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The main problem with defining intelligence is that it can be perceived as an extremely broad concept and so it is difficult to know what to include and exclude.
Two modern theories of intelligence have broken away from the older factor theories and proposed that it involves multiple interrelated concepts that are built up into a complex system.
Gardner (1983) proposed seven different intelligences including musical intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, spatial intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence and bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence.
Criticisms of Gardner's theory have focussed on the fact that intelligences tend to be correlated with one another, suggesting they are not independent factors.
In addition, all of the factors are not of equal weight - the body-kinaesthetic and musical intelligences are seen as less important.
Our intellect is developed throughout our lives, with assistance from our early childhood development, our families, and through schooling.
Firstly, our early life experiences and childhood development contribute greatly to our intelligence.
This was based on the idea that many of the different tests for intelligence - including a variety of factors such as spatial, arithmetical and linguistic - all showed a high degree of correlation when factor analysed.
It is as though all these levels of intelligence are based on one other over-arching factor: called 'g'.
The theories of Spearman (1923), Thurstone (1938) and Cattell (1963) have all been brought together in a hierarchical model by Carroll (1986).
This model has three levels, at the lowest are numerous specific factors, at the next are fluid and crystallised intelligence as well as other memory and visual factors, and at the top level is Spearman's (1923) idea of a general factor of 'g'.