Basal mechanisms of information processing and mental ability: The contributions of mental speed, temporal resolution power, and perceptual suppression to individual differences in psychometric intelligence
The focus of this project is on bottom-up processes assumed to contribute to individual differences in intelligence. For this purpose, we will proceed from (1) the Mental Speed Approach to Intelligence, (2) the Temporal Resolution Power (TRP) Hypothesis of Intelligence, and (3) the Spatial Suppression Approach to Intelligence as three major theoretical frameworks that put forward the idea of a functional relationship between basal information-processing mechanisms and individual levels of psychometric intelligence. By combining traditional structural equation modeling and the quite novel fixed-links modeling approach, we will elucidate the unique and shared effects of mental speed, TRP, and perceptual suppression on specific aspects of intelligence and psychometric g.
As the overarching goal, we will outline a conceptual framework integrating the mutual interactions of these three basal information-processing mechanisms and assess their specific contributions to intelligence. Furthermore, there are several subgoals to be achieved along the way. These subgoals comprise (1) an expansion of the traditional mental speed approach by complementing reaction times derived from the Hick paradigm with a mental speed measure derived from a newly developed perceptual suppression task , (2) a novel approach to cope with the so-called impurity problem, (3) a replication and extension of the sparse existing findings on the relationship between perceptual suppression and psychometric g, and (4) formation of a new quantitative measure for the assessment of individual differences in perceptual suppression.
To achieve these goals, a minimum sample size of 220 participants will be tested. For the measurement of psychometric intelligence, 18 subtests of the Berlin Intelligence Structure test will be administered. For the assessment of basal information-processing mechanisms, four visual timing tasks, a modified version of the Hick reaction time, and a newly developed spatial suppression task will be used. Besides descriptive, correlational, and ANOVA-based inferential statistical methods, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling including fixed-links modeling, will be applied for data analysis.
Our research will contribute to a better understanding of the psychological underpinnings of human intelligence by (1) identifying and quantifying the unique and combined contributions of speed of information processing, TRP, and suppressive processes to mental ability, (2) unraveling the interplay of these three basal correlates of intelligence, and (3) embedding these three basic aspects of information processing in current concepts of psychometric intelligence.