Sternberg's Triarchic Theory of Human Intelligence
If IQ rules, it is only because
we let it. And when we let it rule, we choose a bad master. We got
ourselves into the test mess; we can get ourselves out of it.
Robert J. Sternberg
Starting from his own bad experience with
traditional IQ measurements, Robert J. Sternberg developed an
alternative intelligence model, comprising three elements of thinking
processes kept in balance by metacognition.
practical experience with highly intellectual people, who aren't
exactly successful in life, into consideration Sternberg describes three different kinds
of intelligence in his model:
- Analytical thinking
which focuses on planing, monitoring, reflection, and transfer.
thinking which focuses on developing, applying new ideas,
and creating solutions.
thinking which focuses on selecting and shaping real-world
environments and experiences.
How successful a person can use these three different
intelligences is not only a result of simply having high
intelligence in one or more of these three intelligence domains,
success also depends on how well they are balanced against each other.
Through metacognition an individual decides what mode of thinking is
appropriate under certain conditions.
Well aware that most people differ in their general ability to
use the three intelligences Sternberg later on developed a typology of
people based on his theory, differentiating seven types:
- The Analyzer
fares well in academic environments, but isn't likely to make a
creative contribution to the field.
- The Creator
generates ideas easily, but is unable to analyze these ideas or to put
them into practice.
- The Practioner
is persuasive and maybe entertaining, but lacks substance in thinking.
- The Analytical
Creator is able to analyze created ideas, but doesn't
easily communicate these ideas to others.
- The Analytical
Practioner succeeds in conventional terms because high IQ
is translated into practical work, but he is unlikely to make a lasting
- The Creative
Practioner has the ability to come up with new ideas and
can persuade other people of the value of these ideas, regardless whether those ideas are worth it or not.
- The Consummate
Balancer is able to apply all of the three intelligences
as needed, and is therefore in the best position to make a valuable
contribution to society.
Sternberg's model has had less of an impact on the educational
world than Gardner's Multiple
- Buttriss, Jacquie & Callandar, Ann: Gifted and
Talented from A-Z; David Fulton Publishers, London 2005, p. 59
- Sternberg, Robert J.: Successful Intelligence - How
practical and creative intelligence determine success in life; Penguin
Putnam, New York 1997
- Sternberg, Robert J.: Patterns of Giftedness - A Triarchic
Analysis in Roeper Review, June 2000, p. 231-235
the Index "What do you know about Gifted Education?"
to "Homepage M. Giger"
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Giger, April 2006 (Update: 26-04-2006)