Sternberg believes that intelligence is comprised of three separate, though interrelated abilities: analytical, creative, and practical. Sternberg hypothesizes that intelligence relates to, and is demonstrated in, three different aspects: (1) the internal world of information processing, (2) experience and past learning, and (3) the external world of adapting to, shaping and selecting real-world environments. The components of intelligence describes the structure of cognitive processes that are used to adapt to, shape, or select real-world environments.

There are three components of intelligence. and they are the metacomponents, performance components, and knowledge-acquisition components. Metacomponents is defined as “higher-order mental processes used in planning, monitoring, and evaluating performance of a task; these are “executive” functions guide the use of other components”, Performance components can be defined as “mental processes used in the performance of a task; probably best measured by current intelligence tests” (Sternberg) and finally knowledge-acquisition can be defined as “mental processes used in learning” (Sternberg)

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All of these components can be used to define intelligence in everyday situations and in academic situations as well. Some examples of everyday intelligance can be balancing a checkbook, driving a automobile, figuring out answers to problems in life, using logic in situations-by logic I mean using it to figure out the most logical way to solve some of lifes problems.

Some examples of academic intelligence is using ones ability to study for exams, deciphering data that is presented to them in a academic format, using logic to solve complex problems they are faced with in a academic setting, and researching ways to make the world better just to name a few. All of the above mentioned tasks, require the person to use all three of the components listed because one has to be analytical, creative, and practical when dealing with situations involving either academic intelligence or everyday intelligence.