Posted: December 14th, 2015


Your third portfolio task is to describe and evaluate Spearman’s explanation of intelligence. Start with a referenced definition of intelligence, followed by an explanation of Spearman’s theory. You will need to explain the concept of ‘g’ or general intelligence that is biologically determined, and the concept of ‘s’ highlighting specific factors. It would make sense to consider how researchers have attempted to measure intelligence as a single construct (e.g. Binet, 1905) and IQ (Terman, 1906; Weschler, 1939). You should also mention Horn and Cattell’s (1963) explanation of ‘g’ as a two factor solution (fluid and crystallised intelligence). Include some mention of how IQ has been used to predict later success or achievement (i.e. job performance / skilled work).
For high level marks you should also consider material relating to the cross cultural applicability (or lack of) for IQ tests. You will score extra points if you can reference research in this area, such as research that has suggested race bias. You should also mention heredity studies and importance of environment in the expression of genes (think Range Reaction) and possibly the Flynn Effect. You should then discuss whether talent should be measured separately from the explanation given in Spearman’s theory (his ‘s’ factor). It is here you can mention researchers we look at in week 7, that have suggested that there are multiple intelligences (e.g. Thurstone, 1938; Sternberg, 1977; Gardner; 1983). Remember to compare the theories you include with Spearman’s theory, after all it is his theory you are evaluating. There are literally thousands of pieces of research looking at intelligence. You will do well to include at least one piece of recent research supporting your argument for / against Spearman’s theory. You will gain the most marks for being able to describe Spearman’s theory AND evaluating it by looking at other theories presented in research

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