Human Cognitive Abilities in Theory and Practice

Human Cognitive Abilities in Theory and Practice

Human Cognitive Abilities in Theory and Practice

Human Cognitive Abilities in Theory and Practice

Synopsis

Research on human cognitive abilities has a long history in psychology and education, and has been widely applied to practical problems in schools, clinics, and employment settings. This book explores the historical background and current views of how human intelligence manifests itself in real-world contexts.

Excerpt

Research on human intellectual abilities has a long history in psychology and education. This work, unlike many other areas of social science research, has been widely applied to practical work in schools, clinics, and employment settings. These issues are widely discussed by scientists, practitioners, researchers, scholars, writers, clinicians, and other people.

During the past few years, in our discussions with many influential scientists in this area, a common set of concerns were raised--many scientists perceived an increase in the gap between intellectual abilities theory and practice. For example, scholars studying intelligence consistently mention the widespread use of single IQ measures in research and clinical practice. Some of these discussions focus on theoretical issues and formal models. Some well-known scholars claim that a general factor of intellectual ability is grounded in the findings of extensive research studies. Other equally respected scholars say the evidence does not support the hypothesis of a single factor of intelligence. Some of this controversy stems from the use of different methods for the analysis of cognitive data. This includes different views about the appropriate design and interpretation of factor analytic research. Personal views on these topics are often a key part of these debates.

Such controversy has important practical outcomes. Some practitioners claim optimal efficiency in the use of a single IQ measure, no matter what behavioral outcome is of interest, and cite only the research consistent with this position. Others conclude that multiple measures of cognitive functioning are required, and again cite evidence consistent with this position. These practical considerations are so important to the public that they often overshadow the original theoretical questions. For example, those who construct intellectual ability tests are compelled by market demand to provide a single composite score, whether or not such a construct is appropriate. Test batteries are questioned for not producing a score called IQ, and some new tests are labeled different rather than improved. In such ways, intellectual ability tests are considerably different than other areas of assessment, such as personality and school achievement.

Questions about the current level of progress in matching of theory and . . .

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