Intelligence and general ability testing


What is assessed when intelligence and cognitive abilities are being measured?

Cognitive and intelligence tests measures the critical thinking abilities of an individual. For example, the cognitive ability tests assess the reasoning abilities and the potential of an individual to utilize the mental processes to acquire new knowledge or to solve problems, for example, the ability to solve math problems (Fernández-Berrocal & Checa, 2016). Equally, the intelligence quontient (IQ) tests assess the short-term memory retention of an individual. Here, the scientist assess how the cognitive powers facilitate the process of problem-solving and reasoning. Intelligence tests also assess abstract thinking that entails the examination of how knowledge is acquired, retained, and utilized through the various stages of life (Flanagan & Harrison, 2012). Finally, the intelligence tests also assess the verbal abilities of an individual, and this entail the examination of an individual’s ability to read and pronounce words accurately.

Can intelligence be accurately assessed?

Based on the findings of the numerous research studies that have been carried out on IQ and cognitive abilities, I am of the opinion that intelligence cannot be assessed accurately. To begin with, there are varying definitions of the term intelligence. Psychologists understand intelligence from different perspectives, for example, some consider intelligence to be critical thinking. This subjective definition of intelligence forms the basis of controversy that prevents accurate assessment of intelligence. For example, different psychologist assess intelligence based on their understanding and set of criteria, and this contributes to inconsistencies in findings. IQ and cognitive ability tests are biased and give incomplete perspective and inaccurate prediction of intelligence (Arendasy, Sommer, Gittler, & Hergovich, 2006). The social and cultural differences across the globe, there is no single study that have been able to provide a comprehensive picture of intelligence, and hence, the lack of accurate assessment of intelligence (Flanagan & Harrison, 2012). Finally, intelligence cannot be accurately assessed due to the difficulty that is associated with the designing of IQ tests that measure the retention of complex information.

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  1. Arendasy, M., Sommer, M., Gittler, G., & Hergovich, A. (2006). Automatic generation of quantitative reasoning items. Journal of Individual Differences, 27(1), 2–14.
  2. Fernández-Berrocal, P. & Checa, P. (Eds.). (2016). Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Abilities. SA: Frontiers Media.
  3. Flanagan, D. P. & Harrison, P. L. (Eds.). (2012). Contemporary Intellectual Assessment: Theories, Tests, and Issues. (3rd Ed.). London: Guilford Press.
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