Intelligence Revision

sorts of things you should probably know

  • Describe and critically evaluate traditional theories of intelligence
  • Describe and critically evaluate contemporary theories of intelligence
  • Critically compare both types of theories
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of factors influencing intelligence and of controversies in the area


example exam questions

1. A long standing issue in psychology is the extent to which the individual is shaped by external determinants. Critically evaluate how theorists can engage with this issue in relation to personality and behaviour or intelligence.

2. Critically evaluate the theories of intelligence put forward by Spearman and Gardner.

(see also ‘essay planning’ below)


multiple choice and quizzes

Individual Differences MCQs


questions you should mostly be able to answer

PART I – theories

how did Wechsler (1939) define intelligence? p2

Francis Galton (1869): what school/ general approach; method and findings? p3

what was Alfred Binet’s (1911) school & contribution and what was his test called? p4

who then developed his test further and what was the test called? p4

who came up with the concept of IQ – what did he observe about age? p4

what’s the IQ calculation and what’s the background to how it’s constructed? p4

name some example adult IQ tests p4

what did Charles Spearman (1927) find and what did it suggest? Theory aka? p4

explain factor analysis again! p5

how, then, did Spearman apply factor analysis to derive/ back up his theory? p6

evaluate factor analysis p6

name some subtests in the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale p6

how is IQ calculated in the WAIS and how is this different to Stern’s calculation? p7

evaluate IQ testing p7

what problems with the psychometric approach (factors) to intelligence testing? p7

evaluate single factor theory (g) p8

how many abilities/factors did Thurstone (1938) identify and what was his view p8

bonus if you can name any of the factors! p8

what was Cattell’s (1963) view of intelligence? p9

what’s the focus of contemporary theories of intelligence? p9

name & describe Sternberg’s (1985) theory of intelligence p9

what’s Gardner’s view of intelligence and can you name any of the types? p10

evaluate contemporary theories of intelligence p11


PART II – heritability and race

who was first to distinguish nature and nature? p12

Plomin (2004): what types of study are done to assess genetic heritability? p12

what is the additive assumption? p12

what is the concordance rate for IQ: parents & children living apart; same person tested twice; identical twins reared together and apart; siblings raised apart; adopted children living together? alternatively, what’s the rough order? p12 –

define heritability p13

what’s the commonly accepted heritability value for intell according to Chipeur et al (1990) p13

what are the 4 ways environment can affect intelligence? Describe how. p13

overall, what are the gender differences in intelligence? p13

describe the distribution from mean of male & female intelligence p14

what are the biological explanations for these gender differences p14

what are the environmental explanations for these gender differences p14

name the assumptions that Herrnstein & Murray (1994) make p15

what were their findings? p15

how was social policy affecting US intelligence? p15

what 3 types of problem are there with Herrnstein & Murray’s findings? p16

go through the assumptions one by one and criticise them as Neisser did p16

outline the statistical based problems  p17

outline the eugenic implications p17

where is psychology now – what’s the position of psychology regards intelligence? p17


essay planning