Creative and Practical Intelligence
Creative and Practical Intelligence
Creative and Practical Intelligence
Sternberg (2012) maintains that creative intelligence contributes to innovation, enhanced problem solving and discovery of novel ideas that contribute to skill and knowledge development. According to Sternberg and Lubart (1995), creative intelligence is defined as having the ability to see problems differently, in a more innovative approach than other people would. The Investment Theory of Creativity as put forth by Sternberg and Lunart (1991) holds that creativity is a decision to a great extent; such that one buys low and sells high regarding ideas. This means that by investing in ideas that are initially thought to be meaningless, creative people can then sell high once these ideas gain acceptance. Creative intelligence is related to giftedness and hence must be encouraged for giftedness to be fostered (Cropley, 2006; Sternberg, 2012). E.P Torrance and J.P Guilford who are considered major influencers in the field of creative thinking provide that creativity is instrumental in promoting effective problem solving (Sternberg, 2002). The two have developed creativity tests for assessing creativity qualities and abilities; which mostly form the basis for modern creativity assessments. Guilford developed the concept of divergent thinking and convergent thinking through his theory of creativity, noting that envisioning diverse solutions to problems is at the centre of creativity. While convergent thinking denotes the ability to narrow down all available options into one solution, the opposite applies for divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is more required for open-ended problems, and convergent thinking is needed for the closed-ended and structured problem, similar to a standardizided test (Pretz, Naples and Sternberg, 2003). Rieter-Palmon (2004) see both of them as requirements for problem-solving as divergent thinking is needed to generate ideas and convergent is needed to screen. Therefore, both divergent and convergent thinking are considered important for creativity. According to Reiter-Palmon (2004), problem solvers can effectively use divergent thinking and convergent thinking to delineate problems, come up with ideas and develop solutions necessary to construct action plans.
Sternberg’s studies on children/young adults and creativity
Various studies conducted among children and young adults demonstrate the role of creativity and critical thinking and why regular tests do not effectively measure student capabilities. In the Rainbow Project, (Sternberg, 2012) the academic performance of first-year college students was predicted using open-ended measures to determine if students could demonstrate an aspect of creativity that may not be visible through multiple choice questions. Participants were asked to provide captions for the various cartoons provided and later assessed on the basis of humor, originality, cleverness and task appropriateness on a 1-5 scale. They were also required to write stories based on given topics and images, assessed with a similar scale. The test results increased the prediction of performance among 700 students from 13 universities and colleges as well as decreased ethic group differences (Sternberg, 2012). In his Kaleidoscope Project, over 45,000 applicants to Tufts University were provided with admission essays requiring critical thinking, creative story-telling, and imagination (Sternberg, 2007). Similar to the Rainbow Project results demonstrated reduced ethnic group differences thus proving that creativity testing is superior to typical assessments used for university admission. Those who scored high on Kaleidoscope also portrayed higher performance in academics, extracurricular activities, and leadership. In a similar study to the Kaleidoscope and Rainbow Projects, Tan et al. (2016) sought to demonstrate the importance of fostering creativity in the classroom. Using the Wallach-Kogan Creative Thinking Test, the researchers established that classroom context is of great importance and that elimination of high-stakes examination may increase creativity potential.
Practical intelligence, according to Sternberg (2012), denotes an individual’s capability in dealing with everyday problems; using the various intelligence components for adaptation, shaping, and selection of environments. Hedlund et al. (2006) equate physical intelligence to intuition or common sense and similar to Sternberg (2012) indicates that this type of intelligence relies on tacit knowledge. Both Sternberg (2012) and Hedlund et al. (2006) acknowledge the importance of practical intelligence, noting that it plays a vital role in daily decision making and individuals’ ability to solve problems. Sternberg (2012) establishes that practical intelligence is linked with managerial and leadership capability. In this regard, practical intelligence has been linked to giftedness in that to possess extraordinary capabilities; individuals must be able to use their intuition to solve problems that they encounter in their everyday work. The propositions by Sternberg are backed by research conducted in Kenya and Alaska (Grigorenko et al., 2004); linking academic and practical intelligence. In Kenya, a test on the ability of children to identify disease healing herbs yielded a negative correlation between crystalized abilities and tacit-knowledge, with non-school-going children possessing greater knowledge on the herbs (Sternberg et al., 2001). In Alaska, the researchers who also worked with Sternberg determined that rural adolescents especially boys had a higher knowledge predictive power with regards to Yup’ik-valued traits (Grigorenko et al., 2004). In both Sternberg et al. (2001) and Grigorenko et al. (2004), practical intelligence is found to be higher among those with lesser academic intelligence. Sternberg’s views on practical intelligence are opposed by various critics including Gottfredson (2002) who opposed the findings on practical intelligence citing lack of adequate evidence and hence a weak argument. Sternberg (2003), however, addresses the criticism by presenting data and evidence to validate his claims against the criticism. The findings by Sternberg et al. (2001) and Grigorenko et al. (2004) can further be substantiated by similar studies including Lave (1988), Nun˜es, T., Schliemann & Carraher (1993) and Ceci & Liker (1986) who determined that dynamic interaction between culture endowment and an individual shapes their thought processes and competency in everyday life activities. Therefore, some individuals are more likely to possess greater physical intelligence depending on the environment. Physical intelligence as Sternberg establishes a factor of the environment.
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