Complex problem solving and intelligence: Empirical relation and causal direction

Wenke, Dorit and Frensch, Peter A. and Funke, Joachim (2005) Complex problem solving and intelligence: Empirical relation and causal direction. [Book Chapter]

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At least two theoretical positions strongly suggest that intelligence and problem solving are related. First, the ability to solve problems features prominent in almost every definition of human “intelligence;” thus, problem-solving capacity is viewed as one component of intelligence. Second, intelligence is often assumed to be a predictor of problem-solving ability. Our main goal in this chapter is to review to what extent the ability to solve complex, rather than simple laboratory, problems is indeed tied, empirically, to intelligence, and, which causal direction holds between the two concepts. The chapter is divided into three main sections. In the first section, we provide a definition of “complex problem solving.” In the second and third sections, we review much of the existing empirical work that relates complex problem-solving competence to intelligence. We distinguish two forms of complex problem solving. In the second section, we focus on explicit problem solving, that is, on problem solving that is controlled by a problem solver’s intentions. In the third section our focus is on implicit, that is, on automatic or non-conscious complex problem solving. Our main conclusions are that, first, there exists little, if any, empirical evidence that supports a relation between explicit complex problem-solving and global intelligence. Second, there is also no empirical evidence indicating that global intelligence and implicit complex problem solving might be related. Third, however, there exists a considerable amount of empirical data suggesting that specific components of intelligence, such as processing capacity, might be related to specific components of explicit complex problem solving. Together, the available evidence suggests that the global concepts of intelligence and problem solving are not related, but that specific subcomponents of intelligence and explicit problem solving might share variance. The existing empirical evidence does not speak, however, to the issue of whether subcomponents of intelligence predict subcomponents of problem solving or whether the opposite causal relation holds.

Item Type:Book Chapter
Keywords:Complex problem solving, intelligence
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
ID Code:6626
Deposited By: Funke, Dr. Joachim
Deposited On:07 Sep 2009 10:15
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:57


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