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Professor Wins Psychology Grawemeyer For Theory Of ‘Triarchic Intelligence’

The University of Louisville has awarded the 2018 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology to Robert Sternberg, a psychology professor at Cornell. Sternberg is being recognized for his work on what he calls the “triarchic theory of intelligence.” You can listen to our conversation in the media player above.

Sternberg on his theory:

“Intelligence actually has three aspects not just one. One is the IQ aspect which we’re all familiar with, but the more important ones are secondly, common sense or what I sometimes call practical intelligence which is just your ability to get along in your everyday life. What we found in our research is that those skills are very poorly correlated with IQ. You’re not going to predict who will be a good husband, a good worker, or a good leader on the basis of their SATs, ACTs, or their IQ. And the third thing is creative skills. In today’s world, creative skills are not optional anymore. Things change so fast, social media, new technology changes, so you have to be creative to adapt.”

On the importance of blending all three forms of intelligence:

“People are smart in different ways. If you just look at ACTs and SATs and school grades, you really miss important parts of a person. And you don’t want a society that so heavily relies on test scores like statewide mastery tests and ACTs and SATs because essentially we’re promoting the people who are very good in school, but not necessarily the ones who will be best at leadership positions or in the workplace.”