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Intelligence Testing Article Analysis Essay Sample

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In psychology, intelligence is referred to as the mental ability or skills which facilitate search for goals and the ability to use personal knowledge and skills in a diverse cultural setting. In psychology, psychometric approach assumes that intelligence is quantitatively measurable in a given numeric scale. Culturally, personal cognitive characters are intrinsic, hence gaining of expression is highly influenced by environmental factors and biological programming. “Gardner, as have many others, has provided sound reasons to encourage us to dismiss the single factor constructs of intellectual functioning” (Spearman, 2004).

Although intelligence is a commonly discussed discipline in psychology, the precised definition of the contents of intelligence is not standardized. Some research findings have established intelligence as a single ability of an individual, while other researchers have revealed intelligence as multiple tasks which encompass skills, talents and aptitude ability. The standardization of intelligence testing is perceived as one of the historical success of psychology, which is widely accepted for its consistency and reliability. Alfred Binet was the first psychologist to use standardized test in determining learning-impair in children. Since then, standardized intelligence testing has regularly been used by scientists and psychologists as a primary tool for determining learning abilities and mental retardation in children. After the success of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) of the 1926, psychologists have advanced different intellectual and intelligence testing theories (Spearman, 2004). Conversely, though successful, intelligence testing has been criticized for unfairness based on gender, race, culture, and class, which minimizes the importance of character, creativity, and propagation of ideas.

General Intelligence Theory by Charles Spearman

The renowned British psychologist Charles Spearman conducted a common test among the learners drawn from different cultures, race, and background to determine their intellectual abilities. He described the concept as g-factor (general intelligence). On completion, Spearman observed that the scores of these students were remarkably similar. The subsequent results have shown that those students who performed well on average had equally good results in other cognitive tests. A similar result was realized for those students who did poorly on other cognitive tests. Spearman therefore concluded that on average, intelligence is just but a general cognitive ability which is measurable and can be expressed numerically (Sternberg, 2005).

Gardner's Intelligence Theory

Gardner Howard has advanced a totally different concept about intelligence. His view of intelligence expanded the traditional concepts to incorporate music, spatial relations, linguistic ability, mathematics and interpersonal knowledge. Gardner defined intelligence as being “the capacity to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in one or more cultural setting” (Sternberg, 2005), which varies the traditional perception of intelligence as being a numeric and verbal skill. Gardner further includes other variables such as interpersonal feelings, intensions, and intrapersonal skills to constitute intelligence. He asserts that as opposed to working independently, intellectual skills work synergistically and concurrently, and complement each other in the process of learning or skill mastery.

He therefore proposed for the inclusion of both cultural and biological factors in studying multiple intelligences. In supporting his claims, Gardner cited the research findings of neurobiological department which support learning and intellectual ability as the outcome of synaptic system functional ability and changes. As Brualdi explains (1996), “primary elements of different types of learning are found in particular areas of the brain where corresponding transformations have occurred.” Hence, synaptic connections within our brains account for differences in learning. In addition, the role of culture in intellectual development cannot be ignored. 

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