Precursors to the Theory

Precursors to the Theory of Personal Intelligence

The theory of personal intelligence described here was introduced in two academic journal articles in 2008 and 2009, and then developed in later articles and a book. 

A number of precursors illuminated the intellectual path to the theory of personal intelligence. Psychologists working earlier in the century and  more recently on similar ideas have developed many ideas that were integrated in the present theory. Among them:

  • J. Wedeck proposed the possible existence of a “psychological ability” that concerned reasoning about people’s mental life in the British Journal of Psychology in 1947.
  • The concept of psychological mindedness (Wikipedia entry) is sometimes defined as an ability to understand oneself and the contribution that motives, emotions, and cognitions make to one’s own behavior.
  • Howard Gardner’s idea of intra- and interpersonal intelligences concerned a pair of intelligences: Intrapersonal intelligence was focused on issues of inner emotions and identity. Iterpersonal intelligence was focused on the ability to read other people, and to understand social rules and standards.
  •  The concept of emotional intelligence I introduced with Professor Peter Salovey in a 1990 article and revised in a 1997 model, provided a first exploration of hot intelligences. Emotional intelligence concerns the ability to reason about emotions and emotional information and to use emotions to enhance thought.  Along with Dr. David Caruso, Dr. Salovey and I have continued this work, developing measures of the concept and reviewing the present status of findings in the area (see online here and here and in journal articles here and here).  My earlier work in emotional intelligence with Salovey and Caruso has provided a key foundation for this new work in personal intelligence.
  • The present work has also relied upon the Personality Systems Framework, an integrated picture of the personality system; the theory of personal intelligence draws liberally from that framework, developed across a number of articles (for example, here).

The term “personal intelligence” has also been used in the past to refer to a person’s individual intelligence score, or how a person used their intelligence.

For more details on the precursors and on other uses of the term “personal intelligence” please consult the original articles or the book.