The Characteristic Demands of Intellectual Problems

  • J. J. Elshout
Part of the Nato Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 5)


Among theorists of intelligence there are divergent view on the intrinsic interest of the activities elicited by mental tests. On the one hand, there are those who hold that what a person does in trying to solve a test problem is of high interest, both from an ecological and a theoretical point of view. On the other hand, there is the opinion that the way people cope with tests of intelligence is only interesting insofar as the level of performance on the test is indicative of the underlying capacities. Only the capacities are of real interest, both ecologically and psychologically. Correlated with the distinction mentioned are differing views about how tests should be constructed, how test batteries should be assembled, and about the most informative way to factor-analyze the results. Those who see test items as interesting cognitive tasks tend to prefer item-homogeneous tests. They also favor methods of battery assembly and analysis that leave us with a fine-grained description, with factors of a level of specificity that hold the promise of homogeneity of cognitive process (like Guilford’s system). Theorists in the other camp prefer an item and test sampling approach, and they like their factors to be few and broad, so as to ensure a better coverage of the underlying capacities that have their real interest (like the Cattell-Horn system).


Characteristic Demand Active Memory Mental Skill Taxing Feature Intellectual Problem 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Carroll, J. B. Psychometric tests as cognitive tasks: A new “Structure of intellect.” In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), The nature of intelligence. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1976.Google Scholar
  2. Elshout, J. J. Karakteristieke Moeilijkheden in het Denken. Academisch Proefschrift. Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1976.Google Scholar
  3. French, J. W., Ekstrom, R. B., & Price, L. A. Manual for kit of reference tests for cognitive factors. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 1967.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. J. Elshout
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituut voor Cognitie OnderzoekUniversiteit van AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands

Personalised recommendations