Intelligence and intellectual tests - Psychodiagnostics. Theory and practice

Intelligence and Intelligence Tests

Unsuccessful attempts to define the essence of intelligence led to the desire to understand it through intellectual fulfillment. This means that the question "What is intelligence?" was reformulated as follows: "What kind of behavior is called intellectual?" To answer this question, it is necessary to create situations that provide a choice - to act intellectually or intellectually, and then to observe individual differences between people choosing intellectual and non-intellectual ways of doing it. According to many psychologists of the early XX century, intellectual tests create exactly such situations in which the right one can be only one choice from several alternative ones. An intellectual test is a model of the type of problem where intellectual fulfillment is possible. Therefore, some psychologists (A. Binet, C. Spearman, L. Termen, etc.) began to be called intelligence what is measured by intellectual tests. The intelligence quotient (IQ) has become synonymous with intelligence.

The desire to define intelligence through intellectual fulfillment has become one of the reasons for the emergence of intellectual testing (another, the main reason is the needs of practice). The psychometric approach in intelligence research became dominant during the first five decades of the 20th century. In his framework, improving psychometric techniques (L. Termen, D. Veksler, R. Amthauer, J. Raven), expanding the number of measurable cognitive indicators (D. Wexler, J. Guildford, R. Meili), studying their relationships through factorization and creating models of the structure of intelligence (C. Spearman, L. Thurstone, R. Cattell, F. Vernoy, J. Guilford, A. Jaeger, R. Meili), changing the areas of the psychometric dimension (G. Simon, R. Glaser, J. Larkin , A. Lesgold, R. Sternberg), interpreting the results of intellectual tests from the perspective of different psychological schools directions (R. Meili, R. Sternberg), psychologists have tried to understand the essence of intelligence, to find a satisfactory, supported by many researchers define it.

The main focus of psychodiagnostics was given to the selection of relevant problems, with which the best way to measure intelligence. Some recognized the most suitable model for intellectual fulfillment of the solution of those abstract mental tasks, of which most of the tests consisted, since they did not meet in real life and were free from knowledge acquired in the past.

Other psychologists, on the contrary, considered it wrong to measure intelligence with such "artificial, lifeless" The constructions that make up the test tasks. For example, R. Sternberg is sure that test problems should be taken from our daily life.

Some people hold the view that the best are non-verbal assignments that measure true intelligence, a general factor free from language constructs. But there is also the opposite opinion that only verbal assignments allow us to evaluate intelligence, so what is closely related to language abilities.

Identifying the intellect with IQ, psychologists of the first half of the XX century. At the same time, they continued to regard it as an innate and hereditarily predetermined quality, independent of the conditions of development. This led to expectations of the stability and permanence of IQ individuals for a long time. Psychologists believed that IQ (expressed in standard test scores) should not grow with age.

Before presenting the experimental data aimed at testing this assumption, we will consider what constitutes an IQ as an indicator for an intellectual test. In the test, the subjects are asked to perform a number of tasks that require the establishment of logical-functional relations between the given objects (words, graphic images, etc.). The sum of the completed tasks determines the primary (raw) score of each individual, which is then translated into a standard (scale) assessment. This is IQ. Standard IQ is the correlation of an individual indicator with the statistical norm obtained on a homogeneous representative sample of subjects. It reflects the place ( point ) that the individual occupies in his performance indicators on the group continuum of the group testing results.

In order to correctly evaluate and use the results of the intellectual test, it is necessary to answer the question, how stable is the place that the individual received by the test parameter. Psychologists of the first half of the XX century. following F. Galton and A. Binet believed that the differences in the performance of the intellectual test are caused by the unequality of genetically conditioned or innate intelligence and therefore should be maintained for a long time. Intellect is predetermined for man in the same way as his growth. If it is possible to develop it, then in early childhood. As for adults, then they are stable.

In longitudinal studies, the hypothesis of the invariance of both relative (rank) and absolute indices of intellectual tests expressed in standard IQ was confirmed, in adult subjects. For example, in a known longitudinal study conducted in Berkeley, California, and lasting for 26 years, the 1Q correlations obtained at the age of eight, with an index of intellectual tests in subsequent periods were more than 0.80 and reached 0.96.

Should this IQ consistency be explained by the heredity of the intellect? There are at least two more reasons for the facts found. One of them is the relative immutability of the environment in which people are for a long time (and sometimes throughout their lives). Another reason is that the skills and skills acquired by individuals in the early stages of their lives and ensuring their rapid intellectual development remain and serve as prerequisites for future development.

At the same time, the noted IQ constancy was observed only within the framework of the group. When psychologists moved from intragroup research to studying the variations of IQ of different groups that are affected by unequal conditions of their life, they collected a lot of facts that testify to the variability of the psychological characteristics that hid behind the IQ. These studies can be grouped in two ways. One of them concerned the study of the influence of various environmental factors on the evaluation of intellectual tests, the other was the study of representatives of different cultures.

In the studies of the first direction, both the factors of the biological environment (the weight of the child at birth, the features of the mother's pregnancy, the presence of diseases in the parents, etc.) were used, as well as the peculiarities of the socioeconomic situation. So, IQ of premature babies remains significantly lower in comparison with the IQ full-term until the youngest adolescence, and then this difference disappears.

The dependence of IQ on belonging to the socioeconomic class was established a very long time, in fact, with the advent of the first tests of intelligence. It has always been noted that the difference in the average estimates of different intellectual tests between children of lower and higher social classes ranges from 10 to 14.

However, the attribution of various factors to the biological or social environment is often conditional. Biological parameters are not only not independent of social, but can be entirely conditioned by the latter. Thus, the mother's disease, the weight of the child at birth can be a consequence of the low socioeconomic status of the family, when low incomes do not allow to resort to medical assistance and fully eat. The opposite is true: the consequence of a serious or chronic illness may well be the inability to get a good education, a highly paid job and, thus, the socioeconomic level of a person and his family will be low. In psychodiagnostics, the term "biosocial correlates of IQ", which means that IQ is affected not only by individual variables of the biological and social environment, but also by their interaction. For example, belonging to the socioeconomic class affects IQ in several ways:

- through the biological characteristics of children (in the lower classes, low birth weight, propensity to disease, etc.);

- through the choice of the school and in general the learning environment;

- directly through the perception of cognitive information, differing in volume and quality;

- through personal characteristics (motivation, frustration, etc.).

The facts accumulated by the testimony irrefutably testified to the IQ's susceptibility to many environmental influences. Perhaps it is difficult to find that parameter of the individual environment that would not affect IQ, since all the numerous developmental conditions analyzed by psychologists had a noticeable, significant impact on the indicators of intellectual tests.

Another group of results that breached the notion that IQ reflects intelligence independent of developmental conditions was obtained in studies called cross-cultural (conducted on representatives of different cultures). At a conference in Istanbul (Turkey) in 1971, researchers from different countries presented numerous evidence of the influence of the cultural factor on IQ and concluded that it is impossible to eliminate this influence even with so-called culture-free tests. The conference participants recognized this as a result of differences in upbringing, lifestyle, habits, motivation and character of generalizations peculiar to different cultures.

What do these results show, as well as data on the dependence of intellectual estimates on the environment? On the volatility, variability of these estimates. At present, Western psychodiagnostics recognize that intellectual tests do not determine natural differences between people, but the available level of knowledge and cognitive abilities that have developed at the time of testing. Here is what American testologist A. Anastasi writes about this: "The tests are intended to show what an individual can do at a given moment in time. They can not tell us why he does the test that way. To answer this question, we need to investigate the conditions of its development, motivation and other essential conditions. " Another American psychologist, D. McClelland, writes that "tests are designed to reflect openly, completely and unerringly everything that a person has been taught."

So, it is now recognized that intellectual tests have not justified themselves as a means of measuring intelligence, considered as a general ability or group of abilities. They are suitable for measuring some features of human thought activity, as well as for revealing the scope and content of its knowledge in certain areas. All these are important characteristics of human cognitive development, but they are not indicators of intellectual abilities.

Therefore, some psychologists, while continuing to believe that the concept of "intellect" denote the general ability (or group of abilities), abandoned the notion that 1C) is an indicator of intelligence. In their opinion, the intellect can be assessed on the basis of long-term observations of human behavior in a variety of situations, and also analyzing how it achieves success in various activities (L. Hernshaw, L. Melkhorn, D. McClelland, etc.). Strict methods of its diagnosis does not exist yet.

Thus, for a part of psychologists, the ways of intellectual testing and the theory of intelligence have disagreed.

Some psychologists traditionally continue to call what is measured by intellectual tests (G. Eysenck, K. Ljungman, etc.) - However, in the concept of "intellect" they put other content, understanding it not as an ability, but as a characteristic of knowledge and thinking skills acquired by a person and allowing more or less successfully solve the tasks of an intellectual test. Identifying intelligence and IC, these psychologists often use the terms psychometric intelligence & quot ;, test intelligence. & Quot ;. As the Swedish psychologist Svante Boman writes, the term in this sense means not the ability of a person, but his ability to give correct answers in tests.

Along with the concept of psychometric intelligence there are the concepts biological intelligence & quot ;, social intelligence & quot ;, practical intelligence & quot ;. The first to notice this was E. Thorndike, writing that our tests measure different types of intelligence - abstract, social and practical. Abstract is manifested in the ability of a person to operate with symbols, social - in the ability to work with people, and practical - in the ability to manipulate objects.

Currently, biological intelligence is the biological basis of intellectual behavior; its study is associated with an analysis of the structure and activity of the brain and nervous system, often carried out at the molecular, cellular, gene levels. The study of biological intelligence is conducted by psychologists in conjunction with physiologists, biochemists, geneticists.

The term social intelligence signify the ability to solve social problems, adequately behave in situations of communication. Sometimes such skills (social intelligence) are included in the broader concept of "practical intelligence", which means the ability to solve various everyday problems.

As for intellectual testing, at the present stage psychodiagnostics focus mainly on solving two theoretical problems: clarifying the validity of intellectual tests and limiting the goals of their practical use.

The question of substantive validity arose from the fact that psychodiagnostics understand the limitations of a set of test problems, the dependence of intellectual evaluations on the nature of these tasks, and on the methods used by an individual to solve them, on his motivational and other personal characteristics. Therefore, psychodiagnostics tend to clearly limit the area of ​​the mental that is diagnosed by each intellectual test.

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