Course: PSYC*1000 (DE)
Professor: Harvey Marmurek
Schedule: Summer, 2012
Textbook: Psychology Tenth Edition in Modules authored by David G. Myers
Textbook ISBN: 9781464102615
Module 29: Introduction to Intelligence
How is intelligence defined?
What is intelligence?
How can we best assess it?
To what extent does it result from heredity rather than environment?
What do test score differences among individuals and groups really mean? Should we use such differences to rank
people? To admit them to colleges or universities? To hire them?
Intelligence has been defined as whatever intelligence tests measure, which has tended to be school smarts. But
intelligence is not a quality like height and weight, which ahs the same meaning to everyone around the globe.
People assign the term intelligence to the qualities that enable success in their own time and in their own culture. In
the Amazon rain forest, intelligence may be understanding the medicinal qualities of local plants. In a North
American high school, it may be mastering difficult concepts in tough courses. In both locations, intelligence is the
ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations.
Is Intelligence One General Ability or Several Specific Abilities?
What are the arguments for and against considering intelligence as one general mental ability?
Charles Spearman general intelligence test (or G as it is commonly called); people often have special
abilities that stand out and he helped develop factor analysis, a statistical procedure that identifies clusters of
related items. Spearman also found that those who score high in one area, such as verbal intelligence, typically
score higher than average in other areas, such as spatial or reasoning ability. Spearman believed a common skill
set, the g factor, underlies all intelligent behaviour, from navigating the sea to excelling in school.
L. L. Thurstone gave 56 different tests to people and mathematically identified seven clusters of primary
mental abilities (word fluency, verbal comprehension, spatial ability, perceptual speed, numerical ability, inductive
reasoning, and memory). Thurstone did not rank people on a single scale of general aptitude. But when other
investigators studied these profiles, they detected a persistent tendency: Those who excelled in one of the seven
clusters generally scored well on the others ( = still some evidence of the g factor).
Likening mental abilities to physical abilities. Not necessarily good at all sports, but generally good in most.
Satoshi Kanazawa argues that general intelligence evolved as a form of intelligence that helps people solve
novel problems how to stop a fire from spreading, how to find food during a drought, how to reunite with ones
band on the other side of a flooded river. More common problems such as how to mate or how to read a
strangers face or how to find your way back to camp require a different sort of intelligence. Kanazawa asserts
that general intelligence scores do correlate with the ability to solve various novel problems but do not much
correlate with individuals skills in evolutionary familiar situations. No wonder academic and social skills may come in
Theories of Multiple Intelligences
How do Gardners and Sternbergs theories of multiple intelligences differ?
Howard Gardner views intelligence as multiple abilities that come in different packages. Brain damage, for
example, may destroy one ability but leave others intact. Savant syndrome who often score low on intelligence
tests but have an island of brilliance. Some have virtually no language ability, yet are able to compute numbers as
quickly and accurately as an electronic calculator or identify the day of the week corresponding to any given
historical date, or render incredible works of art or musical performance. About 4 in 5 people with savant syndrome
are males, and many also have autism, a developmental disorder.
Kim Peek, a savant who didnt have autism, inspired Rain Man. Using such evidence, Gardner argues that
we do not have an intelligence, but rather multiple intelligences, including the verbal and mathematical aptitudes
assessed by standard tests. [After a 30-minute helicopter ride and a visit to the top of a skyscraper, British savant
artists Stephen Wiltshire began seven days of drawing that reproduced the Tokyo skyline.]
Gardners eight intelligences:
1. Naturalist 2. Linguistic 3. Logical-Mathematical
4. Musical 5. Spatial 6. Bodily-Kinesthetic7. Intrapersonal 8. Interpersonal
The recipe for success combines talent with grit: Those who become highly successful tend also to be
conscientious, well-connected, and doggedly energetic. Ericsson reports a 10-year-rule: A common ingredient of
expert performance in chess, dancing, sports, computer programming, music, and medicine is about 10 years of
intense, daily practice. [In 1998, World Checkers Champion Ron Suki King of Barbados set a new record by
simultaneously playing 385 players in 3 hours and 44 minutes. Thus, while his opponents often had hours to plot
their game moves, King could only devote about 35 seconds to each game. Yet he still managed to win all 385
games!] [Smart and Rich? Jay Zagorsky tracked 7403 participants in the US National Longitudinal Survey of
Youth across 25 years. As shown in this scatterplot, their intelligence scores correlated +.30 ( a moderate positive
correlation) with their later income.
How does the existence of savant syndrome support Gardners theory of multiple intelligences?
People with savant syndrome have limited mental ability overall but one or more exceptional skills, which, according
to Howard Gardner, suggests that our abilities come in separate packages rather than being fully expressed by one
general intelligence that encompasses all of our talents.
Sternbergs Three Intelligences
Analytical (academic problem-solving) intelligence assessed by intelligence tests, which present well-
defined problems having a single right answer. Such tests predict school grades reasonably well and vocational
success more modestly.
Creative Intelligence is demonstrated in reacting adaptively to novel situations and generating novel
Practical Intelligence is required for everyday tasks, which may be ill-defined, with multiple solutions.
Although Gardner and Sternberg differ on specific points, they agree that multiple abilities can contribute to life
success. They also agree that the differing varieties of giftedness add spice to life and challenges for education.
However we define intelligence, one thing is clear: Theres more to creativity than intelligence test scores.
Comparing Theories of Intelligence
Theory Summary Strengths Other Considerations
Spearmans A basic intelligence predicts our Different abilities, such as Human abilities are too
general abilities in varied academic areas. verbal and spatial, do have diverse to be encapsulated
intelligence (g) some tendency to