Chapter 8.docx

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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 2060
Gillian Joseph

Chapter 8 – Intelligence Defining Intelligence: - experts as well as the regular population agree that intelligence consists of problem solving ability, verbal ability and social competence. - Important components for all ages include: motivation, exertion of effort, and the ability to read o Age-related attributes, such as wisdom, are also apparent - Life span view allows us to consider both change and stability in intelligence - There is some intellectual decline with age, specifically in the mechanics o BUT there is also stability and growth, primarily in the pragmatics - Life Span View: o Plasticity: the range within which one’s abilities are modifiable o Multidimensionality: the many abilities that underlie intelligence o Multidirectionality: the many possible ways people may develop o Interindividual variability: the degree to which people differ from each other Developmental Trends in Psychometric Intelligence - three main approaches used to study intelligence o Psychometric approach: focuses on performance on standardized tests o Cognitive structural approach: focuses on the quality and style of thought o Information-processing approach: focuses on basic cognitive mechanisms - Psychometric perspective includes a focus on primary abilities including numeracy, word fluency, verbal meaning, inductive reasoning, and spatial orientation o These abilities show declines with age that may affect performance in everyday life after around 60yrs, although declines tend to be small until mid-70s. o Individual differences show that very few people decline equally in all areas o This approach also considers the relationships among primary mental abilities – secondary mental abilities  Fluid intelligence: the innate abilities that make people flexible and adaptive thinkers and underlie the acquisition of knowledge and experience  Crystalized intelligence: knowledge acquired through life experience and education. Does not normally decline with age until very late in life. As age increases, individual differences remain stable with fluid intelligence but increase with crystallized intelligence. o Researchers are very interested in what can modify intelligence o Age related declines in fluid abilities have been shown to be moderated by cohort, education, social variables, personality, health, lifestyle and task familiarity. o Cohort effects and familiarity have been studied most o Cohort differences are dependent on the specific ability. o Age differences in performance on familiar tasks are similar to those on standardized tests. o Although taking both into account will reduce age differences, it does not eliminate them. o Studies have shown that fluid intelligence abilities improve after direct training and after anxiety reduction o Improvements in performance match or exceed levels of decline o Training effects appear to last for several years regardless of the nature of the training, but generalization of training to new tasks is rare. Qualitative Differences in Adults Thinking - Piaget’s interests were in the cognitive development of the child, particularly their adaptation to the environment, organization of thought, and the structure of thought. - Process of thought: o Assimilation: using previously learned knowledge to make sense of incoming information o Accommodation: making the knowledge base conform to the environment - Thought develops through four stages o Sensorimotor o Preoperations o Concrete operations o Formal operations - Older adults do not perform well on tests of formal operations as younger adults, but results on tests of concrete operations are mixed - Piaget’s view that cognitive development ended in childhood is not consistent with the evidence: o Style, rather than amount, of thinking changes across adulthood o Eg. the development of reflective judgement in young adulthood occurs as a result of seven stages  Stage 1: knowledge is assumed to exist absolutely and concretely and can be obtained with absolute certainty through direct observation  Stage 2: knowledge is absolutely certain, or certain but not immediately available and can be obtained via direct observation.  Beliefs are justified via authority, eg teacher or parent, or are unexamined and unjustified. Most issues are assumed to have a right answer, so there is little or no conflict in decision making  Stage 3: knowledge is assumed to be absolutely certain or temporarily uncertain. In areas of temporary uncertainty, we can know only via intuition and bias until absolute knowledge is obtained  Stage 4: knowledge is uncertain and idiosyncratic because situational variables dictate that we cannot know with certainty. Therefore we can only know our own beliefs about
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