Intelligence and Mental Abilities Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Ian J. And Dr., Geoff (2005). Reaction time explains IQ's association with death, Psychological Science. American Psychological Association, 16:1, 64-69

As all learning, on the basis of one's composite mental ability structure, can be thought of as a puzzle that is intricately formatted on the basis of one's neurological, physiological, psychological, and sociological parts, and, when blended together, produce a healthy functioning individual. Therefore, before an understanding is garnered as to how learning comes about, or the variables that affect its outcome, one must first understand the concept of intelligence. Most individuals, professional or lay, have an almost intuitive idea of what constitutes that which we call intelligence. Broadly defined intelligence is an individual's total ability to solve problems. The more complex the problem the more it is thought that the individual possess a higher level of intelligence. Unfortunately, however, most definitions do not differentiate intelligence as general ability or several independent systems. That is to say, is intelligence a resource of the brain, a particular characteristic of learned behavior, or a finely tuned set of skills and content knowledge. Although there is no widely accepted definition of intelligence the most acceptable definition is that of knowledge inclusiveness. What this means is that the amount of information that an individual has retained and applied, as measured by some standardized assessment instrument, is a measure of level of intelligence. Whether or not the test scores from these tests actually reflect an individual's intellectual level has, and will continue, to be the prime target of many present and future debates. In addition the question will always remain as to whether or not the amount of knowledge one has managed to acquire does, indeed, constitute one's level of intelligence.

If one favors the definition that intelligence is the total composite of what has been learned then a necessary requirement for acceptance lies in the "how" the information has been learned. By review of a selected journal article the remainder of this report will focus on the "how" of learning and its relationship to intelligence; how effectively intelligence is, and can be, measured; and the limitation of what is known as the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) with respect to an unusual dependent variable, namely, that of death. Dreay and Der authored the article chosen for review; entitled Reaction time explains IQ's association with death, and is published in the Psychological Science journal of the American Psychological Association. The article was chosen not only for its topical uniqueness but also for its research design and need.

Major Issues. Any research endeavor must stringently adhere to a research protocol that outlines the research investigators need, a well-defined research question and testable hypothesis and appropriate data analysis. The Dreary and Der article, although investigative sound, failed in the very beginning to define either the theory of intelligence nor did they define the concept of intelligence itself. As the authors were attempting to determine whether or not there exists an association (correlation) between intelligence and death they are obligated to define all variables present in the research investigation. Further, both are required when conclusions are to be drawn and inferences made with respect to the association of IQ and death. The authors are well advised to have defined their concept of intelligence whether it is a cognitive definition, a neurological definition, or a sociological one. Without a clear definition of the theory of intelligence the reader is at a loss as to what subcomponents are important to the relationship of intelligence to death. In other words, had the authors, for example, chosen a cognitive approach to intelligence…

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