Applying Componential Theory to the Study of Individual Differences in Cognitive Skills

  • Robert J. Sternberg
Part of the Perspectives on Individual Differences book series (PIDF)


Many psychological phenomena are so very complex that no single approach can do justice to their complexity. Intelligence would seem to be a prime example of such a phenomenon. No matter how one defines intelligence, its complexity seems to overwhelm the conceptual resources any one approach can bring to bear on understanding it. Even limited aspects of intelligence seem almost staggering in their complexity. Consider, for example, that aspect of intelligence measured by conventional IQ tests. If almost a century of research on IQ test performance has shown anything, it is that no simple conceptual scheme or methodological approach has led, or perhaps can lead to an understanding of all the complexities that underlie test performance. The conceptual scheme and methodology one chooses will, of course, depend in large part upon the kinds of questions one wishes to ask.


Cognitive Skill Analogical Reasoning Answer Option Syllogistic Reasoning Individual Parameter Estimate 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Sternberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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