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Psychology Intelligence - Essay Example

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1. Susan's case clearly demonstrates that by nature, intelligence is not one-dimensional. What this means is that a person's intelligence cannot be gauged by merely looking at one particular facet of his cognitive and mental abilities. In fact, an individual's intelligence is multi-dimensional…
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1. Susan's case clearly demonstrates that by nature, intelligence is not one-dimensional. What this means is that a person's intelligence cannot be gauged by merely looking at one particular facet of his cognitive and mental abilities. In fact, an individual's intelligence is multi-dimensional. One cannot simply imply that another person is intelligent on the basis that he is good in science or math. Intelligence is not confined to the mental abilities that are utilized in analytical thinking. This is clearly shown in Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. His theory suggests that man's intelligence is made up of 7 core intelligences (Myers, 2004). It is only upon consideration of all of these intelligences that one can be judged as intelligent or not. Basically, intelligence covers a wide array of human capabilities, skills, and talents. In Susan's case, her intelligence test scores were only average even though she possessed exceptional talents in ballet dancing possibly due to the inability of the intelligence test used to measure creativity as part of an individual's intelligence.
Furthermore, Susan's case brings forth the issue of the reliability and validity of intelligence testing. Susan's case demonstrates a scenario wherein an inappropriate test was used. Her low test scores may also imply that the intelligence test administered to her came up with a standardized score without giving consideration to her scores in each of the components of the test which is used to determine specific facets of her intelligence. Most of the time, the validity of intelligence tests is questioned primarily because a particular type of test may not properly measure the specific area of an individual's intelligence that is being assessed. Furthermore, a single score is often inadequate in explaining the multidimensional aspects of intelligence. In cases such as these, the reliability and validity of the intelligence test is questioned. Basically, the reliability and validity of an intelligence testing relies heavily on the appropriate choice of test to suit the goals of the assessment. The failure to select the most suited intelligence test will greatly hinder its reliability and validity in measuring the person's intelligence.
2. Alfred Binet and Theodor Simon were the first men to develop an intelligence test. The two men devised a test that greatly considered the individual differences between people particularly children. Through their study, they developed age linked items that should be within the capacities of a child of that age. (Johnston, 1997) Such tests were likewise used in schools to determine the achievers and the low students. This is one way by which intelligence tests were misused for many believe that segregating the poor-performing students and grouping them together did not help them in improving their performance. Intelligence tests were then used by the military to screen new recruits and determine their level of ability. IQ testing was important in the military mainly because intelligence tests offered a quick, cheap, and fairly accurate measure of general human ability. Also, IQ tests are often considered to be culturally-biased. Therefore, a poor performance in an IQ test may not necessarily mean that a person has low IQ. It might just mean that he is less accustomed to the culture upon which the test was based. (Loh, 2005)
3. The argument that white Americans were genetically superior over Black Americans is false. Race, heredity, and gender are non-factors in determining whether an individual is more intelligent than the other. Such case is but a classic example of the psychological issue of nature vs. nurture. Both heredity and the environment in which a child is reared contribute to the development of his intelligence as well as to his personality. According to Myers, "asking whether your personality is more a product of your genes or your environment is like asking whether water's wetness is due more to its hydrogen or its oxygen, or whether the area of a field is more the result of its length or its width." (2004) In fact, one study suggested that environmental differences between children are great determinants of their intellectual differences. For instance, based on the study of the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study, it was discovered that African American children who are adopted by white families have IQ scores more similar to the White IQ average of 110, compared with an average of 90 for African American children reared in the Black community. However, the African American adopted children still scored 6 points below the White children in the same family. (Pettijohn, 1998) This study merely shows that one cannot simply say that it is only hereditary factors or only environmental factors that contribute to the intelligence of a child. The study simply shows that both the genes and the environment contribute to the development of a child's intelligence. Thus, it is wrong to say that heredity is the sole determinant of the supposed intellectual superiority of White Americans over Black Americans.
Reference:
Johnston, E. (1997). Lecture 17: The history of intelligence testing. Sarah Lawrence College. Retrieved 20 Feb. 2006 from: http://pages.slc.edu/ebj/IM_97/Lecture17/L17.html.
Loh, W. (2005). Role of intelligence testing in society. University of Michigan, Department of Psychology. Retrieved 21 Feb. 2006 from: http://sitemaker.umich.edu/356.loh.
Myers, D. (2004). Exploring Psychology. 6th ed. W H Freeman & Co: New York.
Pettijohn, T. (1998). Psychology: A ConnecText. 4th ed. Dushkin: New Jersey. Read More
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