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Chapter 9

PSY100Y5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Sandra Scarr, Soltyrei, Heredity

Course Code
Dax Urbszat

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Chapter #9 Intelligence and Psychological Testing
Key Concepts in Psychological Testing
A psychological test is a standardized measure of a sample of a person’s behaviour
o Used to measure the individual differences that exist among people in abilities,
aptitudes, interests, and aspects of personalities
Principal Types of Tests
o Mental Ability Tests
Intelligence tests measure general mental ability
Aptitude tests assess specific types of mental abilities
Achievement tests gauge a person’s mastery and knowledge of various
o Personality Tests
Personality tests measure various aspects of personality, including
motives, interests, values, and attitudes
Standardization and Norms
o Standardization refers to the uniform procedures used in the administration and
scoring of a test
o Test norms provide information about where a score on a psychological test ranks
in relation to other scores on that test
In psychological testing, everything is relative
o A percentile score indicates the percentage of people who score at or below the
score one has obtained
o Reliability refers to the measurement consistency of a test (or of other kinds of
measurement techniques)
A test’s reliability can be estimated in several ways; one widely used
approach is to check test-retest reliability, which is estimated by
comparing subjects’ scores on two administrations of a test
o A correlation coefficient is a numerical index of the degree of relationship
between two variables
The closer the correlation comes to +1.00, the more reliable the test is
The higher the reliability coefficient, the more consistent the test is. As
reliability goes down, concern about measurement error increases
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o Validity refers to the ability of a test to measure what it was designed to measure
o Content Validity
Content Validity refers to the degree to which the content of a test is
representative of the domain it’s supposed to cover
Evaluated with logic more than with statistics
o Criterion-Related Validity
Criterion-related validity is estimated by correlating subjects’ scores on a
test with their scores on an independent criterion (another measure) of the
trait assessed by the test
o Construct Validity
Some psychological tests attempt to measure abstract personal qualities,
such as creativity, intelligence, extraversion, or independence
Construct validity is the extent to which there is evidence that a test
measures a particular hypothetical construct
The Evolution of Intelligence Testing
Galton’s Studies of Hereditary Genius
o Sir Francis Galton concluded tht success runs in families because great
intelligence is passed from generation to generation through genetic inheritance
o To better demonstrate this, Galton needed an objective measure of intelligence
He assumed that the mind is made out of elementary sensations and that
exceptionally bright people should exhibit exceptional sensory activity
Working from this premise, he tried to assess innate mental ability by
measuring simple sensory processes
o Research eventually showed that the sensory processes that he measured were
largely unrelated to other criteria of mental ability that he was trying to predict,
such as success in school or in professional life
o Coined the phrase nature versus nurture
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Binet’s Breakthrough
o In 1904, Alfred Binet was asked to devise a test to identify mentally subnormal
children (they wanted to single out children in need of special training)
o In response, Binet and Theodore Simon published the first useful test of general
mental ability in 1905
Loaded it with abstract reasoning skills, rather than sensory skills like
Galton did
The scale was a success because it was inexpensive, easy to administer,
objective, and capable of predicting children’s performance in school
fairly well
o The Binet-Simon scale expressed a child’s score in terms of “mental level” or
mental age
A child’s mental age indicated that he or she displayed the mental ability
typical of a child of that chronological (actual) age
Terman and the Stanford-Binet
o The Stanford-Binet test incorporated a new scoring scheme based on the
intelligence quotient
Is a child’s mental age divided by chronological age, multiplied by 100
o This made it possible to compare children of different ages
Wechsler’s Innovations
o David Wechsler set out to improve on the measurement of intelligence in adults
o In 1939, he published the first high-quality IQ test designed specifically for
adults, which came to be known as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)
o Characterized by two major innovations:
Wechsler made his scales less dependent on subjects’ verbal ability than
the Stanford-Binet; he included many items that required nonverbal
Discarded the intelligence quotient in favour of a new scoring scheme
based on the normal distribution
The Debate about the Structure of Intelligence
Charles Spearman sparked the debate on the structure of intelligence
In factor analysis, correlations among many variables are analyzed to identify closely
related clusters of variables
o If a number of variables correlate highly with one another, the assumption is that
a single factor is influencing all of them
Spearman concluded that all cognitive abilities share an important core factor
o He labelled this factor g for general mental ability
o Spearman recognized that people also have “special” abilities (numerical
reasoning or spatial ability for instance), but thought that these abilities were
largely determined by their general mental ability
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