chapter  7
27 Pages

Exceptional and Special Cognitive Abilities

A major use of intelligence tests and other measures of cognitive abilities in both applied and research contexts has been the diagnosis and classification of individuals according to their functioning abilities. When administered by well-trained, perceptive psychometrists, these tests continue to serve the traditional goals of identifying mentally retarded, gifted, and learning disabled (LD) persons. In addition, tests of intelligence and special abilities are widely used in educational, employment, military, and other organizations or institutions for selecting people who are capable of performing certain specified tasks. The broader bandwidths (Cronbach, 1970) of general intelligence tests make them effective predictors of a wide range of criteria. However, the narrower bandwidths of measures of special abilities often give them greater fidelity as predictors of more delimited criterion measures. Be that as it may, Vernon (I960) maintained that general intelligence is more important than special abilities in determining academic and occupational success.