Sternberg's Processing Theory of Intelligence

  • Created by: sammy
  • Created on: 22-04-14 13:28


AdvantagesGetting Started

  • Berg and Sternberg (1985) - support for Meta and Performance components: Decline in cognitive ability with the ageing process - older people had difficulty defining problems to be solved, managing attention and motoring the effectiveness of solutions in solving problems
  • Sternberg (1999) showed that teaching with this model as a basis tends to result in significant improvements in academic performance
  • Williams et al (2002) assessed the impact of practical intelligence for schools interventions in which the three intelligences were the focal point. Where practical intelligences were an integral part of the programme, significant improvements were seen.
  • Both contextual and experiential sub-theories highlight the importance of experience. This means that the theory can be said to have high real world validity.


  • Cunningham and Tomer (1990) - suggested that knowledge acquisition components do not decline with age (depending on the individual) especially if they are being exercised in order to cope with new situations
  • Gottenedson (2003) claims that Sternberg has not provided enough evidence to support his assumption that practical intelligence is separate from general intelligence or g.
  • Most findings were concluded from case studies of his student and it could be said that they therefore lack generalisability.
  • Sternberg (2004) acknowledges that there is currently no test published for tri-archaric ability - this is an ongoing theory rather than one that is set in stone; work is still ongoing.
  • Theory may be ethnocentric - traditional intelligence tests may not be an accurate measure of intelligence in children in other cultures. Sternberg (2002) Kenyan children - do not appear to learn well at school
  • Too broad - Cooper (2002) overlap with personality
  • Too complex - Richardson (1986) there are two many elements and it is not clear how exactly these interact


- The theory of processing intelligence could be beneficial in designing effective schooling programmes which take advantage of the types of intelligence which are best used in the school environment - No tests to accurately gauge how intelligence is used. It could be said that this means that the theory lacks quantitive evidence. - Sternberg acknowledges that people may not be restricted to excelling in only one of the intelligences. Many people have a combination of all of them 


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