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Group tests of mental ability

Research The Army Alpha and Beta tests opened the floodgates to a host of other group tests of mental ability. Today, most U.S. students are assessed with at least one of these tests at some point while in school. The mass testing of mental abilities remains controversial. Yet many organizations have concluded that the pros outweigh the cons. Group tests assessing various mental abilities have become a fixture in American society. These are just a few common examples Cognitive abilities tests. These are two distinct group tests designed to assess the general mental ability of schoolchildren.

Better Phenotypical Definitions

Psychiatry needs better, more precise quantitative descriptions of mental phenomena and the phenotypes of different disorders in order to improve patient care and speed up the convergent functional genomics and pharmacological discovery processes. This has not kept pace with the contemporary progress in molecular genetics and brain imaging, and may provide a rate-limiting step for future progress 42 . Our expectation is that the constant interplay between molecular and cellular biology, imaging and clinical research will avoid this roadblock.

Uses of Intelligence Assessment

And scientifically valid uses of tests, however, have been in predicting performance in scholastic endeavor, in revealing disguised or latent ability to assist in career counseling, in determining the most appropriate developmental programs for handicapped or mentally handicapped individuals, in locating specific strengths and weaknesses in an individual, in measuring specific changes associated with special programs and forms of therapy, and in comparing a child's mental ability with that of other children observed in a similar situation to establish a profile of cognitive skills.

Definitions of Intelligence

While intelligence tests of some sort appeared in human history as early as the Old Testament book ofJudges (7 3-7, 12 6), which indicates that early Jewish society used questions and observations in personnel selection, the intelligence test as it is known today can be traced to Renaissance Europe. In 1575, the Spanish physician Juan Huarte wrote Examen de Ingenios, a treatise concerning individual differences in mental ability with suggestions for appropriate tests. His work, and that of other investigators and theorists, was the result of the rise of a middle class with aspirations to productive employment. Previously, the aristocracy had controlled everything, and fitness for a position was determined by lineage. Once this monarchical rule began to break down, other means were necessary for determining who was fit for a particular occupation and what might be the most productive use of a person's abilities. When it became apparent that royal blood was no guarantee of competence,...

Thurstone and the structure of intelligence

Binet Theory Strengths And Weaknesses

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....

Binet compared to Galton and Cattell

The failure of Galton's and Cattell's intelligence tests opened the door for Binet to develop a more practical alternative. He succeeded where they had failed at devising a test that was related to intelligent behavior in real life. Today, most useful intelligence tests for people of all ages are still based on Binet's model. Such tests require people to use several mental abilities to perform a broad range of complex tasks. Binet's own studies of very creative adults, such as dramatists, had found that there was great individuality and complexity in higher-order abilities. When the Binet-Simon Scale was introduced, Binet noted that some children had a mental level that was a year or more ahead of their age in years. Were these children destined to grow up into very bright and talented adults At first, Binet believed that it might be possible to answer that question by extending his scale upward. By 1908, however, he had developed doubts. The mixture of mental abilities measured by...

Spearman and general intelligence

Spearman's early work was actually inspired by Galton and Cattell. In one experiment, he studied two dozen schoolchildren in three ways. First, he had their teacher rank them on cleverness in school. Second, he had the two oldest children rank their classmates on sharpness and common sense out of school. Third, Spearman himself ranked the children's performance on tests designed to measure the sharpness of their senses. Then Spearman calculated the correlations among these measures. He found a modest association between the teacher's and classmates' rankings, on one hand, and the sensory rankings, on the other. These findings differed from Clark Wissler's results, who had found no correlation. Spearman explained the difference, however, by pointing out flaws in Wissler's work. In truth, Spearman's own method was far from perfect. Later researchers have tended to confirm Wissler rather than Spearman, finding very little association between sensory abilities and mental abilities....

Group differences in intelligence

In 1926, Klineberg began working on his dissertation. While giving intelligence test items to Yakima Native American children in the state of Washington, Klineberg noticed that the children were almost completely unaware of time. Even when urged to hurry, they still took their time, but they also made relatively few mistakes. Here was a clear example of a cultural, rather than genetic, difference that would put the Yakima children at a disadvantage on any timed intelligence test. Yet it was unrelated to any real difference in mental ability. Instead, it was rooted in cultural values that equated speed with carelessness.

Safety Security and Attachment Psychodynamic Approaches to PTSD

The work of Phyllis Greenacre (1969) and Edith Jacobson (1949) characterize the neoclassical school. Both theorists rely heavily on Freud's second model. For Greenacre, trauma results from stimulation of deep unconscious conflict, but she adds that the response is organized as a sadomasochistic fantasy. That is, the trauma is dealt with as a purely mental phenomenon as it is connected to deep unconscious processes. The drama of the traumatic stress reaction is played out, coped with, and resolved as our mental defenses transform it into a fantasy that is both out of our control and simultaneously under our control.

Psychopathological Implications of Intentional Attunement Autism

My hypothesis for interpreting the autistic syndrome as an intentional attunement deficit is quite divergent from many of the mainstream ideas concerning the origin of this developmental disorder. One of the most credited theories on autism, despite its varying-and not always congruent-articulations, posits that autism is caused by a deficit in a specific mind module, the theory of mind module, selected in the course of evolution to build theories about the mind of others 85-87 . One of the problems of this theory is that it is hard to reconcile it with what we learn from the reports of some high-functioning autistic individuals. What they claim is that in order to understand how they supposedly should feel in given social contexts, and what others supposedly feel and think in those same contexts, they have to rely on theorizing. What these reports seem to suggest is that theorizing about the minds of others is not quite the basic deficit, but the only compensating strategy available...

Yerkes Brigham and group intelligence tests

Some of Yerkes' and Brigham's other conclusions were even more controversial. For example, the psychologists noted that, compared to native-born whites, immigrants and blacks tended to score lower on the tests. Once again, it might have been sensible to conclude that the tests had been biased toward members of the majority American culture. On the Alpha test, for example, individuals were expected to know that Overland cars were made in Toledo and that Crisco was a food product. On the Beta test, individuals were expected to be familiar with pictures of middle-class objects, such as a tennis court or a phonograph. Yet Yerkes and Brigham instead took the position that the lower scores obtained by immigrants and blacks indicated lower levels of natural mental ability in those groups. In 1926, Brigham made his mark on group intelligence testing in another way. He introduced a brand-new kind of standardized test of mental ability. IQ tests looked at general thinking ability. This new type...

Theory Of Hemoglobin Genotype

However, there are other phenotypes associated with this syndrome. For example, kk homozygotes tend to have a lighter skin color than most individuals that share their ethnic background because one of the main pigments in our skin, melanin, is synthesized from tyrosine, which cannot be produced from phenylalanine in kk homozygotes. However, the reason why PKU has attracted much attention is the tendency for kk homozygotes to suffer from mental retardation. As with sickle cell anemia, there is tremendous heterogeneity in the phenotype of mental ability among kk homozygotes that in part is due to epistasis with other loci (Scriver and Waters 1999). However, we will ignore epistasis for now and just treat PKU as a single-locus, autosomal recessive genetic disease. The primary source of phenylalanine is our diet. The kk homozygotes typically have normal mental abilities at birth. While in utero, the kk homozygote is not eating but is obtaining its nutrients directly...

Psychometric Tests and Assessment Centres

Support for the evaluation of the non-technical make up of a candidate is very commonly sought by carrying out some form of psychometric tests on the candidates. Psychometric tests are designed to assess either ability (cognitive tests) or personality characteristics and there are three basic types ones to assess a specific ability, e.g. numeracy, verbal and spatial perception ones to test general mental ability, e.g. an

Galton and hereditary intelligence

In an 1869 book titled Hereditary Genius, Galton set out to show that high mental ability was passed down this way. It is likely that Galton's own family tree inspired this line of thinking, since both he and Darwin were grandsons of Erasmus Darwin, a noted physician and naturalist in his own right. In 1865, Galton suggested that a test might be devised to measure inherited differences in mental ability. When it came time to actually develop such a test, however, he was stumped. All he had was a vague notion that the inherited differences must arise from measurable differences within the brain and nervous system. Eventually, Galton developed a series of physiological tests for measuring reaction time, the sharpness of the senses, and physical energy. He hoped these tests would show the efficiency of a person's nervous system and, thus, the basis for his or her hereditary intelligence. In 1884, Galton set up a laboratory at the South Kensington Museum in London to measure individual...

The Intentional Attunement Hypothesis

The shareability of the phenomenal content of the intentional relations of others, by means of the shared neural underpinnings, produces intentional attunement. Intentional attunement, in turn, by collapsing the others' intentions into the observer's ones, produces the peculiar quality of familiarity we entertain with other individuals. This is what being empathic is about. By means of a shared neural state realized in two different bodies that nevertheless obey the same functional rules, the objec-tual other becomes another self. Furthermore, the mirror neuron system for actions in humans appears to be suitable for the detection of the intentions promoting the behavior of others. Thus, as previously hypothesized 68 , the mirror neuron system could be at the basis of basic forms of mind reading. This of course does not account for all of our social cognitive skills. Our most sophisticated mind-reading abilities probably require the activation The point is that these two mechanisms are...

Intelligence and Guidance

Another common use of an intelligence test is to help an examinee determine specific areas of ability or aptitude which might be useful in selecting a career route. As reported in Aiken, a college senior was given the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (O-LSAT, Advanced Form R) just before her twenty-second birthday. She planned to enroll in a program in a graduate business school and work toward an M.B.A. degree. The O-LSAT is designed to gauge general mental ability, and it includes classification, analogy, and omnibus (a variety of items to measure different aspects of mental functioning) elements. The omnibus includes verbal comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and the ability to follow directions.

Quantum Psychology and the New

In cognitive therapy this is called mind reading. Simply put, if I believe nobody likes me, I project that you don't like me, and then I act as if this mind reading were the truth. Often times, people as children develop this cognitive distortion as a way to handle their parental situation. Mind-reading Mommy's or Daddy's wants could certainly help a child to please them and survive. The child learned that mind reading and pleasing an alcoholic or abusive parent might be a way to keep the peace. Unfortunately, as the child becomes an adult he takes this mind reading with him on automatic. The adult, with this mechanism running, will mind read, unknowingly, the present-time situation, as if it were the threatening past. Another client, an attorney, always felt people thought he wasn't smart. The question and session dealt with his resistance to the possibility (mind-reading) that others were creating him subjectively as not smart. He had a deep resistance to others' subjective...

The psychologist at home

Many of the first tests Binet tried were based on the ones used by two earlier pioneers in intelligence research, Francis Galton and James McKeen Cattell. Both men had tried to measure mental ability using physiological tests. For example, some tests measured reaction time, the split-second needed for mental processing between the time when an event occurs and the time when the muscles start responding to it. Such tests were thought to measure how efficiently the nervous system worked. Other tests, such as the two-point threshold, measured the sharpness of the senses. The idea was that intelligence requires information, and this information comes from sensations. Along with watching his daughters' developing mental abilities, Binet also observed their personality differences. Madeleine tended to be thoughtful and cautious in her actions, while Alice tended to be impulsive and easily distracted. This observation convinced Binet that problem-solving was a matter not only of ability...

Providing Comprehensive Adolescent Friendly Health Care to Incarcerated Juveniles

Juvenile justice facilities detain youth of varying ages. The needs of these youth differ by stage of development and mental ability. The early adolescent (usually ranging from 10 to 13 years old) is mostly very concrete in his her thought process. Therefore, counseling and behavioral interventions must reflect this concrete thinking. For instance, a tobacco prevention cessation program for a young person in this age group should focus on the physical unpleasantness associated with smoking, i.e., bad breath and yellowing teeth, instead of the later health complications that may resound with an older teenager. At this age, the majority of young people will begin the process of physical sexual maturation but this does not mean that the individual has not already initiated sexual activity.

Brain Studies

Over the years, scientists have used this method to map the activities of cells in several layers of the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes visual information. They have also studied the development of cells and the cell connections, showing how early experience can have a permanent effect on the development of the visual cortex. Subsequent research has demonstrated that the environment has major effects on the development of other areas of the brain as well. The phrase use it or lose it has some accuracy when it comes to development and maintenance of brain connections and mental abilities.

Changing Definitions

Variations and refinements in both England and the United States since the 1920's. In the United States, work in this field was influenced greatly by Truman Kelley, whose 1928 book Crossroads in the Mind of Man presented a method for isolating group factors, and L. L. Thurstone, who by further elaboration of factor-analytic procedures identified a set of about twelve factors that he designated as the primary mental abilities. Seven of these were repeatedly found in a number of investigations, using samples of people at different age levels, that were carried out by both Thurstone and others. These group factors or primary mental abilities are verbal comprehension, word fluency, speed and accuracy of arithmetic computation, spatial visualization, associative memory, perceptual speed, and general reasoning.

Verbal tests

Although means for measuring mental ability date as far back as 2000 b.c.e., when the ancient Chinese administered oral tests to determine a candidate's fitness for carrying out the tasks of civil administration, the modern intelligence test has its origins in the nineteenth century, when Jean- tienne-Dominique Esquirol drew a clear distinction between mentally deranged people ( lunatics ) and mentally retarded people ( idiots ). Esquirol believed that it was necessary to devise a means of gauging normal intelligence so that deviations from an agreed-upon norm could be ascertained, and he pointed out that intellectual ability exists on a continuum extending from idiocy to genius. His work coincided with studies in Europe and the United States that were designed to develop a concept of intelligence and to fashion a means of testing this capacity. Work done by Sir Francis Galton in the United Kingdom on hereditary genius, by James McKeen Cattell in the United States on individual...

Modern Testing

Howard Gardner postulated a theory of intelligence which focuses on a symbol system approach that combines both factor analytic and information processing methodology. He included seven dimensions of intelligence verbal and linguistic, mathematical and logical, visual and spatial, body and kinesthetic, musical and rhythmical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and environmental. The concept of types of intelligence is not new. L. L. Thurstone developed a test of eight scales named the Primary Mental Abilities test. Edward L. Thorndike identified several types of intelligence abstract, social, and practical. Sternberg used informational processing and cognitive theory in his model of intelligence and identified three different types of information processing components metacomponents, performance components, and knowledge acquisition components. He saw metacomponents as the higher-order control processes used to oversee the planning, monitoring, and evaluation of task performance.

Understanding Action

These results seem to suggest that predictions-or, to use a mentalistic term, inferences-about the goals of the behavior of others appear to be mediated by the activity of motor neurons coding the goal of the same actions in the observer's brain. Out of sight is not out of mind just because, by simulating the action, the gap can be filled.

Being In Touch

I introduced this conceptual tool as the shared manifold of intersub-jectivity 13,15,19 . I posit that it is by means of this shared manifold that we directly experience other human beings as similar to us. It is just because of this shared manifold that intersubjective communication, social imitation, and mind reading become possible 13, 21 . The shared manifold can be operationalized at three different levels a phenomeno-logical level, a functional level and a subpersonal level.


Social cognition is not only thinking about the contents of someone else's mind. The automatic translation of the folk psychology-inspired boxology -endorsed by functionalism and by some quarters in cognitive science-into newly formed brain modules specifically dedicated to mind-reading abilities should be carefully scrutinized. Looking for the brain location of intentions as such might not be the best epistemic strategy for revealing what social cognition really is. A more promising and potentially fruitful strategy lies in the integration of multiple approaches (from genetics and molecular biology all the way up to neu-rophysiology, brain imaging and cognitive psychology) to the study of the role played in social cognition by the sensorimotor systems of primate brains.

The Columbia School

In line with the functionalist's embrace of applied psychology and the study of individual differences, Cattell laid the foundation for the psychological testing movement that would become massive in the 1920's and beyond. Under the influence of Galton, Cattell stressed the statistical analysis of large data sets and the measurement of mental abilities. He developed the order of merit methodology, in which participants rank-order a set of stimuli (for instance, the relative appeal of pictures or the relative eminence of a group of scientists) from which average ranks are calculated.

Main points

Binet also believed that people's mental abilities differed in quality as well as quantity. His observations of his daughters apparently convinced him of this point. From a very young age, Madeleine seemed to think things through more carefully, while Alice seemed to act more impulsively. When the girls were learning to walk, for example, Binet noticed that Madeleine would go only to objects a short distance away. Alice, on the other hand, would head straight for an empty part of the room, apparently unconcerned about whether or not it contained an object she could grab for support. Binet, there were at least two reasons why intelligence test results should not be considered exact measurements of mental ability. One, the test itself was imperfect, containing sources of error and unreliability. Two, he believed intelligence could change over time. The latter view set Binet apart from some of the psychologists who expanded upon his test in the decades after his death. It also led Binet...

Intelligence testing


Main points Most of Yerkes's research was done in animals. A detour from this path, however, led to a lasting achievement the development of the first tests of mental ability designed to be given to large groups of people. This accomplishment paved the way for the mass intelligence testing that is still a very common practice in American schools.

Robert Sternberg

Indeed, many of Binet's ideas still seem timely today, a century after he first stated them. Binet stressed that intelligence test results should never be used to label people as innately incapable. Instead, the results should be used to help people make the most of their inborn mental abilities. Some of Binet's earliest followers failed to heed this part of his message. Over the years, however, society has learned from its mistakes. Most modern psychologists have come to appreciate the wisdom of Binet's views.


Binet had begun his career by studying mental ability using simple physiological measures, such as the two-point threshold and reaction time. Eventually, however, he concluded that measures of complex mental processes such as memory, attention, imagination, and comprehension were needed to sort out individual differences in intelligence. Therefore, his intelligence test included tasks that were intended to assess these complex processes.

Cognitive psychology

There are several reasons why cognitive psychology became so popular in the mid-twentieth century. One was the growing dissatisfaction with behaviorism. Another was the advent of modern linguistics, which shed new light on how people learn and use language. Yet another was the birth of computer science, which led scientists to ponder the difference between human thought and machine intelligence. Around the same time, developmental psychologists such as Jean Piaget aroused new interest in the way human mental abilities unfold as children mature. Meanwhile, innovative research on verbal learning and memory gave rise to fresh insights about how memory works.


While structuralism was imported to the United States by a British scholar (Titchener) who received his psychological training in Germany (under Wundt), functionalism had a distinctly American flair. The American Zeitgeist at the time emphasized pragmatism and individuality. Such qualities made American psychologists especially receptive to the revolutionary work of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) on evolution and its subsequent application (as social Darwinism ) by anthropologist Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) to education, business, government, and other social institutions. Other important developments that influenced functionalism include work by Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911) on individual differences in mental abilities and the work on animal psychology by George Romanes (1848-1894) and C. Lloyd Morgan (1852-1936).

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