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Intelligence Testing

Melissa Stern
PSY 4930
October 3, 2006
What is Intelligence?

A loaded question . . .
Ability to modify ones behavior to meet
demands of the situation
Abstract reasoning (using symbols or mental
Capacity to acquire knowledge
Problem solving ability
Definition of Intelligence

Common to many definitions of intelligence

Knowledge-based thinking
Adaptive purposeful striving
Fluid analytic reasoning
Mental playfulness
Idiosyncratic learning
Theories of Intelligence
Terman coined the term Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
in 1916
Mental age/Chronological age
Spearmans 2 Factor Theory (1927)
Intelligence =
General factors (g) mental energy
E.g., abstract reasoning, problem solving
Specific factors (s) less complex tasks
E.g., motor speed, attention, v-m coordination, memory
Although originally a 2 factor theory, g is the only factor
that accounts for correlations among intellectual abilities
Theories of Intelligence

Thurstones Multidimensional Theory (1938)

Eight primary mental factors
Verbal,perceptual speed, inductive reasoning,
number, rote memory, deductive reasoning, word
fluency, space or visualization)
He eventually found that these factors correlated
and later postulated a second-order factor similar
to g
Multiple Intelligences?


Is it a type of an intelligence?
Or is it just special talents?

Theories of Intelligence
Cattell & Horns Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence
Fluid intelligence=ones inborn abilities largely
determined by genetics and biology
Fluid intelligence develops through childhood and adolescents
Examples: number/letter series, matrices
Crystallized Intelligence=acquired skills and knowledge
Influenced by environment and culture
Continues to develop over the lifespan
Examples: vocabulary, general information
Some tasks measure both:
Arithmetic reasoning
Theories of Intelligence

Piagets Developmental Theory

Hierarchical model with four major periods of
cognitive development
Sensorimotor period
Preoperational period
Concrete operations period
Formal operations period

Correlations have been found between Piagetian

tasks and psychometric scales of intelligence
A Modern View of Intelligence
Intelligence is an integrated construct
Biologicaldependent on genetics, brain
structure, physiological functioning of brain
Cognitivemetacognition and ordinary cognition
Motivationalmagnitude, direction, and
disposition of individual
Behavioralbehavior in academic, social, and
adaptive domains
Genetically-determined intelligence is always
modified by experience
Environmental Influences on IQ
Factors that enhance IQ:
Stimulating environment
Good medical care/nutrition
Parental involvement in learning
Rich language environment
Factors that negatively impact IQ:
Persistent poverty
Perinatal complications, inadequate stimulation in environment,
lead exposure
Large family size
Nutrition during gestation and early childhood
Heredity and IQ
Heredity may limit a childs potential, but
environment permits their potential to be
actualized (Sattler, 2001, p. 180)
We inherit genes, not an actual IQ
Genetics is only 1 factor affecting IQ (familial,
educational, nonfamilial factors)
IQ can change, but it is difficult
Does seem to go up on average about 4 points
between childhood and adolescence (develop
problem-solving strategies over time)
The Bell Curve (1994)

Controversial book on the social

ramifications of IQ stratification
The Cognitive Elite associate with other
Physical separation from others
Make more money
Live in different neighborhoods
The Bell Curve: Social
Problems and IQ
Poverty - IQ predicts poverty, even more than
SES in which people grow up
Schooling - IQ increases risk of dropping out of
school and decreases chances of college degree
Unemployment, Idleness and Injury - IQ is
associated with unemployment, frequent injury, or
idleness (removing oneself from the workforce)
Family - IQ is related to high rates of divorce,
lower rates of marriage, and higher rates of
illegitimate births
The Bell Curve: Social
Problems & IQ
Welfare Dependency - IQ increases the
chances of chronic welfare dependency
Parenting - IQ of mothers correlates with
low birth weight babies, poor child motor
skills and social development, and childrens
behavioral problems
Crime - IQ increases the risk of criminal
Civility and Citizenship those with IQ
vote least often
The Bell Curve: Gender,
Ethnicity & IQ
Few gender differences were found
Males higher on spatial and quantitative
Females higher on verbal ability
East Asians score highest, then European
Americans, Hispanics, and African Americans
APA task force on IQ
IQ can predict individual differences, but not necessarily
group differences
Socioeconomic influences may play a role
Cultural differences may affect education
emphasis on spirituality, harmony, movement, verve, affect,
expressive individualism, communalism, etc.
IQ Tests and Culture

Culturally Biased
Proponents of this view feel IQ tests are biased
against ethnic minorities and dont take their
sociocultural factors into account
Culturally loaded
Proponents of this view feel IQ tests are
reflective of the knowledge and skills of the
dominant society (those who created the test)
Pros and Cons of IQ Testing
Pros Cons
Reveals unknown talent Self-fulfilling prophecy
Standardized method of Measures only processes
comparing children needed for successful test
Excellent predictors of Biased against ethnic
academic performance minorities
Valuable for children with Poor predictors of real-life
disabilities situations
Predicts success in a Unconventional
wide variety of endeavors responses are penalized
Common IQ Misperceptions

IQ is innate
IQ never changes
IQ tests provide perfectly reliable scores
All IQ tests measure the same thing
IQ test scores are interchangeable
IQ tests vs. Achievement tests
IQ tests measure broader abilities
IQ tests are more predictive of future performance
Achievement tests (reading, math, etc.) are heavily
dependent on formal learning at home or school
Achievement test scores change more readily
Achievement tests assess mastery of factual
information; IQ tests assess ability to apply
information in new ways
Common Intelligence Tests
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale
Originally developed in 1916
Currently in the 4th edition
Wechsler Intelligence Scale (WISC)
For children 6-16 years
Currently in the 4th edition (2003)
Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of
Intelligence (WPPSI)
For children 3 years to 7 years, 3 months
Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID)
For children aged 1 to 42 months
Cognitive, Motor, and Behavioral scales
IQ Test example: WISC-IV
15 subtests (some of them are optional)
Administration time varies from 1-3 hours
Must be trained in order to administer complicated rules
Full Scale IQ--Global estimate of childs general intellectual
capacity/potential/level of cognitive ability and the relative standing
compared to the normative population
Verbal Comprehension Index verbal reasoning skills
Perceptual Reasoning Index nonverbal reasoning skills
Working Memory ability to attend to and hold information in memory
to formulate responses
Processing Speed speed of processing information
Uses the deviation IQ (mean = 100, SD = 15)
WISC-IV Subtests
Block Design
Digit Span
Picture Concepts
Letter-Number Sequencing
Matrix Reasoning
Symbol Search
(Picture Completion)
(Word Reasoning)
Matrix Reasoning Example
WISC-III Subtests
Similarities Digit Span
Vocabulary Letter-Number Sequencing
Comprehension Arithmetic*
Word Reasoning* PSI
PRI Symbol Search
Block Design Cancellation*
Picture Concepts
Matrix Reasoning
Picture Completion*
IQ Testing Considerations

Examiner variability (i.e., giving extra help,

errors in administration, incorrect scoring,
Situational variability (i.e., on/off medications,
Ritalin, fatigue, illness, hunger, etc.)
Individual subtest scores are not as reliable
as the FSIQ and Indices
Qualitative observations are also important
Types of IQ
Ratio IQ Deviation IQ
First type of IQ A type of standard
Stern (1938) score
IQ = MA/CA x 100 Mean = 100, SD =
Same IQ has different 15/16
meanings at different Compares IQ to same
ages age peers
Not used as often now Normal distribution
WISC uses this