Chapter Ten: Achievement

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Psychology & Brain Sciences
Lori Astheimer Best

Developmental Psychology 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. Psychometric approaches,  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 6. Reasoning 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
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