What is intelligence in a 5 year old?

(56 Posts)
AutumnGlory Thu 29-Nov-12 22:01:26

In your opinion, what makes a 5 year old bright, clever, average, mediocre?

lucysnowe Mon 03-Dec-12 09:29:13

IIRC the marshmellow test has been somewhat discredited as it was suggested (quite reasonably) that children from chaotic households were more likely to grab the second maeshmallow immediately - having the usual experience oof not necessarily knowing where their next meal was coming from sad so like many of these tests, social background counts for more than you think - it's very hard IMO to ever factor it out... same with intelligence.

dorapeppageorgenoddy Sun 02-Dec-12 12:45:03

Dated but quite interesting is the Draw a person test (DAP) or draw a man test - have a google; age range 3.3 to about 7.6 and has been used since about 1924 - not saying good or bad but quite interesting...

Gardener's Multiple intelligence has been supported by research into emotional intelligence (EQ) and for children to succeed they do of course need a good EQ...

Another fun 'test' to do at home based on creativity and emotional thought in younger children although I can't remember the author is the cat and dog test -

Give your child (best between 5 and 7 year old) a blank piece of paper and some writing/drawing tools and explain to them or draw on your paper a cat and a dog and a line between them and say the cat and dog live next door to each other but they are sad and don't get on; can you draw a way of making them friends.....

There is one answer that demonstrates amazing emotional intelligence but also a range of others that demonstrate to the parent/teacher that child's learning style as what they come up with is a good window....

mrz Sun 02-Dec-12 10:46:31

www.crec.co.uk/research
lljkk I'm not sure if the research is freely available on line. I attended a conference where Chris Pascal presented the findings

Elibean Sun 02-Dec-12 10:27:57

I remember a question in an Oxbridge entrance paper being 'what is intelligence, and can it be measured?' back in 1978.

They always liked to ask questions which didn't have, and never would have, a clear cut answer!

Xenia Sun 02-Dec-12 10:22:56

We certainly do hold some of those Pyschology Today intelligence indicators in higher regard than others and of course success is something different people define in different ways too.

Those of us posting with older children can look back at how they were at 5. I suppose we got ours into top 10 academic single sex selective schools at 4 or 5 after a stiff test which most people failed so the schools which seem to be able to pick bright children pretty well after decades of doing so much have some good hints on what you can see at age 5. Someone posted a good list above of things that seem to count.

So I suppose one test is can they get into a top 10 selective school at age 4. If they can they may be bright. If no one will have them as they curl into a ball and cry or kick the teacher or cannot even old a pencil or recognise the first letter of their name they might not be although as said above many develop later.

lljkk Sun 02-Dec-12 10:07:30

MRZ do you have a link to neat summary of the Pascal & Bertram findings?

lljkk Sun 02-Dec-12 10:04:08

I like the idea of being smart at different types of things, though. I am mechanically declined, can't hear music properly, poor eye for design, electronics defeats me, I'm probably socially inept, too.

Hand me a calculus problem, cost-benefit analysis, ask me to write something or learn a language, then fine, I'm easily away.

Of the indicators that people suggested, like facility with math, talked early, high focus, easily bored, extremely good at jigsaws, asks right questions or delayed gratification: My (quite) brightest child doesn't fit them all and my academically weakest child fits many of them.

mrz Sun 02-Dec-12 09:56:17

Research carried out by CREC (Chris Pascal and Tony Bartram) identify dispositions and attitude to be the best early childhood indicator of future success over academic ability

mrz Sun 02-Dec-12 09:53:48

The OP asked the question "What is intelligence in a 5 year old?" and the simple answer is it depends on your definition of intelligence.
Using your definition based on Piage (incidentally attempts to correlate Piagetian task results with intelligence test scores has had very mixed results) would confirm my SEN son is highly intelligent (feel good factor) yet I know he will struggle in life because he lacks what Gardener terms "Intra-personal & Interpersonal Intelligence" so science or not these factors impact of future success.

Ronaldo Sun 02-Dec-12 09:25:21

There is little or no real scientific evidence to support either Gardners multiple inteligences or Learning Styles - so why education persists in riolling this stuff out I do not know. Maybe its a feel good factor?

Hamishbear Sun 02-Dec-12 09:23:36

Re: Howard Gardner (quoted above) problem is we ascribe higher status to some forms of intelligence. Same with the learning styles in the classroom that were in vogue a while back. A sense of logic & verbal skills are highly valued & 'visual' learners sadly seen as inherently brighter than other types (at least IME).

Also some seemed to see learning styles & 'intelligences' as inherently fixed rather than as a snapshot of 'now' in a child.

Ronaldo Sun 02-Dec-12 08:43:56

It has always been my understanding ( oldas I am) that intelligence in children is no so fixed as in adults. A measure of it is usually gained by comparisons of a childs cronological age as compared to the "mental" age
(this is done by comparing mental reasoning abilities) with standardised assessments of what the modal average child will achieve at a particular age.

Piaget formulated it many moons ago. MA/CA .100 = IQ.

It still holds.

How do I know my DS is intelligent? He has abilities which most children several years older have and are not displayed by the modal child in his age group. ( Simples - or not).

soundevenfruity Sun 02-Dec-12 08:27:36

By the way the marshmallow test had a followup to identify what allows children to last 15 minutes. And it was consistency of their parents: if they promised something they fulfilled the promise in the way they said they would. Ability to delay gratification is not a sign of intelligence but a predictor for doing well in life because it makes learning easier.

Early (than would be expected in normal development) lying is a predictor though because it requires constructing an alternative reality to specific parameters and taking into account other person's point of view. So that requires a dose of emotional intelligence and sort of 3D view of a situation.

mrz Sun 02-Dec-12 08:27:05

seeker when my son was in primary he asked his teacher "why do I need to write it down? I know the answer and you know I know the answer, so isn't it a waste of both our time?" he was 6 grin

seeker Sun 02-Dec-12 08:00:59

When my dd was 5 she left a fridge door open. When asked to close it, she said "Oooh, yes, we don't want grandma's flat to get all cold, do we?" I think that shows true genius.....

mrz Sun 02-Dec-12 07:57:47

It seems to me people care confusing ability with "intelligence"

Psychology Today defines

What is Intelligence?

Reading a road map upside-down and generating synonyms for the word "brilliant" are two very different skills. But each is a measurable indicator of general intelligence, a construct that includes problem solving abilities, spatial manipulation and language acquisition. Scientists generally agree that intelligence can be captured by psychometric tests. But the study of intelligence is dogged by questions of just how much IQ contributes to an individual's success and well-being, how genes and environment interact to generate smarts and why the average IQ score rose throughout the world during the twentieth century.

Howard Gardener believes there are nine different types of intelligence

The Nine Types of Intelligence

By Howard Gardner


1. Naturalist Intelligence (“Nature Smart”)


Designates the human ability to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) as well as sensitivity to other features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations). This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef. It is also speculated that much of our consumer society exploits the naturalist intelligences, which can be mobilized in the discrimination among cars, sneakers, kinds of makeup, and the like.


2. Musical Intelligence (“Musical Smart”)


Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre, and tone. This intelligence enables us to recognize, create, reproduce, and reflect on music, as demonstrated by composers, conductors, musicians, vocalist, and sensitive listeners. Interestingly, there is often an affective connection between music and the emotions; and mathematical and musical intelligences may share common thinking processes. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are usually singing or drumming to themselves. They are usually quite aware of sounds others may miss.



3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)


Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify, consider propositions and hypotheses, and carry out complete mathematical operations. It enables us to perceive relationships and connections and to use abstract, symbolic thought; sequential reasoning skills; and inductive and deductive thinking patterns. Logical intelligence is usually well developed in mathematicians, scientists, and detectives. Young adults with lots of logical intelligence are interested in patterns, categories, and relationships. They are drawn to arithmetic problems, strategy games and experiments.

4. Existential Intelligence


Sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.


5. Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart”)


Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand and interact effectively with others. It involves effective verbal and nonverbal communication, the ability to note distinctions among others, sensitivity to the moods and temperaments of others, and the ability to entertain multiple perspectives. Teachers, social workers, actors, and politicians all exhibit interpersonal intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence are leaders among their peers, are good at communicating, and seem to understand others’ feelings and motives.


6. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (“Body Smart”)


Bodily kinesthetic intelligence is the capacity to manipulate objects and use a variety of physical skills. This intelligence also involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind–body union. Athletes, dancers, surgeons, and craftspeople exhibit well-developed bodily kinesthetic intelligence.


7. Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)


Linguistic intelligence is the ability to think in words and to use language to express and appreciate complex meanings. Linguistic intelligence allows us to understand the order and meaning of words and to apply meta-linguistic skills to reflect on our use of language. Linguistic intelligence is the most widely shared human competence and is evident in poets, novelists, journalists, and effective public speakers. Young adults with this kind of intelligence enjoy writing, reading, telling stories or doing crossword puzzles.


8. Intra-personal Intelligence (Self Smart”)


Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself and one’s thoughts and feelings, and to use such knowledge in planning and directioning one’s life. Intra-personal intelligence involves not only an appreciation of the self, but also of the human condition. It is evident in psychologist, spiritual leaders, and philosophers. These young adults may be shy. They are very aware of their own feelings and are self-motivated.


9. Spatial Intelligence (“Picture Smart”)


Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions. Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning, image manipulation, graphic and artistic skills, and an active imagination. Sailors, pilots, sculptors, painters, and architects all exhibit spatial intelligence. Young adults with this kind of intelligence may be fascinated with mazes or jigsaw puzzles, or spend free time drawing or daydreaming.



From: Overview of the Multiple Intelligences Theory.

rabbitstew Sat 01-Dec-12 14:21:21

If you know they're lying to you, they aren't very good at it, which really isn't very clever at 5-years old, imo. grin

MrsJamin Sat 01-Dec-12 13:53:51

You've just got to be hard on them about it, make them understand why you don't lie and what the repercussions are. DS1 went through a phase of lying and you have to nip it in the bud.

AutumnGlory Sat 01-Dec-12 11:22:34

If lying is a good sign of intelligence, how to handle them when they lie?

rabbitstew Sat 01-Dec-12 08:42:11

Well, if we'd sorted out what pure intelligence really is at any age, we'd all be better off, but clearly we haven't. There are as many opinions on what is most important and why on earth you are measuring it anyway, as there are psychologists in the world, imo...

MrsJamin Sat 01-Dec-12 07:03:19

Lying is a good sign of intelligence!

AutumnGlory Fri 30-Nov-12 22:44:58

Hi, thanks for the answers, I didn't check all the links nor read all the replies yet, just wanted to say that I posted the OP as a way to find out how to nurture and encourage my daughter and support her in her interests. She is still learning how to read and the teacher said she is were she should be at her learning, she is very actives, sociable, curious, emotionally intense, creative and she lies a lot. Not long ago she managed to trick all her teachers and the office lady too. I will come back tomorrow. Cheers

hardboiled Fri 30-Nov-12 14:47:49

sorry for typo: "know by now"

madwomanintheattic Fri 30-Nov-12 14:20:46

Ds1's teacher did the delayed gratification test with those strawberry laces. She handed them out in the morning and said anyone who had any left at the end of the day could have another one.

I had to pick ds1 up five minutes early to get to a psych appointment. He moaned and whined for an entire hour because he had an inch of lace left and couldn't claim his prize.

His appointment at the psych was linked with ADHD. He has known and rampaging issues with delayed gratification.

He is also a sugar addict.

The child had spent the entire day unable to work at all in school, because his sole focus was the strawberry lace.

Fwiw, he has an iq of 138 and was indeed doing quite complex maths at 3... But he's going to leave school with bog all qualifications as no one can motivate him to do any actual school work. grin

hardboiled Fri 30-Nov-12 14:12:20

OP, why do you want to know how intelligent your 5 year old is? Supposedly, they will tell you in his school how he/she is doing academically, within his age group, etc. Alternatively you could spend lots of money on a psychologist who lives off parents obsessions to tell you his/her IQ.

However, hopefully the school will also tell you whether he/she is tolerant, sociable, generous, flexible, adaptable, patient, self-confident, merciful, nice...

Those are all important thing too that should make you proud. Why is everyone obsessed with having a genius?

And if you had one, you would now by now. Just love him/her, support him/her and let him/her surprise you.

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