The first article I read (Cognitive test scores in male adolescent cigarette smokers compared to non-smokers: a population-based study) studied the intelligence quotient of Israel Defense Force soldiers. Kravitz et. (2009) specifically looked at sibling pairs where one of the two identified as a smoker/former smoker and the other didn’t. The researchers in the article did not take the time to identify intelligence or go over the theoretical foundations behind the research.
The authors did acknowledge that those in the research sample are of a higher caliber than average since all adolescents in Israel “undergo a mandatory pre-draft screening… to ascertain their eligibility to serve in the military. The screening includes medical and psychiatric history conducted by a physician [and] intelligence testing. ” (Kravitz et. 359) Therefore, those selected for the military do not suffer from mental illnesses and the samples “does not include very poor function individuals. ” Two of the three articles I read investigated Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory.
Gardner defined intelligence as a “biological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture. ” (Furnham 229). The first of the two (Exploring the Relationship of College Freshmen Honors Students’ Effort and Ability Attribution, Interest, and Implicit Theory of Intelligence With Perceived Ability) researched the role effort and ability play in student talent and success. In addition to Gardner’s intelligence thory, Pollard et. (2010) also incorporated the fixed entity theory and the malleable incremental theory.
The fixed entity theory describes intelligence as “stable and asserts that individuals have little control over their intelligence” (Pollard et. 93) and malleable incremental theory describes intelligences as “fluid, within an individual’s control” (Siegle et. 93). In the research sample of 149 honors freshmen, it was found that there was a relationship between students’ interest in an area and their skill assessment in that area. The skills and assessments were based on Gardner’s multiple intelligences, but its was altered in that talent areas were included and renamed for the sake of clarity.
The final questionnaire had the following areas: “music, art, mathematics, athletic, dance, interpersonal, logical/reasoning, visual/spatial, language acquisition, verbal, leadership, science, and overall academic” (Pollard et. 96). The research also found that certain talents were associated with effort, such as dance, music and leadership, while others were more strongly associated with ability, such as verbal, mathematics and logical/reasoning. They also found that, at least among these honor students, it’s possible to view ability as an important factor toward success without seeing intelligence as fixed.
The other one I read (The Validity of a New, Self-report measure of Multiple Intelligence) addressed the validity of intelligence testing and measuring by having the research participants take several different intelligence tests, and then comparing the results amongst the tests. This research was performed to examine three major controversies associated with multiples intelligences. “First, the extent to which they are inter-correlated to provide evidence of general intelligence. Second, how they can or should be measured (i. e. whether preference vs power tests could be used).
Third, whether such concepts as inter or intrapersonal intelligence could justifiably be described as an intelligence as opposed to a social skill or a personality trait. ” (Furnham 227) Furnham (2009) used the Multiple Intelligence Test, the NEO Personality Inventory, the General Knowledge Test and the Study Process Questionnaire to find correlations among different intelligences and different personality traits. Furnham found that musical intelligence, from Gardner’s theory, correlated only with Neuroticism and Openness, personality traits of the NEO Personality Inventory.
It was also found that mathematical intelligence was positively correlated with high achievement on the General Knowledge test. I thought this study was very interesting, but that its exclusive use of students as research participants was a shortcoming. I think the results would have been different if a wider range of people were used and if the research were repeated. Overall, I think that intelligence testing is somewhat effective because, at least in the case of the multiple intelligences, they demonstrate how much a person can do but not necessarily how smart the person is.
I took the time to take a short multiple intelligence test on my own and it ranked my top three intelligences as linguistics, intrapersonal and natural. The results said that even though the other five were low, I could work on improving them. I do think this is a little skewed because my musical intelligence, for example, is only low because I haven’t played my clarinet in over four years. But I still remember all the notes, how to read music and have a strong recollection of songs and beats. The musical intelligence is only low because I haven’t necessarily worked on this intelligence for some time.
Another problem about the effectiveness of intelligence testing the wording involved with the questions. One of the questions I came across in the short test I took asked if I ‘love my pets. ’ If I own pets, of course I would love them. What kind of pet owner doesn’t love the pet he/she owns? A question like that would always garner a positive answer, perhaps skewing the results. In conclusion, I think that intelligence testing is necessary in some cases but the processes involved in measuring intelligence need further study and improvement.