PSYC 2450 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Abecedarian Early Intervention Project, Standard Deviation, Job Performance

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Chapter 10 Intelligence: Measuring Mental Performance 1
Chapter 10
Intelligence: Measuring Mental Performance
Chapter 10 Outline and Summary
What is Intelligence?
When behavioural scientists are asked to provide a “one-sentence” definition of intelligence,
virtually all definitions centre on the ability to think abstractly or solve problems effectively.
However, different theorists have very different ideas about the attributes that are at the core of
intelligence.
1. Psychometric Views of Intelligence
In all psychometric theories, intelligence is conceptualized as a trait or set of traits that
characterize some people to a greater extent than others. The goal for psychometric theorists
is to identify those traits and to measure them so that intellectual differences among
individuals can be described.
a. Alfred Binet's Singular Component Approach
Alfred Binet produced the first modern test of intelligence. The test items were age-graded
for ages 3 through 13. A child’s performance on the Binet-Simon test allowed the tester to
estimate a child’s mental age, based on the items that the child was able to successfully
answer.
b. Factor Analysis and the Multicomponent View of Intelligence
Other theorists challenged the notion that a single score, such as mental age, could
adequately represent human intellectual performance. They suggested that intelligence was
made up of several distinct mental abilities, and these abilities could be identified using a
statistical procedure known as factor analysis. Over the years a number of different factor-
analytic models of intelligence have been proposed.
c. Early Multicomponent Theories of Intelligence
Spearman proposed that intellectual performance has two basic aspects: a g-factor, or
general intellectual ability, and s-factors, or special abilities that are specific to particular
types of tests. In his view the general mental factor (g) affects an individual’s performance
on most cognitive tasks. Thurstone disagreed with Spearman’s theory and suggested there
were seven primary mental abilities, including spatial ability, perceptual speed, numerical
reasoning, verbal meaning, word fluency, memory, and inductive reasoning.
d. Later Multicomponent Theories of Intelligence
Guilford took a different approach to analyzing intellectual ability and suggested that there
are five types of intellectual content (areas that a person can think about), six types of mental
operations (the type of thinking required by a task), and six types of intellectual products
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Chapter 10 Intelligence: Measuring Mental Performance 2
(the type of answer that is required for a given problem). When these three dimensions are
crossed with each other, there are 180 possible basic mental abilities. However, the scores
that people obtain on tests designed to measure these intellectual factors are often correlated;
this suggests that the abilities are not as independent as Guilford has presumed.
Cattell and Horn suggested that Spearman’s g-factor and Thurstone’s seven primary mental
abilities can actually be reduced to two major dimensions of intellect. They propose that
overall intelligence is composed of fluid intelligence (one’s ability to solve novel and
abstract problems that are relatively free of cultural influences) and crystallized intelligence
(one’s ability to solve problems that depend on knowledge acquired as a result of intentional
learning and life experiences).
Many of today’s psychometric models of intelligence are hierarchical models. One model of
this type is Carroll’s three-stratum theory of intelligence. In this model Spearman’s g-factor
is at the first level; but the model implies that each of us may have particular intellectual
strengths or weaknesses that depend on the patterns of second-stratum intellectual abilities
we display. At the third stratum are narrow, domain-specific skills.
2. The Modern Information-Processing Viewpoint
One criticism of psychometric views of intelligence is that they have a narrow focus; they do
not consider the ways in which knowledge is acquired and used to solve problems. They also
do not measure common sense, interpersonal skills, and creativity. Sternberg proposed a
triarchic theory of intelligence that emphasizes three components of intelligent behaviour:
context, experience, and information-processing skills.
a. The Contextual Component
The contextual component implies that the context in which a behaviour occurs will partially
determine whether or not the behaviour is “intelligent.” In everyday language this
component is practical intelligence or “street smarts.”
b. The Experiential Component
The experiential aspect of Sternberg’s theory suggests that individuals may take a long time
to solve novel problems, but that they should show some automatization of cognitive
processing on familiar tasks. It is important that test items be equally familiar to all test
takers in order to reduce any biases, particularly in terms of culture.
c. The Componential (or Information-Processing) Component
The componential aspect of Sternberg’s model encompasses actual information processing.
He argues that traditional psychometric measures of intelligence focus on the correctness of
the final answer that is produced, without considering the processes that an individual used
to produce the response. He suggests that some people process information faster and more
efficiently than others, and our cognitive tests would be improved if they were able to
measure these differences.
3. Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences
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Chapter 10 Intelligence: Measuring Mental Performance 3
Gardner has also criticized psychometric views of intelligence, suggesting that people
display at least seven distinct types of intelligence. The intelligences that Gardner has
identified include linguistic intelligence, spatial intelligence, logical-mathematical
intelligence, musical intelligence, body-kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence
and intrapersonal intelligence, naturalist intelligence, and spiritual/existential intelligence.
Gardner claims that each of these abilities is distinct, is linked to a specific area of the brain,
and follows a different developmental course. Two major criticisms that have been raised
with respect to Gardner’s theory are that the different intelligences he has identified may not
be as independent as he claims, and that some of the characteristics are not the same kind of
mentalistic activities most people define as core to intelligence.
How Is Intelligence Measured?
1. The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale
In 1916 Terman translated and published a revised version of the Binet scale, which came to
be known as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. Originally the Stanford-Binet was scored
using a ratio measure of intelligence developed by Stern. The child’s mental age was divided
by his or her chronological age, and the result was multiplied by 100. This ratio was termed
an intelligence quotient, or IQ. When a child’s mental age and chronological age were the
same, the resulting intelligence quotient would be 100. A score greater than 100 indicated
that the child was performing at a level equivalent to that seen in older children; a score less
than 100 indicated that the child was performing at a level equivalent to that seen in younger
children. IQs are no longer calculated using the actual ratio of mental age to chronological
age, although the interpretation of the score still reflects a child’s performance relative to
that of typical age-mates.
2. The Wechsler Scales
Wechsler has constructed two intelligence tests for children (the WISC-IV and the WPPSI-
III) that contain nonverbal, or performance, subtests in addition to verbal subtests. Three
scores are provided following the administration of a Wechsler test: a verbal IQ, a
performance IQ, and a full-scale IQ. Because the Wechsler tests have separate verbal and
performance components, they are sensitive to inconsistencies in mental skills that may be
early signs of neurological problems or learning disorders. Major cultural differences
between the United States and Canada make devising a Canadian version of the IQ tests
important and a challenge.
3. Distribution of IQ Scores
On all modern IQ tests, people’s scores are normally distributed with a mean of 100 points
and a standard deviation of 15 points. Fewer than 3 percent of all test takers will obtain
scores greater than 130 points, and fewer than 3 percent will obtain scores less than 70
points. The cutoff that is commonly used today to define mental retardation is a score of less
than 70 points on a standardized intelligence test.
4. Group Tests of Mental Performance
The Stanford-Binet and Wechsler scales are individual tests that can take more than an hour
to complete. Today, much more intelligence testing is conducted using group tests. Some of
the more widely used group tests are the Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test, the Canadian
Achievement Test—2, the Lorge-Thorndike Test, and the Graduate Record Examination
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Document Summary

When behavioural scientists are asked to provide a one-sentence definition of intelligence, virtually all definitions centre on the ability to think abstractly or solve problems effectively. However, different theorists have very different ideas about the attributes that are at the core of intelligence: psychometric views of intelligence. In all psychometric theories, intelligence is conceptualized as a trait or set of traits that characterize some people to a greater extent than others. The goal for psychometric theorists is to identify those traits and to measure them so that intellectual differences among individuals can be described: alfred binet"s singular component approach. Alfred binet produced the first modern test of intelligence. The test items were age-graded for ages 3 through 13. A child"s performance on the binet-simon test allowed the tester to estimate a child"s mental age, based on the items that the child was able to successfully answer: factor analysis and the multicomponent view of intelligence.

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