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For other uses, see Intellect (disambiguation). Intellect_sentence_0

In the study of the human mind, the term Intellect refers to and identifies the ability of the mind to reach correct conclusions about what is true and what is false, and about how to solve problems. Intellect_sentence_1

The term intellect derives from the Ancient Greek philosophy term nous, which translates to the Latin (from intelligere, “to understand”) and into the French and English languages as . Intellect_sentence_2

Discussion of the intellect is in two areas of knowledge, wherein the terms intellect and intelligence are related terms. Intellect_sentence_3


  • In philosophy, especially in classical and medieval philosophy the intellect (nous) is an important subject connected to the question: How do humans know things? Especially during late antiquity and the Middle Ages, the intellect was proposed as a concept that could reconcile philosophical and scientific understandings of Nature, with monotheistic religious understandings, by making the intellect a link between each human soul, and the divine intellect of the cosmos. During the Latin Middle Ages the distinction developed whereby the term intelligence referred to the incorporeal beings that governed the celestial sphere; see: passive intellect and active intellect.Intellect_item_0_0
  • In modern psychology and in neuroscience, the terms intelligence and intellect describe mental abilities that allow people to understand; the distinction is that intellect relates to facts, whereas intelligence relates to feelings.Intellect_item_0_1

Intellect and intelligence Intellect_section_0

Intellect is the branch of intelligence that reflects the logical and the rational aspects of the human mind, which, lacking emotional engagement with a psychological problem, usually is considered as limited to facts and raw knowledge; In addition to the functions of linear logic and patterns of formal logic the intellect also processes the non-linear functions of fuzzy logic and dialectical logic. Intellect_sentence_4

Intellect and intelligence are contrasted by etymology; derived from the Latin present active participle intelligere, the term intelligence denotes “to gather in between”, whereas the term intellect derived from the past participle of intelligere denotes “what has been gathered”. Intellect_sentence_5

Therefore, intelligence relates to the creation of new categories of understanding, based upon similarities and differences, while intellect relates to understanding existing categories. Intellect_sentence_6

Development of intellect Intellect_section_1

Personal experience is crucial to the development of intellect, because in resolving the problems of life a person can attain enlightenment, the full, intellectual comprehension of a situation, and so improve his and her behavior in order to act reasonably and appropriately in society. Intellect_sentence_7

The development of the intellect occurs consequent to the person’s emotional dissatisfaction that arises from the negative outcome of a given situation in life; mental development occurs from the search for solutions to the problems of life. Intellect_sentence_8

Only experience can provide genuine and thoughtful understanding of reality, which consequently contributes to the person’s intellectual development. Intellect_sentence_9

Intellectual understanding is built upon creating a conceptual model of reality through perception and the reflective processes of cognition. Intellect_sentence_10

The process of finding solutions to the problems of life enriches the human memory with the attributes of reality. Intellect_sentence_11

The full potential of the intellect is achieved when a person acquires an accurate understanding of the real world, which is mirrored in the mind. Intellect_sentence_12

The mature intellect is identified by the capability of emotional “self-management”, the psychological state wherein a person can encounter, face, and resolve problems as they arise in the course of life, thereby being capable of personal change, and also capable of altering his or her reality into a desirable life situation, thus success and failure depend upon the person possessing a mature intellect. Intellect_sentence_13

Structure of intellect Intellect_section_2

In 1955, the psychologist Joy Paul Guilford (1897–1987) proposed a Structural Intellect (SI) model in three dimensions: (i) Operations, (ii) Contents, and (iii) Products. Intellect_sentence_14

Each parameter contains specific, discrete elements that are individually measured as autonomous units of the human mind. Intellect_sentence_15

Intellectual operations are represented by cognition and memory, production (by divergent thinking and convergent thinking), and evaluation. Intellect_sentence_16

Contents are figurative and symbolic, semantic and behavioral. Intellect_sentence_17

Products are in units, classes, and relations, systems, transformations, and implications. Intellect_sentence_18

Intellect in psychotherapy Intellect_section_3

Intellectualization is a psychotherapeutic method based upon intense intellectual focus in order to avoid a problem penetrating the person’s mind. Intellect_sentence_19

In psychological praxis, intellectualization is a defense mechanism that blocks feelings in order to prevent anxiety and stress from acting upon the person’s psyche, which would interfere with his or her normal functioning in real life. Intellect_sentence_20

As psychotherapy, intellectualization is a rational, dispassionate, and scientific attitude towards the mental problem causing psychological disturbance in the person. Intellect_sentence_21

The functions of intellectualization involve the Id, ego, and super-ego. Intellect_sentence_22

The Ego is the conscious aspect of human personality; the Id is the unconscious, animal-instinct aspect; and the super-ego is the control mechanism that mediates and adjusts a person’s thoughts and actions and behavior in accordance with the social norms of society. Intellect_sentence_23

The purpose of intellectualization is to isolate the Id from the real world, and so make the conscious aspects of a person’s life the only object of reflection and consideration. Intellect_sentence_24

Therefore, intellectualization defends and protects the Ego from the Id, the unconscious aspect of human personality that usually is impossible to control. Intellect_sentence_25

Socially, intellectualization uses technical jargon and complex scientific terminology instead of plain language; e.g. a physician uses the word carcinoma instead of cancer to lessen the negative impact of a diagnosis of terminal disease — by directing the patient’s attention away from the bad news. Intellect_sentence_26

The different registers of language, scientific (carcinoma) and plain language (cancer), facilitate the patient’s acceptance of medical fact and medical treatment, by avoiding an outburst of negative emotions that would interfere with the successful treatment of the disease. Intellect_sentence_27

Moreover, the defense mechanism of intellectualization is criticized because it separates and isolates the person from the painful emotions caused by the psychological problem. Intellect_sentence_28

As such, the defense mechanism subsequently leads to the denial of intuition, which sometimes contributes to the processes of decision-making; a negative consequence of the absence of emotional stimuli can deprive the person of motivation, and lead to a mood of dissatisfaction, such as melancholy; such “emotional constipation” threatens his or her creativity, by replacing such capabilities with factual solutions. Intellect_sentence_29

See also Intellect_section_4


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