Social and Differential

  • Created by: jxw145
  • Created on: 01-10-22 12:12

Introduction to social and differential psych

-two fields that are often in conflict, but truth is, both are needed, and conflict is meaningless

-We want to go from personal-social (understand the individual, then the individual's social cognition, then their interactions with 1 person, then interactions with many ppl, the group the person belongs to, then the overall context) - REDUCTIONIST approach

-social psych has issue of repliaction crisis

-personality/differential psych has issue of debates on culture, predictive validity, variance and measurement techniques

First social psychologist- Kurt Lewin who thought beh= person x situation:

Situational variables= predicting beh in specific situations

Personality traits= predicting patterns of beh that persist across situations and time

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What is differential psychology?

-Aims to explain observable differences between individuals in terms of underlying psychological differences

-How and why do ppl differ in how they think and feel and do these differences affect their beh

-useful to use taxonomies of IDs

-You want to be able to understand differences between individuals so you can predict outcomes in diff social and cultural contexts (health behs, abnormal beh, performance in educational settings, performance at work, relationships)

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What is social psychology?

-The scientific attempt to understand and explain how the thought, feelings and beh of individuals (cognition, motivation, development, beh and emotion) are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others.

we can't disentangle the social from the person and vice versa (others influence our behs, thoughts, and feelings, and we influence others) - pervasiveness

-the social world is unknowable; we only get approximations of it from our subjective experiences e.g., attribution errors (when someone else does something we see it as who they are as ppl vs when we do something it's about the situation), cultural differences

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Person-situation debate (independence)

-idea that P and E are statistically independent (separate influences)

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Person-situation debate (interaction)

-Diff individuals differ in their pattern of beh in diff situations (she does x when a, but y when b= behavioral signatures)

-Effect of the personality variable depends on the situation the person is in

-Efffect of the situation depends on the kind of person who is in it

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Person-situation debate (reciprocal determinism)

-Person and situation fully interdependent

-behavior and environment of the person are linked- ppl actually do things against their environment but they also modify their environment against what they need

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Trait activation theory

Tett and Gutterman (2000)- Traits become activated by the situational factors at play

Judge and Zapata (2015)-job performance- Traits are more predictive when situations are weak (i.e., less structured)

-Traits are more predictive when situations activate them (i.e., extraversion in a social situation rather than at work)


*How the social and the person may interact with one another

-can IDs exist without social context? e.g. can an extravert exist by themself?

-can the social context play out devoid of individual differences?

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Social vs Differential

Which is more robust?

Social psych has been called by a number of researchers as a dumpster fire: issues include questionable research practices

-samples are just not well designed and make too many assumptions against a very limited sample

-replication crisis

personality/IDs challenged more on facets (particular feature) and less on replication

-main argument is what are we actually measuring? Are we measuring the same thing we that we say we are measuring?

-what we are looking at might be too broad, too culture specific or relative to a particular context

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Replication crisis (bem 1967)

-Nosek (2015) redid 100 studies but only 47% replicated and results were much weaker

[though some replications used wrong samples so maybe crisis is overblown- problem of context vs personality- in differential psych, often the variability of context isn't understood as well as we would expect- some personality traits don't exist unless you have them in a particular context

-replication crisis is ongoing perhaps because psychology is all about CONTEXT and things won't replicate if context is different (unexplained variance)]

-why have ppl published incorrect findings? - questionable research practices (fabricating data, low samples, low statistical power and often in social psychology, what really matters is finding positive results (incentives) to get publication and career advancement)

Why replication crisis? - may be due to failure of overarching theory (paper)- most social psychology had no theory and no way you could test a theory to see if it was right and wrong

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How to fix replication crisis?

pre-registration (before you do a study you put it up online), open data, larger more diverse samples and using more covariates

OR maybe the whole problem is that we are just basing it off of theory that has no basis- creating junk studies- maybe we need to start over in order to make assumptions about human beh

-comes back to failure of overarching theory (paper)

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overarching theoretical framework

The replication crisis facing the psychological sciences is widely regarded as rooted in methodological or statistical shortcomings. We argue that a large part of the problem is the lack of a cumulative theoretical framework or frameworks. Without an overarching theoretical framework that generates hypotheses across diverse domains, empirical programs spawn and grow from personal intuitions and culturally biased folk theories. By providing ways to develop clear predictions, including through the use of formal modelling, theoretical frameworks set expectations that determine whether a new finding is confirmatory, nicely integrating with existing lines of research, or surprising, and therefore requiring further replication and scrutiny.

Much psychological research is typically specific and difficult to connect—let alone challenge or support—other findings or theories in the field. Rarely does it contribute to a more general theory of human behavior. Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.

 Without a general theoretical framework, results are neither expected nor unexpected based on how they fit into the general theory and have no implications for what we expect in other domains.

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Advantages of differential and social psych

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Conscientiousness- the wonder trait?

-There is a hypothesis that grit (perseverance and passion for long term goals) is essential for high achievement. -BUT very recently pointed out as not great (meta-analysis) -Zissman & Ganzach (2020) suggested intelligence is far more important on educational success than grit 48-90x as much and similarly on the job market 13x as much -Conscientiousness 2x as much

*why did the previous studies find such a big effect? - due to non-representative samples with range restricted on intelligence

*5 factor model suggests that grit adds little to prediction of academic achievement- it is simply conscientiousness- passion is a key component of ‘grit’

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Predictors of academic performance

Intelligence (not personality)- important for higher academic performance but the older you get, the less IQ matters suggesting something else going on

*Personality traits predicted over and above academic practice- important consequences for admissions systems

Conscientiousness- primarily a behavioral trait

-scores are meaningfully related to observable academic behaviors e.g., overall exam marks, GPA, general medical training factor

Neuroticism appears to impair ability to do well

*however, some studies show that different personality traits have differential effects depending on the type of task you are looking at

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*TYPE= extravert/introvert or myers briggs (no overlapping/in between)- losing loads of data as there are ppl in the middle (variation)

*TRAIT= extraversion/introversion is basically a trait, but the qualities show particular types of ppl within them- traits are along a continuum/dimension and tend to be normally distributed

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Conceptualizing personality traits


  1. as general descriptions
  2. as internal psychological dispositions

-relatively enduring characteristic (distinct from a transient state)- relatively stable over time

-relatively consistent over diff situations


-vary in their generality

(A person’s typical style of thinking (cognitive), feeling (emotional), and acting (behavioral) in different situations and at different times (McCrae & Costa, 1997)

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Nomothetic approach

NOMOTHETIC APPROACH - identifying the universal/most important traits that make up human personality -there are many ways to try and find out this information:

  • Theoretical- e.g., attachment styles, sociosexual orientation
  • Lexical- e.g., 5 factor model. Allport and Odbert 1936
  • Statistical- e.g., 16PF, giant 3 and general factor of personality

*In practice, researchers use some combination of the three

THE LEXICAL HYPOTHESIS- humans use words to represent particular ideas of what people are like

“Those individual differences that are most significant in the daily transactions of persons with each other become encoded into their language. The more important such a difference is, the more people will notice it and wish to talk of it, with the result that eventually they will invent a word for it (creating a factor).” e.g., warm

Allport and Odbert 1936- 4500 personality trait words- wanted to identify whether there are a smaller number of underlying trait dimensions that we all share

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Cattell's 16 personality factor system

-Lexical analysis of personality traits

-statistical approach (used factor analysis and identified primary factors)

-Limitations- trouble replicating, intercorrelations between the 16PF’s, factors identified by factor analysis are not necessarily the most important ones, is there a simpler system?

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Eysenck's 3 hierarchical model

-Identified orthogonal (un-related), second-order traits

-Explanatory account with psychobiological underpinnings (heritable, physiological substrates)

-has a comprehensive theoretical framework

-Limitations- other traits show moderate heritability, limited number of traits

*Introversion is not a factor in Eysenck's model (it is just a low extraversion score)

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The 5 factor model

-great degree of consensus e.g., Costa and McCrae, Goldberg,

-cross decade and cross measure replication

-cross cultural and cross language replication

-biological foundations e.g., heritability and scores meaningfully associated with brain volume- C and lateral prefrontal cortex

-some evidence of cross-species commonality (e.g., hyenas)

-can be used to conceptualise personality disorders (consistent associations with Neuroticism)

*doesn't really have a comprehensive theoretical framework like Eysenck’s

*The lexical approach is fundamentally flawed

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big 5

*Facets are the specific traits that define a factor (not the most important traits and habitual responses that define a factor)

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correlations between Eysenck's and 5 factor model

  • overlap and combinations- more overlap across specific facets rather than overall broader traits
  • is O important?
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General factor of personality

  • an evolutionary advantageous trait?
  • a consequence of socially desirable responding?
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measuring personality traits

5 factor model:

  • NEO (Costa and McCrae)- PI-R (240 items), FFI (60 items)
  • big 5 inventory (45 items)
  • ten-item personality inventory
  • international personality item pool
  • employment-specific versions

16-PF Eysenck:

  • EPP, includes facets (440 items)
  • EPQ-R (100 items)

Self-, other-, and stranger- reports

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Stability and change

  • Rank-order- as you age (same relative position to other individuals)- personality appears relatively stable
  • Mean-level change (change at the population level)- significant maturational change across adulthood- most change occurs between 20-40 years
  • Intra-individual differences in personality trait-change 
  • but why do ppl change? -mainly due to environmental influences (socialization, stressful life experience, social investment, changes in social roles and conditions, therapy)

-due to the fact that across life paths, ppl change however this is relatively stable- particularly with extraversion

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*If personality is relatively stable…

-would personality functioning change very little despite clinical intervention (psychotherapy)?

-would recruiters be wise to use personality test scores in selecting the best and rejecting the worse candidates? - even if someone has a certain personality style, if they are put in the right team would they act differently?

-If personality isn't stable however, could employers provide interventions in the workplace to get them to become better workers i.e., more conscientious

*It may be that ppl don't have traits; rather, we assign trait term to them as a way of summarising themes in their beh

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Interaction effect


*Proposes a personality x situation/environment interaction

-low C and low A= the employment-resistant personality

-This study's main issue- failed to show any causal links and potentially there is more involved

-It is dangerous to suggest this

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Predictive validity of 5 factors and their facets

Predictive/criterion validity- the extent to which test scores predict future performance in a given domain

-would expect more specific (e.g., facet level) traits to be better predictors than broader traits e.g., GPF predicts general job performance, but detail orientation predicts administration

BUT this doesn't mean broad traits are inferior-

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*However, it appears that conscientiousness isn't all that “good” (Milgram’s shock study)

-dictator game- generous when observed but less when anon

-conscientious ppl are more careful to avoid punishment

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  • 5 factor model as “the most scientifically rigorous taxonomy that behavioral science has”
  • Factors are meaningfully related to a number of educational and work-related outcomes.
  • conscientiousness in particular, appears to be a consistent predictor across these domains
  • context is important when looking at personality- e.g., conscientiousness and complexity of work
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Personality tests

-Personality is a set of patterns (thinking, feeling, behaving) so in a set of circumstances ppl of similar types should react in similar ways, consistently over time, with specific preferences

-OCEAN does this generally well

-bad= Myers Briggs (16 outcomes E or I, S or I, J or P, T or P)- a complete failure of orthogonality (sensing and perceiving scale correlate strongly with each other, tests retest failure, no validity scales)

THEREFORE, is OCEAN or big 5 too broad, not fully orthogonal, doesn't encompass certain universal characteristics?

-Main issue with cross-cultural validity

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Online vs offline

*Online vs offline study- online gives you a level of anonymity that offline doesn’t and there might be things about personality that ppl might not want assessor to know about- context sensitivity

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Alternatives- HEXACO


  • Humanistic
  • Abnormal


-Was built as a response to OCEAN (which was done through lexical/language analysis)- however, in many other languages/cultures there is another dimension- honesty/humility (tendency to be fair and genuine with others)

-also, suggestion that neuroticism should change to emotionality

-also, some rotation of some of the traits with the sub facets within them (e.g., in OCEAN if you are very angry as a person=neuroticism but in HEXACO=agreeableness)

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-Less bound to English language

-may have more utility for fine tuning (rotation of traits may have improved description, and risk taking, faithfulness in relationships-honesty and humility and health beh included)


-may be more than just 6 (pleasure seeking, neurological bases)

-cultural differences- might be only extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness that work across cultures

-maybe we are fitting personality to the model, rather than the other way around

-maybe we should focus on human goals

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Humanistic pyschology

*Personality science is very reductionist but maybe we should focus more on what people want/are looking for overall- HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY

Humanistic psychology

-In 1930s, psychologists weren't a fan of Freud or behaviorism

-instead, should look at values and be scientific

-not a real discipline, but a division within APA

-massive impact- largely normalised psychotherapy in the USA

-more optimistic view than Freud

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Humanistic psychology 2

Basic premises:

  • Holistic view (diff to skinners radical behaviorism)
  • we have choice and intention (diff to Freud)
  • we often self-handicap
  • generally positive view of patient (good or trying to be)
  • we have goals, needs, desires but problem is that these often compete with each other and the lack of these can cause distress

personality (2 separate perspectives):

  1. Mazlow- self-actualizing perspective
  2. Rodgers fully functioning person
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-Had this idea of qualities that we need to take a look at to understand ppl -needs and desires based

-”being” values and cognitions make up who ppl are and there are a variety of qualities in those who were “self-actualised”

-these values and cognitions align with hierarchy of needs above esteem (drives for truth, beauty, aliveness, justice, completeness etc.)


  • hard to test (can test honesty, but can you test beauty?)
  • Western based values and goals (may be more interconnected in certain cultures)
  • values ppl have are often reorganized depending on demand
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-Personality is fluid, unknowable so hard to pin down facets of personality

-however, can break down to: openness to experience, tendency towards equilibrium and chaos, defensiveness, conforming vs creative, sense of manipulation, trusting/untrusting

Will it test?

-some scales exist:

*Personality is unknowable

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Rogers 2


-useful as it focuses on goals rather than who you are so much more relational to situations

-valuable as less on psychopathology rather than wellness

-some sig therapeutic relevance for those who aren't mentally ill



-not built as a personality theory

-almost in opposition to established personality theory

-difficult to test or use outside of therapy

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Abnormal personality

NOT talking about personality disorders, rather, can we use what we know about abnormality to understand personality

-is it possible that ppl vary on dimensions of psychopathology i.e., do big 5 traits exist as milder forms of illness or vice versa?

-sig evidence of this

  • Neuroticism, Extraversion, agreeableness have significant, direct, strong relationships with mental health (Lamers, Westerhof, Kovacs, & Bohlmeijer, 2012)
  • Oltmanns & Oltmanns, 2019- go one step further: suggest ICD-11 can be used to create an extensive personality inventory (Five-Factor Personality Inventory for ICD-11 (FFiCD)
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*It can tell if you're trying to pretend like your sick/fine or if there are inconsistencies

-this scale is strong in being able to detect things that other scales generally don't

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PSY-5 scale


-norming sample is strong

-checks lying

-construction of scale unusual compared to other scales (different)


-norming sample set is mostly white

-should we base personality on the mentally ill?

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The triads- light/dark


-Significant weaknesses in ALL measures:

  • cultural issues (traits inconsistent across cultures)
  • reductionist


*Instead of focusing on broad traits, what traits do really bad or really good ppl have?

-separate from psychopathology itself

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Dark triad

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Light triad of personality

*Idea that there probably is an opposite personality to dark triad

-3 traits “good” ppl have:

  • Kantianism (ppl themselves are the value, not what they give you)
  • humanism (we all have worth)
  • faith in humans (ppl are good)

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Light triad of personality 2

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Social skills?

Final point- maybe there is more than personality…social skills?

(Soto et al, 2020)- personality is not enough to understand beh etc.

-should look at social, emotional, behavioral skills, capacity to navigate social world, goals, self-regulate

-5 social skills distinct from personality:

  • engagement
  • cooperation
  • self-management
  • emotional resilience
  • innovation skills

-don't really map on to personality

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What is the value of personality testing?

What test would you use to show off for an employer (what you can fake to make yourself look good) or for a date?

What about if you are looking to hire someone? (Depends on job e.g., if job causes psych difficulties, MMPI might be useful)

Or hire your own doctor if you had cancer? (HEXACO for honesty?)

*So many companies use Myers Briggs but why? - possibly because its asks about your choices in a variety of potential experiences but these questions have very low validity

-why are tests that do nothing used? well even NHS advertises it on their website

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More questions

Do we need a new measure/model of personality? should this include resilience? (But Grit tried and failed) how about a combo of emotional stability and responding appropriately? (adaptability)

What is the difference between social skills and extraversion? - extraversion is a tendency but social skills are different- an introvert could potentially act like an extravert if needed (have the social skills to do so)

Is intelligence different from personality? e.g., openness to experience might make someone more likely to absorb info even if they don't like/agree with it.

Are certain personality traits desirable both internally and externally? (I want to be x when I'm actually y or I want people to think I’m z)- what does this mean for self-report?

Maybe what we have is ‘potential’ personalities (genetic component) and different environments/cultures bring different certain elements out?

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Definitions of intelligence vary and may not be of great practical value - One of the most difficult issues relating to the concept of intelligence is how broad it should be.

*However, it isn't difficult to achieve some level of consensus

-Sternberg et al 1981 asked ppl about their implicit theories of intelligence- what came out of it are 3 main features:

  1. Problem solving ability
  2. verbal intelligence
  3. practical intelligence/ social competence

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Another definition

Intelligence is a very general mental capacity that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems and think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience.

*Some people think there is only one type of general intelligence, but others think there are many subsets- what they look like are determined by the theory being used to explain them


*It is probable that the concept of intelligence possesses little or no explanatory power because its redescribing something we have found

HOWEVER, intelligence tests are very useful at predicting success and ppl are generally good or poor across a wide range of abilities (suggests that some ppl have a high level of some general capacity of intelligence)

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The psychometric approach to intelligence

Alfred Binet (one of first ppl to design ways in which to measure intelligence)

-thought that intelligence not about details but something at a higher level

-came up with a set of measurements that allowed him to calculate the mental age of a child which divided by chronological age = IQ score


  • there is a distinction between everyday ideas of intelligence and scientific ones, but they seem to have in common that intelligence is something that is at a higher level and that is a generic something that allows us to do well at things
  • We might wish to study intelligence to predict aspects of beh and understand certain types of beh
  • First IQ tests were about identifying children in need of additional support
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Theories of intelligence

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Spearman 1904

*Intelligence was essentially the power for intellectual work

-took various measures of children's performance and exam scores

-these measures included measures of visualization, mathematics skill, vocabulary, ability to follow complex instructions- And he found that the children who tended to perform well on one of these often tended to perform well on others as well.

-proposed the existence of general cognitive abilities (g) alongside special factors (s)

general intelligence= neurologically based power to do intellectual work

specific intelligence= learned ability which is specific to individual tasks

-discovered this through using factor analysis (correlates diff tests and looks for patterns)

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*Opposed to single underlying g

-found seven separate and unique mental abilities (primary mental abilities)

(perceptual speed, inductive reasoning, assocative memory, verbal comprehension, word fluency, number facility, spatial visualisation)

*It may be that although these abilities are independent, if you're strong in one, you're likely to be strong on all other areas as well- still g going on

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*Provided clear visual representation of the distinction between analysis such as Thurstone's original one and the hierarchical factors in which the general intelligence grouping is the general intelligence is made up of two groupings of higher order abilities.

*Vernon’s theory is a compromise between Spearman's and Thurstone's 

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Guilford and Cattell

Guilford's structure of intellect theory takes an approach more similar to Thurston's again, except that instead of having seven discrete mental primary mental abilities, he argued that intelligence is comprised of 150 separate factors that clustered together over 3 dimensions

-And the idea was to develop tests for each combination of the possibilities on these three dimensions

CATTELL 1987- Revisits g factor (general fluid intelligence and crystalized intelligence)

-gf reaches peak in early adulthood then declines -gc does not decline

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Caroll 1993

*Provided a much-needed systematic organisation of over 50 years of research

-A three layered model where each layer accounts for the variations and correlations within the previous layer, three layers or strata, as they're called

-likely to reflect physiological factors which might explain differences in ability

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Evaluating Psychometric notions of intelligence


  • Psychometric testing is linked to predicting school performance- sometimes said to focus on lang and maths
  • Does not take into account real-world intelligence
  • emphasis on narrow band of human thinking


  • notion of "distributed" intelligence
  • daily life and conversations and intelligence do not resemble those in tests (we usually have access to others and resources
  • typically ppl have a choice about which problems to tackle
  • real problems often not as clearly defined and ordered as in tests- not ecologically valid

distributed intelligence- the ability to manage a complex task is actually the joint product of knowledge and resources that are contained in an individual, others and elements of a setting 

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Gardner's Multiple Intelligences

diff kind of way of constructing intelligence:

The ones in bold haven't previously been considered to be intelligences BUT Gardner argued that all these are represented in the brain because brain damage in specific areas can impair some but leave others intact- He also did work with people called idiots savant (a person with a mental disability, but is extremely gifted in a particular way

-What Gardner said was that a person's strength in one area of performance simply does not predict any comparable strength in other areas.

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Sternberg's triarchic theory of intelligence

*Intelligence comes down to 3 key issues:

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Evaluation of these two theories

Evaluation of these 2 theories:

  • Both of these are supported by evidence, not driven by statistics (like psychometric tests)
  • Sternberg’s theory has real world value- it contemplates the context in which we actually operate, and this might help us to identify an individual's strengths and weaknesses
  • BUT there are generalization problems (e.g., In Gardner’s work, could be generalization problems from neuropsychological data- If something is affected by being damaged in the brain, this doesn’t mean that this area in brain is responsible for the skill/intelligence that you’re looking for)
  • Factor analysis is fairly subjective
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Measuring intelligence

*Intelligence tests are a form of psychometric testing designed to measure general mental ability in absence of specific training or education

*The popular acceptance of intelligence tests is that they could differentiate between ppl and have widespread use in schools and industry

why do we measure intelligence? -differentiate between groups of ppl

-support ppl with targeted types of learning

-assess learning and ability

What are tests? *Tests are tools (can be instrument of good or harm)

-purpose to measure ID’s and reactions under diff circumstances and be objective/standardized

-tests are a set of questions or tasks that describe rather than judge a person's abilities, attitudes, personality (so avoid word “test”- use assessment and instruments)

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Predictive value and standardization

Predictive value:

*A test should have diagnostic or predictive value that tells us how ppl e.g., perform in future or in situations other than the test

So, for example, in a math's test that only looks at few easy sums, we cannot predict the ability of somebody to do more complex maps.

*Test items do not need to resemble closely the beh but have to predict (must be an empirical correspondence between beh and the test)


*Must be standard procedures for administering and scoring a test and its procedure

-must establish norms for our tests and that means that we need to look at how the raw scores that we get from the test relates to others who are from the same population.

-tests on their own don't mean as much as they mean in the context of how they relate to the rest of the population.

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Problems with testing

Examples of errors: misunderstandings, distracted, individual intepretation, mood, guessing, room condition, time pressure

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Origins of testing

-1884- Francis Galton

-very interested in intelligence- wanted to know if skills were generationally transmitted- London exhibition to measure head size, response times and memory for visual forms.

-tests found no difference

-but found 4 ideas that emerged about assessment of intelligence:

  1. quantifiable
  2. normal distribution
  3. measurable
  4. correlation coefficients
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Francis Galton

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Binet-Simon scale

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How is intelligence measured?

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Types of intelligence tests

Psychometric tests:

  • based on findings of fact or knowledge/analytic studies
  • items are presented in order of difficulty
  • varying techniques to assess intelligence
  • standardized scoring
  • e.g., Stanford-Binet, Wechsler, Ravens

Cognitive psychology approach

  • highlights biological and physiological processes and aspects
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Wechsler scales

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Administering tests

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Critiques of how intelligence is measured

Purpose= To measure the range of capabilities that comprise ‘intelligence’

Questions for each assessment tool:

  • What assumptions does it make about classroom and learning beh?
  • Does it account for the most sig variables that predict performance
  • Is it fair? Does it discriminate?
  • What is missing in its assumptions about the causes of classroom and learning beh?
  • Do the tests capture everything that is meant by the word intelligence?
  • Do the tests affect the way in which we conceptualize our intelligence or ourselves?
  • Do the tests capture all the abilities that constitute intelligence?
  • Can answers really be right and wrong?
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Emphasis on neurological functioning

Alexander Romanovich Bruriah carried out a whole load of tests on people

-emphasis on neurological functioning

-2 diff kinds of processing

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Luria's findings

*Psychology intelligence tests based on biological and psychophysical models of intelligence so not the same as the psychometric approach

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-One way of using this info is the cognitive assessment system created by Dustin Magliari:

  • intelligence test designed to measure cognitive processing- PASS 

-planning is a set of decisions or strategies that an individual uses and adapts to solve problems and reach a goal (measured by presenting ppants with a task and asking them to develop some approach to complete the task efficiently and effectively)

-Attention refers to alertness or awareness of the stimulus and is seen as important and a prerequisite for learning and memory attention tasks. And the tasks require the individual to select one aspect and ignore the others of a two-dimensional stimulus.

-Cas simultaneous tasks require the individual to put together different parts of particular items in a meaningful way.

-Cas successive tasks require participants to order or reproduce a particular sequence of events.

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The Flynn effect


-IQ scores are increasing 5-25 points in a single generation- Biggest increases in non-verbal ability

-number of diff social/biological factors may influence it:

  • Reductions in malnutrition
  • Increased access to schooling
  • Advances in technology

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Why increase in IQ?

  • ppl just getting more intelligent but Flynn rules this out because there would be a lot more geniuses in the world
  • Length of schooling but should be greater increase in crystalized rather than fluid
  • ppl getting better at taking tests- culture knowledge of tests in modern life/we have lots of access to test taking
  • child rearing practices might have changed (**e.g., head start program, but this didn't lead to lasting increases in IQ in schools)
  • Visual and technical environment- massive increase in exposure to visual media- getting used to extracting messages from visually presented info but little direct evidence
  • nutrition and healthcare improvements might have increased our brain size and functioning but little support


-For a test to be meaningful, it needs to be carefully designed

-psychometric testing has had a long and not always pleasant history

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Sex differences

water-level test- supposed to illustrate the difference in men and women's spatial abilities

-but why? - men tend to be better at spatial tasks

where men and women perform differently:

Women- (tasks that require rapid access to and use of phonological, semantic, and other information in the LTM)

Knowledge areas= production and comprehension of complex prose, fine motor skills, perceptual speed, speech articulation

Men- (tasks that require transformations in visual working memory)

Knowledge areas= tasks that involve moving objects, motor tasks that involve aiming, knowledge areas, tests of fluid reasoning

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Sex differences in g

Court (1983)- 120 studies, no difference

Mackintosh (1998)- small differences


Lynn and Irwing (2005)- some small but sig differences

*No differences in kids (up to age of 15), among adults, men scored approx. 5 IQ points higher than women

-not big effects

Specific intelligences:

-Men supposed to be better at spatial intelligence, women supposed to be better at verbal intelligence

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Bio explanations

Biological explanations for sex differences in spatial intelligence:

  • Evolutionary perspective (might have evolved - men would have hunted/ did warfare so ranged more widely than women so needed better spatial awareness)
  • Might have ended up with different brain functioning (for men more lateralization- more dominance of one hemisphere than the other, whereas women use both more)
  • Maybe due to differences in structure of the brain- grey matter=info processing, white matter=info transmission and grey matter more correlated to IQ in diff areas to men than in women + women have more white matter and fewer grey matter areas that are related to IQ

SO, are there diff types of intelligence in men and women- not the same thing depending on how your brain is constructed

  • Could be testosterone- male and females use diff strategies to learn routes (women relative directions- landmarks, men distance cardinal- compass points)
  • In rats, brain organisation differs according to hormone levels
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Environmental explanations

Enviromental explanations:

  • There are schemas/gender stereotypes e.g., women aren’t very good at math's
  • Could have gender stereotypes outside of education like toy preference, freedom to explore, parents view on own intelligence
  • Within education: self-fulfilling prophecies (you believe you aren’t good at math's; you probably will succeed in not being good at it), stereotype threat (in exams, I.D. cards have ppls name on them and their name can activate your gender identity- So even just like having to put on a piece of paper female makes people underperform in math's test)
  • Can get stereotype emphasis (over or under)
  • We do tend to be accurate on men's mathematical abilities but overestimate women's verbal abilities

HOWEVER, all these differences are tiny

-so how important is 5 IQ points?

-why are ppl so caught up in studying sex differences?

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The dark side of intelligence


*When measuring intelligence, often there is a political agenda involved

  • intelligence and genes- breeding for smarts?
  • race and intelligence testing- looking for excuses to discriminate
  • socio-economic inequalities
  • grammar schools


*Intelligence is highly heritable (if parents are smart, you are likely to be smart)

-uncomfortable notion- can’t get smarter

-heritability estimates (population on average)- adopted children living together and unrelated ppl living apart both have no correlation in their intelligence

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Race and intelligence

*Largely assumed that white Europeans were the most intelligent race

-white Europeans had bigger brain sizes etc. but very old studies

-IQ tests can be culturally specific

-race realism and agenda trying to prove that the white race is superior

*Has an impact on mainstream science- ppl on big journals can have an agenda

“When researchers like my book today link economic development in a country to intelligence, they imply that the vast inequality between the world's richest and poorest countries is rooted not just in the imbalance of power or historical circumstances, but innate weaknesses of the populations themselves.”

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