The G Factor: The Science of Mental Ability

By Arthur R. Jensen | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
Information Processing and g

Psychometric g can be studied more analytically by means of elementary cognitive tasks (ECTs) than is possible with the conventional IQ tests with items based on past acquired knowledge, reasoning, and problem solving requiring the concerted action of a number of relatively complex cognitive processes. A particular ECT is intended to measure a few relatively simple cognitive processes, independently of specific knowledge or information content. Each ECT is devised to tap a somewhat different set of cognitive processes, and performance on two or more different ECTs yields data from which individual differences in distinct processes can be measured, such as stimulus apprehension, discrimination, choice, visual search, scanning of short-term memory (STM), and retrieval of information from long-term memory (LTM).

ECTs typically involve no past-learned information content, and in those that do, the content is so familiar and overlearned as to be common to all persons taking the ECT, as can be shown on a non- speeded version of the ECT. Most ECTs are so simple that every person in the study can perform them easily, and individual differences in performance must be measured in terms of response time (RT). The theoretically most interesting ECTs are those with RTs of less than one second and with response error rates close to zero. The subject's median RT (over n number of trials) and the subject's intraindividual variability of RTs (measured as the standard deviation of RT, or RTSD, over n trials) are of particular interest. Another type of ECT, known as Inspection Time (IT), measures sheer speed of perceptual discrimination (visual or auditory) independently of RT.

Measures of RT, RTSD, and IT derived from the various ECTs

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The G Factor: The Science of Mental Ability
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Chapter 2 - The Discovery of G 18
  • Notes 39
  • Chapter 3 - The Trouble with "Intelligence" 45
  • Notes 68
  • Chapter 4 - Models and Characteristics of G 95
  • Chapter 5 - Challenges to G 105
  • Notes 133
  • Chapter 6 - Biological Correlates of G 137
  • Notes 165
  • Chapter 7 - The Heritability of G 169
  • Notes 197
  • Chapter 8 - Information Processing and G 203
  • Notes 261
  • Chapter 9 - The Practical Validity of G 270
  • Notes 301
  • Chapter 10 - Construct, Vehicles, and Measurements 306
  • Notes 344
  • Chapter 11 - Population Differences in G 350
  • Notes 402
  • Chapter 12 - Population Differences in G: Causal Hypotheses 418
  • Notes 516
  • Chapter 13 - Sex Differences in G 531
  • Notes 542
  • Chapter 14 - The G Nexus 544
  • Notes 579
  • Appendix A - Spearman's "Law of Diminishing Returns" 585
  • Appendix B - Method of Correlated Vectors 589
  • Appendix C - Multivariate Analyses of a Nexus 593
  • References 597
  • Name Index 635
  • Subject Index 643
  • About the Author 649
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