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Psychology Chapter 10
Terms in this set (36)
the mental potential to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations
discuss the difficulty of defining intelligence, and explain what it means to reify intelligence
Intelligence is a socially constructed concept that differs from culture to culture. The two big controversies in current research on intelligence are (1) whether it is one overall ability or many, and (2) whether neuroscientists can locate and measure intelligence within the brain. To reify intelligence is to treat it as though it were a real object, not an abstract concept. Most psychologists now define intelligence as the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and adapt to new situations.
general intelligence (g) factor
a general intelligence factor that, according to Spearman and others, underlies specific mental abilities and is therefore measured by every task on an intelligence test
a statistical method used to describe variability among observed, correlated variables in terms of a potentially lower number of unobserved variables called factors
present arguments for and against considering intelligence as one general mental ability
Arguments for considering intelligence as a general mental ability underlying all specific mental abilities are based in part on factor analysis. This statistical procedure has been used to show that mental abilities tend to form clusters, and that people tend to show about the same level of competence in all abilities in the cluster. In the mid-twentieth century, Charles Spearman (a developer of factor analysis) named this common level of intelligence the g factor. Some psychologists today agree with Spear-man's idea that we have a common level of intelligence that can predict our abilities in all other academic areas.
a condition in which a person otherwise limited in mental abilities has an exceptional specific skill, such as in computation or drawing
distinguishes three aspects of intelligence: analytic skills, such as the ability to think abstractly and evaluate information; creativity, the ability to invent novel solutions or ideas; and practical skills, which enable one to cope with concrete situations;
formulated in the 1980s by Robert Sternberg
compare Gardner's and Sternberg's theories of intelligence
Howard Gardner disputes the idea of one general intelligence. He proposes eight independent intelligences: linguistic (word smarts), logical-mathematical (number smarts), musical (music smarts), spatial (space smarts), bodily-kinesthetic (body smarts), intrapersonal (self smarts), interpersonal (people smarts), and natural (nature smarts). Robert Sternberg's triarchic theory proposes only three intelligences: analytical (academic problem solving), creative, and practical intelligences.
the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others
identify the factors associated with creativity, and describe the relationship between creativity and intelligence
Creativity is the ability to produce novel and valuable ideas. It correlates somewhat with intelligence, but beyond a score of120, that correlation dwindles. It also correlates with expertise, imaginative thinking skills, a venturesome personality, intrinsic motivation, and the support offered by a creative environment. Different brain areas are active when we engage in convergent thinking (the type required for intelligence test solutions) and divergent thinking (the type required for multiple imaginative solutions)
the ability to perceive, understand, manage, and use emotions
describe the four components of emotional intelligence, and discuss criticisms of this concept
The four components of emotional intelligence are the ability to perceive emotions (to recognize them in faces, music, and stories), to understand emotions (to predict them and how they change and blend), to manage emotions (to know how to express them in varied situations), and to use emotions. Critics of the idea of emotional intelligence question whether we stretch the idea of intelligence too far when we apply it to emotions.
describe the relationship between intelligence and brain anatomy
Recent studies indicate some correlation (about +.40) between brain size (adjusted for body size) and intelligence score. The brain's tendency to decrease in size during late adulthood, as nonverbal intelligence test scores also decrease, supports this idea to some extent. And autopsies of some highly educated people revealed above-average volumes of synapses and gray matter. But the direction of the relationship is not clear. Larger brain size may enable greater intelligence; greater intelligence may lead to experiences that exercise the brain and build more connections, thus increasing its size; or some third factor may be at work
discuss findings on the correlations between perceptual speed, neural processing speed, and intelligence
Studies of brain functioning show that people who score high on intelligence tests tend also to retrieve information from memory more quickly, and to perceive stimuli faster than others. These differences are reflected in neurological studies that show faster brain response times.
a measure of intelligence test performance formed by Binet;
the chronological age that most typically corresponds to a given level of performance;
thus, a child who does as well as an average eight-year-old is said to have a mental age of eight
the widely used American revision (by Terman at Stanford University) of Binet's original intelligence test
intelligence quotient (IQ)
defined originally as the ratio of mental age (ma) to chronological age (ca) multiplied by 100 (IQ = ma/ca x 100);
on contemporary intelligence tests, the average performance for a given age is assigned a score of 100
discuss the history of intelligence testing
A century ago in France, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon began modern intelligence-testing movement by developing questions that helped predict children's future progress in school. Lewis Terman revised Binet's work for the US. Terman believed his Stanford-Binet could help guide people toward appropriate opportunities, but more than Binet, he believed intelligence is inherited. In the early 20th century, intelligence tests were sometimes used to document assumptions about the innate inferiority of certain ethnic and immigrant groups. Intelligence test scores have been expressed as an intelligence quotient (IQ), by dividing mental age by chronological age times 100.
tests the ability to learn or to develop proficiency in an area
designed to measure a person's level of skill, accomplishment, or knowledge in a specific area
weschler adult intelligence scale (WAIS)
the WAIS and its companion versions for children are the most widely used intelligence tests;
contain verbal and performance (nonverbal) subtests
distinguish between aptitude and achievement tests, and describe modern tests of mental abilities such as the WAIS
Aptitude tests predict what you can learn. Achievement tests assess what you have learned. The WAIS (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale), is the most widely used intelligence test on adults. Wechsler scales are used to test intelligence in preschool and children. The SAT is an aptitude test, and in one study, test-takers' total SAT scores and their score on a test of general intelligence correlated at a very high level: +.82
designing uniform testing procedures and meaningful scores by comparison with the performance of a pretested group
the bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many physical and psychological attributes;
most scores fall near the average, and fewer scores lie near the extremes
discuss the importance of standardizing psychological tests, and describe the distribution of scores in a normal curve
Standardization establishes a basis for meaningful score comparisons by giving a test to a representative sample of future test-takers. The distribution of test scores often forms a normal (bell-shaped) curve around the central average score, with fewer and fewer scores at the extremes.
describe the stability of intelligence scores over the life span
Cross-sectional studies (comparing people of different ages) and longitudinal studies (retesting the same cohort over a period of years) have shown that fluid intelligence declines in older adults, in part because neural processing slows. Crystallized intelligence tends to increase. The stability of intelligence test scores increases with age. At age 4, scores fluctuate somewhat but begin to predict adolescent and adult scores. By early adolescence, scores are very stable and predictive.
now referred to as intellectual disability;
a condition of limited mental ability, indicated by an intelligence score of 70 or below and difficulty adapting to the demands of life
a condition of mild to severe intellectual disability and associated physical disorders caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21
any child who is naturally endowed with a high degree of general mental ability or extraordinary ability in a specific sphere of activity or knowledge
describe the two extremes of the normal distribution of intelligence
An intelligence test score of or below 70 is one diagnostic criterion for the diagnosis of intellectual disability (others are limited conceptual, social, and practical skills). People with this diagnosis vary from near-normal to requiring constant aid and supervision. Down syndrome is a developmental disorder caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. High-scoring people tend to be healthy and well-adjusted, as well as unusually successful academically. Schools sometimes "track" such children, separating them from students with lower scores. Such programs can become self-fulfilling prophecies as both groups live up to—or down to—others' perceptions and expectations.
the proportion of variation among individuals that we can attribute to genes;
the heritability of a trait may vary, depending on the range of populations and environments studied
discuss the evidence for environmental influences on individual intelligence
Studies of twins, family members, and adoptees also provide evidence of environmental influences. Test scores of identical twins raised apart are slightly less similar (though still very highly correlated) than the scores of identical twins raised together. Studies of children reared in extremely impoverished environments with minimal social interaction indicate that life experiences can significantly influence intelligence test performance. No evidence supports the idea that normal, healthy children can be molded into geniuses by growing up in an exceptionally enriched environment.
describe gender differences in abilities
Males and females tend to have the same average intelligence test scores. They differ in some specific abilities. Girls are better spellers, more verbally fluent, better at locating objects, better at detecting emotions, and more sensitive to touch, taste, and color. Boys outperform girls at spatial ability and related mathematics, though girls outperform boys in math computation. Boys also outnumber girls at the low and high extremes of mental abilities. Psychologists debate evolutionary, brain-based, and cultural explanations of such gender differences.
describe ethnic similarities and differences in intelligence test scores, and discuss some genetic and environmental factors that might explain them
As a group, American Whites have scored higher than their Hispanic and Black counterparts; this gap was wider a half-century ago than it is now. The evidence suggests that environmental differences are largely, perhaps entirely responsible for these group differences.
a self-confirming concern that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype
discuss whether intelligence tests are biased, and describe the stereotype threat phenomenon
Aptitude tests aim to predict how well a test-taker will perform in a given situation. So they are necessarily "biased" in the sense that they are sensitive to performance differences caused by cultural experience. By "inappropriately biased," psychologists mean that a test predicts less accurately for one group than for another. In this sense, most experts consider the major aptitude tests unbiased. Stereotype threat, a self-confirming concern that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype, affects performance on all kinds of tests.