Unit 13: Intelligence

Intelligence: mental 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 scores.
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.
a general intelligence factor that Spearman and others believed underlies specific mental abilities and is therefore measured by every task on an intelligence test.
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.
Howard Gardner (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 Intelligence.
        Academic (or analytic):
intelligence which is assessed by intelligence tests, which present well-defined problems with a single correct answer (i.e., school smarts).
        Creative: intelligence demonstrated by reacting adaptively to new situations and generating novel ideas.
        Practical: intelligence 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.                      NEXT PAGE

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