Robert J. Sternberg was a well-known psychologist whose work mainly focused on human intelligence and creativity. He proposed the Triarchic theory of intelligence in 1985. It Is concerned with the way human beings process information to perform a mental task. According to Sternberg’s model, development is a continuous process and is based on an individual’s skills.

Triarchic Theory of Intelligence

The Triarchic Theory comprises of three sub-theories: the contextual sub theory, which is related to practical intelligence; the experiential sub theory, which relates to creative intelligence; and the componential sub theory, which is related to analytical intelligence.

Practical intelligence is the ability to solve problems and adapt to changing environments. Creative intelligence is the ability to do something in an innovative way to create new ideas. Analytical intelligence is the ability to assess information and solve problems.

Sub Theories

Contextual Sub Theory

This theory proposes that intelligence is concerned with the individual’s environment, i.e., the way one functions in their daily circumstances.

Experiential Sub Theory

This sub-theory states that experience is continuous where intelligence can be used from novel to automation situations.

Componential sub theory

This theory is formed of three types of mental components:

Meta components

Ability to monitor, control, and evaluate to solve problems, make decisions and plans.

Performance components

Ability to bring the plans and decisions into action.

Knowledge-acquisition components

Ability to acquire new information to carry out plans and ideas.

Critically Discuss Sternberg’s Information Processing Approach 

There have been a few limitations in Sternberg’s Triarchic theory of intelligence according to a few researchers, such as:

  1. Psychologist Linda Gottfredson states that the theory has ignored a solid empirical basis and feels that the data backing up the theory is meagre.
  2. Some psychologists feel that practical intelligence is unnecessary when it comes to job knowledge, as the concept has been better researched.
  3. Sternberg’s definitions and explanations of his research work have been inaccurate at times.

Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence has been very helpful in understanding human intelligence throughout the years even with its share of limitations.

Sternberg's Information Processing Theory of Intelligence B.Ed Notes
Sternberg’s Information Processing Theory of Intelligence B.Ed Notes