Meta-intelligence: understanding, control, and interactivity between creative, analytical, practical, and wisdom-based approaches in problem solving

Robert J. Sternberg, Vlad Glaveanu, Sareh Karami, James C. Kaufman, Shane N. Phillipson, David D. Preiss

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)


    A deeper understanding of the processes leading to problem framing and behind finding solutions to problems should help explain variability in the quality of the solutions to those problems. Using Sternberg’s WICS model as the conceptual basis of problem solving, this article discusses the relations between creative, analytical, practical, and wisdom-based approaches as bases for solutions to problems. We use a construct of meta-intelligence to encompass understanding, control, and coordination between these constructs. We propose that constraints can act at each of three levels—individual, contextual, and interactive. Individual constraints include the metacomponents (executive processes) that underpin each of the four kinds of solutions. Contextual constraints direct which of the four approaches are preferred under what circumstances. Finally, interactive constraints involve individual and contextual constraints directly impacting each other’s actions. The model of meta-intelligence and its functioning helps to explain the variability in the ways that individuals frame problems and, as a consequence, in the solutions that are found. The model of meta-intelligence also helps explain why some solutions to problems are so much more comprehensive, and often better, than others.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number19
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Intelligence
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • Analytical skills and attitudes
    • Constraint
    • Creative skills and attitudes
    • Intellectual skills and attitudes
    • Meta-intelligence
    • Practical skills and attitudes
    • Problem-solving
    • Solutions
    • Systems
    • WICS
    • Wisdom-based skills and attitudes

    Cite this