No other topic in psychology has ever generated as much interest as the study of human intelligence. Numerous tests and strategies have been designed to explore the quality of human intelligence in depth and to analyze the basic factors and processes which take place within the structure of human cognitive functioning. From the viewpoint of psychology, intelligence testing may provide professionals with a wide range of effective instruments of research and analysis.
Simultaneously, not all professionals and scholars in the field of psychology agree that intelligence testing is an effective and a relevant tool of psychological analysis. In this context, a number of theories have been designed to explain the essence of intelligence testing as such and the factors which may impede or enhance one’s successes in the process of testing intelligence. Intelligence Testing Article Analysis Introduction No other topic in psychology has ever generated as much interest as the study of human intelligence.
Numerous tests and strategies have been designed to explore the quality of human intelligence in depth and to analyze the basic factors and processes which take place within the structure of human cognitive functioning. From the viewpoint of psychology, intelligence testing may provide professionals with a wide range of effective instruments of research and analysis. Simultaneously, not all professionals and scholars in the field of psychology agree that intelligence testing is an effective and a relevant tool of psychological analysis.
In this context, a number of theories have been designed to explain the essence of intelligence testing as such and the factors which may impede or enhance one’s successes in the process of testing intelligence. It is difficult not to agree to Gottfredson (2006): “the debate over intelligence and intelligence testing focuses on the question of whether it is useful or meaningful to evaluate people according to a single major dimension of cognitive competence”.
Nevertheless, researchers keep to believe that intelligence testing may be of extreme value, when measuring specific aspects of human cognitive activity and seeking to expand the boundaries of human cognitive functioning. Gottfredson (2006) develops a whole set of theoretical assumptions, trying to remain objective in her evaluation of intelligence testing relevance as a tool of psychological analysis. In Gottfredson’s view, intelligence testing is usually designed to measure one specific aspect of one’s cognitive ability (e.
g. , mathematical skills), but where psychologists seek to evaluate one specific cognitive function, they tend to forget that intelligence tests cannot be fully released and clarified of other mental skills. These are usually referred to as “mental impurities”; they do not have any significant effects on cognitive testing results, but should be taken into account to guarantee the objectivity of testing procedures. Interestingly, Gottfredson (2006) links the effectiveness of intelligence testing to biological factors.
In her view, the effectiveness of one’s cognitive functioning depends on age; moreover, researchers tend to believe into existence of a human gene responsible for IQ. Finally, it is at least incorrect to assume that social and psychological environments produce marked effects on one’s IQ. As a result, it is unclear whether measuring one’s intelligence may produce any significant changes on the quality of one’s wellbeing (Gottfredson, 2006); nevertheless, professional psychologists are still committed to the idea of using intelligence testing to define one’s learning disabilities.
O’Brien (2001) develops a set of theoretical assumptions which place intelligence testing as the outstanding means to define one’s learning disabilities and the means of resolving them, and while intelligence testing has been widely used to analyze and determine one’s learning disabilities, it would be fair to say that to some extent intelligence testing had been devised for this purpose.
In his theory, O’Brien (2001) refers to the cut-off scores which may prevent professionals from investigating the cognitive implications of low-IQ groups, but which cannot also serve a serious obstacle on professionals’ way to developing more effective intelligence testing forms. It appears that on the basis of IQ alone it is possible to predict the pathways children will follow in their cognitive development, and develop a set of social adjustments low-scored children will need to improve the quality of their well-being.
In this context, intelligence testing is expected to produce long-term impacts on one’s life and one’s prospects for individual and professional self-realization. Given that intelligence testing involves information processing mechanisms and relevant nerve centers which require activation, the speed of this activation and the quality of information processing shapes the cognitive image of a person and turns intelligence testing into a relevant tool of psychological analysis (Schweizer, 2000).
However, how is effective intelligence testing? And what factors professionals need to consider in order to promote objectivity of testing results? Despite the wide application of intelligence testing in psychological practice, its effectiveness remains the topic of hot debate. On the one hand, there is no single definition of what intelligence is. On the other hand, it is not clear, how appropriate it is to measure the social usefulness of a person based on a single cognitive criterion (Gottfredson, 2006).
It appears that the effectiveness of intelligence testing also depends on one’s mood, fatigue, or motivation. From the cultural viewpoint, the majority of intelligence tests are designed to fit to Westernized cultural criteria, and are thus of limited use in mixed populations (O’Brien, 2001). Finally, Schweizer (2000) suggests that due to the limited access of human consciousness to information, the processes of information processing involved into intelligence testing may not always reveal the true state of cognitive functioning in children and adults.
Certainly, intelligence testing remains one of the most reliable and widely used methods of investigating cognitive mechanisms in humans; but the problem is that we have not yet gone beyond the boundaries of traditional cognitive knowledge. For psychology professionals, intelligence testing remains the only available tool of research, the reliability of which is usually taken for granted.
As a result, whether professionals are able to look deeper into the essence of human cognition and to develop sound analytical strategies depends on their preparedness to cross the boundaries of traditional research, and to investigate the effectiveness of traditional intelligence testing procedures. Conclusion Intelligence testing remains one of the central instruments psychology professionals use to test human cognitive abilities. Despite the stable popularity of intelligence testing, its effectiveness remains the topic of hot debate.
Numerous factors have to be reconsidered and reevaluated to guarantee objectivity of testing procedures. To a large extent, the reliability of intelligence testing is taken for granted, and whether this type of analytical research works to promote individuals’ social wellbeing depends on the psychology professionals’ ability to look deeper into the essence of intelligence testing and cognitive mechanisms, which are involved into the process of testing one’s cognitive features. References
Gottfredson, L. S. (2006). The general intelligence factor. Scientific American. Retrieved April 28, 2009 from http://www. psych. utoronto. ca/users/reingold/courses/intelligence/cache/1198gottfred. html O’Brien, G. (2001). Defining learning disability: What place does intelligence testing have now? Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 43 (8): 570-573. Schweizer, K. (2000). Cognitive mechanisms at the core of success and failure in intelligence testing. Psychologische Beitrage, 42 (2): 190-200.