Intelligence Heuristics And Bias

PSY-101: Principles of Psychology
Chapter 8
Chapter 8: Thinking and Intelligence
COGNITION In other words, thinking
We organize our thinking by:
Building Concepts ● Mental groupings of similar objects, events, or people ● Allow us to organize complex things into simpler categories
Developing Prototypes ● Best example or representation of a concept ● E.g., Eagle may be my prototypical bird, not Ostrich
HOW DO WE SOLVE PROBLEMS? Three main approaches that use our concepts and prototypes:
● Trial and Error ○ Try different solutions until the problem is solved
● Algorithms ○ Applicable to formula/equation-type problems ○ If used the right way, guarantees correct solution ○ Time consuming but accurate
● Heuristics ○ General strategy that has been used in a similar situation ○ Saves time and energy, but can be entirely inaccurate
● You make a decision by focusing on a certain piece of information (an “anchor”) ● Keeps you from recognizing the importance and value of other information
Availability Heuristic ● You judge the probability of an event based upon how “available” memories of that
event are in your long-term memory ● Keeps you from recognizing actual statistical probabilities
Representativeness Heuristic ● You judge people, places, and behaviors based upon your existing
“representations” of those things in your concepts (this is STEREOTYPING!) ● Keeps you from recognizing that people, places, and behaviors are all unique and
may not fit some stereotype that you have
USEFUL HEURISTICS ● Work backwards
○ Focus on the end result first, and “work backward” from there ○ Can give us a new perspective on the solution
● Create subgoals ○ Break problem into a set of smaller steps ○ Large problems become more manageable as you work
through the smaller steps
● Tendency to think of an object only in terms of its typical use ● Lack creativity
Mental Sets ● Tendency for old patterns of problem solving to persist, even in the
face of repeated failure
Confirmation Bias ● Tendency to focus on, and search out, information that “confirms”
your existing beliefs ● Ignore information that contradicts your existing beliefs
INTELLIGENCE Capacity to understand the world, think rationally, and use resources effectively when faced with challenges
Two contemporary theories of intelligence:
● Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences ○ Breaks intelligence into (at least) eight different intelligences
● Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence ○ Breaks intelligence into three parts that relate to one’s success in
life, not just school
CREATIVITY Ability to generate or discover new ideas, solutions, and possibilities
● A part of Sternberg’s theory of intelligence!
Divergent Thinking ● Process of arriving at multiple unique solutions to a
given problem ● Thinking “outside the box”
MEASURING INTELLIGENCE ● Traditionally done through an IQ (Intelligence Quotient) Test
○ Assumes intelligence is a singular factor though most contemporary psychologists agree that intelligence is multidimensional
○ Hyperfocus on Gardner’s logical-reasoning and linguistic intelligences and Sternberg’s analytical Intelligence
○ Culturally biased and discriminates against minority-group members whose experiences differ from the white majority
○ Still widely used in educational and clinical settings to identify those who may benefit from extra attention/help
THE SOURCE OF INTELLIGENCE As with pretty much EVERYTHING… it’s a result of a complex interaction between our Nature and Nurture
● We inherit a predisposition for a certain “level” of intelligence from our biological parents ○ NATURE
● This predisposition is either facilitated or inhibited as a result of our environmental experiences ○ NURTURE

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