Objective 1| Discuss the difficulty of defining intelligence, and explain what it means to “reify intelligence.” Intelligence is a socially constructed concept that differs from culture to culture. The two big controversies in current research on intelligence are (1) whether it is one overall ability or many, and (2) whether neuroscientists can locate and measure intelligence within the brain. To reify intelligence is to treat it as though it were a real object, not an abstract concept. Most psychologists now define intelligence as the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and adapt to new situations. Objective 2| Present arguments for and against considering intelligence as one general mental ability. Arguments for considering intelligence as a general mental ability underlying all specific mental abilities are based in part on factor analysis. This statistical procedure has been used to show that mental abilities tend to form clusters, and that people tend to show about the same level of competence in all abilities in the cluster. In the mid-twentieth century, Charles Spearman (a developer of factor analysis) named this common level of intelligence the g factor. Some psychologists today agree with Spear-man’s idea that we have a common level of intelligence that can predict our abilities in all other academic areas. Objective 3| Compare Gardner’s and Sternberg’s theories of intelligence. Howard Gardner disputes the idea of one general intelligence.
He proposes eight independent intelligences: linguistic (word smarts), logical-mathematical (number smarts), musical (music smarts), spatial (space smarts), bodily-kinesthetic (body smarts), intrapersonal (self smarts), interpersonal (people smarts), and natural (nature smarts). Robert Sternberg’s triarchic theory proposes only three intelligences: analytical (academic problem solving), creative, and practical intelligences. Objective 4| Describe the four aspects of emotional intelligence, and discuss criticisms of this concept.
The four components of emotional intelligence are the ability to perceive emotions (to recognize them in faces, music, and stories), to understand emotions (to predict them and how they change and blend), to manage emotions (to know how to express them in varied situations), and to use emotions. Critics of the idea of emotional intelligence question whether we stretch the idea of intelligence too far when we apply it to emotions. Objective 5| Identify the factors associated with creativity, and describe the relationship between creativity and intelligence.
Creativity is the ability to produce novel and valuable ideas. It correlates somewhat with intelligence, but beyond a score of120, that correlation dwindles. It also correlates with expertise, imaginative thinking skills, a venturesome personality, intrinsic motivation, and the support offered by a creative environment. Different brain areas are active when we engage in convergent thinking (the type required for intelligence test solutions) and divergent thinking (the type required for multiple imaginative solutions). Objective 6| Describe the relationship between intelligence and brain anatomy.
Recent studies indicate some correlation (about +.40) between brain size (adjusted for body size) and intelligence score. The brain’s tendency to decrease in size during late adulthood, as nonverbal intelligence test scores also decrease, supports this idea to some extent. And autopsies of some highly educated people revealed above-average volumes of synapses and gray matter. But the direction of the relationship is not clear. Larger brain size may enable greater intelligence; greater intelligence may lead to experiences that exercise the brain and build more connections, thus increasing its size; or some third factor may be at work. Objective 7| Discuss findings on the correlations between perceptual speed, neural processing speed, and intelligence.
Studies of brain