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cognition lectures 17-19

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McGill University
PSYC 213
Daniel J Levitin

PSYC 213 Cognition Set #7 (Lectures 17, 18 & 19) [email protected] March 16 , 2010 Lecture 17 ANNOUNCEMENTS There is an opportunity for auditory and visual research in lab about how identities are represented in the brain. Check WebCT for this opportunity later. Do not bother if you do not think that your transcript will be competitive or if you are interested in other things. CHAPTER TWELVE: INTELLIGENCE (& CREATIVITY) Today we are on Chapter 12 and on Thursday we will do the last chapter. Then we will move into readings from journals; please read these in advance, because its going to help you (better understand the lecture material). Perhaps no concept is central to psychology like the concept of intelligence. It started the psychometrics in psychology, which is one of the key things that psychology does. We actually measure peoples abilities on scales. Perhaps no concept has been as elusive as intelligence; it is difficult to grasp and define. How would you define intelligence? There are many kinds of intelligence, which is an operational definition. As an overall definition (student responses): It is a capacity to learn and ability to learn quickly. It is an ability to make correlations between one subject and another, an ability to integrate knowledge from different perspectives. It is also an ability to recognize patterns and represent meaningful relationships, and ability to integrate knowledge or concepts. The ability to use multiple strategies to solve problems. The ability to recognize relationships between concepts. These are all very important and part of the operational definition of intelligence. How this research started is that a French psychologist, Alfred Binet was asked to develop an assessment test for whether kids were doing well in school or not; this is how intelligence testing started. The idea was to identify kids that could not do well in school, to help them. That was the idea behind the development of intelligence testing. He worked with a guy named Simon, and they defined intelligence as a faculty which is of utmost importance to practical life and includes judgment, practical sense, initiative, and adapting yourself to circumstances. They defined it as a process and it involves our ability to think and reason and perceive patterns and concepts, but also includes our ability to interact with our environment adaptively, to understand what it is and shape it. We will see later on how theories of intelligence have incorporated these concepts. In 1941, Journal of Educational Psychology asked 14 psychologists to define intelligence. The responses varied, but involved two main themes: Capacity to learn from experience, forming connections between concepts and knowledge that are novel. Ability to adapt to the environment. 65 years later in 1986, the journal asked 20 psychologists to define intelligence again. Those two points were once underscored again: ability to learn from experience and adapt to the environment. Many psychologists broadened the definitions to include metacognition. Our own understanding of our own processing, how we think and solve problems, as well as the role of culture. Through trying to standardize the Binet-Simon test, people have found out that not all cultures perform the same in tests that were made in France for example. The most famous case of this was of immigrants coming to the US that were given the Binet-Simon test. They all failed and were asked to go back. The reason why they failed was because they did not understand English. This is a brutal example that tells us that knowledge is represented differently in different cultures and has to be taken into account when we measure intelligence. Robert Steinbergs, who is the most contemporary researcher on intelligence today, defines it as following: Intelligence is a capacity to learn from experience using metacognitive processes to enhance learning and the ability to adapt to the surrounding environment, which may require different adaptations within different social and cultural contexts. This is basically saying that we learn from past experience, but then you monitor what is going on in our head, and based on that we can enhance our learning, correct ourselves if we are on the wrong path for example: Intelligence is actually contextually and socially mediated, he tells us. Binet first developed this test to measure intelligence for a person of a given age. He devised the test that basically asked for a general knowledge. The questions on the test are as follows (see textbook Table 12.1). People were not given these; these are just an example of what the questions would be about. What you get is some kind of a score on this test. The reasoning was to estimate a persons mental age (MA), how old you are mentally, versus their chronological age (CA), how old they are physically. Do you know what most of your peers do, or do you know more or less? In 1912, it was suggested that this ratio between mental and chronological age is used to calculate the IQ quotient or score: IQ = MA/CA x 100.
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