What Is Intelligence?

Original title: Qu’est-ce que l’intelligence ?

Publication Date:

March 2024



Original language and publisher

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French


Psychology, Science

What Is Intelligence?

Original title: Qu’est-ce que l’intelligence ?


We may measure it (more and more) and model it, but nothing remains more enigmatic than intelligence… Over the centuries, it has had a thousand definitions. The Greeks praised mètis, the practical intelligence that combined flair, sagacity and resourcefulness. Kant believed that “an individual’s intelligence is measured by the amount of uncertainty he is capable of withstanding”, and modern psychology has made logic a key to measuring it. Neuroscience is now exploring creative and emotional intelligence…

What if intelligences were always singular, divergent and resistant to single models? Based on the various analyses that have been made historically, this book reports on the most current knowledge and debates on human cognition, plant intelligence, atypical ways of thinking and artificial intelligence.

Contributors: Jean-François Bouvet, Sophie Brasseur, Catherine Cuche, Boris Cyrulnik, Jean-François Dortier, Martine Fournier, Jacques Grégoire, Michel Habib, Olivier Houdé, Jean-Philippe Lachaux, Roger Lécuyer, Jean-François Marmion, Marie-Noëlle Metz-Lutz, Fanny Nusbaum, Marc Olano, Laurence Rameau, Franck Ramus, Romina Rinaldi, Georges Vignaux, Sophie Viguier-Vinson, Gabriel Wahl, Achille Weinberg.

Table of contents

– It’s not just about IQ! Héloïse Lhérété

History and models

– A brief history of intelligence, from Ulysses to neuroscience, Martine Fournier

– Theories of intelligence Martine Fournier

– Portrait gallery

– Six questions about intelligence, Sophie Brasseur and Catherine Cuche

– Human intelligence, one or many? Gabriel Wahl

– Emotions and intellect, a continuous dialogue, Jacques Grégoire

– Attachment at the heart of learning, Interview with Boris Cyrulnik

– The connectivity of intelligence? Gabriel Wahl

– What is creativity, Jean-François Dortier

– Genes don’t explain everything! Jean-François Bouvet

– A highly plastic brain, Jean-François Bouvet

– Cunning, practical intelligence, Georges Vignaux

– Listen to your cognitive unconscious! Interview with Fanny Nusbaum

– Towards Google brains? Romina Rinaldi

The development of intelligence

– How our brains reason, Olivier Houdé

– Theories of intellectual development

– Such clever babies, Roger Lécuyer

– Why children play, Laurence Rameau

– Language pathways, Marie-Noëlle Metz-Lutz

– Concentrate, control yourself, Jean-Philippe Lachaux

– How maths comes to mind, Jean-François Marmion

– Blue brain, pink brain: the pitfalls of the debate, Franck Ramus

– When music is good… Jean-François Bouvet

– Intellectual precocity in question, Jacques Grégoire

– High potential or disability, Michel Habib

– Atypical intelligences, Marc Olano

– The splendour and misery of giftedness in history, Sophie Viguier-Vinson

– The neurodiversity revolution

– Can we resist cognitive decline, Achille Weinberg

Non-human intelligences?

– No, plants don’t think, Jean-François Dortier

– Do animals think like us? Jean-François Dortier

– Is artificial intelligence really intelligent? by Olivier Houdé