According to him, a theory of intelligence can be adequately mapped with three components: analytic (academic) intelligence, creative intelligence, and practical intelligence. This theory accounts for both cognition and context is also referred as Sternberg's "triarchic" theory of human intelligence.
According to Sternberg, intelligence has three aspects. These are not multiple intelligences, as in Gardner's scheme. Where Gardner viewed the various intelligences as separate and independent, Sternberg posited three integrated and interdependent aspects of intelligence. These aspects relate intelligence to what goes on internally within a person, to what goes on in the external world, and to experience, which mediates between the internal and external worlds.
The first aspect consists of the cognitive processes and representations that form the core of all thought. Sternberg distinguished three kinds of processes: those involved in deciding what to do and in deciding how well it was done, those involved in doing what one had decided to do, and those involved in learning how to do it in the first place.
The second aspect consists of the application of these processes to the external world. According to Sternberg, mental processes help people in three functions in the everyday world. First, they help in adaptation to existing environments, second they help in shaping of existing environments into new ones, and finally they help in the selection of new environments when old ones prove unsatisfactory. The theory argues that intelligent persons are not just those who can execute many cognitive processes quickly; rather the greater intelligence is reflected in knowing what their strengths and weaknesses are and capitalizing upon their strengths while compensating for their weaknesses. In other words, intelligent persons capitalize on a niche where they can work most efficiently.
The third aspect of Sternberg's triarchic theory is the integration of the internal and external worlds through experience. One measure of intelligence is thus the ability to cope with relatively new situations, by using the previously acquired knowledge. For example, Sternberg argues that intelligence might be measured by taking someone who is well adapted to one culture and placing him in an unfamiliar one, in order to assess his ability to cope with a new…