Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Adaptive Intelligence
Surviving and Thriving in Times of Uncertainty

$34.99 (P)

  • Date Published: February 2021
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316607978

$ 34.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Adaptive Intelligence is a dramatic reappraisal and reframing of the concept of human intelligence. In a sweeping analysis, Robert J. Sternberg argues that we are using a fatally-flawed, outdated conception of intelligence; one which may promote technological advancement, but which has also accelerated climate change, pollution, the use of weaponry, and inequality. Instead of focusing on the narrow academic skills measured by standardized tests, societies should teach and assess adaptive intelligence, defined as the use of collective talent in service of the common good. This book describes why the outdated notion of intelligence persists, what adaptive intelligence is, and how it could lead humankind on a more positive path.

    • Offers a forceful critique of the prevailing idea of human intelligence aligned with IQ and standardized tests
    • Situates the theory of human intelligence within the context of broad social, political, and environmental issues
    • Provides tools for the definition and study of a new conception of intelligence
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘This book is a must-read and not just for the usual academic reasons. While most other academics are busy installing the stepping-stones on the scholarly path, Robert J. Sternberg is looking at the horizon. All of us will benefit from his expanded, more ethical conception of intelligence.’ Don Ambrose, Professor of Graduate Education, Rider University, USA, and Editor of the Roeper Review

    ‘This critical analysis is given by a scholar who revolutionised our understanding of human intelligence. In charting the evolution of his thinking, Robert J. Sternberg provides a conception of adaptive intelligence that will inform and guide our attempts to overcome the social, political, and environmental challenges that confront us.’ Julian G. Elliott, Professor of Educational Psychology and Principal of Collingwood College, Durham University, UK

    ‘If you want to read a provocative reckoning with classical theories and conventional tests of intelligence, you should read this book.’ Joachim Funke, Professor of Psychology, University of Heidelberg, Germany

    ‘The author states that the only way to ensure a better world is to replace our faulty notion of intelligence with one that centers on how we can improve the world around us. This book contains thought-provoking ideas for anyone interested in intelligence and the survival of our planet.’ Diane F. Halpern, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Claremont McKenna College, USA

    ‘This book gives a new and practical meaning to what it really means to be intelligent in today’s complex world.’ Joseph S. Renzulli, Director of the Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development and Distinguished Professor, University of Connecticut, USA

    ‘For readers generally familiar with the field, the challenges Sternberg poses are interesting. For newer readers, the review sections provide a helpful and interesting introduction to the field, and the remaining chapters make clear that the questions and issues are by no means settled business. Sternberg's writing style is both engaging and clear (and thus invites discussion), making this an interesting text to use in, for example, an advanced seminar.’ J. F. Heberle, Choice

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2021
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316607978
    • length: 250 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. What is intelligence? A panoply of views
    3. Intelligence as the broad ability to adapt to the environment
    4. Why general intelligence may be unhelpful, or detrimental, in times of instability, and for that matter, other times as well
    5. History of the theory of adaptive intelligence
    6. Measurement and teaching of adaptive intelligence
    7. Why do people persist in species-suicidal beliefs and practices and what's to be done?
    8. The great adaptive intelligence test.

  • Author

    Robert J. Sternberg, Cornell University, New York
    Robert J. Sternberg is Professor of Human Development at Cornell University and Honorary Professor of Psychology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He is a past winner of the Grawemeyer Award in Psychology, and the William James and James McKeen Cattell Awards of the Association for Psychological Science.

also by this author

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.