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Intelligence. OUTCOMES. Differentiate between fluid and crystallized intelligence's Differentiate between Analytical and Divergent Thinking Examine the reliability, validity and standardisation of intelligence test Discuss different forms of intelligence

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  • Differentiate between fluid and crystallized intelligence's
  • Differentiate between Analytical and Divergent Thinking
  • Examine the reliability, validity and standardisation of intelligence test
  • Discuss different forms of intelligence
  • Identify the processes involved in the encoding, storage and retrieval of memory
who is the smartest person you know
Who is the smartest person you know?

What characteristics lead you to believe they are so intelligent?

What specific area do they excel in?

Do you know anything about their childhood, were they always considered ‘genius’.

Oh hey there “nature vs. nurture” debate…

do we inherit intelligence from our parents
Do we inherit intelligence from our parents?

What are the origins of intelligence? Is there any truth to the claim that genes determine it, or is intelligence solely the result of environmental factors?

We do know that people who share genes tend to have similar mental capabilities. Identical twins have near-identical genetic codes, and they often score nearly the same on intelligence tests. Biological children and their parents, who are likewise genetically similar, are more likely to have similar IQs than adopted children and their parents.

Measurable physiological factors also support biological and possibly genetic influences that affect intelligence. For one thing, larger brain size is loosely correlated with greater intelligence. So are the brain's glucose metabolic rate, or the speed at which it makes energy, and the speed of brain waves. But none of these things are solely responsible for intelligence.

Still, research shows that we aren't born with a biologically predetermined amount of intelligence that remains fixed for our whole lives. Environmental influences have been shown to impact test results. Both fluid intelligence, or the ability to learn new ways of doing things, and crystallized intelligence, or the stockpile of knowledge we've accumulated throughout our whole lives, have been shown to change over time.


The environments in which we live influence our intelligence. Twins raised in the same environment have IQs that are more similar than twins raised in different homes. Other studies suggest that peer groups, the people you associate with, can impact intelligence. For these reasons, education generally tends to improve intelligence, but poverty seems to harm it.

It's hard to distinguish between the hereditary and environmental factors that affect intelligence. Family members who share similar genetic makeup usually share living environments, too. Twin studies that look at twins separated at birth are one of the few ways for us to understand the impact of genes versus environment on intelligence.


Intelligence is a fascinating, though complex subject, and it’s one that is difficult to study for that reason. Researchers have developed IQ tests to try and create some kind of objective, quantitative measure of human intelligence. Despite their many flaws, IQ tests present a clear quantitative bell curve with 95% of their participants scoring within a range of 70 to 130.

There are a couple different classifications of IQ scores. One common classification is Wechsler’s, which ranks 90-109 as the true average. 120-129 is High, and 130 and over is “Gifted.” 80-89 is Low Average, 70-79 is “Borderline,” and below 69 is “Extremely Low.” The Stanford-Binet Scale of Human Intelligence rates those with scores 145 and above as Genius.

who is the smartest
Who is the smartest?

So who has the highest IQ ever recorded? Unfortunately it is a little difficult to actually answer this question with a specific name, though there are several contenders for the highest IQ in the world. The reason it is tough to give a really firm answer to this question is that the test really was designed with the regular population in mind. Individuals who rank as extreme outliers are all so far removed from the normal population that a separate test would really need to be developed to sort these people according to their own gifts.

fluid and crystalized intelligence
Fluid and Crystalized Intelligence

Psychologist Raymond Cattell first proposed the concepts of fluid and crystallized intelligence and further developed the theory with John Horn. The Cattell-Horn theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence suggests that intelligence is composed of a number of different abilities that interact and work together to produce overall individual intelligence.

general intelligence
General Intelligence

Broken down into two types.

Crystallized intelligence refers to the knowledge and skills that are accumulated over a lifetime. This type of intelligence tends to increase with age.

Crystallized intelligence along with its counterpart, fluid intelligence, are both factors of what psychologist Raymond Cattell described as general intelligence. While crystallized intelligence involves learning, knowledge and skills, fluid intelligence involves our ability to reason and make sense of abstract information.

one more time
One more time…

Fluid intelligence is more or less the ability to quickly adapt to and solve problems even in an unfamiliar situation. If you heard people talk about street smarts, they are more or less describing fluid intelligence.

On the other hand, crystallized intelligence is what Cattell referred to as the ability to make use of acquired information or knowledge. People who possess high levels of crystallized intelligence are people who are commonly referred to as having book smarts. Crystallized intelligence is generally long-lasting and commonly improves with experience. Examples of crystallized intelligence would be things such as knowledge of facts and possessing a foundation of knowledge on specific topic(s).

fluid intelligence quiz
Fluid Intelligence Quiz.

Imagine that you are standing still with a string hanging down from the ceiling on either side of you, one just to your left and another just to your right. The strings are far enough apart that you cannot reach both of them at the same without moving your feet. There is also a table on your right side that has a pair of pliers on it that is within your reach. Your task is to tie the two strings together without moving your feet. What are you going to do?

analytic vs divergent thinking
Analytic vs Divergent Thinking

Some people tend to think more analytically, while some are creative thinkers by nature. Is creativity an important skill for solving problems?

Analytical intelligence: good at answering questions with a single answer. CAT

Divergent thinkers: good at finding a variety of answer to a problem or question. CHAIR


Analytical intelligence and divergent thinking are two different approaches to problem solving.

Analytical intelligence helps us to solve problems that have single correct answers (like how many ways you can rearrange the letters in cat), and divergent thinking cultivates the appreciation of multiple possibilities (like the many ways you can solve the problem of the broken chair).

Divergent thinking is associated with creativity. Aside from divergent thinking, expertise, intrinsic motivation and willingness to take risks can all help to nurture creativity.

history of intelligence testing
History of Intelligence Testing

Psychologists have tried lots of different ways to measure intelligence. The earliest well-known intelligence test was developed by French psychologist Alfred Binet. The French government wanted a way to identify students with learning disabilities, so Binet conducted studies to determine the average performance levels for different school-age groups.

You may have heard of an IQ test. You may have even taken one. Binet's research provides the groundwork for this type of test by outlining the concept of IQ, or Intelligence Quotient.

A person who's intelligent according to these kinds of tests performs at a higher level compared to others who are at the same chronological age. The average score on an IQ test is 100.

intro to iq tests
Intro to IQ tests

try to recall an instance in time when you were given an IQ test. Now try to think even harder as to what types of questions were asked on that test. You may have remembered the questions on the test as being different from questions usually asked on school tests. You may have also recalled that the questions were based on thinking skills rather than on knowledge content. Here lies the fundamental difference that separates intelligence tests from all other forms of tests. That is, the goal of intelligence tests is to test for your innate ability to think rather than to measure the amount of information you know

standard deviations
Standard Deviations…

Finally, one last distinct property of intelligence testing is that the scores are normalized with 100 representing the overall mean score. Every score difference of 15 from the mean encompasses one standard deviation of the entire population of people. Thus, scores ranging from 85 to 115 cover the first standard deviation, while scores ranging from 70 to 130 cover the second. This pattern can be applied to standard deviations of 3 and so on. Furthermore, one standard deviation accounts for 68% of the population, and two standard deviations account for 95% of the population. This means that 68% of the population have IQs between the ranges of 85 and 115, and 95% of the population have IQs between the ranges of 70 and 130 (Intelligence and Creativity). Therefore, using these population distributions, IQ limits have been placed to identify the IQ cutoff points for genius, normal, and retarded individuals.

what are the social implications of intelligence testing
What are the social implications of Intelligence Testing?

Why do we care who’s ‘smarter’

What would be the benefit from ranking ourselves?

Are the tests actually accurate?

What are some potential problems you could see with IQ tests?

social darwinism
Social Darwinism…

Many developments in intelligence testing occurred in the U.S., where they were messily intertwined with the American eugenics movement. The term eugenics was coined by an Englishman, Sir Francis Galton, who was the grandson of Charles Darwin, the famous evolutionary natural biologist.

Eugenics quite literally means 'good genes,' and it refers to the goal of improving the genetic makeup of a population by reducing or eliminating allegedly inferior genes.

You can probably already see where intelligence testing fits into this; the tests were used to determine who had the 'inferior genes.' Galton and others mistakenly believed that the principles of Darwinian evolution - which effects change over the course of many generations - could be applied to rid the population of what they felt were 'undesirable' human social characteristics. Social Darwinism, as the principle behind eugenics is frequently called, resulted in artificial rather than natural selection for traits deemed most acceptable by high-status Americans. It resulted in unfair treatment of racial minorities, who by the standards of the day, were assumed to represent 'less evolved' forms of humans

moving forward
Moving forward.

There have been some attempts to move intelligence testing away from these problematic, single-factor measurements. Psychologist David Wechsler was dissatisfied with the Binet-based intelligence tests.

he created tests that were divided into two main areas: verbal-based questions and non-verbal tasks like pattern recognition, each of which are further subdivided. Wechsler's tests are scored differently than Binet's, though the average score is still 100.

To summarize, the history of intelligence testing, at least in the United States, has both provided a way to measure capabilities and led to troubling assumptions about differences in intelligence between ethnic groups.

Psychologist David Wechsler developed new types of intelligence tests that measured not only mental abilities, but also a variety of abilities necessary to succeed in life, including personality and emotional traits. Wechsler also argued that a person's circumstances, such as educational and socioeconomic factors, should be kept in mind when evaluating intelligence


‘We need to think of intelligence like the Olympics. Is the gold medal winner in the marathon fitter than the gold medallist in the 100m sprint?’

This will come as a relief to those who failed to shine when taking an IQ test.

After conducting the largest ever study of intelligence, researchers have found that far from indicating how clever you are, IQ testing is actually rather ‘meaningless’.

In a bid to investigate the value of IQ, scientists asked more than 100,000 participants to complete 12 tests that required planning, reasoning, memory and attention.

'We need to stop trying to simplify the brain, which is very complicated organ, down to a number.

‘IQ tests are pretty meaningless - if you are not good at them, all it proves is that you are not good at IQ tests.

'It does not say anything about your general intelligence.’ The majority of IQ tests were developed in the 50s and 60s when the way we thought and interacted with the world was different, said Dr Owen.

They discovered that far from being down to one single factor, what is commonly regarded as intelligence is influenced by three different elements - short-term memory, reasoning, and verbal ability.

standardization validity and reliability of iq tests
Standardization, Validity, and Reliability Of IQ tests.

There are three defining features that separate a good test of intelligence from a poor one. These three features are standardization, validity, and reliability.

Standardization refers to whether or not testing conditions are uniform for all test-takers (Intelligence and Creativity).

For example, students may be unfairly disadvantaged when noise or other distracters are present in the room during testing. The students' scores, as a result, may be lower than what would normally be expected of those students.

However, standardization need not only refer to externally factors. The IQ tests also must be standardized so as to not ask culturally specific questions. That is, tests should not ask questions that may be particularly difficult for certain cultural groups.

In this way, intelligence tests should ideally be able to be applied universally to any student regardless of cultural affiliations.


Reliability in intelligence testing refers to whether or not the IQ tests will yield similar measures for the same students when taken at different time periods (Intelligence and Creativity).

Will one reading of intelligence agree with a later reading, or will the two measures contrast sharply?

Clearly reliability, in this sense, is important to the domain of intelligence tests. If the tests are not reliable, then the scores derived from such tests cannot be held to any degree of significance. For example, consider the case where a student scores 75 on a particular test one day and 140 the other day. The measures are too unstable to be used for any analytical purposes.


In the domain of intelligence testing, validity refers to whether or not the IQ tests truly represent a measure for general aptitude (Intelligence and Creativity).

It is essential that these tests present questions that examine human intelligence rather than for some other abstract dimension.

For example, an intelligence test that only assesses history-related knowledge will not accomplish its goal of measuring general intelligence. Furthermore, it is also vital that IQ tests accurately predict school performance based on its measures. An intelligence test that poorly predicts school performance contradicts the purpose for which the test was designed.

1 visual intelligence
1. Visual Intelligence

You might have visual intelligence if you picture ideas or make mind maps.

American architect Frank Lloyd Wright provides a good example of someone who's 'picture smart,' because when he designed buildings, he could visualize spatial patterns, such as building design, before they were built.

2 linguistic intelligence
2. Linguistic Intelligence

Are you a good storyteller? If so, you're 'word smart' and have the ability to speak and write well.

Shakespeare used his high linguistic intelligence to write plays that have been loved for hundreds of years.

3 logical and mathematical intelligence
3. Logical and Mathematical Intelligence

Can you think of someone who's 'number smart'?

Einstein had a skill for solving problems using deductive reasoning. Physicists and chess players employ logical and mathematical intelligence.

4 musical intelligence
4. Musical Intelligence

If you only need to listen to a song once to be able to play it by ear, you're 'music smart.'

Mozart and others with advanced musical intelligence are sensitive to sound patterns.

5 bodily and kinesthetic intelligence
5. Bodily and Kinesthetic Intelligence

I learn faster when I can do an experiment myself. Instead of reading an astronomy textbook, I'd rather learn by looking at the stars.

Athletes and surgeons also use 'body smarts' when they execute physical tasks. Michael Jordan excels in bodily and kinesthetic intelligence.

6 interpersonal intelligence
6. Interpersonal Intelligence

Do you have Interpersonal Intelligence or the ability to work well with others? Are you a social butterfly who always gets everyone together?

Mother Theresa of Calcutta had a gift for working well with others through her Missionaries of Charity, as do others who are 'people smart.'

7 intrapersonal intelligence
7. Intrapersonal Intelligence

Do you keep a journal of your personal viewpoints about events? People who are 'self smart' often reflect on their own emotions and thoughts about things.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has a deep understanding of himself and is thus a prime example of someone with intrapersonal intelligence.

8 naturalist intelligence
8. Naturalist Intelligence

As a scientist, I classify things in order to better understand them. When I do this, I use naturalist intelligence.

Jane Goodall used her innate curiosity and 'nature smarts' to recognize patterns in chimpanzee behavior. Her approach lead to new insights that differed from those of other scientists who had previously used 'number smarts' to statistically analyze chimps.

closing thoughts
Closing thoughts.

Some people endorse the idea of multiple intelligences but propose other types of problem-solving skills that aren't included in Gardner's list of types.

Nonetheless, the basic idea of Gardner's theory is that there are many ways that people can be smart, and intelligence is not only one thing.

Being smart in one area doesn't necessarily mean you can work out problems in all areas, because different problems require different skill sets to solve. So, you may be good at solving math problems but be terrible at interpersonal relationships. As our understanding of the world has broadened, the ways in which we've come to know the world have also had to grow.

quick link if you want to feel bad about yourself
Quick Link if you want to feel bad about yourself 

multiple intelligences
Multiple Intelligences

When you hear the word intelligence, the concept of IQ testing may immediately come to mind. Intelligence is often defined as our intellectual potential; something we are born with, something that can be measured and a capacity that is difficult to change. In recent years, however, other views of intelligence have emerged. One such conception is the theory of multiple intelligences proposed by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner.