Howard Gardner and Robert Sternberg

This job compares and contrasts the intelligence theories of Howard Gardner and Robert Sternberg.
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The following definition is a composite from various authors. Intelligence is a combination of the ability to:

Learn. This includes all kinds of informal and formal learning via any combination of experience, education, and training.
Pose problems. This includes recognizing problem situations and transforming them into more clearly defined problems.
Solve problems. This includes solving problems, accomplishing tasks, fashioning products, and doing complex projects.
This definition of intelligence is a very optimistic one. It says that each of us can become more intelligent. We can become more intelligent through study and practice, through access to appropriate tools, and through learning to make effective use of these tools.

Generalized Comparison:
Cognitive-contextual theories address the way cognitive processes operate. The two major cognitive-contextual theories are of Howard Gardner and Sternberg.

In 1983, Gardner proposed a theory of “multiple intelligences”, arguing that there is no single intelligence. He identified what he believed to be the seven minimal intelligences, some of which are similar to the abilities proposed by psychometric theorists, but others not. Gardner devised his list of intelligences from a variety of sources, including studies of cognitive processing, brain damage, exceptional individuals, and cognition between cultures. He suggested that whereas most concepts of intelligence had been ethnocentric and culturally biased, his was universal.

Sternberg’s “triarchic” theory of intelligence agreed with Gardner in terms of the conventional notions of intelligence being too narrow. However, he disagreed as to how to go beyond traditional notions. Sternberg suggested that some abilities are talents rather than intelligences, since they are specific and are not prerequisites for adaptation to a cultural environment. He proposed that intelligence has three aspects – not multiple intelligences, but independent aspects that relate intelligence to what goes on internally within someone, what goes on in the external world, and what mediates between the internal and external …