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Charles Spearmen: Two-Factory Theory of Intelligence

Charles Spearmen Two – Factor Theory of Intelligence:  General Intelligence Factor “g”, Specific Intelligence Factor  “s”

Charles Spearmen posits all aspects of human intelligence are controlled by general intelligence, or “g” (“University Of Michigan Department Of Psychology”, 2005).  He also noted that all aspects of human intelligence are correlate with each other, to an extent (Kane & Brand, 2003).  He believed that intelligence tests only measure two aspects of intelligence – general intelligence and a specific factor (Kane & Brand, 2003).       The general intelligence factor is common to all tests whereas the specific factor is distinctive to each test (Kane & Brand, 2003).  Spearman believed the “g” factor to be the mental energy which was the leader of intelligence and was nominal to cognition (Kane & Brand, 2003).  Spearman conceived the “g” factor to consist of three processes that enhance and explain intelligence (Kane & Brand, 2003).  Experience enhances complex problem solving skills (Kane & Brand, 2003).  Education allows for relationships to be made among stimuli (Kane & Brand, 2003).  Education of correlates allows similarity identity among stimuli (Kane & Brand, 2003).  Therefore, the general factor in intelligence testing reveals an individual’s cognitive functioning in the area being assessed (Kane & Brand, 2003).  Additionally, there is a unique factor specific to each test (“University Of Michigan Department Of Psychology”, 2005).  Spearman posited the combination of both factors ultimately measured the value of human intelligence (“University Of Michigan Department Of Psychology”, 2005).    Through the use of method analysis, Spearman compared intelligence measures across a range of factors.  He then isolated the factors that correlated with other factors and found all variables were linked in some way.  The linkage among all attributed factors meant that a single intelligence factor attributed to all factors (“University Of Michigan Department Of Psychology”, 2005).  Any variances could be attributed to the specific factor the test dealt with (“University Of Michigan Department Of Psychology”, 2005).

Kane, H., & Brand, C. (2003, Spring). THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEARMAN’S g AS A PSYCHOMETRIC, SOCIAL, AND EDUCATIONAL CONSTRUCT. The Occidental Quarterly, 3(1), . Retrieved from http://toqonline.com/archives/v3n1/TOQv3n1Kane-Brand.pdf

University of Michigan Department of Psychology. (2005). Retrieved from http://sitemaker.umich.edu/356.loh/charlesspearmen

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