Intelligence typically is defined as consisting of “adaptation to the environment” or in related terms. Yet, it is not clear that “general intelligence” or g,
traditionally conceptualized in terms of a general factor in a psychometrically-based hierarchical model of intelligence, provides an optimal way of defining intelligence as adaptation to the environment. Such a definition of adaptive intelligence would need to be biologically based in terms of evolutionary theory, would need to take into account the cultural context of adaptation, and would need to take into account whether thought and behavior labeled as “adaptively intelligent” actually contributed to the perpetuation of the human and other species, or whether it was indifferent or actually destructive to this perpetuation. In this article, I consider the similarities and differences between “general intelligence” and “adaptive intelligence,” as well as the implications especially of the differences.
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