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Chapter 8

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Rutgers University
Margaret Ingate

Chapter 8: Intelligence and Academic Achievement  What is Intelligence? o Intelligence can be described at three levels of analysis: as one thing, as a few things, or as many things. o Intelligence as a Single Trait  Some researchers view intelligence as a simple entity that influences all aspects of cognitive functioning.  g (general intelligence): the part of intelligence that is common to all intellectual tasks  Measures of g correlate positively with school grades and achievement test performance.  G correlates with information-processing speed, with speed of neural transmission, and with brain volume. o Intelligence as a Few Basic Abilities  There are two types of intelligence:  Fluid intelligence: ability to think on the spot to solve novel problems. o Ex. Drawing inferences and understanding relations between concepts that have not been encountered previously. o Related to:  Brain size- size of the cortex  Amount of activation of specific brain areas- prefrontal cortex and the parietal area, on tasks that require attention and problem solving. o Peaks in early adulthood, around 20, and slowly declines thereafter  Crystallized intelligence: factual knowledge about the world o Ex. Word meanings, state capitals, answers to arithmetic problems, etc. o Reflects long-term memory for prior experiences and is closely related to verbal ability o Hippocampus is the crucial brain region o Increases steadily from early in life to old age  Distinction between fluid and crystallized intelligence is supported by the fact that tests of each type correlate more highly with each other than they do with tests of the other type.  Primary mental abilities: seven abilities said by Thurstone to be crucial to intelligence o Word fluency, verbal meaning, reasoning, spatial visualization, numbering, rote memory, perceptual speed. o Intelligence as Numerous Processes  Viewing intelligence as “many things” allows more precise specification on the processes involved in intelligent behavior. o A Proposed Resolution  Three-stratum theory of intelligence: Carroll’s model of intelligence, including g at the top of the hierarchy, eight moderately general abilities in the middle, and many specific processes at the bottom  Generalized intelligence influences all of the moderately general abilities, and both general intelligence and the moderately general abilities influence the specific processes.  All three levels of analysis are necessary to account for the totality of facts about intelligence.  Measuring Intelligence o Binet- the best way to measure intelligence is by observing people’s actions on tasks that require a variety of types of intelligence: problem solving, memory, language comprehension, spatial reasoning, and so on. o The Contents of Intelligence Tests  Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC): a widely used test designed to measure the intelligence of children 6 years and older  General ability, several moderately general abilities, and a large number of specific skills o The Intelligence Quotient (IQ)  IQ (intelligence quotient): a summary measured used to indicate a child’s intelligence relative to that of other children of the same age  Normal distribution: a pattern of data in which scores fall symmetrically around a mean value, with most scores falling close to the mean and fewer and fewer scores farther from it  Standard deviation: a measure of the variability of scores in a distribution; in a normal distribution, 68% of scores fall within 1 standard deviation of the mean and 95% of scores fall within 2 standard deviations.  Continuity of IQ Scores  Changes are due to in part by random variation.  Testing Infants’ Intelligence  Difficult because many abilities that play large roles in later intelligence are only minimally developed in infancy and cannot be reliably measured.  IQ Scores as Predictors of Important Outcomes o IQ scores correlate positively and quite strongly with school grades and achievement test performance, and also with long-term educational achievement. o There are other predictors of IQ  Self-discipline: the ability to inhibit actions, follow rules, and avoid impulse reactions  Practical intelligence: mental abilities not measured on IQ tests but important for success in many situations, such as accurately reading other people’s emotions and intentions and motivating others to work effectively as a team  Characteristics of the environment  Genes, Environment, and the Development of Intelligence o Qualities of the Child  Genetic Contributions to Intelligence  Genes have a substantial influence on intelligence which varies greatly with change: o Relatively modest in early childhood and becomes very large by adolescence and adulthood.  Some genetic processes do not exert their effects on IQ until later childhood and adolescence.  Children’s increasing independence with age allows them greater freedom to choose environments that are compatible with their own genetically based preferences.  Genotype-Environment Interactions  Environments children encounter are influenced by their genotype, which involved three types of effects: o Passive: arise when children are raised by their biological parents  Occur because of the overlap between their parent’s genes and their own o Evocative: emerge through children’s eliciting or influencing other people’s behavior. o Active: involve children choosing environments that they enjoy. o Influences of the Immediate Environment  Family Influences  HOME (Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment) o Samples various aspects of children’s home life, including the organization and safety of living space; the intellectual stimulation offered by parents; whether children have books of their own; the amount of parent-child interaction; the parents’ o Influence of Society  Flynn effect: the rise in average IQ scores that has occurred over the past 75 years in many countries.  Effects of Poverty  The more years children spend in poverty, the lower their IQs tend to be  Negative effects due to: o Inadequate diet o Reduced access to health services o Inadequate parenting o Insufficient intellectual stimulation o Insufficient emotional support  Race, Ethnicity, and Intelligence  The average IQ scores of children of different racial and ethnic group do differ. o Asian-American children 3 points higher than Euro-Americans. o Euro-Americans are 11 points higher than African-Americans o Latino and American I
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