Anderson, M. (1999) Intelligence. In: Messer, David J. and Millar, Stuart, (eds.) Exploring Developmental Psychology: From Infancy to Adolescence. Arnold, London, United Kingdom.
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How do we come to know what we know? Why do some people seem to know more than others? What processes underlie the human capacity for reasoning, rationality and logic? Can babies think? Why are older children more cognitively capable than younger children? All these questions can be subsumed under the general topic of the origins and development of intelligence. The last 20 years has seen a considerable shift in our understanding after many years of stagnation. Although there are still many different views on what we mean by intelligence, there are signs of convergence as more pieces of the puzzle fit together. Some theorists have argued that intelligence is best thought of as a single global process (Spearman, 1904; Jensen, 1982) and others that intelligence is an umbrella term for a number of different abilities (Thurstone, 1939; Gardner, 1983). Some have argued that intelligence and developmental change in intelligence is a property of our underlying biology and probably largely genetically determined (Fodor, 1983; Chomsky, 1988; Eysenck, 1988; Bouchard et al., 1990, Deary and Caryl, 1997), whereas others argue that intelligence is inextricably linked to experience and culture (Howe, 1990; Ceci, 1990; Gardner, 1983). Some argue that differences in intelligence can be located in the simplest levels of information processing (Jensen, 1982; Nettelbeck, 1987; Anderson, 1992; Deary and Stough, 1996) and others that such differences are negligible compared with differences in higher level cognitive processes such as constructing and selecting problem solving strategies (Hunt, 1986; Sternberg, 1983). In terms of development some have viewed intelligence as a progression through qualitatively different cognitive stages, whereas others argue for common processes of change that can apply across all sorts of intellectual domains (Karmiloff-Smith, 1992). Some have viewed the process of developmental change as being driven by a single global factor such as speed of processing (Kail, 1988; Hale, 1990) or cognitive capacity (Pascual-Leone, 1970; Case, 1985; Halford, 1993) or, on the contrary, as a process of increased cognitive competence due to the maturation of modular competences (Anderson, 1992) or increased modularization of specific intellectual skills (Karmiloff-Smith, 1992). To see why, despite the diversity, progress has been made we need to begin at the beginning - when intelligence first became a scientific construct.
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