Measuring Intelligence

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Binet, Terman, and Wechsler played an instrumental role in the development of intelligence tests. Binet came up with a series of measures that could be used to identify children in need of special education programs, considering the view that intelligence is the general ability to judge, comprehend, and reason excellently. He was able to show the development of mental processes as children mature. Hockenbury & Hockenbury (2008) assert that Terman encouraged the use of IQ testing in a bid to identify children who possess lower IQs, hence promoting selective reproduction to come up with only smart individuals. Therefore, he created IQ assessments that were used in the recruitment of Army officers in the 1920s. Wechsler, on his part, devised performance tasks that did not demand much in line with verbal ability. He came up with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children up to the age of 15 or 16 and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Adults.

It is worth noting that Binet, Wechsler, and Terman differed in their views on intelligence and its measurement. While Binet believed that intelligence is commonly determined by verbal abilities of an individual, Wechsler was strongly opposed to this view with the assertion that intelligence cannot be determined only from verbal abilities, as non-verbal abilities also play a part. The key point of difference between Binet, Wechsler, and Terman was the relationship between intelligence and verbal abilities. However, Terman developed both the Army Alpha and Intelligence Tests for verbal abilities and non-verbal abilities respectively to bring some balance. Wechsler was not happy with the manner in which Terman’s measures separated individuals into groups, such as those who had language problems and those who could speak perfectly. He did not agree with the view that individuals with non-verbal abilities had lower intelligence levels.

Reliability refers to the consistency brought out by the intelligence test. An effective test will be consistent at all times. Reliability is an important component in intelligence measures as it ensures that all tests are conducted in the most consistent manner possible. It facilitates the correlation of items in the measurement. Validity is a measure of the usefulness of the test. This implies that the scores derived from the test must be related to a given behavior among individuals. The component is useful in intelligence tests and ensures that intelligence tests are used in the separation of individuals and selection of individuals for different roles. Standardization is the process of conducting tests on a group of individuals and determining the typical scores obtained. This helps in comparison of the typical scores among different individuals, hence generating an opinion concerning the view obtained.

The Nature of Intelligence

G refers to the statistical quantities acquired from statistical operations. It is worth noting that in the normal course of events, G is determined innately. With regard to intelligence, Spearman believed that under certain circumstances, the results derived from mental tests among individuals could be divided into two factors, one of which is constant and the other is variable. The constant factor is referred to as the general factor (G), while the variable factor is referred to as the specific factor. Therefore, he brought out the view that G tends to be dominant among all individuals as compared to the specific factor.

On the other hand, Thurstone viewed intelligence as a 7-factor component. Thurstone came up with seven factors that related to intelligence among individuals. These factors include

1. Verbal comprehension where the individual’s level of vocabulary, reading, and comprehension is measured.

2. Word fluency that refers to the individual’s ability to generate and manipulate large volumes of information.

3. Number. This is the ability to carry out mathematical operations quickly and accurately.

4. Space. This is the ability to transform spatial figures mentally.

5. Associative memory that refers to rote memory.

6. Perpetual speed, which is the quickness of understanding pictorial representations and visual details.

7. Reasoning. These are the individual’s skills in inductive, deductive, and arithmetic reasoning.

According to Hockenbury & Hockenbury (2008), Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is a model of intelligence that effectively differentiates into specific, primary modalities rather than allows for the dominance of a single general ability. In line with the theory, Gardner opines that individuals possess a wide range of cognitive abilities, but there are extremely weak correlations between them. For instance, the theory asserts that a child who finds it easier to multiply different figures is not necessarily more intelligent than a child who experiences much difficulty in calculations.

Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence takes a more cognitive approach to human intelligence. Sternberg defines human intelligence as the mental ability directed towards purposive adaptation and the selection of effective environments among human beings. Therefore, the theory asserts the view that intelligence is the way in which individuals are able to relate to their environments and deal with the changes that may take place in their environments. Therefore, the theory is composed of three parts including componential, experiential, and practical parts that illustrate the adaptability to the environment and the environmental changes among human beings.

Theory Selected

Spearman’s view on intelligence is the selected theory. It is agreeable that the mental abilities have a constant element and a variable element. The theory is important as it brings out the view that the human brain is able to accommodate incoming elements through its variable element, and it is able to retain most of the information on the G part that remains constant in different circumstances.


Hockenbury, D. H., & Hockenbury, S. E. (2008). Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers.

Publicado en Law en marzo 23 at 02:08
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