MSW's Students (2007-2009), Christ College, Bangalore, India

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Intelligence Notes


INTRODUCTION: In 1917, as the United States mobilized its vast resources for the war against Germany, Professor Lewis Terman of Stanford University traveled east to meet with a group of prominent psychologists. Terman was an expert on intelligence testing, for he had pioneered the application of a French Intelligence test (developed by Alfred Binet) in the U.S. Terman, a devoted member of the Stanford University faculty, called his test the Stanford- Binet, and it was widely used in clinical settings.

But why was Terman meeting with other psychologists? Their goal: to develop some kind of psychological test that the U.S. Army could give to the thousands of new recruits coming into the army. The test would help them decide who had the intellectual potential to be an officer, who did not. Terman carried in his briefcase the rough materials his student Arthur Otis had designed for a questionnaire measure of intelligence. In several weeks the group of psychologists had designed the Army Alpha Examination, based on the Otis scales. The test was given to 1,700,000 men, and it seemed to work. Some were sent off to the trenches, and others were selected to lead them there. And psychologists, delighted with their success, began to spread their testing into civilian settings: particularly in educational settings.

School systems and colleges snatched up the tests for use in pupil classification, guidance, and admissions

Within 30 months of the first publication of the group test some four million children had been tested, and the IQ test was on its way to acceptance

I. Intelligence Testing

A. Historical Development

1) Alfred Binet Charged by the Minister of Public Instruction in Paris to develop a method of detecting "defective" children who could then be given special instructions

Although he toyed with the idea of developing a physiological measure, he ended up with a test he called "aptitude for academic achievement"

this test was designed to be relevant in academic settings

Simple procedures used identified behaviors for each age (important - this test was age specific - also known as the "age-standard method"). This made it possible to establish range of normality ("norms"), then checked to see if the child/person possessed these abilities

a) 3 years: show eyes, nose, mouth, name objects in a picture, repeat figures, repeat a sentence of 6 syllables, give last name

b) 5 years: compare 2 boxes of different weights, copy a square, repeat a sentence of 10 syllables, put together 2 pieces of a game

c) 7 years: indicate omissions in drawings, copy a written sentence, copy a triangle and a diamond, etc.

d) 9 years: give the date complete, name days of the week, give definitions, memory

this measure proved highly successful in predicting school success

2) In 1916, an American psychologist (TERMAN) revised and translated the test

a) problem: unfair to say an 8 year old is more intelligent than a 6 year old simply because he or she gets more questions right

b) need to adjust for chronological age

c) He used the formula IQ = MA/CA X 100 (to get rid of decimals) - HOWEVER, this formula was actually developed by William Stern in 1912 in order to avoid the inconvenience of decimals.

For example - A 10 year old with a mental age of 8 has a ratio of 8/10 = .8 and a 6 year old with a mental age of 4 has a ratio of 4/6 = .67. This indicates that the 6 year old is relatively farther behind his or her age peers.

STERN then got rid of the decimal point so .8 becomes 80, and .67 becomes 67. d. if 100, just right. This would mean that a person has the same mental age and chronological age.

B. Types of Tests

1) Individual Tests

a) Stanford-Binet: This made it possible to test adults & children

1. established the procedures to use in administering the test - takes 1 hour or more so it was not good for collecting data from groups very quickly. This was not good if you wanted to test military troops - So, Otis instead created an oral intelligence test (goes back to introduction).

2. established the norms for the test (e.g., how many an "X" year old got correct) But, there is still a problem here. This test still utilized the intelligence quotient developed by Stern - but mental age slows dramatically after childhood. So, someone could go from gifted as a young person, to mentally challenged as an older adult without actually getting "less intelligent".

Example: a 15 year old female with a mental age of 20: 20/15 x 100 = 133, which would classify her as "gifted". Then, as an adult of age 40, let's say she retained the mental age of 20: 20/40 x 100 = 50. Now she would be classified as mentally retarded, yet she may be successful doctor. This problem was overcome by the introduction of the DEVIATION IQ, by Wechsler.

3. Wechsler tests

This scale compares a person's intelligence test scores with those of the mean scores of their age peers. Those who perform exactly the same as their age peers would receive the score of 100.

a) developed many tests, three very important: WISC (W Int. Scale for Children), the WAIS (W. adult int. scale), and the WPPSI (W preschool and primary scale of intelligence; good for ages 4-6 1/2)

b) attempted to bring in more behavioral measures rather than just verbal

c) two subsections: verbal subtests, performance subtests - verbal: information, comprehension, arithmetic, digit span, similarities, and vocabulary -performance: picture arrangement, picture completion, block design, etc.

C. Forms of Intelligence

1) Basic approach: verbal and math

2) Sternberg's Triarchic theory of intelligence

Sternberg performed poorly on IQ tests as a child and suffered from severe test anxiety. Yet he was able to become a successful cognitive psychologist and a leader in the field of intelligence. This was a major influence in his belief that intelligence was much more than those abilities measured by traditional intelligence tests. He and colleagues wanted to know what the "lay person" though intelligence was so they interviewed many people. Most people indicated that intelligent people have good verbal skills, problem-solving skills, and social judgment.

Thus, he developed the Triarchic theory which is comprised of the following:

a) componential intelligence - reflects our information-processing abilities. This is similar to traditional intelligence tests.

b) experiential intelligence - ability to combine different experiences in insightful ways to solve novel problems. Reflects creativity.

c) contextual intelligence - ability to function in practical, everyday social situations. Reflects "street smarts".

Sternberg recognized that situations may call for one type or a combination of all three, and that each can be improved through training. D. IQ Controversies

3) Questions to consider

a) What does the IQ Test Measure? Intelligence?

e.g., the California Legislature has twice voted to prohibit group testing in schools on the grounds their effect is to limit the quality of education given to minority students. Many experts have gone on record as opposing IQ tests as invalid, easily altered by special coaching, and monopolizing the testing industry.

Intelligence ----> IQ score Intelligence + Other Factors -----> IQ score

b) Are IQ tests Valid (fair)? -why is there a difference between groups on the IQ test?

c) Is Intelligence Genetically determined Nurture Nature -learning -instinct -experience -innate determinant -flexible -inflexible, wired in -acquired -genetic

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