The Characteristic Demands of Intellectual Problems
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).
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