General Intelligence (G) And The 5 Factors Of IQ

Your general intelligence  (called ‘G‘ or the ‘G Factor’) has been defined by 52 experts in the field as:

“…a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience.”

An excellent collection of definitions of general intelligence and IQ is found in the paper A Collection Of Definitions Of Intelligence.

General intelligence has  three basic dimensions – knowledge base, thinking skills & cognitive efficiency – made up of 5 factors. Click for the definitions of the different factors of IQ below.

knowledge base 

Gc: Crystallized intelligence – general knowledge, verbal ability

thinking skills 

Gf: Fluid intelligence – reasoning and novel problem solving ability
Gv: Visual intelligence – the ability to manipulate mental visual images to solve problems

cognitive efficiency 

Gs: Processing speed – the speed at which basic cognitive processes are executed


Gwm: Working memory – a short-term, constantly updated memory store for online ‘online’ processing


Fluid intelligence, crystallized intelligence and working memory combine in