Individual Differences


Student Definitions of Intelligence

Last updated:
28 Jul 2003

At the beginning of an undergraduate psychology course, students were asked to define intelligence.  Several of these definitions were selected for their novelty, uniqueness, and/or accuracy.

"Intelligence is the ability to see the world in your mind."

- Jac Huang


"Intelligence is the ability of an organism to learn, grow and adapt efficiently and effectively to a changing environment."

- Bart Taylor


"Intelligence is the ability to predict, interpret, and overcome random situations that occur in life."

- Andrew Olson


"Intelligence is the term humans use to quantify the processing speed of the organ known as the brain."

- Shannon Pickles


"Intelligence is the ability to learn and adapt to one's environment, and includes emotional intelligence, social intelligence, and spatial intelligence among others."

- Maarit Mann


"Intelligence is the capacity of an organism to make free will choices that avail it to further opportunities and potentialities for the advancement and continuity of life."

- Terese Hutchison


"Intelligence is one's ability to integrate successfully in a given environment."

- Jeanita Battye


"Intelligence is how well people can interpret information or apply knowledge to a situation."

- Cathryn Cocks


"Intelligence is the capacity for abstract rational though that enables creativity and decision making."

- Annemarie Nicol


"Intelligence is the ability to learn from your mistakes and not repeat them (when possible) and to apply what you have learnt to your life and make it better."

- Michelle Deponte


"Intelligence is a person's ability to learn and apply what he/she has learnt to new and existing situations and circumstances."

- anonymous


"Intelligence is to think critically and rationally, adapt to the environment, have interpersonal and intrapersonal awareness and the capability to learn."

- anonymous


"Intelligence is the ability to think, reflect, examine, compare, collate and analyze information.  It develops and accumulates over time and is unique to each individual."

- Casey Smyth


"Intelligence is the ability to observe, process and learn from one's environment, critically evaluating and creating concepts to enhance one's future experiences."

- M. Hall


"Intelligence is a person's ability to learn, memorise and apply what he/she has learned in everyday life, and ability to develop original ideas and concepts."

- Jahne Coutts-Smith