quality consisting of the ability to learn from experience, solve
problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations.
Intelligence Test: a method for assessing an individual's mental
aptitudes and comparing them with those of others, using numerical
Factor Analysis: a statistical procedure that identifies clusters
of related items (called factors) on a test; used to identify
different dimensions of performance that underlie one's total score.
Reification: When we view an abstract Concept (like intelligence)
as if it were a concrete thing, we have made the error of reification.
Theories of Intelligence
Francis Galton (late 1800's): He believed that some people were
more superior to others with respect to intelligence. He felt
those people should be encouraged to mate and that less superior people
should not be allowed to produce offspring (eugenics movement). He
felt you could determine one's intelligence by measuring his/her head
size, body proportions, and reaction time.
Charles Spearman (1930's): Noted that people "smart" in one area
were often skilled in other areas. Thus, he believed in an
underlying general intelligence or g-factor.
g-factor: a general intelligence
factor that Spearman and others believed underlies specific mental
abilities and is therefore measured by every task on an intelligence
L.L. Thurstaone (1930's): Disagreed with Spearman. He
identified "8 Primary Mental Abilities" and believed they were
all independent from each other. They included: perceptual speed,
numerical ability, verbal meaning, memory, spatial skills, reasoning,
word fluency, & comprehension. The existence of Savant Syndrome
supports his viewpoint.
Savant Syndrome: a condition
in which a person otherwise limited in mental ability has an exceptional
specific skill, such as in computation or music.
(1980--): agreed with Thurstone in that intellectual skills were
independent of one another. He identified 8 independent
multiple intelligences: logical/mathematical, spatial, linguistic,
body-kinesthetic, musical, intrapersonal, interpersonal, & naturalist.
Robert Sternberg (1980--): believed there are 3 general
types of IQ. He called this the Triarchic Theory of
Academic (or analytic):
intelligence which is assessed by intelligence tests, which present
well-defined problems with a single correct answer (i.e., school
demonstrated by reacting adaptively to new situations and generating
required for everyday tasks, which are frequently ill-defined with
multiple solutions (i.e., street or business smarts).
Other Types of Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence: the ability to perceive, express,
understand, and regulate emotions.
Creativity: the ability to produce novel and valuable ideas.
Brain Functions and Intelligence
While Galton was incorrect and you cannot determine IQ from head
size, there is a moderate correlation (+.44) between brain volume
and IQ (i.e., more cortical tissue and 17% more synapses in educated
versus less educated people). Also, we find moderate correlations
between IQ and (1) processing speed; (2) perceptual speed
and; (3) neurological speed.
Aptitude Test: a test designed to predict a person's future
performance. Aptitude refers to the capacity to learn (IQ tests
are considered to be aptitude tests).
Achievement Test: a test designed to assess what a person has
already learned (e.g., AP exams, driver's license test).
**While the SAT is designed to predict future performance (and is thus
an aptitude test), it is clearly also an achievement test.