Charles Spearman : biography
Charles Edward Spearman, FRS (10 September 1863 – 17 September 1945) was an English psychologist known for work in statistics, as a pioneer of factor analysis, and for Spearman's rank correlation coefficient. He also did seminal work on models for human intelligence, including his theory that disparate cognitive test scores reflect a single General intelligence factor and coining the term g factor.
Factor analysis is a statistical test that is used to find relationships between multiple correlated measures and Spearman played a clear part in its development. Spearman coined the term factor analysis and used it extensively in analyzing multiple measures of cognitive performance. It was factor analytic data which lead Spearman to postulate his original general and specific factor models of ability.Spearman, C. (1950). Human Ability, Macmillan, London. Spearman applied mathematical procedures to psychological phenomena, and molded the outcome of his analysis into a theory - which has greatly influenced modern psychology. Factor analysis and its modern relations confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling underlie much of modern behaviour research.
Theory of intelligence
A record of Spearman's views on g (and also those of Godfrey Thomson and Edward Thorndike) was made in the course of the Carnegie-sponsored International Examinations Inquiry Meetings.
Here, Spearman gives a compact summary of his findings and theory of g:
- When asked what G is, one has to distinguish between the meanings of terms and the facts about things. G means a particular quantity derived from statistical operations. Under certain conditions the score of a person at a mental test can be divided into two factors, one of which is always the same in all tests, whereas the other varies from one test to another; the former is called the general factor or G, while the other is called the speciﬁc factor. This then is what the G term means, a score-factor and nothing more. But this meaning is sufﬁcient to render the term well deﬁned so that the underlying thing is susceptible to scientiﬁc investigation; we can proceed to ﬁnd out facts about this score-factor, or G. We can ascertain the kind of mental operations in which it plays a dominant part as compared with the other or speciﬁc factor. And so the discovery has been made that G is dominant in such operations as reasoning, or learning Latin; whereas it plays a very small part indeed in such operation (sic) as distinguishing one tone from another. . . G tends to dominate according as the performance involves the perceiving of relations, or as it requires that relations seen in one situation should be transferred to another. . . . On weighing the evidence, many of us used to say that this G appears to measure some form of mental energy. But in the ﬁrst place, such a suggestion is apt to invite needless controversy. This can be avoided by saying more cautiously that G behaves as if it measured an energy. In the second place, however, there seems to be good reason for changing the concept of energy to that of "power" (which, of course, is energy or work divided by time). In this way, one can talk about mind power in much the same manner as about horse power. . . . . . .G is in the normal course of events determined innately; a person can no more be trained to have it in higher degree than he can be trained to be taller. (pp. 156 –157).
There was also another co-factor as proposed by Spearman that was special intelligence. The special intelligence was for individuals who accomplished high success results in the some tests. However, later Spearman introduced group factor that was particular to those correlations that were not a result of factor g or s. His ideas were in 1938 criticized on paper by Louis L. Thurstone a psychologist saying that his experiments show that the correlation of intelligence can be categorized in seven primary categories. These categories were numerical, reasoning, spatial, perceptual, memory, verbal fluency and verbal comprehension. However Raymond B. Cattell in 1963 agreed with the concept theorized by Spearman but put forth his findings about intelligence analyses. His analyses were that intelligence is further subdivided in two divisions known as fluid and crystallized intelligence.
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