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How useful is the concept of Intelligence?
Transcript of How useful is the concept of Intelligence?
Bartholomew (2004, pp.1-7) 'Measuring Intelligence'
Why is there such sensitivity surrounding the term?
What is intelligence?
Do measures of intelligence have any use?
Bartholomew (2004, pp.3-7) explores the sensitivity surrounding intelligence. He explains that those on the right of the political spectrum tend to start with the individual, whilst those on the left claim that it is society that will nurture individuals and encourage their abilities and contributions.
To some it is deeply threatening that people may vary in their innate abilities.
He claims it is to do with our brains and that intelligence is claimed to influence the ability to acquire power, influence and wealth.
It is natural to turn to a measure and for many, intelligence and the measure of it impinge on their understanding of themselves at the deepest level.
The term intelligence has a focus on the notion of 'understanding'; the Oxford Dictionary describes as 'the faculty of understanding' and 'quickness of mental apprehension'. This is still very hard to measure, with some arguing that it cannot at all.
Charles Spearman (1904) proposed abandoning the word and replacing with 'g', with some concerned that it will only confuse the mathematically challenged. Jenson (1969) argues that the term intelligence is fine for everyday language but is too ambiguous for scientific use.
Bartholomew states that Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.) must be a separate quantity to intelligence. That the science and ideology must be considered separately.
Kanazawa (2006) argues that Wilkinson's theory of economic inequality reducing health and life expectancy, does not make sense in its evolutionary framework.
Stating that it shall be more intelligent individuals that are better able to recognise and deal with danger and live longer.
How useful is the concept of intelligence?
Dependant on what you are looking for?
Useful for labelling and benchmarking in educational institutions however competence, lifeskills and innate characteristics need to be considered.
How useful is the concept of Intelligence?
Consistent with this theory are the macro level analyses (obtained from published sources via United Nations & World Bank) showing that income inequality and economic development have no effect on life expectancy at birth, infant or age specific mortality.
They also show that an average I.Q. has a very large and significant effect on population health.
At micro level, a social survey was conducted showing both income
intelligence have independent positive effects on self reported health, however, it is intelligence that has an overall stronger effect than income.
To conclude, Wilkinson's term 'Inequality Kills' comes under some doubt. When national I.Q. is controlled, income inequality nor economic development have an effect on life expectancy. The micro data from the U.S. show that verbal intelligence has a stronger effect on health than income.
This paper provides explanation as to why and how the concept of intelligence is useful and suggests health psychologists pay closer attention to the role of intelligence in health and longevity.
Bartholomew, D.J. (2004)
Measuring intelligence: Facts and Fallacies.
Cambridge, Angleterre: Cambridge University Press
DeLoach Jones, L (2013) 10 Famous Authors who never graduated from college [Online] Available: https://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2013/11/10-famous-authors-who-never-graduated-from-college.html [Accessed 21 February 2017]
Hand, M. (2007) The concept of Intelligence. London Review of Education (5) 35-46.
Jenson, A.R. (1969) 'How much can we boost IQ and scholastic achievement?'
Harvard Educational Review,
Kanazawa, S. (2006) Mind the gap... in intelligence: Re-examining the relationship between inequality and health. British Journal of Health Psychology, 11(4), pp.623-642. doi: 10.1348/135910705x69842.
Llewellyn Jones, R. (2014) Sir Richard Branson shows you can succeed without great exam results says entrepreneur James Taylor [Online] Available: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-opinion/sir-richar-branson-shows-you-7664390 [Accessed 21 February 2017]
Ree, M.J.and Earles, J.A. (1992) Intelligence is the best predictor of job performance. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 1 (3), p86-89.
Spearman, C. (1904) "General Intelligence objectively determined and measured.
American Journal of Psychology
, 5, 201-93.
Vergauwe, E. and Cowan, N. (2014) Assessing and revising the plan for intelligence testing. Journal of Intelligence, 2(2), pp. 29-32. doi: 10.3390/jintelligence2020029
Intelligence is the best predictor of job performance by Malcolm James Ree and James A. Earles
Intelligence is usually identified with general ability
American 18 - 23 year olds used
Components of job performance: possessing the skills, knowledge and techniques needed for the job, and applying these skills, knowledge and techniques to achieve organisational goals
Tests used: differential aptitude test, general aptitde test battery, armed services vocational aptitude battery, and air force officer qualifying test
Test's utility in predicting training success comes predominantly from the share of the test that measures intelligence
Criteria: work samples of hands-on job performance, technical interviews, supervisory ratings
Found correlation between accomplishment of the job's primary tasks and intelligence
On average, intelligence decreased as the jobs went cerebral to physical
'Assessing and revising the plan for intelligence testing' by Vergauwe and Cowan (2014)
This article challenges the definition of intelligence
It questions the scientific or practical purposes
How working memory also plays a crucial part in intelligence testing?
Do we need to measure intelligence?
How is it defined?
Job and school performance indicators
The Concept of Intelligence - Michael Hand
Analyses the concept of intelligence in philosophical literature
His aim was to consider if there was a concept marked by the word 'intelligence' and if there is a concept, is it a useful one?
There are as many kinds of intelligence as there are spheres of human activity (Ryle 1990)
We can find discussion and definitions of consciousness, perception, memory, emotion and imagination but rarely anything on intelligence
What does the test of intelligence test? IQ tests are not valid measures of intelligence and are attributable to the differences in upbringing (Hand 2007)
An individual does not need to be labelled as intelligent in order to contribute something valuable to society (Hand 2007)
If the concept of intelligence is used then we must also consider that the concept of unintelligence must be considered yet if everybody has the innate capacity to acquire competences this should qualify them for a level of intelligence (Hand 2007)
If intelligence is a concept that we possibly do not need as it is not fit for purpose why do we still use very rigid benchmarks to grade intelligence?
Are those that do not fit into these requirements considered as 'stupid' and not able to contribute to society? (Hand 2007)
Richard Branson dropped out of school age 15 with no qualifications and is now a billionaire running the Virgin empire.
He is famously quoted as saying "forget exam results (everybody else does sooner or later!)"
Love him or hate him, Lord Alan Sugar whose one GCSE has not stopped him amassing a £900m fortune is perceived as intelligent, capable and successful.
Charles Dickens had sporadic schooling interspersed with factory jobs yet is now known as one of the finest Victorian novelists.