AP Psychology: Testing and Individual Differences Notes

Key Takeaways: Testing and Individual Differences

  1. Intelligence refers to general cognitive ability and is assessed by a number of different kinds of tests. Intelligence research and testing remains controversial because of disagreements about the meaning of intelligence.
  2. Different theories present a range of definitions of intelligence. Early theories posited a single general intelligence that applied to all mental abilities. More recent theories have suggested there are multiple kinds of intelligence.
  3. IQ tests were originally developed for children and measured abstract verbal abilities as a way to assess intelligence. Modern IQ tests employ both verbal and nonverbal questions to assess intelligence. When developing intelligence tests, researchers strive for high measures of validity and reliability.
  4. Cultures place importance on the type of intelligence that is most applicable to their societies. IQ tests may have to be revised to reduce cultural bias.

Key Terms: Testing and Individual Differences

What is Intelligence?

  • Intelligence: The ability to solve problems, learn from experience, and use knowledge to adapt to novel situations.
  • Aptitude tests: Tests designed to predict future performance in an ability.
  • Achievement tests: Tests designed to assess current performance in an ability.
  • Speed tests: Tests that assess quickness of problem solving by offering many questions in limited time.
  • Power tests: Tests with questions of increasing difficulty, used to assess the highest-difficulty problem a person can solve.
  • Verbal tests: Tests that use word problems to assess abilities.
  • Abstract tests: Tests that use non-verbal measures to assess abilities.

Intelligence Theories

  • Factor analysis: A statistical method that identifies common causes of variance in different tests.
  • G factor: The general intelligence factor, which accounts for a large amount of the variability in IQ scores.
  • Crystallized intelligence: The ability to apply previously learned knowledge to solve a new task.
  • Fluid intelligence: The ability to solve new tasks for which there is no prior knowledge.
  • Savant syndrome: A condition in which someone shows exceptional ability in a single skill but limited general mental ability.
  • Multiple intelligence theory: Gardner’s theory that proposes 8 different intelligences: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.
  • Triarchic theory of intelligence: Sternberg’s theory that proposes three distinct intelligences (analytical, creative, and emotional), which work together to make up your overall intelligence.
  • Analytical intelligence: The ability to solve traditional academic problems, as measured by early IQ tests.
  • Creative intelligence: The ability to apply knowledge to new situations.
  • Practical intelligence: The ability to apply life experiences to problem-solving tasks.
  • Emotional intelligence: The ability to perceive, understand, manage, and correctly utilize emotion in everyday life.

Intelligence Tests

  • Mental age: Based on the average level of performance for a particular chronological age, mental age represents a child’s level of cognitive ability.
  • Stanford-Binet IQ Test: An early IQ test created by Terman that originally measured intelligence by dividing mental age by chronological age and multiplying by 100.
  • Intelligence Quotient (IQ): A standardized scale used to measure intellectual abilities.
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC): An IQ test that measures intelligence using both verbal and non-verbal tasks.
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS): The first commonly used intelligence test specifically designed for adults, which measures intelligence using both verbal and non-verbal tasks.
  • Validity: A measure of the extent to which a test actually assesses what it claims.
  • Reliability: A measure of consistency in test results.
  • Content validity: The extent to which a test accurately assesses the entire range of abilities it is designed to measure.

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