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Measuring an Approximate g in Animals and People

Author(s): Michael Lamport Commons

Journal: Integral Review
ISSN 1553-3069

Issue: 3;
Start page: 82;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: comparative cognition | domains | evolutionary psychology | hierarchical complexity | g | intelligence | IQ | measurement theory

A science of comparative cognition ultimately needs a measurement theory, allowing the comparison of performance in different species of animals, including humans. Current theories are often based on human performance only, and may not easily apply to other species. It is proposed that such a theory include a number of indexes: an index of the stage of development based on the order of hierarchical complexity of the tasks the species can perform; an index of horizontal complexity; and measures of g (for general intelligence) and related indexes. This article is an early-stage proposal of ways to conceive of g in animals and people. It responds to Geary’s argument that domain-general mechanisms are essential for evolutionary psychologists. Existing research is used to enumerate domains, such as problem solving behavior in pursuit of food, or behaviors in pursuit of mates and/or reproduction, and itemize identifiable human social domains. How to construct g, across domains and within domains, is described.
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