Thurstone and the structure of intelligence

Roadmap To Genius Improve Intelligence & IQ

Improve Your Intelligence and IQ

Get Instant Access

Meanwhile, research on the structure of intelligence was moving ahead as well. One of the most important figures in this field was American psychologist Louis Thurstone. He challenged Spearman's ideas and, in the process, changed the way many psychologists viewed intelligence.

Spearman had proposed the existence of a unifying factor called general intelligence. He believed that all of the variation in intelligence test scores could be explained by the pervasive influence of general intelligence, combined with specific effects that were unique to the particular test activity at hand. Thurstone developed new statistical methods, and when he applied them to intelligence test scores, he noted that mental abilities tended to cluster into several groups rather than just one. In 1938, Thurstone published a book titled Primary Mental Abilities, in which he proposed that there were actually seven clusters of mental abilities. He called the clusters verbal comprehension, word fluency, number facility, spatial visualization, associative memory, perceptual speed, and reasoning.

When originally introduced, Spearman's and Thurstone's findings seemed to be directly opposed to each other. One currently popular view of intelligence, however, combines the two theories. Intelligence is often seen as having a three-level, hierarchical structure. General intelligence is on the top. Clusters of mental abilities make up the second level. Although separate from each other, in combination they all form general intelligence. A host of specific mental abilities make up the various clusters on the third level. Even psychologists who accept this structure, however, have different opinions about which level to emphasize. Some still see general intelligence as the

Binet Theory Strengths And Weaknesses

Boy taking a Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children (WISC) test, a common intelligence test. (Copyright Lew

Merrim/Science Source/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Boy taking a Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children (WISC) test, a common intelligence test. (Copyright Lew

Merrim/Science Source/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

most crucial consideration. Others, however, think it is more worthwhile to focus on each person's distinctive pattern of strengths and weaknesses at the second level. The latter viewpoint echoes the view of intelligence put forth by Binet many decades before.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Brain Gain

Brain Gain

Always wanted to be able to study even more, but didn't know how? Here are some of the best brain enhancement solutions. Do you envy those people who always seem to be intelligent and witty? Do you ever wish you could unlock your own intelligence and wit?

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment