Intelligence and creativity
The concept of intelligence: historical background
The Simon-Binet test
Intelligence test of today similar ++ to that of Binet.
French educational authorities wanted to develop a test to measure the extent to which a child could benefit
Intelligence: a fundamental faculty, the alteration of lack of which is of the utmost importance for practical life (as
defined by Binet and Simon).
Intelligence = practical sense, ability the faculty of adapting oneself to circumstances and consists of activities
such as reasoning and comprehension.
Items are arranged in a real order of increasing difficulty. Allows children to be compared in terms of their
Standford-Binet test: adaptation of the scale for the American context. Terman’s most important innovation = IQ
IQ= (MA / CA) x 100 → “normal” IQ = 100
Significant relationship between IQ and teacher’s estimates of children’s intelligence.
Factor analysis: A statistical procedure that derives a number of underlying factors that may explain the structure of a
set of correlations.
Spearman proposed the two-factor theory of intelligence.
General intelligence (g): The part of intelligence that is common to all abilities.
Specific abilities are correlated with each other. People who tend to do well in one specific ability will tend to do
well in others. Each specific ability is determined in part by (g) and in part by circumstances specific to that
Spearman believed that (g) represented the amount of mental energy available to an individual (general non-
specific energy that could be directed towards the specific abilities). He also concluded that heredity was more
important that education in determining (g), but the specific factors could be shaped by schooling.
General intelligence (g)
Predicts academic achievement and work performance, however only accounts only for half of the variance.
Provides the foundation on which hard work can build.
Fluid intelligence and (g)
Crystallized intelligence: consists of things you have learned and may increase through your lifetime.
Fluid intelligence: the ability to think flexibly, which may increase when you are young but levels off as you mature.
Tests of general intelligence: ability to grasp unfamiliar relationships.
Education: general intelligence may be the ability to draw out the relationships that obtain in a novel situation.
Raven progressive matrices: the most widely accepted test of (g).
Education of relations and correlates: the ability to grasp how things are related to one another and what goes
Working memory and (g)
Working memory capacity: the theory that working memory capacity and (g) are closely related.
important aspect of intelligence, may be related to (g). Concept of mental energy and central executive function
of working memory are intuitively similar.
Fluid vs. crystallized intelligence: difference between processes that manipulate info but are unchanged by
learning. No empirical relationship because scores on tests of individual differences in working memory are not correlated
with scores on a test of (g).
Operation span task: pair mathematical operation with words that followed it during acquisition phase.
Correlation with score on the Raven test, but far from perfect.
Neural plasticity and (g)
Neural plasticity: Plasticity is the ability of an organism to adapt to changes in the environment. Neural plasticity
changes neural circuitry as a function of experiences.
E.g. Phantom limb phenomena
Individual differences reflect the degree to which people can adapt to a changing environment by
forming/altering connections between neurons. Precise mechanisms = unknown.
The evolution of (g)
Dedicated intelligence: domain-specific modules that have evolved to solve recurring problems.
E.g., language acquisition device, cheater detection module.
Improvisational intelligence: deals with relatively unique problems that are unpredictable and require flexibility to be
solved. Same as general intelligence.
E.g., ability to deal with a surprise (bush fire, flash wood).
General intelligence required in evolutionarily novel situations.
The Flynn effect
IQ scores have been ↗ over time in industrialized countries= (g) has been increasing over time. Must be due to
environmental factors because happened over a short period of time.
Level of (g) depends on interaction of environmental factors and neural plasticity.
Flynn effect: An increase in IQ scores over historical time.
Possible environmental changes that contributed to Flynn effect:
1. Nutrition and health: improved in industrialized countries since the 1930s= increased growth in brain and
2. Education: more access to education, ↗ number of years spent in school, math curricula became more
3. Environmental complexity: complexity ↗ over the last 100 years (computer, movies, tv, video games etc)
Sternberg’s theory of successful intelligence
Intellectual components: an elementary information process that operates on internal representations of objects or
The different ways in which we transform cognitive representations are the components of intelligence. People
vary in the speed and accuracy.
Types of components:
1. Meta components: executive processes used in planning, monitoring, and decision-making in task
performance. Control the execution of other processes. Intelligent approach to solving a
problem may not be the fastest approach. Distinction between reflective and impulsive
approaches important ++.
2. Performance components: the processes that are used in the execution of a task.
Used at every stage of the solution process.
3. Knowledge acquisition components: processes concerned with learning and storing new information.
Key aspect = selectivity because impossible to learn everything.
Information must be retained in a meaningful form so that it can be used