Studies in Individual Differences: The Search for Intelligence

Studies in Individual Differences: The Search for Intelligence

Studies in Individual Differences: The Search for Intelligence

Studies in Individual Differences: The Search for Intelligence

Excerpt

This book of readings is designed to meet what we feel is a critical need in contemporary courses in tests and measurements and differential psychology. The two editors have taught one or another of these courses more than one hundred times. We hold that at least three requisite things-- good psychological judgment, an elusive quality called perspective, and a grasp of the strategies of psychological measurement--are fostered most rapidly when students encounter original research papers in their historical sequence. It is difficult for the student, presented with a concise textbook summary of today's knowledge, to imagine the long, hard struggle which produced that knowledge. Equipped with a textbook alone, he is in position to see only dimly, if at all, the initial inspirations, false starts, first approximations, and attained half-truths. Certainly this is poor preparation for a student who, in embarking on new studies of his own, is bound to encounter difficulties seldom mentioned in his text.

In searching for a topic to serve as a model problem in measurement we quickly settled on intelligence. The tools for measuring intelligence were neither easy to develop nor were they what the "good" psychologists had prescribed. The early work proved discouraging or misleading. The whole field was, and still is, fraught with controversy, both within psychology and between that science and the lay population. However, overriding all other considerations, the issues are of vital importance in a host of practical situations; few persons remain untouched by what the psychologist does in this domain. The search for intelligence was, then, par excellence the kind of model problem we wanted to illustrate in a book of readings.

In selecting this one topic it is obvious that we have no intention of supplanting current textbooks, which, in fact, we believe are of very high quality. However, these textbooks by their very nature cannot give the student the kind of understanding of the work and the workers that we are striving for here. It is our conviction that this book will supplement the standard texts in a valuable way for students with inquiring minds and an intellectual curiosity about the origins of the evidence upon which our present knowledge of intelligence rests.

What were its origins? One of our students a few years ago made an abstract of what Plato had to say in The Republic about the abilities essential for a member of the warrior class in his perfect city-state. Putting it . . .

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