The Intelligence Test in Personality Assessment

  • Sidney J. Blatt
  • Joel Allison


The conceptualization and application of the intelligence test has gradually but persistently evolved and expanded in scope. This has been reflected in part in a shift away from a limited preoccupation with the global IQ score to a broader focus on the diverse tasks of an intelligence test as an assessment of ego functions. Increased interest has also been shown in the principles and patterns in which these various ego functions are organized and integrated into various types or modes of adaptation. Thus, while the purpose of early intelligence testing was to evaluate an individual’s general intellectual capacity by comparing it to appropriate norms and standardization groups more recent conceptualization and utilization of intelligence tests have increasingly questioned the arbitrary separation of intelligence, as a functional concept, and personality. To some extent the interrelationship of intelligence and personality was recognized at the outset, but in the somewhat static concept that personality factors could influence and interfere with test efficiency. For example, it was noted relatively early that many patients showed a decline or deterioration as well as marked variability in their intellectual functioning, and interest was focused on the relationship between the range of the scores and various psychopathological conditions. This conceptualization of the relationship of psychopathology to gross scatter of test scores was then refined to include the hypothesis that the variability (or scatter) reflected selective impairments that were specific to various psychopathological states. The development of the Wechsler-Bellevue in the mid-1940’s with its subtests, each of which was administered to all subjects, was an important stimulus to this revised, more refined concept of test scatter because the Wechsler scales permitted more specific and consistent comparisons (Rabin, 1965). It was also with the development of the Wechsler scales that some of the guideposts were established for clarifying the inseparability of intelligence and total personality functioning. The addition of a theoretical analysis of the various psychological functions assessed by the different subtests (Rapaport, Gill & Schafer, 1945; Wechsler, 1944) supplied an interpretive rationale for viewing the interrelationship of the various psychological functions reflected in subtest scores with personality organization. In large measure, this new approach reflected the systematic application to intelligence tests of the hypothesis that each act of the individual bears the imprint of his unique personality organization (the projective hypothesis). This more dynamic conception of intelligence as an integral aspect of personality organization has been re-emphasized, expanded and extended in more recent years (Fromm, Erika, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1960; Mayman, Schafer & Rapaport, 1951; Waite, 1961)


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1968

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  • Sidney J. Blatt
  • Joel Allison

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