Talk by Prof. Dr. Elsbeth Stern

Vorschaubild Elsbeth Stern

Psychological Research on Intelligence and Education: How to Unite Estranged Siblings

September 23, 2022, 10:15 h
Andreasstrasse 15, 8050 Zurich, AND 4.06 (4th floor)

In its beginnings, psychometric intelligence was closely intertwined with institutional academic learning as it takes place at schools. The need for intelligence tests appeared as a consequence of compulsory school education, which raised concerns of selective placement. However, it took researchers several decades, before they recognized that intelligence does not solely characterize an individual’s cognitive capability, but rather has also to be seen in the light of the respective environmental and cultural background. Intelligence, as we measure it with IQ-tests, can only emerge in a context of literacy and schooling, as the late psychologist Richard Snow stated in 1982: “Psychology now recognizes intelligence as education’s most important product, as well as its most important raw material.“ In spite of their common roots, however, psychological research on intelligence and on education have increasingly grown apart from each other in the past decades. In educational studies, individual differences are often seen as statistical noise, marginalizing the role of intelligence in learning. Intelligence researchers, on the other hand, quite often overlook the capacity for learning all individuals have, as well as the importance of deliberate practice necessary to acquire domain-specific knowledge in order to gain competence. A closer look at how the raw-material “intelligence” is invested into meaningful knowledge by schooling therefore seems worthwhile and will be given in the lecture.

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