Professor Elkind devotes much of his discussion to the concept of intelligence. He finds both similarities and differences when comparing the Piagetian description of intelligence with Jensen's (and the psychometrician's) definition of intelligence. Operating from quite different assumptions than those of J. McV. Hunt (Piaget's Structuralism, rather than neurology) Elkind also finds reason to believe that intelligence is developed in experience. For Piaget and Elkind, intelligence is "an extension of biological adaptation" and is characterized by ability to assimilate (develop in response to internal processes) and accommodate(respond to environmental intrusions).

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