Human intelligence consists of different components, researchers say
Dec 19, 2012
A study from researchers at Western University say that there is little evidence for the concept of general intelligence. Instead, human intelligence is made up of multiple and distinct components.
An individual's IQ score — long-held as the standard measure of human intelligence — is not a valid way of assessing brainpower, say Canadian researchers.
A team from Western University is debunking the concept of general intelligence, saying that there is no single component that can account for how a person performs various mental and cognitive tasks.
Instead, human intelligence is made up of multiple and distinct components, each of which must be looked at independently.
'We have shown categorically that you cannot sum up the difference between people in terms of one number.'
The study, published today in the journal Neuron, included the largest online intelligence survey on record, which recruited more than 100,000 participants.
... The results showed that how people performed at the tests could only be explained with at least three distinct components: short-term memory, reasoning and verbal ability.
No single measure, such as an intelligence quotient, or IQ score, could account for how well, or how poorly, people did.
IQ test: Which way's table tilted?
The concept of a general intelligence factor dates back to at least 1904, when psychologist Charles Spearman suggested that there was a correlation between seemingly unrelated tasks, such as memorization, reading and performing arithmetic.
He called this link the 'g' factor, or general factor, and proposed that is accounted for an individual's performance across different mental tasks. Various intelligence tests, using a wide variety of methods, were developed throughout the 20th century as a way to evaluate children, students, military recruits and even potential hires. ...
"We have shown categorically that you cannot sum up the difference between people in terms of one number, and that is really what is important here," said Owen, adding that further tests still need to be done.