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Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age$
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John Duncan, Louise Phillips, and Peter McLeod

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198566427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566427.001.0001

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Individual differences and cognitive models of the mind: using the differentiation hypothesis to distinguish general and specific cognitive processes

Individual differences and cognitive models of the mind: using the differentiation hypothesis to distinguish general and specific cognitive processes

Chapter:
(p.89) Chapter 4 Individual differences and cognitive models of the mind: using the differentiation hypothesis to distinguish general and specific cognitive processes
Source:
Measuring the Mind: Speed, control, and age
Author(s):

Mike Anderson

Jeff Nelson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566427.003.0004

This chapter uses a hypothesis from research on individual differences in cognitive ability – the differentiation hypothesis – to show that individual differences can be informative for cognitive models of the mind. The differentiation hypothesis comes in two forms. The developmental differentiation hypothesis argues that as children develop, their abilities become more differentiated, and that, as adults age, their abilities become de-differentiated. The individual differences differentiation hypothesis states that abilities are more differentiated at higher IQ. Differentiation is usually inferred from either a smaller g-factor or a lower average inter-test correlation. Simulations of alternative models that specify different functional relationships between processes underlying the g-factor and specific abilities are presented. A common but simple interpretation of the apparent de-differentiation of abilities with advancing age, and increasing differentiation with development in children, is that a single common factor underlies both g and developmental change. The simulations reveal that this simple interpretation is unwarranted.

Keywords:   developmental differentiation, cognitive ability, individual differences differentiation, higher IQ, g-factor, developmental change

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