Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 269–293 | Cite as

Intelligence in the Wild: A Dispositional View of Intellectual Traits

  • David Perkins
  • Shari Tishman
  • Ron Ritchhart
  • Kiki Donis
  • Al Andrade


Most accounts of intelligence are “abilities-centric.” They aim to explain intelligent behavior in terms of IQ or other measures of intellectual aptitude. However, several investigators have proposed that intelligent behavior in the wild—in everyday circumstances in which carefully framed tests do not tell people exactly what intellectual task to attempt—depends in considerable part on thinking dispositions. Definitionally, dispositions concern not what abilities people have, but how people are disposed to use those abilities. Everyday language includes a number of dispositional terms such as curiosity, open-mindedness, and skepticism. We review several dispositional constructs that researchers have investigated, sometimes under the label dispositions. The findings in trend show that dispositions are stable traits that help to explain intellectual performance over and above measures of intellectual aptitude. It is argued that a dispositional view of intelligence is warranted, and that it is an important area for continued research.

thinking intelligence IQ dispositions aptitude 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Perkins
    • 1
  • Shari Tishman
    • 1
  • Ron Ritchhart
    • 1
  • Kiki Donis
    • 1
  • Al Andrade
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Graduate School of EducationUSA

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