Western Psychological Views

How have Western psychologists conceived of intelligence? Almost none of the Western views are adequately expressed by Boring's 1923 operationistic view of intelligence as what intelligence tests test.

For example, in a 1921 symposium on experts' definitions of intelligence, researchers emphasized the importance of the ability to learn and the ability to adapt to the environment. Sixty-five years later, Sternberg and Detterman conducted a similar symposium, again asking experts their views on intelligence. Learning and adaptive abilities retained their importance, and a new emphasis crept in—metacognition or the ability to understand and control one's self. Of course, the name is new but the idea is not because long before Aristotle emphasized the importance for intelligence of knowing oneself.

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