PSY 4791 Lecture Notes - Confirmation Bias, Knowledge Acquisition, Major Trauma
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•Intelligence: ability to learn, remember information, recognize concepts and
their relations, and to apply information to behaviour in an adaptive way. Its
definition depends on cultural judgements.
•Studying intelligence has 3 major approaches:
oDifferential approach: creating tests to measure differences in how
people solve problems;
oDevelopmental approach: based on the way children learn to think
about the world; and the
oInformation Processing Approach: focuses the types of skills people
use to solve problems.
Theories of Intelligence
•Spearman ’s Two-Factor Theory: intelligence determined by 2 factors
og factor: general factor, common to all intellectual tasks. “Three
qualitative principles of cognition”: apprehension of experience,
education of relations, and education of correlates.
os factor: specific to a particular task.
oEmpirical evidence for this theory comes from correlations between
tests of particular intellectual abilities. Factor analysis is a statistical
procedure identifying common factors among groups of tests. Each
common factor would be a specific ability.
oFactor loadings: how strong one test is related to a particular factor.
•Factor analysis can only bring to light intellectual abilities which the basic
tests are able to measure.
•Thunderstone extracted seven factors of intelligence, which were then found
to include a second-order factor similar to Spearman’s general intelligence.
•Cattell performed a second-order factor analysis on Spearman’s work and two
oFluid intelligence (gf): culture-free tasks, seeing relations and patterns.
oCrystallized intelligence (gc): acquired information from a culture,
learned in school.
oIf left to the same experience, one with more gf develops more gc.
Crystallized intelligence depends on fluid intelligence to be acquired.
•Information-Processing Approach Theory of Intelligence: Sternberg`s
Triarchic (rule of three) Theory of intelligence. Managing individual`s
combination of strengths and weaknesses lead to success in life.
oThree parts together comprise Sternberg’s “Successful intelligence”:
ability to analyze and manage personal strengths and weaknesses.
o1) Analytical intelligence: mental mechanisms used to execute tasks.
Meta-components: deciding a strategy for solving the problem;
Performance components: processes used to solve it; and
Knowledge acquisition components: used to gain knowledge
and integrating it which what they already know.
o2) Creative intelligence: dealing effectively with novel situations and
applying previous knowledge. Automating problem solving. Sternberg
said that fluid intelligence is used when tasks demand new
approaches, otherwise crystallized is used to automate the solution.
o3) Practical intelligence: reflect our behaviours that were subject to
natural selection, three forms:
Adaptation: how to plug oneself into an environment to best
develop useful skills;
Selection: ability to find one’s own niche in the environment
(Eg: finding a career they find uniquely interesting); and
Shaping: changing the environment to find a niche (Eg: starting
their own business).
•Supporting evidence of different factors of intelligence: damage to frontal
lobes does not lower IQ, but it impairs the ability to plan and live normally.
•Neuropsychological Theories of Intelligence: Gardner’s theory that
intelligences are potentials that may be activated in an individual to the
extent which their culture values the expression of these potentials.
Evidence is that different areas of brain damage affect different abilities.
Eight of Gardner’s intelligences:
oNaturalist intelligence: similar to Sternberg’s adaptation practical
oThe rest of them have not been recognized by psychology as distinct.
•Gardner’s theory recognizes the view of intelligence held by non-Western
•Unschooled people are unable to solve syllogisms (logical constructions with
a major and minor premise, the premises are assumed true and the
conclusion is evaluated on the basis of the premises). They approach
problems different, Eg: based on personal experience.
•Galton: intellectual abilities are heritable.
•Binet-Simon Scale: intelligence test that was the precursor of the Stanford-
oNorms: data concerning comparison groups, allows individuals to be
assessed relative to his or her pears.
oMental age: level of intellectual development that can be expected
from an average child of particular age.
•Stanford-Binet Scale: intelligence test, various tasks grouped according to
mental age, provides a standard measure of IQ.
•Intelligence Quotient (IQ): a single measure of general intelligence, mental
age (test scores) divided by chronological age (actual, calendar age) times
100. This is the same as the “ratio IQ”.
•Deviation IQ: modern way of calculating IQ. Compares an individual’s test
scores with those of other’s of the same age.
oWechsler’s Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS): contains tests divided into
categories of verbal and performance. Wechsler’s Intelligence Scale
for Children (WISC) was developed for children from the WAIS.
•Reliability of intelligence tests is how often the same person achieves the
same score on the test.
•Validity of intelligence tests is assessed by the correlation of test scores and
the criterion (another measure of the variable being assessed, for example,
•IQ correlates strongly with school performance, about .50.
•It is difficult to formulate bias-free tests of IQ. Different backgrounds and
cultures are exposed to different vocabularies and different emphasises are
placed on different skills. Score differences may be cultural, not intellectual.
•Self-fulfilling prophecy phenomena: one’s expectations about what will
happen lead them to act so that the expectations come true. Parent’s
knowing a child has a low IQ score may affect his or her development.
•IQ tests help detect specific learning needs in otherwise bright children.
•Mental retardation: below-normal mental development caused by injury or
abnormal development. There are 4 degrees:
oProfound mental retardation: most severe, IQ below 20. Require total
oSevere mental retardation: IQ from 20-34, almost always need total
oModerate mental retardation: IQ from 35 to 54, can live semi-
oMild mental retardation: IQ from 55 to 70, able to live independently
and maintain employment.
The Roles of Heredity and Environment
•Heritability: a statistical measure, expresses how much variability of a
particular trait in a particular population is a result of genetic differences. It
measures relative contributions and differences in genes and differences in
the environment to the overall variability.
oIf there are no differences in a trait, there is no heritability. Not the
same as genetic influence.
oHeritability refers to a population, not individuals.
oHeritability depends on the amount of variability of genetic factors in a
population. Mixed communities of Western societies therefore have
higher heritability measures.