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Chapter 10
Answers to Before You Go On Questions
1. Identify and define the two factors in Spearman’s model of intelligence. Spearman hypothesized
that a general factor of intelligence, the g factor, underlies all distinct clusters of mental
ability. At the same time, he believed that each cluster of intelligence is further affected by a
specific factor, an s factor, which is uniquely tied to that particular area of functioning; in
other words, a distinct mental ability or area of functioning (Spearman, 1937, 1927, 1923,
2. How does Thurstone’s theory of primary mental abilities differ from Gardner’s theory of
multiple intelligences?Although Gardner’s theory has roots in Thurstone’s ideas, it is, in fact,
different from Thurstone’s theory in several ways. First, Thurstone held that the mental
functions he identified collectively constitute intelligence. He did not believe, as Gardner
does, that each factor is itself an “intelligence.” Further, Gardner believes that the various
intelligences are best measured in the contexts in which they occur. Thus, assessments
conducted in real-world settings where the intelligences they are trying to tap are actually
used are more useful than paper-and-pencil examinations for assessing several intelligences
(Tirri & Nokelainen, 2008). Finally, Gardner’s definition of multiple intelligences includes
an important cultural component: Each intelligence, he suggests, reflects “the ability to solve
problems, or to create products, that are valuable within one or more cultural settings”
(Gardner, 1993).
3. Name four of Gardner’s intelligences. What are some of the concerns about Gardner’s
definition of intelligence(s)? (1) Linguistic, (2) logical/mathematical, (3) musical, (4) spatial
(or bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, or naturalistic). Critics of Gardner’s ideas
maintain that still deeper relationships exist among the various intelligences and mental
functions (Gardner & Traub, 2010). There is not much data supporting the existence of the
distinct “intelligences” Garner suggests. As well, most of Gardener’s intelligences, when
measured, correlate positively with general intelligence measures, calling into question just
how distinct Gardner’s intelligences are (Visser et al., 2006). Not all human abilities have to
be called intelligence.
4. What are the three components of the triarchic theory of intelligence, and how do they
contribute to mental functioning? In Robert Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence, there
are three proposed components to intelligence: (1) internal (analytic), (2) external (creative),
and (3) experiential (practical). Analytic knowledge relates to the internal processing of
information: acquiring information; planning, monitoring, and evaluating problems; or
carrying out directions. Creative thinking is useful when tasks require a special or novel
approach to completion. Practical thinking helps us adapt to or improve our environments or
select new environments. It is the within the effective interaction between the internal,
external, and experiential components that we achieve successful intelligence—an
advantageous balance between adapting to, shaping, and selecting problems encountered
within one’s environment.
5. What are the main features that interact to produce intelligence in Ceci’s theory? Stephen
Ceci’s bioecological model of intelligence proposes that intelligence is the product of
interaction among biological, environmental, and motivational resources, and that each
resource is responsible for a different aspect of intelligence.
6. What is emotional intelligence and how is it measured? Emotional intelligence is an
individual’s ability to perceive, express, assimilate, and regulate emotion in the self and
others (Cherniss, 2010). Emotionally intelligent people are thought to be self-aware, sensitive
to how they feel and how their feelings change, and able to manage their emotions so that
they are not overwhelmed by them. There are a number of ways to measure emotional
intelligence, including the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (Maul, 2011). This test
measures 12 emotional abilities that are, in turn, grouped into four “branches of ability”—
perceiving, facilitating, understanding, and managing emotion.
7. How does Robert Sternberg describe wisdom in relation to his triarchic theory of
intelligence? Robert Sternberg believe that wisdom is a special version of intelligence that
consists of three aspects—analytic, creative, and practical, with practical intelligence
involving the ability to effectively apply one’s experiences and learning to everyday
decisions. According to Sternberg, wisdom is primarily (though not entirely) the product of
practical intelligence. He says that wisdom is the application of tacit knowledge—“knowhow”—to solve problems in such a way that a common good is achieved and a balance is
maintained among the interests of the individual, the community, and society. He also notes
that wisdom involves a particular concern for the community at large and a careful balance of
8. What are some factors that affect creativity? Creativity is the ability to produce ideas that are
both original and valuable (Kaufman & Sternberg, 2010). Creativity often requires verbal and
mathematical skills in Western culture, while it depends more on the ability to appreciate and
interact with nature in some other cultures (Runco, 2004). Psychologists who study creativity
and intelligence typically believe that a high intellectual aptitude is necessary but not
sufficient for creativity (Kim et al., 2010). Theorists and researchers have pointed to various
personal qualities as being key to creativity, including intrinsic motivation, an internal drive
to create; imagination, an ability and willingness to reexamine problems in a new way; and
game personality, being able to tolerate ambiguity, risk, and initial failure.
9. What three basic criteria are central to designing an intelligence test? To ensure that
intelligence tests are grounded in sound scientific principles, psychologists design tests that
adhere to three basic criteria: standardization, reliability, and validity (Bowden et al., 2001,
Canivez & Watkins, 2010). Standardization concerns the use of uniform procedures in
administering and scoring a test. Reliability is the degree to which a test produces the same
scores over time. Finally, validity is the extent to which a test accurately measures or predicts
what it is supposed to measure or predict.
10. What was the original purpose of Binet’s intelligence test? How did he measure intelligence?
In 1904, the French government mandated compulsory education and wanted to assign
intellectually capable children to regular classes and place those with intellectual disabilities
in special classes. The question was how to distinguish children with intellectual disabilities
from those who were unsuccessful in school for other reasons, such as behavioural problems.
To help determine the most appropriate type of class for each child, Binet and his
collaborator Simon devised the first widely applied intelligence tests (Hunt, 2010). Binet
introduced the idea of mental age, the intellectual age at which a child is actually functioning.
Mental age does not necessarily match chronological age.
11. How does mental age differ from chronological age? Mental age refers to the intellectual age
at which a person is functioning, as opposed to chronological age. A child’s mental age is
indicated by the chronological age typically associated with his or her level of intellectual
performance. Thus, the typical 11-year-old has a mental age of 11. A more intelligent 11year-old, however, might have a mental age of 13, while a less intelligent 11-year-old might
have a mental age of 9.
12. How does Terman’s definition of IQ differ from that of Wechsler? Terman suggested that
mental age should be divided by chronological age to produce an intelligence “quotient” that
would show a child’s intelligence standing relative to his or her age peers. Wechsler
preferred to compare a child’s performance to that of a very large number of other similaraged children.
13. What are the components of the WAIS and WISC intelligence tests? Give a couple of
examples of what is measured on each component. The WAIS and WISC are divided into
verbal and performance scales. Verbal scales contain academic tasks such as arithmetic,
vocabulary, and reasoning, while the performance scales focus more on things like spatial
14. What are some of the ways in which intelligence tests have been shown to be culturally
biased? Different cultures may have different ideas of intelligence. For example, Western
intelligence tests emphasize abilities, such as logic, mathematical skill, and verbal fluency,
rather than emphasizing abilities such as getting along with others and fitting in with one’s
environment—abilities that are important in Chinese notions of intelligence. Such differences
obviously make comparing intelligence across cultures challenging. Most intelligence tests
are grounded in particular cultural perspectives.
15. What does the concept of stereotype threat suggest about the situations in which people are
tested? Stereotype vulnerability or threat occurs when people in a particular group perform
poorly because they fear that their performance will conform to a negative stereotype
associated with their group. Several studies have found that simply suggesting to students
that they will not do well on a test because of their gender or race can lower their test scores
(Owen & Massey, 2011). In one study, Asian women who were encouraged to focus largely
on their female identity performed poorly on a math test, while those who were led to focus
on their Asian identity performed well on the math test.
16. What are some proposed causes of the Flynn effect? Researchers do not fully understand why
overall intelligence test scores have increased over time (Ceci & Kanaya, 2010; Weiss,
2010). This observed rise in average IQ scores throughout the world is known as the Flynn
effect. One possibility is that there is something wrong with the basic procedures, content, or
nature of standardized intelligence tests. A more widely embraced explanation holds that
intelligence is changeable and that, on average, people today exhibit higher intelligence than
people in the past. Such changes might be related to improvements in education, better
nutrition, the development of more stimulating environments, reductions in childhood
disease, or evolutionary shifts in genetic inheritance (Mingroni, 2007, 2004).
17. What are the main arguments of The Bell Curve? The key arguments posed by The Bell
Curve are as follows: (1) Conventional IQ tests measure intelligence accurately. (2) IQ is an
important predictor of many measures of success in life, including success at school, work,
parenting, and income. (3) Given such correlations, people who are high in intelligence form
a cognitive elite. (4) Given their predictive powers, intelligence tests can and should be used
as a gating mechanism to allow those with high IQs access to opportunities. (5) IQ is largely
heritable, passed on through the genes from one generation to the next. (6) There are clear
racial and ethnic differences in intelligence. (7) It is likely, although not certain, that at least
some of the differences between groups is due to genetic factors.
18. About what percentage of intelligence is thought to be genetically determined, and what
evidence supports this claim? Evaluating the data from studies of twins and other relatives,
researchers have suggested that the heritability of intelligence is approximately 50 percent
(Plomin & Spinath, 2004). They performed research on identical twins (whom share all of
their genes) against those of fraternal twins (who share only about half of their genes), as
well as examining the relationships between the IQ scores of adopted children and those of
their biological and adoptive parents. If heredity is more influential than environment, the IQ
scores of adopted children should be more similar to those of their biological parents than to
those of their adoptive parents. The research found a positive correlation between identical
twins over fraternal twins, as well as biological parents versus adoptive parents, meaning that
heritability plays a role in our intelligence.
19. What types of environmental factors have been shown to affect intelligence? The first overtly
social environment to which we are exposed in life and the one that dominates our childhood
is the family and home. Our parents’ childrearing methods and other characteristics, our
interactions with siblings, the objects in our houses, and family trips are all part of our family
and home environment. Research has suggested a link between family and home
environment and children’s intelligence scores. Cultural influences also play a role, since
many researchers agree that the definition of intelligence varies from culture to culture
(Smith, 2010). The values of a society or cultural group often have powerful effects on the
intellectual skills of its members. Other influences could be occupational influences, as
researchers consistently have found a relationship between intelligence and job complexity
(people of higher intelligence tend to work in more complex jobs), as well as school
influences (schooling is both a cause and a consequence of intelligence) (Shayer & Adhami,
2010). Children with higher intelligence test scores are more likely to be promoted from
grade to grade, less likely to drop out of school, and more likely to attend college or
university. In turn, schooling helps change mental abilities, including those measured on
intelligence tests.
20. How are brain size and number of neurons related to intelligence? Though some findings
over the past few decades have suggested a possible correlation between brain size and
mental functioning, most studies fail to support this notion. Instead, it is believed that the
overall size of the brain appears to be more closely related to the size of the body than to
intelligence. The main exception to this, however, is people with extremely small or
extremely large brains, each of whom are more likely to exhibit mental deficiencies than are
people whose brain sizes fall within the normal range (Tramo et al., 1998). The total number
of neurons in the brain does not necessarily affect intelligence either. There are, on average,
16 percent more neurons in male brains than female brains, but most research has found no
difference in IQ scores between men and women. On the other hand, intelligence may be
related to the number of neurons in particular brain regions. Studies have suggested that
general intelligence may be tied to the number of neurons in the brain’s frontal lobes
(Glascher et al., 2010).
21. How do researchers measure the speed of information processing in the brain? How is this
related to intelligence? Researchers often analyze the bioelectrical activity of the brain by
using an electroencephalogram (EEG), a device that allows investigators to see whether
intelligence in correlated with brain speed—the speed with which the brain responds
successfully to various stimuli, tasks, and events (Sternberg, 2003; Deary & Stough, 1997,
1996). People who perceive stimuli more quickly (as indicated by their EEG readings) tend
to score higher on intelligence tests (especially on perceptual tasks) than those whose
reactions are a bit slower. In short, more intelligent people may be physiologically wired to
acquire and use information more quickly than others.
22. Is efficient processing linked to relatively lower or relatively higher activity in the brain?
PET scans (positron emission tomography) have generally revealed lower activity in the
brains of people who are performing well on an intellectual task and higher activity in brains
of those who are performing poorly (Raichle, 2005; Haier, 2003). Thus, some researchers
suggest that the brains of higher-performing people do not need to work as hard as the brains
of lower-performing people—that is, their brains are more efficient (Grabner et al., 2003;
Neubauer & Fink, 2010, 2003).
23. What is the role of cortical thickness in the development of intelligence? The changes in
thickness of the cortex—the folded outer layer of the brain—are consistent with what is
known about neural pruning during development. Brains in the very young produce a large
number of neural synapses and neurons, then as the brain ages it prunes down the neural
connections that are not being used and perhaps reduces the actual number of neurons as
well, leaving individuals with a much lower number of connections and, perhaps, neurons in
their teenage and adult years. It is believed that a thick cortex may reflect a higher number of
neural connections and neurons, whereas a thin cortex may reflect a lower number, so as
adolescence approaches and pruning occurs, the cortex becomes thinner. Thus it appears that
the development of intelligence may involve a process of synaptic and neural growth and
then pruning, particularly in the prefrontal cortex—a process that is reflected by changes in
cortical thickness throughout childhood and adolescence.
24. What are the four levels of mental retardation, and which is most common? (1) Mild
retardation; around 80 to 85 percent of all people with mental retardation fall into this
category, sometimes called “educably retarded” because they can profit from education and
can support themselves as adults. (2) Moderate retardation; around 10 percent of people with
mental retardation are in this category, typically demonstrating clear deficits in language
development and play during preschool years, significant delays in the acquisition of reading
and number skills, and deficits in adaptive skills become apparent in middle school, but, by
adulthood, many individuals are able to communicate and care for themselves adequately,
benefit from vocational training, and work in unskilled or semiskilled jobs. (3) Severe
retardation; approximately 3 to 4 percent of people with mental retardation meet the criteria
for severe retardation. They typically demonstrate basic motor and communication deficits
during infancy, and many have increased vulnerability to brain seizure disorder. They usually
require careful supervision, profit from vocational training to some degree, and can perform
only basic work tasks in structured and sheltered settings. (4) Profound retardation; around 1
to 2 percent of people with mental retardation receive this diagnosis. Their limitations are
very noticeable at birth and in early infancy. With training, the individuals may develop or
improve basic skills such as walking, some talking, and feeding themselves. They require a
very structured environment with close supervision and considerable help, including a close
relationship with a caregiver, to develop adequately.
25. What are some causes of mental retardation? Whereas the primary factors in mild
retardation seem to be related to cultural and familial factors, moderate, severe, and profound
levels of retardation are caused largely by factors such as genetically based chromosomal and
metabolic abnormalities, significant prenatal alcohol or drug use by mothers, prenatal
maternal infections such as rubella and syphilis, complications during or after delivery, and
injuries and severe infections during early childhood (Martin, 2010; Sturmey, 2008).
26. Is high IQ the only criterion for giftedness? Some researchers and educators have added
criteria such as school success or career achievements to IQ scores when defining giftedness.
Indeed, many of the participants in Terman’s study (described in detail in Chapter 10), who
became known as the “Termites,” achieved extraordinary success as scientists, scholars,
businesspeople, and professionals (Seagoe, 1975).