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Chapter 4

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Political Science
POLS 2000
Frank Cameron

Chapter 4: Understanding Intelligence andAdaptive Skills (p. 11-30) WANTING THE BEST FOR OUR UNBORN • Fetal activity at various prenatal periods appears to have a relationship to a baby’s temperament, and even early fussiness • Linkages between assessments during infancy and later abilities are modest at best • Mothers should have good nutrition and not partake in certain substances during pregnancy, get reasonable rest, and more • Subtle controls like trying to make your baby more intelligent, creative, or socially adept are quite difficult because some comes from genes, some comes from environment • Parents should try to avoid environmental contributors that may cause damage (e.g. toxic substances, drugs, alcohol) • No physical or intellectual differences between humans has been more controversial than intelligence • Two factors have contributed to the difficulty of keeping the concept of intelligence in focus: o Atendency to rush the development and marketing of instruments that purport to measure intelligence o Asimplistic notion that test performance is valid and reliable regardless of cultural or motivational influences • The computer age has made the necessity of determining which individuals are intelligent more pronounced • Since machines have made work unavailable for those less intelligent and skilled obsolete, the opportunities for less intelligent or intellectually disabled have become less and less • Much of the public controversy surrounding intelligence pertains to its measurement of the manner in which the assessment of it has been implemented o Cultural differences are a major difficulty in intelligence testing • Intellectual disabilities clearly involve matters other than measured intelligence THE CONCEPT OF INTELLIGENCE • Intelligence has too frequently been conceived in a linear fashion because of the development of quantitative measures; qualitative factors must also be considered • There are two questions that stand out as scientists continue to grapple with the definition of intelligence: o How is intelligence developed? o How can scientists gain some understanding of its composition in order to make predictions about future behaviour? DEVELOPMENT OF INTELLIGENCE • It is clear that both genes and environment play a role in intelligence and intellectual disabilities • Some conditions are caused by hereditary factors (e.g. microcephaly, neurofibromatosis, and Tay-Sachs disease) • The contributions of heredity in setting the limits of intelligence are recognized, and the influence of environmental factors is accounted for in determining the range of intelligence • Avariety of factors influence intelligence, or performances that most people would agree contribute to the measurement of intelligence • Most initial concerns about children have to do with inappropriate behaviour, not a perceived lack of intelligence • TheAAMR definition of intellectual disabilities focuses significantly on adaptive behaviour areas, which attempt to address these important influences on personal and social success • Social Intelligence: the concept of a person’s ability to effectively perform in areas of interpersonal interaction and forming relationships, communication, and self-regulation and reacting appropriately to the subtle cues in one’s environment. Overlaps and in some usages is synonymous with Social (Personal) Competence • People with intellectual disabilities often have a lifetime of experiences that shape their expectations toward failure and success in a wide variety of circumstances o Motivation is related to expectancies, as well as to competence and anxieties o Aperson who expects to fail and who does not feel competent generally has little motivation to engage in new or different tasks  Low motivation can influence test results by preventing the test taker from diligently trying to perform the tasks • Professionals have recognized for some time that social behaviour is one of the primary factors in determining whether a person has an intellectual disability or not MEASUREMENT OF INTELLIGENCE • The manner in which intelligence is defined influences the methods used to determine relative degrees of intelligence for prediction purposes • There are basically two extremes in how people think about intelligence: o Factorial approach – isolate and identify the component parts of the intelligence concept o Holistic approach – either hypothetical or so intermingled with total personality that it cannot be conceived as a separate and distinct entity  Difficult to develop tests to include all of the factors that might be required • Intelligence cannot be measured directly - best tests available can’t/shouldn’t be considered the right/only way • Successful test development occurs to the degree that a test maker effectively identifies measurable attributes, standardizes them, and provides valid and reliable data • The question of how far a test of intelligence can measure attributes of intelligence adequately is a source of continuing debate o Things like a child’s persistence and attention can definitely effect the test score • Most tests have developed from factorialists rather than those that take the holistic approach o Charles Spearman – general g factor and specific s factor; assumed that g factor represented true intelligence in that the various tests of intelligence were consistently interrelated; assumed that all valid tests of intelligence had a g factor in them; since correlations were not perfect among tests, s factor was proposed to be present and it resulted from activities that could be associated with particular situations o Edward LThorndike – believed that intellectual functioning could be divided into 3 overall factors: a) abstract intelligence (a facility for dealing with verbal and mathematical symbols), b) mechanical or concrete intelligence (ability to use objects in a meaningful way), c) social intelligence (capacity to deal with other persons); neural interconnections, whether high or low, could be inferred from a person’s performance capabilities o Guilford and colleagues – proposed a 3D theoretical model that specifies parameters, incorporates previously identified primary factors, and assumes the existence of yet unidentified factors  Postulated the existence of 150 possible primary intellectual abilities; intent is to distinguish discrete factors and distinguish them from one another  Human thought processes involve five major categories in the content dimension: a) visual, b) auditory, c) symbolic, d) semantic, e) behavioural  The product aspect includes 6 major categories that serve to organize figural, symbolic, and semantic context: a) units, b) classes, c) relations, d) systems, e) transformations, f)implications  Intellectual operation includes the mental processes involved in using the information or content with which it works; 5 types of operations: • Cognition, memory, divergent production of thinking, convergent production of thinking, evaluation o Jean Piaget – concerned primarily with interpreting the development of behaviour  His work has gone through 3 distinct phases: • Investigated children’s language and thought, judgement and reasoning, conception of the world, physical causality, and moral judgements o Suggested that mental growth was not determined by nature or nurture alone • Observed intelligence and development of the idea of reality in his 3 children by observing their
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