often show the value of ability profile distinctions, where models based on correlated predictors will fail to do so. It appears that ability profiles have at least sometimes been dismissed as useless based on faulty methodology.


SUMMARY

Ability profiles have a checkered history. As theories of multiple abilities grew through this century, high hopes for the usefulness of profiles grew with them. Some evidence has indeed shown the value of ability profiles in research and in various practical uses. But much evidence has also called their use into question. Profiles have often appeared to add little beyond a global G measure, especially in prediction studies. It is clear, however, that profiles involve complicated psychometrics that, if not properly addressed, can subvert intended uses. Moreover, important weaknesses in some of the standard methods used in evaluating profiles may have often misrepresented their strengths and weaknesses.

When properly constructed, validated, and interpreted, ability profiles can be useful. They should be valuable in academic and career counseling. They can aid in diagnosing malfunctions in cognitive performance and in isolating particular learning disabilities. And they can be useful in research on differences in multiple dimensions, among groups as well as individuals, in both aptitude and achievement. Although the evidence in support of profile use for selection and classification in education, training, and employment situations is currently scattered, specialized, and quite weak overall, further research with improved methodology seems justified. Given the hierarchical model of ability organization, new research using the methods suggested here should tell us where and when a global construct of G is sufficient and how different profiles of more specialized broad and narrow ability factors come into important play in particular situations.


REFERENCES

Anderson M. ( 1992). Intelligence and development. A cognitive theory. Oxford: Blackwell.

Balke-Aurell G. ( 1982). "Changes in ability as related to educational and occupational experience". Göteborg: Acta Universitafis Gothoburgensis.

Brody N. ( 1992). Intelligence ( 2nd ed.). San Diego: Academic Press.

Campbell J. P., & Zook L. M. ( 1991). Improving the selection, classification, and utilization of army enlisted personnel: Final report on Project A (Research Report 1597) Alexandria, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Carroll J. B. ( 1993). Human cognitive abilities. A survey of factor-analytic studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cattell R. B. ( 1963). "Theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence: A critical experiment". Journal of Educational Psychology, 54, 1-22.

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