CHAPTER 09: INTELLIGENCE, APTITUDE, AND COGNITIVE ABILITIES
Module 9.2 Understanding Intelligence
Recall: Intelligence is composed of the ability to think, understand, reason, and
cognitively adapt to and overcome obstacles.
INTELLIGENCE AS A SINGLE, GENERAL ABILITY
Sometimes there are some individuals that have high general intelligence and can
apply themselves to all sorts of problems
Reversely, there are others that have low general intelligence and will struggle
across various of tasks
Scientific arguments and evidence for general intelligence date back to the early
20 century to Charles Spearman
o Spearman (1923) began developing techniques to measure the correlation
of mental abilities over a wide variety of tasks, one of which is called the
Factor analysis is a statistical technique that reveals similarities among a wide variety of
o I.e. different measures of vocabulary, reading comprehension, and verbal
reasoning might overlap to form a “language ability” factor; furthermore,
someone who is good at algebra may likely be good at geometry and
Spearman’s General Intelligence
The correlations among different mental abilities led Spearman to hypothesize the
existence of general intelligence
General intelligence (abbrv. to ‘g’) is a concept that intelligence is a basic cognitive trait
comprising the ability to learn, reason, and solve problems regardless of their nature.
Working the Scientific Literacy Model
What do we known about different types of intelligence?
Intelligence appears to be divisible into two different categories: fluid intelligence
and crystallized intelligence
Fluid intelligence (Gf) is a type of intelligence that is used to adapt to new situations and
solve new problems without relying on previous knowledge i.e. solving geometric
Crystallized intelligence (Gc) is a form of intelligence that relies on extensive
experience and knowledge and, therefore, tends to be relatively stable and robust i.e.
vocabulary, similarity/difference, reading comprehension since these measures all require
1 INTELLIGENCE AS MULTIPLE SPECIFIC ABILITIES
People who are exceptional to some tasks but average or below average in other
tasks emphasizes multiple, specific abilities
Each of these abilities has one specific function that be unrelated to another
ability’s function though mental ability contributes to overall thought
Spearman’s techniques were even used to argue against general intelligence i.e.
Thurstone examined scores of general intelligence tests and found seven different
clusters of primary mental abilities incl. topics such as reading comprehension,
spatial reasoning, numerical ability, and memory span
o If individual experiences head trauma, they may lose one ability such as
language but yet experience no alteration in other aspects of intelligence
i.e. person mayn’t understand sentences involving passive voice (“The ball
was chased by the dog.”) but rather active ones (“The dog chased the
Savants are individuals with low mental capacity in most domains but extraordinary
abilities in other specific areas such as music, mathematics, or art.
If intelligence was a single ability, such discrepancies wouldn’t exist
o When psychologists look beyond traditional forms of intelligence (i.e.
math, language, and problemsolving ability), they find people with
varying forms of intelligence that are ill explained by general intelligence
People with autism generally do very well on some measures of intelligence,
typically those that require little or no social interactions with a test giver
With this in mind, many psychologists formed models of intelligence i.e. Robert
Sternberg offers the triarchic theory of intelligence – model of intelligence
consisting of three domains:
1. Analytical intelligence
Verbal, mathematical problemsolving type of intelligence