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Intelligence. AP Psych Myers – Ch. 11. Intelligence Wars . Intelligence – mental quality consisting of the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations . Socially constructed by a culture Usually referred to as “school smarts”

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AP Psych

Myers – Ch. 11

intelligence wars
Intelligence Wars
  • Intelligence – mental quality consisting of the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations.
    • Socially constructed by a culture
    • Usually referred to as “school smarts”
  • Several intelligence theories
    • Do we have an inborn mental capacity?
    • Can it be quantified with a number?
spearman s general intelligence or g
Spearman’s General Intelligence or g
  • A basic intelligence predicts our abilities in varied academic areas
  • Factor analysis - A statistical procedure that identifies clusters of related items (called factors) on a test
    • Mental abilities tend to form clusters
    • People tend to show about the same level of competence in all abilities in a certain cluster
  • General intelligence (g) – a general intelligence factor that underlies all of our abilities
  • CRITICS - Human abilities are too diverse to be encapsulated by a single general factor
thurstone s primary mental abilities
Thurstone’s Primary Mental Abilities

A single g score is not as informative as scores for seven primary mental abilities

7 intelligence factors: word fluency, verbal comprehension, spatial ability, perceptual speed, numerical ability, inductive reasoning, and memory

CRITICS – 7 factors show tendency to cluster, suggesting an underlying g score.

gardner s multiple intelligences
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

Intelligence is more than just verbal and mathematical skills as other abilities are equally important.

8 intelligences

CRITICS - Should all abilities be considered intelligences? Shouldn’t some of them just be talents instead?

sternberg s triarchic theory of intelligence
Sternberg’sTriarchic Theory of Intelligence

3 areas that can be tested reliably

CRITCS - These three factors are related and can have an underlying g factor. Also, additional testing is needed to determine whether these facets can reliably predict success.

other intelligences
Other Intelligences
  • Social intelligence - the know-how involved in comprehending social situations and managing oneself successfully
  • Emotional intelligence - the ability to perceive, understand, manage, and use emotions.
    • Found to be higher in women
  • The ability to produce novel and valuable ideas
    • Exceptionally creative people do not score higher on intelligence tests than their noncreative peers.
    • Convergent thinking vs. divergent thinking
  • 5 components
    • Expertise
    • Imaginative thinking skills
    • A venturesome personality
    • Intrinsic motivation
    • A creative environment
big brains big smarts
Big Brains = Big Smarts?
  • Some studies have found a correlation between brain size and intelligence scores.
  • More educated, therefore defined intelligent, people have more connections between neurons (more synapses) than less educated people.
    • Chicken or the egg?
brain function and intelligence
Brain Function and Intelligence
  • Frontal lobe is active for tasks such as typical intelligence test questions.
  • Perceptual speed
    • Positive correlation of intelligence score and speed at which perceptual information is taken in.
  • Neurological speed
    • EEG studies show that people who score higher on intelligence tests can register stimuli quicker and with more complexity than others.



savant syndrome
Savant Syndrome
  • A condition in which a person otherwise limited in mental ability has an exceptional specific skill, such as in computation or drawing.
    • 4/5 savants are male
    • Many have autism however, AUTISM ≠ SAVANTISM
  • Intelligence is whatever intelligence tests measure.
    • Intelligence test – a method for assessing an individual’s mental aptitudes and comparing them with those of others, using numerical scores.
  • Alfred Binet
    • All children develop intellectually in the same way but some develop quicker
    • Mental age – a measure of intelligence; the chronological age that most typically corresponds to a given level of performance
  • Lewis Terman (Stanford) revised Binet’s test  Stanford-Binet (American version)
    • adapted some questions, established new age norms, and extended the upper end of the test’s range from teenagers to “superior” adults
  • William Stern (German) developed the intelligence quotient (IQ)

mental age

chronological age

  • IQ no longer computed with intelligence tests; now used as a term to refer to a score on an intelligence test

x 100

misuse of iq and intelligence tests
Misuse of IQ and Intelligence Tests
  • Historically, IQ tests have been used to label certain groups of people (immigrants, etc) as inferior.
  • Again, intelligence tests assess intelligence which is culturally defined (Terman had to adapt the French test to fit the American culture), therefore it is no wonder immigrants did poorly on American intelligence tests and were classified unfairly.
modern tests
Modern Tests
  • Aptitude tests – designed to predict a person’s future performance as aptitude is the capacity to learn.
    • Ex: SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test, formerly called the Scholastic Aptitude Test – seeks to predict your ability to do well in college)
  • Achievement tests – designed to assess what a person has learned.
    • Ex: EOC (End of Course exam – seeks to assess what you learned in the course)
modern tests1
Modern Tests
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) – developed by David Wechsler, the most widely used intelligence test; contains both verbal and nonverbal subtests
    • 11 subtests
    • Yields an overall intelligence score, and also scores for verbal comprehension, perceptual organization, working memory, and processing speed.
    • Results are important to identify learning disabilities or brain disorders (important for teachers, employers, and therapists)
    • Also a version for children
principles to test construction standardization
Principles to Test Construction: Standardization
  • Standardization – defining meaningful scores by comparison with the performance of a pretested standardization group, while also using uniform instructions for administration of test.
    • Tests need to be constantly restandardized to properly assess different generations – Flynn effect = intelligence scores have been rising over time.
principles to test construction standardization1
Principles to Test Construction: Standardization

When a test is standardized, the results when graphed typically form a normal curve – symmetrical bell-shaped curve that describes the distribution of many psychical and psychological attributes; most scores fall near the average and fewer and fewer scores lie near the extreme.

On an intelligence test, the average score is 100.

principles to test construction reliability
Principles to Test Construction: Reliability
  • The extent to which a test yields consistent results
    • Measured by 2 test halves, alternate forms, or retesting
    • People should generally score the same when the test is taken multiple times
principles of test construction validity
Principles of Test Construction: Validity
  • the extent to which a test measures or predicts what it is supposed to
    • Content validity – the extent to which a test samples the behavior that is of interest
      • Ex: a driving test assess driving tasks
    • Predictive validity – the success with which a test predicts the behavior it is designed to predict
      • Criterion – the behavior a test is designed to predict
      • Ex: the SAT is designed to predict future college performance which is the criterion
extremes of intelligence below 70
Extremes of Intelligence – Below 70
  • Mental retardation – a condition of limited mental ability , indicated by an intelligence score of 70 or below and difficult in adapting to the demands of life; varies from mild to profound.
  • Mental retardation can sometimes have a physical cause – Down syndrome – a condition of retardation and associated physical disorders caused by an extra chromosome in one’s genetic makeup.
mental retardation severity
Mental Retardation Severity
  • Many with intelligence scores just below 70 have been integrated into regular education classrooms and mainstream society  more happiness and dignity.
extremes of intelligence above 130
Extremes of Intelligence – Above 130
  • Some extraordinarily intelligent children are more isolated and introverted, but most thrive and continue on to higher education.
    • Chicken or the egg?
  • Controversy over gifted children programs: not as many children labeled as gifted are actually extraordinarily gifted
  • “Tracking” children of different abilities can cause them to live up or down to a perception of their intelligence/abilities (self-fulfilling prophecy)
nature and nurture
Nature and Nurture



  • Twin studies show that identical twins reared together have almost identical intelligence scores
  • Adoptive children’s intelligence scores tend to resemble those of their birth parents rather than adoptive parents.
  • Intelligence score of identical twins raised apart is less similar than scores of pairs raised together.
  • Other studies have shown that children raised in impoverished or enriched environments or different cultures show that experiences influence test performance.
gender differences
Gender Differences



better spellers

more verbally fluent and can remember more words

better at nonverbal memory

more sensitive to touch, taste, and color

better at math computation

higher emotional intelligence - empathy

better at math problem solving

more underachievers

the question of bias
The Question of Bias
  • Scientific bias – however, intelligence tests, like the SAT, are not biased in the fact that they are less valid for some groups.
    • The predictive validity of the SAT (as in whether it accurately predicts future behaviors) is the same for men and women, blacks and whites, and the rich and poor.
  • Stereotype threat– the self-confirming belief that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype.
  • Are intelligence tests discriminatory?
    • Yes – they are designed to distinguish individuals apart from their peers.
    • No – they are not designed to distinguish individuals based on political, racial, or ethnic backgrounds