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Thinking, Language, & Intelligence


Assessing Intelligence:intelligence 2

Intelligence: The ability to acquire knowledge, think logically, and to use resources effectively.

The skills required to adapt successfully to environmental demands may differ from culture to culture, suggesting to some theorists that what constitutes intelligence may be somewhat culture-specific.


  • The single, general factor for mental ability assumed to underlie intelligence in some early theories of intelligence

Fluid Intelligence

  • Intelligence that reflects information-processing capabilities, reasoning, and memory

Crystallized Intelligence

  • The accumulation of information, skills, and strategies that are learned through experience
  • Can be applied in problem-solving situations

Spearman: g-factor

Charles Spearman (1923) – British Psychologist who argued for intelligence as a general ability. He observed that:

The psychometric argument for intelligence as a general ability was first advanced by the British psychologist Charles Spearman (1923).  He observed that school grades in different subjects, such as English and mathematics, were almost always positively correlated but not perfectly, and he concluded that intellectual performance is determined partly by a g-factor (general intelligence), and partly by whatever special abilities might be required to perform a particular task.

Howard Gardner: Eight Types of Intelligence.

Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner (2003) believes that intelligence may be more broadly conceived as relatively independent intelligences that relate to different adaptive demands.  Gardner believes intelligence relates to different adaptive demands. He currently defines eight distinct varieties of adaptive abilities:

1)  Linguistic Intelligence: the ability to use language well, as writers do

2)  Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: the ability to reason mathematically and logically

3)  Visuo-spatial Intelligence: the ability to solve spatial problems or to succeed in a field such as architecture

4)  Musical Intelligence: the ability to perceive pitch and rhythm and to understand and produce music

5)  Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: the ability to control body movements and skillfully manipulate objects, as demonstrated by a highly skilled dancer, athlete, or surgeon

6)  Interpersonal Intelligence: the ability to understand and relate well to others

7)  Intrapersonal Intelligence: the ability to understand oneself

8)  Naturalistic Intelligence: the ability to detect and understand phenomena in the natural world, as a zoologist or meteorologist might

Sternberg: Three Types of Intelligence

Robert Sternberg (1988, 2004) is a leading proponent of the cognitive processes approach to intelligence. Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence addresses both the psychological processes involved in intelligent behavior and the diverse forms that intelligence can take.

Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence addresses:

  • The psychological processes involved in intelligent behavior.
  • The diverse forms that intelligence can take:

1.Analytical Intelligence involves academically oriented problem-solving skills measured by traditional intelligence tests

2.Practical intelligence refers to the skills needed to cope with everyday demands and to manage oneself and other people effectively

3.Creative intelligence comprises the mental skills needed to deal adaptively with novel problems




Emotional Intelligence


According to John Mayer and Peter Salovey, emotional intelligence involves the abilities to:

  • read others’ emotions accurately
  • respond to others’ emotions appropriately
  • motivate oneself
  • be aware of one’s own emotions
  • regulate and control one’s own emotional responses

According to Mayer and Salovey, emotional intelligence includes four components or branches

The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) includes specific tasks to measure each branch

MSCEIT Branch 1:

Perceiving emotions is measured by people’s accuracy in judging emotional expressions in facial photographs, as well as the emotional tones conveyed by different landscapes and designs.

MSCEIT Branch 2:

Using emotions to facilitate thought
is measured by asking people to identify the emotions that would best enhance a particular type of thinking, such as how to deal with a distressed coworker or plan a birthday party.

MSCEIT Branch 3:

Understanding emotions is measured by asking people to specify the conditions under which their emotions change in intensity or type; or measuring people’s understanding of which basic emotions blend to create subtle emotions such as envy or jealousy.

MSCEIT Branch 4

Managing emotions is measured by asking respondents to indicate how they can change their own or others’ emotions to facilitate success or increase interpersonal harmony.

Intelligence Tests

Alfred Binet

  • Developed the first intelligence test to assess the mental skills of French school children.

Lewis Terman

  • Imported Binet’s intelligence test to the United States (1916) and revised it as the Stanford-Binet Scale.
  • The Stanford-Binet became the standard for future individually administered intelligence tests and is still used today.

David Wechsler

  • Developed a major competitor to the Stanford-Binet (1936).
  • Today, the Wechsler tests (WAIS-III and WISC-IV) are the most popular individually tests in the United States (Newmark, 2005).


Stanford-Binet: Sample Problems That Should Be Answered Correctly at Particular Ages

At the age of,,, the child should be able to:kids

3 years:

  •  Point to objects that serve various functions such as “shoes” and says, “goes on your feet”.

4 years:

  • Discriminate visual forms such as squares, circles, and triangles.
  • Define words such as ball and bat.
  • Repeat 10-word sentences.
  • Count up to 4 objects.
  • Solve problems such as, “In daytime it is light, at night it is . . .”

6 years:

  • State the differences between similar items such as bird and dog.
  • Count up to 9 blocks.
  • Solve analogies such as “An inch is short; a mile is . . .”

9 years:

  • Solve verbal problems such as “Tell me a number that rhymes with tree.”
  • Solve simple arithmetic problems such as
    “If I buy 4 cents’ worth of candy and give the storekeeper 10 cents, how much money will I get back?”
  • Repeat 4 digits in reverse order

12 years:

  • Define words such as muzzle.
  • Repeat 5 digits in reverse order.
  • Solve verbal absurdities such as “Bill’s feet are so big he has to pull his trousers over his head. What is foolish about that?”


Psychologist David Wechsler believed that the Stanford-Binet relied too much on verbal skills

  • Wechsler thought that intelligence should be measured as a group of distinct but related verbal and nonverbal abilities.
  • He developed intelligence tests for adults and children that measured both nonverbal and verbal intellectual skills:
  • The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS, 1939)
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC, 1955)
  • Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence
    (WPPSI, 1967)

Intelligence Test Construction: Psychometric Standards for Intelligence Tests.

Three key measurement concepts apply to all psychological tests and intelligence measures:

  • Reliability
  •      Consistency of measurement.
  • Validity
  •      How well a test actually measures what it is designed to measure.
  • Standardization
  •      The development of norms.
  •       Rigorously controlled testing procedures.

Types of reliability and validity in psychological testing:Slide9Slide10













Cognition: Occurs When Information Is Being Organized, Stored, Processed, or Communicated

Concepts: Ideas That Represent a Class or Category of Events or Objects

  • Enable us to organize complex phenomena into simpler, and therefore more easily usable, cognitive categories.
  • Help us classify newly encountered objects on the basis of our past experiences


Prototypes: Typical, Highly Representative Examples of a Concept

High agreement exists among people in a particular culture about which examples of a concept are prototypes, as well as which examples are not:


Prototypes: Typical, Highly Representative Examples of a Concept:



Language: the ability to communicate with individuals of your culture.language

Stages of language development: cooing, babbling, one-word speech and telegraphic speech.

1-3 MONTHS:   Infant can distinguish speech from nonspeech sounds and prefers speech sounds (phonemes). Undifferentiated crying gives way to cooing when happy.

4-6 MONTHS:   Babbling sounds begin to occur. These contain sounds from virtually every language.  Child vocalizes in response to verbalizations of others.

7-11 MONTHS:  Babbling sounds narrow to include only the phonemes heard in the language spoken by others in the environment. Child discriminates between some words without understanding their meaning and begins to imitate word sounds heard from others.

12 MONTHS:  First recognizable words typically spoken as one-word utterances to name familiar people and objects.

12-18 MONTHS: Child increases knowledge of word meanings and begins to use single words to express whole phrases or requests.

18-24 MONTHS:  Vocabulary expands to between 50 and 100 words. First rudimentary sentences appear, usually consisting of two words with little or no use of articles (the, a). This condensed, or telegraphic speech is characteristic of first sentences throughout the world.

Learning language: the role of reinforcement and imitation.

The learning-theory approach suggests that language acquisition follows the principles of reinforcement and conditioning.MOM AND BABY

A child who says “mama” receives hugs and praise from her mother, which reinforces the
behavior of saying “mama” and makes its repetition more likely.

The more words parents say to their children before the age of 3, the larger the children’s vocabulary.


Understanding Speech:

Wernicke’s area, in the temporal lobe, is primarily involved in speech comprehension.

Damage to this cortical region leaves patients unable to understand written or spoken speech.

Broca’s area, in the frontal lobe, is mainly involved in the production of speech through its connections with the motor cortex region that controls the muscles used in speech.

Damage to this area leaves patients with the ability to comprehend speech, but not to express themselves in words or sentences.


Bernstein, D.A. & Nash, P.W. (2008). Essentials of psychology (4th ed.) Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Feldman, R. (2013). Essentials of understanding psychology (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
McGraw-Hill.McGraw Hill Higher Education (2013), The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.


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