Intelligence may be narrowly defined as the capacity to acquire knowledge and understanding, and use it in different novel situations. It is this ability, or capacity, which enables the individual to deal with real situations and profit intellectually from sensory experience.
A test of intelligence is designed to formally study, under test conditions, the success of an individual in adapting to a specific situation.
There are a number of different methods which purport to measure intelligence, the most famous of which is the IQ, or intelligence quotient test. In the formation of such tests many psychologists treat intelligence as a general ability operating as a common factor in a wide variety of aptitudes.
Whilst many IQ tests measure a variety of different types of ability such as verbal, mathematical, spatial and reasoning skills, there is now a second school of thought in which it is believed that the earlier definitions of intelligence may be too simplistic.
It is now becoming increasingly recognised that there are many different types of intelligence and that a high measured IQ, although desirable, is not the only key to success in life. Other characteristics, such as outstanding artistic, creative or practical prowess, especially if combined with personal characteristics such as ambition, good temperament and compassion, could result in an outstanding level of success despite a low measured IQ. It is because of this that in recent years CQ (creative quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient), to name just two examples, have come to be regarded as equally important as, or even more important than, IQ measurement.