Intelligence Testing and Nature or Nurture Debate Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Intelligence Testing

Intelligence -- Nature/Nurture Debate

In psychological terms, intelligence can be defined as "the general mental ability involved in calculating, reasoning, perceiving relationships and analogies, learning quickly, storing and retrieving information, using language fluently, classifying, generalizing, and adjusting to new situations" ("intelligence," 2013). However, interest in and importance of emotional intelligence has flourished in recent years because of which general and applied psychology has made emotional intelligence a standardized concept (Antonakis, Ashkanasy & Dasborough, 2009). Emotional Intelligence is, on the other hand, "the ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion; the ability to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to reflectively regulate emotions in ways that promote emotional and intellectual growth" (Salovey & Sluyter, 1997, p. 23).

In simple words, it is an individual's ability and skill to recognize and assess his/her emotional responses when dealing with own self or others. It also includes how he/she directs and controls his/her emotions wisely and sensibly. If truth be told, the overall intelligence is based upon the emotional intelligence and IQ a person possesses. Emotional intelligence and IQ are two sides of the same coin. A positive and constructive baseline IQ is needed by everyone to live life and carry out tasks in a good manner. On the other hand, emotional intelligence is the characteristic that discriminates stupendous and exceptional people and organizations (Bourey & Miller 2001).

As far as nature/nurture debate is concerned, two views are considered as controversial. Some regard behavioral characteristics to be inherited from nature whereas some people consider behavior to be acquired by nurturing that environment offers. Those who favor nature consider human beings as complete product of nature. For them, nature is responsible for the stage-by-stage physical and mental maturity of a human being. On the other hand, the advocates of environment regard learning as the basic phenomenon due to which a human being acquires behavioral characteristics. They assume human beings as tabula rasa i.e. A blank slate which is filled up with experiences and learning in the course of time (Camille, 2005). In this connection, normal intelligence is considered to be the key of acquiring success and triumph in life. The awareness and understanding of one's emotions is not connected with intellectual intelligence. This awareness has a direct impact on an individual's decision-making capabilities (Antonakis, Ashkanasy & Dasborough 2009).

Emotional intelligence is acquired and it helps people to relate and socialize with other fellow beings and reaching their milestones. Emotional intelligence is believed to be significantly important as it helps oneself to live life contentedly and cheerfully. In simple words, emotional intelligence makes one cognizant and conscious of one's deeds and feelings. It helps an individual to be aware of the fact that how his actions and emotions affect those who are related to him. If a person has a deep understanding of his emotional intelligence, he is most likely to be the one who value and cherish the feelings and emotions of people around him. Such a person is able to understand the needs and wants of others. He would also be capable enough to identify with others on a number of levels.

Pioneers of Intelligence Testing

Emotional Intelligence has always been a function of central importance for psychologists to assess the personalities which consequently provides motivations for socially desirable responding. Emotional Intelligence (EI) and behaviors are outstandingly influenced by sexual characteristics, age, society, and socio-economic status. Maturation of the brain is another important feature that is considered while assessing emotional intelligence of an individual (Nelson, Low & Ellis 2007). There has been an escalating admiration of the interrelatedness of emotion, impulse, and conduct in the last few years. This connection of emotions significantly helps an individual in normal development and social functioning (Eiseberg, Fabes & Losoya 1997).

The intelligence-related investigations in the earlier times considered the g-factor to be the general factor that could define and measure intelligence. However, such a simple method was rejected by a number of psychologists to be authentic enough to determine intelligence. According to Raymond Cattell, there are two major parts into which intelligence can be divided i.e. fluid ability and crystallized ability. Whereas fluid ability was regarded as an instinctive, fundamental interpretation skill, crystallized intelligence was considered by him as the necessary information and skills acquired by a person through his/her experience in the immediate surroundings. Other psychologists have further divided intelligence into subcategories. On the other hand, intelligence was divided into 7 components by Howard Gardner. He divided intelligence into "musical, bodily-kinesthetic, logical-mathematical, linguistic, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal" ("intelligence," 2013) components.

In order to test intelligence, a system was devised by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon. Scoring was based on homogeneous, typical intellectual levels for a range of people belonging to different age groups ("intelligence," 2013). Benit defined intelligence as the capacity of an individual to find a purpose and maintain it, strategize to achieve that purpose and make necessary changes after the evaluation of that strategy. In simple words, he inter-related intelligence with problem-solving. This made him develop an intelligence test by which assessment of the thought consideration/concentration, decision-making and reasoning in an individual could be made (Susann & Pastorino, 2011). Lewis Terman then worked on the expansion of the Binet-Simon Intelligence Scale his revisions were given the name of the Revised Stanford-Binet Intelligence Tests. Afterwards, David Wechsler designed an extremely significant tests' series that proved really successful in the psychological field. He gave the test the name of Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale/the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. These tests are used as a standard tool in the contemporary testing of intelligence. It won't be incorrect to state here that the contributions of Binet and Terman made it easier for their successors to classify intelligence in terms of a uniform evaluation/assessment. It is important to mention that a good number of individuals of different age groups took the tests to ensure this standardization ("intelligence," 2013).

Controversies Involved In Intelligence Testing

The 11+ or Eleven Plus is an exam taken by the students who are in the final year of their primary school. In actual fact, a majority of the children are just ten years old at the time of taking this test. This is the reason why 11 Plus means that children who are over the age of ten are preferred during selection for the tests. It was in 1944 that the Butler Education Act introduced this test. The use of the test was widespread all over the nation till 1976. The test was designed to check the IQ of the children. Those who passed the test successfully were given admissions in grammar schools. On the other hand, children who were not successful in passing it were to attend a Secondary Modern school or the Butler Education Act supervised technical schools. The Eleven Plus Exam faced a lot of controversy as its critics claimed it to be an exam meant for the rich as grammar schools could not be afforded by the parents whose incomes were low. Another issue was related to gender. Although girls were better scorers in the test than boys, they were not given equal number of seats in the grammar schools which was entirely discriminating and unfair. Status of the schools was questioned due to the Eleven Plus Exams as other schools were graded as less efficient than grammar schools. Eleven Plus exams were also criticized as they affected the self-esteem of the children who failed this exam (McNeill, Blundell & Griffiths, 2003).

The role of intelligence-related genetic factors is best proved by the comparison of identical and fraternal twins. The underlying principle in twin studies is that both the mentioned twin groups usually develop and grow under environmental situations that are alike. Nevertheless, genetic kinship in identical twins is more than fraternal ones. This is the reason why it is believed that greater genetic commonness makes their intelligence levels more similar. This evidence makes it rather clear that IQ is an inherent characteristic to a great extent. On the other hand, many criticize this notion believing that it is due to the similar treatment by parents and elders that makes identical twins have similar IQ. Many support this idea presenting the fact that identical twins share the same gender and are raised in a similar way. However, the advocates of the mentioned evidence believe that identical twins still show same intelligence levels even if they are reared apart from each other in different environmental conditions (Weiten, 2010).

Eugenics Movement -- Development and Role of Leaders in its Establishment

Eugenics can be defined as the "study of human genetics and of methods to improve the inherited characteristics, physical and mental, of the human race" ("eugenics," 2013). Euthenics, on the other hand, is the name given to the endeavors that are done for the improvement of human race by making accommodation and other environmental conditions better. The man who is regarded as the founder of eugenics in the modern…

Sources Used in Document:


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Antonakis, J., Ashkanasy, N.M., & Dasborough, M.T. (2009). Does Leadership Need Emotional Intelligence?.The Leadership Quarterly, 20(2), 247-261. Print.

Camille, A. (2005, March). I Can See Clearly Now: How We Come into the World Is Not How We Must Remain. An Encounter with Jesus Can Be Life-Changing for the Physically and Spiritually Blind. U.S. Catholic, 70, 3. Retrieved November 18, 2013, from

Engs, R.C. (2005). The Eugenics Movement: An Encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. Print.

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