Can Dynamic Intelligence be considered an intelligence?

This is an extract from my thesis on what is Dynamic Intelligence. For now, I want to leave it here in its entirety, but I will eventually edit it down to the core components. If you have any questions, do pleae get in touch.

According to Gardner (1983), and Kornhaber, Fierros & Veneema (2004), there are certain criteria for the identification of an intelligence:

  1. It should be seen in relative isolation in prodigies, autistic savants, stroke victims, or other exceptional populations. In other words, certain individuals should demonstrate particularly high or low levels of a particular capacity in contrast to other capacities.
  2. It should have a distinct neural representation: that is, its neural structure and functioning should be distinguishable from that of other major human faculties.
  3. It should have a distinct developmental trajectory. That is, different intelligences should develop at different rates and along paths which are distinctive.
  4. It should have some basis in evolutionary biology. In other words, an intelligence ought to have a previous instantiation in primate or other species and putative survival value.
  5. It should be susceptible to capture in symbol systems, of the sort used in formal or informal education.
  6. It should be supported by evidence from psychometric tests of intelligence.
  7. It should be distinguishable from other intelligences through experimental psychological tasks.
  8. It should demonstrate a core, information-processing system. That is, there should be identifiable mental processes that handle information related to each intelligence.

The criteria listed above could be considered out of date and a misrepresentation of what an intelligence could be. If one were to create a theory on a new intelligence framework, it must also conform to what Wilson, (2019, p3) suggests:

“…a theory… is required to tell us what to pay attention to and what to ignore. We must theorize to see. A new theory doesn’t just posit a new interpretation of old observations. It opens doors to new observations to which the old theories were blind.”

The aims of a scientific theory are, according to Popper (1972), twofold: (1) theoretical understanding (which can also be termed explanation); and (2) practical understanding (which incorporates prediction and technical explanation). Popper emphasised that the aim of science is to provide ‘satisfactory explanations’ of things that are ‘in need of explaining’ (p. 191). To do so, scientific enquiry requires testable hypotheses. As Popper (1972) observed:

“An analysis and comparison of the degrees of testability of different theories shows that the testability of a theory grows with its degree of universality as well as with its degree of definiteness, or precision” (p. 356).

It has been argued here that the findings of this thesis have demonstrated Popper’s conditions have been met to a large extent for Constructed Development Theory and Dynamic Intelligence. It has been explained in previous studies within this thesis as well as in the current chapter, and its capacity to predict thinking and behaving in individuals has been demonstrated in studies 4 and 5. Also, it is stated that any test item that requires cognitive effort measures (at least partially) intelligence (Lubinski & Humphreys, 1997).

However, from a measurement and intelligence perspective, we must look at the constructs as described here and define them appropriately. As Constructed Development is proposing the use of constructs within a framework (mentioned in study 5, Chapter 7), a suitable definition from the literature of a construct that is multidimensional would be:

when it consists of a number of interrelated attributes or dimensions and exists in multidimensional domains” (Law, Wong, & Mobley, 1998, p. 741).

Also, a multidimensional construct ‘refers to several distinct but related dimensions treated as a single theoretical concept’ (Edwards, 2001a, p. 144). From this perspective, it is through the CDT lens with which we view the world (Merriam, 2004). Finally, Campo, (2001) appropriately described a conceptual framework as “a structure of what has been learned to best explain the natural progression of a phenomenon that is being studied”.

In this instance, Constructed Development Theory is a multidimensional construct as it consists of interrelated dimensions such as input data, filtering and generalising (Cognitive Intentions), intention, awareness, resultant choice and finally response in the moment (Locke, 1968). CDT offers a logical structure of these connected concepts that helps build a picture of how the ideas and findings within the five studies in this thesis are related into the theoretical framework. This demonstrates that CDT is more than a string of concepts as it is a way to illustrate the epistemological and ontological view of how we construct our thinking in the moment, supported by the data in study 3 and the testing of the principles in study 5. Further to this, within the conceptual framework is the definition of the concepts within the problem of self-awareness (Luse, Mennecke, & Townsend, 2012).

The relationship between Constructed Development and its facets were explained in the introduction, as this is an important step (Law et al, 1998). The reason for this is because should the dimensions be defined differently, then different conclusions will be reached regarding the relationship between those dimensions and the over-all construct, as discovered in an empirical study by Law and Wong (1999). This is important to note here from a theory development perspective as the fundamental Thinking Quotient background data could change in order to demonstrate it is possible to disassociate from stage development theories completely. Future research on this potential change is important as it would allow CDT to stand alone as a theory of self-awareness measurement, or the measure of adult metacognition.

According to Barrouillet & Lecas (1999), the construction of mental models relies on working memory. From a dual-process perspective, Verschueren, Schaeken, and d’Ydewalle (2005) proposed to unite the probabilistic and the mental model accounts of conditional reasoning. They noted that the reasoning process based on probabilities is heuristic in nature, as suggested by Oaksford and Chater (2001). The manipulation of these mental models in order to reach conclusions as well as the search for counter-examples are deliberate and controlled, reflective analytical processes. However, this misses the underlying cognitive complexity of the individual being asked to perform any such task. For those who were capable of producing fast responses, the variations in those responses were better-explained by variations in likelihood information. With more options to choose from, those variations offered the thinker a greater pool of choices from which to pull. This is the principle of a high Dynamic Intelligence. On the other hand, slow responses depended on the availability of counter-examples. Verschueren, et al., (2005) also concluded that analytical reasoning could override the conclusions produced by probability estimates, without mentioning the cognitive complexity of the participants examined. From a Constructed Development perspective, it is possible that a misinterpretation of the underlying structure of thinking led to these conclusions. An individual capable of choosing a response based on greater Dynamic Intelligence might appear to be using counter-examples when in essence, they are simply more dynamically intelligent (DI), more capable of pulling in greater numbers of factors and considering their ramifications in the moment (DR).

Based on a greater awareness of their construction of the problem rather than available probabilities, an individual could score highly on the inferential tests, unwittingly adding to the statistics without the researcher’s understanding that to see what is not seen is a developmental problem (a problem of the dialectic), not a problem for memory. Where the example of a flightless bird is given in the research, a more Dynamically Intelligent individual would potentially not make the mistake of thinking all birds can fly as they would ask: “what am I not seeing that is equally important?” This extrapolation would include flightless birds as it is an example of Hegel’s dialectic (1989).


As mentioned in the Introduction, Dynamic Intelligence is the process by which we construct our thinking in the moment in order to determine the path from (unconscious) Intention to Awareness, then Choice and finally Response. Each Cognitive Intention is a specific Intention, and the greater one’s awareness of the intention, the more choice it creates in the response in the moment, thus, the greater one’s Dynamic Intelligence.

Following on from the issues of measurement outlined above (Akturk & Sahin, 2011), the natural flow of Dynamic Intelligence is illustrated in Figure 8.31, which offers a simple graphical explanation of the flow from conscious Intention to conscious Response.

The diagram illustrates how a completely unconscious thinker would follow the path left to right, being unconscious of their Intention, Awareness, Choice and Response, and end up at the bottom of the TQ scale: 2.0. An individual who is completely conscious of their intention all the way through to their choice to many responses in the moment would come out at the top of the TQ scale: 5.0.

An individual with an unconscious Intention has a maximum developmental level of TQ3.4, and thus in order to grow their thinking, one must go back to the last point of unawareness and bring it into conscious awareness. This approach could solve the problem of adult metacognition measurement.

An unconscious awareness could be described as a lack of understanding of the unconscious intention driving the awareness. In other words, it is what is described as ‘second nature’, and the difference between primary attention and secondary attention. The former is in awareness until the latter takes priority. There is no real choice in it until we are jolted out of our unconscious state. An example would be what is referred to as ‘Highway Hypnosis’: driving a car on ‘autopilot’ until a cat leaps out in front of the car and the driver breaks immediately. The unconscious awareness is present; however, it is not in awareness (conscious). One is unconsciously aware, constructing our immediate present according to the environment until the disruption of a cat occurs. And then the driver’s memory of similar events takes over and the immediate construction of the (potential) event takes place. For a more profound understanding of Constructed Development, it could be argued that the cat would be killed by a driver with fewer connections to dynamically draw upon (or ‘past precedents’ (Chater, 2018, p.486)) and the driver with the greater experience would be able to avoid the cat as more past-experiential options are available in the (unconscious) moment. This interpretation is in effect, a construction based on past interpretation of the same disruption (cat) (ibid. p473).

This leads to the potential argument of modularity when addressing the mind: ever since Fodor’s landmark book The Modularity of Mind (1983) where he posited that behaviour is the product of independent, functional components, realised in discrete physical systems, and that these components are minimally interactive. Fodor (1983) limits his perspective on modularity at the low-level systems underlying language and perception, whereas post-Fodorian theorists such as Sperber (2002) and Carruthers (2006) argue that the mind is wholly modular. Originally advocated by advocates of evolutionary psychology (Sperber, 1994, 2002; Barrett, et al., 2010; Pinker, 1997; Barrett, 2005; Barrett & Kurzban, 2006), the hypothesis has received its most comprehensive defence by Carruthers (2006), who argued that should massive mental modularity be possible, then a module cannot be that which Fodor initially termed. Instead, it could be that a module is a function-specific processing system (ibid. p12). The Constructed Development Theory extension to this perspective is that Cognitive Intentions are a natural consequence of modular thinking in context in that our need to be consistent results in patterned, habituated thinking styles, borne of these function-specific processes.

Contrary to this is Prinz’s (2006) perspective that modularity is not a useful construct when doing mental cartography. In effect, Prinz’s conclusion is that: ‘the mind is a smattering of modular parts at best’, and Fodor essentially over-stated his position as his definition left no room for the process of ontogenetic development. It suggested that modules emerge through growth, rather than via learning and experience. This suggests a certain innateness, whereas Quartz and Sejnowski (1997) suggest sensory mechanisms are acquired through interactions with our environment (as per the Constructivist perspective).

However, from the data in the current study, it could be argued that the modularity Fodor, (1983) and Carruthers, (2006) discuss is actually a battle between the conscious awareness of fifty Cognitive Intentions directing our thinking in the moment. The construction that ‘wins’ is the Thinking Style that emerged from study 3. This argument can be taken one step further with Feldman-Barrett’s constructed emotions theory, as discussed in the literature review.