The G Factor: The Science of Mental Ability

By Arthur R. Jensen | Go to book overview

that g is not a mental or cognitive process or one of the operating principles of the mind, such as perception, learning, or memory. Every kind of cognitive performance depends upon the operation of some integrated set of processes in the brain. These can be called cognitive processes, information processes, or neural processes. Presumably their operation involves many complex design features of the brain and its neural processes. But these features are not what g (or any other psychometric factor) is about. Rather, g only reflects some part of the individual differences in mental abilities (as defined in Chapter 2) that undoubtedly depend on the operation of neural processes in the brain. By inference, g also reflects individual differences in the speed, or efficiency, or capacity of these operations. But g is not these operations themselves.

A simple distinction between process and factor is that a process could be discovered by observing one person, whereas a factor could be discovered only by observing a number of persons. For example, one person is observed throwing darts at a target, trying on each trial to hit the bull's-eye. In the course of fifty trials, the person gradually improves in his level of proficiency, from at first being able to hit the bull's-eye only once in every ten trials to finally hitting the bull's-eye on nine out of every ten trials. This observable change in the person's level of proficiency over the course of practice represents a process, in this case learning. Many of its characteristics could be discovered by means of experiments on a single person. (In fact, Ebbinghaus discovered some of the basic facts of learning and memory by experiments using only himself as a subject.) But now we observe another person performing the same dart-throwing task. We see that it takes this person 200 trials to attain the same level of proficiency as was attained by the first person in only fifty trials. So here we see individual differences in the process of learning, in this case, a difference in the rate of learning. Obviously, this discovery that learning rates for this task can differ could only have been discovered by observing more than one individual. We could then devise several other diverse tasks in which learning (i.e., improvement with practice) can be seen to occur. We may then find that on every task these two persons differ consistently in their rate of learning. If so, this would mean that all the tasks are positively correlated. At this point, a factor, call it "general learning ability," has been discovered. Simply stated, we have demonstrated the existence of a single dimension of individual differences that cuts across a variety of learning tasks.


NOTES
1.
Jensen & Weng, 1994. The late Professor Henry F. Kaiser ( 1927- 1992), one of the world's leading experts on factor analysis, made a valuable contribution to our effort through the extensive discussions that Weng and I were privileged to have with him about the fundamental issues dealt with in our article.
2.
There are five alternative methods that do not have these problems, but the first two of these, at least, have certain problems of their own.
Principal components analysis. The first principal component (PC1) in a principal

-95-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The G Factor: The Science of Mental Ability
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 652

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.