Chapter Ten: Achievement
Individuals Differences in Ability:
What is intelligence?
Debate over whether or not it is a unitary phenomenon or whether it consists of
various separate skills and abilities.
First view: An intelligent individual has a global ability to reason and acquire
knowledge that manifests itself in ways such as memorizing a long poem or
solving a maze.
It is a general characteristic that shows up in the multiple and varied
observable behaviors and activities of any one person.
Second view: An intelligent individual may possess specific talents in some areas
but not in others and may be able to compose a sonata but be unable to solve a
verbal reasoning problem.
Various components of intelligence are seen as essentially independent
and each individual may have areas of strength and weakness.
Should it be define in terms of the products of individuals generate or the
processes people use to solve problems?
Psychometric tradition is the earliest theory of intelligence stating the product
approach, quantifying individual differences in test scores to establish a rank
order of capabilities among the participants tested.
Sir Francis Galton stated that human beings may differ from one another
in certain skills.
James McKeen Cattell devised a series of psychophysical tests that
assessed a person’s ability to sense physical stimuli or perform certain
motor actions. Cattell also coined the term mental test.
Psychometric models are based on the testing of large groups of individuals to
quantify differences in abilities.
Charles Spearman believed that intelligence consists of two parts;
1. “g” A general intelligence factor that he equated with “mental energy.”
2. “various s’s” specific knowledge and abilities such as verbal reasoning or
spatial problem solving.
Louis Thurstone believed that intelligence is composed of several distinct
fundamental capabilities that are completely independent of one another.
Seven primary mental abilities are components of intelligence;
1. Visual comprehension
2. Word fluency
3. Number facility
4. Spatial visualization 5. Memory
7. Perceptual speed
Raymond Cattell and John Horn believed that a distinction can be made between
two types of intelligence.
1. Fluid intelligence consists of the ability to remember a list of words or to
group abstract figures together.
2. Crystalized intelligence consists of skills one acquires as a result of living
in a specific culture.
Intelligence as speed of processing,
Findings state that speed of processing plays a pivotal role in understanding
intelligence but not all intelligent problem solving is done in a speedy way (aka
when deciding on a career or whom to marry) hence why we cannot conclude that
speed of processing is the only essential aspect in intelligence.
Intelligence and working memory,
Involves some form of attentional control, the ability to regulate the amount of
cognitive resources to perform the components of a complex task.
Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence:
Consists of three major subtheories that describe mental functioning,
1. Contextual subtheory asserts that intelligence must be considered as an
adaptation to the unique environment in which the individual lives.
a. Example: we would not administer an intelligence t