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Testing Process Theories of Intelligence

  • Earl C. Butterfield
Chapter
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 14)

Abstract

A dauntingly complex but necessary research strategy follows from two simple beliefs about intelligence. The first belief is that intelligence develops: behavior becomes increasingly complex and abstractly organized with age. The second belief is that individual differences in intelligence are general: people who perform intelligently in one situation are more likely than people who don’t to perform intelligently in another situation. Given that there are specialized forms of knowledge and specialized modes of thought, it is still true that to be termed intelligent a person must behave in generally effective ways. Despite their simplicity, these two beliefs are universally accepted. The developmental character of intelligence is accepted by process and structural theorists alike; it is accepted by continuity and noncontinuity theorists, by those who do and those who do not subscribe to stage theories, as well as by those who accept the antitheoretical view that intelligence is only what IQ tests measure. The belief that intellectual differences are general can be seen in the functionalist argument that intelligence is adaptability, since adaptability amounts to performing well in diverse situations. It can be seen in the Piagetian argument that an instructional experiment cannot be claimed to have influenced intelligence unless it has changed a wide range of uninstructed behaviors as well as the instructed ones. It can be seen in any standardized test of intelligence, since even the factorially purest tests yield composite IQ or MA scores. The research implications of these two beliefs fall on all who would test theories of intelligence.

Keywords

Process Theory Transfer Test Transfer Task Criterion Task Instructional Sequence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Earl C. Butterfield
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KansasKansas CityUSA

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