Notes on J.P. Guilford (1967) model of intelligence


J.P. Guilford (1967) advanced a model of intelligence based on factor analysis. He tried to make logical explanations of the factors involved in mental functions. In his “Structure of Intellect Model”, all mental abilities are conceptualized within a three-dimensional framework. In other words, there are three features of intellectual tasks: the content, or the type of information; the product, or the form in which the information is represented; and the operation, or type of mental activity performed.

The Structure of Intellect Model had five types of contents (visual, auditory, symbolic, semantic, behavioral); five kinds of operations (cognition, memory, divergent production, convergent production, evaluation); and six varieties of operations units, classes, relations, systems, transformations, implications). Each task performed by an individual can be identified according to a particular type of contents, product, and operation involved.

Since there are five types of contents, five different operations, and six different kinds of products, there are altogether 50 (5X5X6) separate kinds of mental abilities. For example, a test of vocabulary assesses one’s ability for cognition of units with semantic content, while learning a form of dance requires memory for behavioral contents.


In Guilford’s model, the convergent and divergent thinking are considered to be centrally involved in creativity and intelligence. In addition to other operations, creative abilities involve divergent operations. On the contra convergent thinking, the production of single correct response is related estimate intelligence.


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