The preceding chapters have shown that children grow in various mental abilities and efficiency. Illustrations were given of the forms which development takes in a number of particular types of mental activity. This chapter will be primarily concerned with one of the most significant fields of work in psychology, namely, the endeavor to analyze and define intellectual activity. Underlying this work have been several purposes. One was to determine whether intellectual abilities in various lines are largely independent of each other or closely related. Stated in a different way, the question was: Is there such a thing as general intelligence or are there only many unrelated special mental capacities? A second major problem was to develop devices for measuring accurately either general intelligence or special mental abilities or both. It was apparent that the development of a test or measure of ability or abilities would make it possible to ascertain many types of information about mental achievement, such as the rate of mental growth, differences among individuals in intellectual power, the effects of parentage (heredity), home conditions, schooling, and other factors. It would, in fact, make possible a science and a profession of mental measurement.
Early Conceptions of Intelligence. The fact that individuals differ in ability to learn, to adjust to novel situations, and to manage things, people, and ideas, has been repeatedly observed throughout the course of recorded history. In the
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Publication information: Book title: Educational Psychology. Contributors: Arthur I. Gates - Author, Arthur T. Jersild - Author, T. R. McConnell - Author, Robert C. Challman - Author. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1942. Page number: 225.
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