Intelligence Tests and Cognitive Development

Intelligence Tests and Cognitive Development

            Cognitive psychology is based on the perspective “that focuses on the way people perceive, process and retrieve information” (Kowalski & Westen, 2005).  Many psychologists and researchers believe there is a correlation between cognitive development and intelligence.  There have not been enough studies on young children to definitively state that there is a relationship but those who are researching these concepts are having wonderful results, even in the light of the alleged problems with many of the intelligence tests available at this time.

            There are really two main problems with the intelligence tests of today.  The first is that many lack any basis in theory or concept in regard to cognitive behaviors.  Those tests that do try to include these developments do not cover all the facets of decision making, problem solving, memory and other areas of cognitive behaviors and processes.  The fact is that intelligence tests do not help understand the intelligence of a person in any way except how they will function in an academic environment (Kowalski, et al, 2005; Suzuki & Aronson, 2005).  The main intelligence test that is currently in use was not really created to test intelligence, but to test deficiencies in the individual (Kowalski, et al, 2005), instead of giving information about the variables that help to create the intelligence of the person (Suzuki, et al, 2005).

            Another problem is the fact that many professionals and lay people believe that the tests are biased for white middle-class students (Kowalski, et al, 2005).  Other have said the test is biased because of the different ways in which intelligence is defined within the field of psychology.  Some of the more current tests being created are trying to incorporate cultural aspects to make it a fair playing field for the test takers, and other are trying to incorporate more tests in regard to the cognitive ability within the cultural background (Kowalski, et al, 2005, Suzuki, et al, 2005).

            There is a new growing branch of research that is finally looking at the relationship between intelligence and cognitive abilities and development.  In one study, the researchers discovered that children as young as 3 years of age, who explored their environment, interacted with other children and adults, tended to have a continuous environment that lent itself to increased cognitive development and increased intelligence when retested at the age of 11 years old (Raine, Reynold, Venables, & Mednick, 2002).

            While this research is not all-inclusive and others need to replicate the findings, it does give insight into the fact that intelligence tests should be able to help learn more about cognitive development and how it is used in learning, retrieval, and intelligence of the individual.


Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2005). Psychology. (4th ed.). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Raine, A., Reynolds, C., Venables, P., & Mednick,S., (2002, April). Stimulation seeking and        intelligence: A prospective longitudinal study. Journal of Personality and Social    Psychology, 82(4), 663-675. Retrieved March 23, 2009, doi:10.1037/0022-3514.82.4.663.

Suzuki, L., & Aronson, J. (2005, June). The cultural malleability of intelligence and its impact on            the racial/ethnic hierarchy. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11(2), 320-327. Retrieved     March 23, 2009, doi:10.1037/1076-8971.11.2.320.


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