Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 826-829

Intelligence Testing

  • R. Steve McCallumAffiliated withEducational Psychology and Counseling, University of Tennessee


Cognitive testing; General cognitive aptitude testing; Intellectual testing/​assessment; IQ testing; Mental ability testing


Intelligence testing refers to the process of identifying, quantifying, and characterizing cognitive abilities by administration and scoring items designed for that purpose. Typically, methods and tasks used to assess intelligence are first investigated in the experimental laboratory and later adapted for administration according to a prescribed and standardized protocol. Standardized assessment allows individual-difference comparisons to peers. Some of the more common abilities assessed by intelligence tests include working and long-term memory, processing speed, vocabulary knowledge, numerical facility, and auditory and visual processing.


Meaningful assessment of intelligence requires that the construct be carefully defined. Random House Webster’s College Dictionary [12] describes intelligence as the capacit ...

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