reliable. Many of these tests come from non-empirical, under-researched or questionable sources. they will seem very attractive, but they aren't reliable. Now what is reliable is a tool that is studied thoroughly, and applied to your community, age range, literacy levels etc. Such a test, which has been designed keeping you in mind, is authentic.

We at Udgam, use tools which are adapted for the Indian population. These tools are scientific, replicable results, valid in the questions they ask and most importantly done by trained psychologists

While we understand that not every one of our clients comes from a similar background, India being a diverse nation, we keep tests that can help bridge the gap. 

The reports and the discussion is done by trained professionals, who can not only help guide you but can provide any management plans if necessary. Stay tuned for more information on this website.


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Anuja Sathe 

Counselling Psychologist

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