In this article we are going to explore the topic of intelligence in psychology. Defining what is intelligence, who the original theorists were and touching on a few different approaches.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
What is intelligence?
- Is it singular or multiple
- One underlying ability or multiple (mutually exclusive) abilities combined
How to measure intelligence?
- Objective and fair
Valid measurements (but of something else)
- Fixed or changeable?
WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE?
Intelligence is an inferred process that humans use to explain the different degrees of adaptive success in people’s behaviour. The mental abilities that enable one to adapt to, shape, or select one’s environment.
The ability to:
- Judge, comprehend, and reason
- Understand and deal with people, objects, and symbols
- Act purposefully, think rationally, and deal effectively with the environment
- 1575 Juan Huarte de San Juan
- Attempt to link psychology to physiology
- Linked to Galen’s 4 humors
- One ‘talent’ linked to temperament and physique
- Theodore Simon and Alfred Binet
- Francis Galton and Charles Spearman
GALTON AND ‘NATURAL ABILITY’
- Genius was hereditary and intelligence linked to survival and natural selection
- Social Darwinism combination of psychometrics, heredity and eugenics
- By matching test scores of mating pairs could ‘improve’ the races
- Believed that via controlled breeding of intelligence could produce a ‘master race’
THE PSYCHOMETRIC APPROACH
- The statistical study of psychological tests Identifies and measures the abilities that underlie individual differences in performance
- A statistical technique that reduces a large number of measures to a smaller number of clusters, or factors
- Each cluster contains variables that correlate highly with one another but less highly with variables in other clusters
THE ‘G’ FACTOR
- Charles Spearman (1923) concluded that intellectual performance is determined partly by a general intelligence factor
- Also determined partly by whatever special abilities might be required to perform a particular task
- ‘g’ constitutes the core of intelligence
- Important predictor of both academic and job performance