AP Psychology

Unit 11: Testing and Individual Differences

An understanding of intelligence and assessment of individual differences is highlighted in this portion of the course. Students must understand issues related to test construction and fair use.

AP students in psychology should be able to do the following:

Three huge controversies have sparked recent debate in and beyond psychology. First is the “memory war,” over whether traumatic experiences are repressed and can later be recovered, with therapeutic benefit. The second great controversy is the “gender war,” over the extent to which nature and nurture shape our behaviors as men and women. In this unit, we meet the “intelligence war”: Does each of us have an inborn general mental capacity (intelligence), and can we quantify this capacity as a meaningful number?

School boards, courts, and scientists debate the use and fairness of tests that assess people's mental abilities and assign them a score. Is intelligence testing a constructive way to guide people toward suitable opportunities? Or is it a potent, discriminatory weapon camouflaged as science? First, some basic questions:

What do test score differences among individuals and groups really mean? Should we use such differences to track the abilities of public school students? To admit them to colleges or universities? To hire them?

This unit offers answers. It identifies a variety of mental gifts. And it concludes that the recipe for high achievement blends talent and grit.

 60Introduction to Intelligence
 61Assessing Intelligence
 62The Dynamics of Intelligence
 63Studying Genetic and Environmental Influences on Intelligence
 64Group Differences and the Question of Bias

PowerPoint: Chapter Slides 11 | Chapter Definitions 11
Study Guide 11 (and Answers 11)
Textbook (sort of an “e-book”)