Intelligence & Testing (11-12)

Category: Education

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What is Intelligence?:

What is Intelligence? Intelligence (in all cultures) is the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use our knowledge to adapt to new situations. In research studies, intelligence is whatever the intelligence test measures. This tends to be “school smarts.”

Conceptual Difficulties:

Conceptual Difficulties Psychologists believe that intelligence is a concept and not a thing. When we think of intelligence as a trait (thing) we make an error called reification — viewing an abstract immaterial concept as if it were a concrete thing.

Controversies About Intelligence:

Controversies About Intelligence Despite general agreement among psychologists about the nature of intelligence, two controversies remain: Is intelligence a single overall ability or is it several specific abilities? With modern neuroscience techniques, can we locate and measure intelligence within the brain?

Intelligence: Ability or Abilities?:

Intelligence: Ability or Abilities? Have you ever thought that since people’s mental abilities are so diverse, it may not be justifiable to label those abilities with only one word, intelligence? You may speculate that diverse abilities represent different kinds of intelligences. How can you test this idea?

General Intelligence:

General Intelligence The idea that general intelligence ( g ) exists comes from the work of Charles Spearman (1863-1945) who helped develop the factor analysis approach in statistics. Athleticism, like intelligence, is many things

General Intelligence:

General Intelligence Spearman proposed that general intelligence (g) is linked to many clusters that can be analyzed by factor analysis. For example, people who do well on vocabulary examinations do well on paragraph comprehension examinations, a cluster that helps define verbal intelligence. Other factors include a spatial ability factor, or a reasoning ability factor.

General Intelligence:

General Intelligence L. L. Thurstone, a critic of Spearman, analyzed his subjects NOT on a single scale of general intelligence, but on seven clusters of primary mental abilities, including: Word Fluency Verbal Comprehension Spatial Ability Perceptual Speed Numerical Ability Inductive Reasoning Memory

General Intelligence:

General Intelligence Later psychologists analyzed Thurstone’s data and found a weak relationship between these clusters, suggesting some evidence of a g factor.

Early Theories of Intelligence:

Early Theories of Intelligence Charles Spearman Believed intelligence is general People who are bright in one area are usually bright in other areas as well L. L. Thurstone Believed that intelligence is made up of seven distinct, independent abilities Spatial ability, perceptual speed, numerical ability, verbal meaning, memory, word fluency, and reasoning

Contemporary Intelligence Theories:

Contemporary Intelligence Theories Howard Gardner (1983, 1999) supports Thurstone’s idea that intelligence comes in multiple forms. Gardner notes that brain damage may diminish one type of ability but not others. People with savant syndrome excel in abilities unrelated to general intelligence.

Howard Gardner:

Howard Gardner Gardner proposes eight types of intelligences and speculates about a ninth one — existential intelligence. Existential intelligence is the ability to think about the question of life, death and existence.

Contemporary Theories of Intelligence:

Contemporary Theories of Intelligence Robert Sternberg Triarchic theory of intelligence posits three types of intelligence not Gardner’s 8+ Analytical intelligence includes the ability to learn how to do things, solve problems, and acquire new knowledge. Intelligence that is assessed by intelligence tests. Creative intelligence includes the ability adjust to new tasks, use new concepts, and respond well in new situations Practical intelligence includes the ability to select contexts in which you can excel and solve practical problems. Intelligence that is required for everyday tasks (e.g. street smarts).

Assessing Intelligence:

Assessing Intelligence Psychologists define intelligence testing as a method for assessing an individual’s mental aptitudes and comparing them with others using numerical scores.

Alfred Binet:

Alfred Binet Alfred Binet and his colleague Théodore Simon practiced a more modern form of intelligence testing by developing questions that would predict children’s future progress in the Paris school system.

Lewis Terman:

Lewis Terman In the US, Lewis Terman adapted Binet’s test for American school children and named the test the Stanford-Binet Test. The following is the formula of Intelligence Quotient (IQ),

Intelligence Tests:

Intelligence Tests Binet-Simon scale First test of intelligence, developed to identify children who might have difficulty in school Binet developed the concept of mental age in children Stanford-Binet scale L. M. Terman’s adaptation of the Binet-Simon scale Terman introduced the I.Q. score A score of 100 is considered average

Aptitude and Achievement Tests:

Aptitude and Achievement Tests Aptitude tests are intended to predict your ability to learn a new skill and achievement tests are intended to reflect what you have already learned.

David Wechsler:

David Wechsler Wechsler developed the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and later the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), an intelligence test for preschoolers.


WAIS WAIS measures overall intelligence and 11 other aspects related to intelligence that are designed to assess clinical and educational problems.

Intelligence Tests:

Intelligence Tests The Wechsler Intelligence Scales The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Third Edition is the most commonly used test of intelligence for adults WAIS-III is divided into to parts, one that focuses on verbal abilities and one that focuses on performance skills Also a version for children, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Third Edition

Intelligence Tests:

Intelligence Tests Group Tests Intelligence tests that can be given to large groups Advantages Quick scoring No examiner bias Easier to establish norms Disadvantages Less likely to detect someone who is ill or confused Might make people nervous Learning disabled children often perform worse

Intelligence Tests:

Intelligence Tests Performance tests Tests that minimize the use of language Used to test very young children or people with retardation Also can be used to test those unfamiliar with English Culture-fair tests Tests designed to reduce cultural bias Minimize skills and values that vary from one culture to another

Approximate Distribution of IQ Scores in the Population:

Approximate Distribution of IQ Scores in the Population

Flynn Effect:

Flynn Effect In the past 60 years, intelligence scores have risen steadily by an average of 27 points. This phenomenon is known as the Flynn effect.

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