September 25, 2004

Contribution of narrow abilities other than g were previously neglected

According to this new paper, the contribution of narrow cognitive abilities in various tests was obscured by previous research which identified only the general intelligence factor g as having a significant effect. Using a more thorough multidimensional analysis, the authors demonstrate the power of these narrow cognitive abilities. For example, according to the authors:
the part of quantitative ability that is distinct from g accounted for approximately 65% of the variance in math–science knowledge that is independent of general knowledge for males, and 53% for females. The magnitude of these relations provides clear evidence for the psychological significance of this narrow ability.
This research is refreshing, since it shows the fallacy of many g fetishists who have interpreted (wrongly) past lack of evidence for the importance of narrow factors as evidence that they were unimportant. Actually, they are very important, but past methods were unable to discover their significance.

Intelligence (Article in press)

Differential ability antecedents of general and specific dimensions of declarative knowledge: More than g

Charlie L. Reeve

The purpose of the current study is to test the proposition that the relative contribution of narrow abilities (but not of g) may have been obscured in prior research due to a failure to employ fully multidimensional latent variable analyses. The current study corrects for these deficiencies and examines the relationships between cognitive abilities and domain-specific declarative knowledge. Results show that when observed criterion test scores were individually regressed on abilities, only g was consistently related to the criteria. However, when a latent variable analysis was applied to the same data, both g and narrow ability factors accounted for substantial portions of variance in different latent criterion constructs. Implications are discussed.


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