The Nature of Intelligence

The Nature of Intelligence

The Nature of Intelligence

The Nature of Intelligence

Excerpt

In the past several years, converging scientific and social movements have generated increasing concern over the meaning of the term intelligence. Traditional definitions, rooted in the history of intelligence testing and school selection practices, have come under challenge as experimental psychology has turned increasingly to the study of human cognitive processes and as our understanding of the influence of culture on patterns of thinking has grown.

For several decades prior to our own, intelligence has been the almost exclusive concern, in America, of that branch of psychology often called differential psychology. Differential psychologists, using largely correlational methods, had sought through the development and analysis of tests to further our understanding of differences in intellectual capacity and performances among human beings. During most of this period, experimental psychology ignored individual differences, while differential psychology failed to take seriously the methodology or findings of experimentalists. Nor did either branch of psychology take :much account of other approaches to the study of cognition, such as the structuralist--developmental and ethological movements of Europe. In the 1970s this picture began to change, perhaps partly as a result of social pressure for a new look at intelligence. In light of the converging interests of psychologists of many persuasions, a critical examination of the possibilities for redefining and studying intelligence seemed appropriate.

The chapters included in this book are based on papers that were originally presented and discussed at a conference held in March, 1974, at the Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh. The contributors are cognitive psychologists and psychometricians, representing varied viewpoints, who were invited to come together to address the question of the nature of intelligence. The theme of the book is an examination of cognitive and adaptive processes involved in intelligent behavior and a look at how these processes . . .

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