Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 7
  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

Chapter 19 - Basic Processes of Intelligence

from Part V - Intelligence and Information Processing


The field of intellectual disabilities (formerly referred to as mental retardation) has a long and complicated relationship to the field of intelligence. The three issues that dominate the history of intellectual disabilities vis-vis intelligence are: developmental difference controversy; undifferentiated versus differentiated approaches to intellectual disabilities; and motivation, different life experiences, and other nonintellectual concerns. Many issues relate to the intellectual profiles of persons with a specific cause, or etiology, of intellectual disabilities. Everyday adaptive functioning of persons with intellectual disabilities highlights the difficulties inherent in connecting intelligence with real-life functioning and problems. To many researchers, persons with intellectual disabilities simply display lower levels of intelligence and offer few ties to their specific fields. The fields of intelligence and intellectual disabilities continue to function somewhat independently, and only a handful of researchers interested in intelligence are also interested in intelligence as it pertains to persons with disabilities.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO


Ackerman, P. L., Beier, M. E., & Boyle, M. O. (2005). Working memory and intelligence. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 30–60.
Anderson, M., Nettelbeck, T., & Barlow, J. (1997). Reaction time measures of speed of processing: Speed of response selection increases with age but speed of stimulus categorization does not. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 15, 145–157.
Anderson, M., Reid, C., & Nelson, J. (2001). Developmental changes in inspection time; What a difference a year makes. Intelligence, 29, 475–486.
Baumeister, A. A., & Kellas, G. (1968). Reaction time and mental retardation. In N. R. Ellis (Ed.), International review of research in mental retardation (Vol. 3, pp. 163–193). New York, NY: Academic Press.
Birren, J. E., & Fisher, L. M. (1992). Aging and slowing of behavior: Consequences for cognition and survival. In T. B. Sonderegger (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation 1991 (pp. 1–37). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Bonney, K. R., Almeida, O. P., Flicker, L., Davies, S., Clarnette, R., Anderson, M., et al. (2006). Inspection time in non-demented older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Neuropsychologia, 44, 1452–1456.
Bors, D. A., Stokes, T. L., Forrin, B., & Hodder, S. L. (1999). Inspection time and intelligence: Practice, strategies and attention. Intelligence, 27, 111–129.
Brand, C. R. (1996). The g factor: General intelligence and its implications. Chichester, UK: Wiley.
Brand, C. R., & Deary, I. J. (1982). Intelligence and “inspection time.” In H. J. Eysenck (Ed.), A model for intelligence (pp. 133–148). New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.
Brewer, N., & Smith, G. A. (1984). How normal and retarded individuals monitor and regulate speed and accuracy of responding in serial choice tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 113, 71–93.
Buehner, M., Krumm, S., Ziegler, M., & Pluecken, T. (2006). Cognitive abilities and their interplay: Reasoning, crystallized intelligence, working memory components, and sustained attention. Journal of Individual Differences, 27, 57–72.
Burns, N. R., & Nettelbeck, T. (2003). Inspection time in the structure of cognitive abilities: Where does IT fit?Intelligence, 31, 237–255.
Burns, N. R., Nettelbeck, T., & Cooper, C. J. (2000). Event-related potential correlates of some human cognitive ability constructs. Personality and Individual Differences, 29, 157–168.
Burns, N. R., Nettelbeck, T., McPherson, J., & Stankov, L. (2007). Perceptual learning on inspection time and motion perception. Journal of General Psychology, 134, 83–100.
Carlson, J. S., Jensen, C. M., & Widaman, K. (1983). Reaction time, intelligence and attention. Intelligence, 7, 329–344.
Carroll, J. B. (1987). Jensen's mental chronometry: Some comments and questions. In S. Modgil & C. Modgil (Eds.), Arthur Jensen: Consensus and controversy (pp. 297–301 and 310–311). New York, NY: Falmer.
Carroll, J. B. (1993). Human cognitive abilities: A survey of factor analytic studies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Cerella, J. (1985). Information processing rates in the elderly. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 67–83.
Conway, A. R. A., Cowan, N., Bunting, M. F., Therriault, D. J., & Minkoff, S. R. B. (2002). A latent variable analysis of working memory capacity, short-term memory capcity, processing speed, and general fluid intelligence. Intelligence, 30, 163–183.
Coyle, T. R. (2003). A review of the worst performance rule: Evidence, theory, and alternative hypotheses. Intelligence, 31, 567–587.
Crawford, J. R., Deary, I. J., Allan, K. M., & Gustafsson, J. E. (1998). Evaluating competing models of the relationship between inspection time and psychometric intelligence. Intelligence, 26, 27–42.
Danthiir, V., Burns, N. R., Nettelbeck, T., Wilson, C., & Wittert, G. (2009, July 18–22). Relationships between age, processing speed, working memory, inhibition and fluid intelligence in older adults. Paper presented at the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, Chicago, IL.
Danthiir, V., Wilhelm, O., & Schacht, A. (2005). Decision speed in intelligence tasks: Correctly an ability?Psychology Science, 47, 200–229.
Danthiir, V., Wilhelm, O., Schulze, R., & Roberts, R. D. (2005). Factor structure and validity of paper-and-pencil measures of mental speed: Evidence for a higher-order model?Intelligence, 33, 491–514.
Deary, I. J. (2000). Looking down on human intelligence: From psychophysics to the brain. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Deary, I. J. (2003). Reaction time and psychometric intelligence: Jensen's contributions. In H. Nyborg (Ed.), The scientific study of general intelligence: Tribute to Arthur R. Jensen (pp. 53–75). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Pergamon.
Deary, I. J., Allerhand, M., & Der, G. (2009). Smarter in middle age, faster in old age: A cross-lagged panel analysis of reaction time and cognitive ability over 13 years in the West of Scotland Twenty-07 study. Psychology and Aging, 24, 40–47.
Deary, I. J., Bastin, M. E., Pattie, A., Clayden, J. D., Whalley, L. J., Starr, J. M., et al. (2006). White matter integrity and cognition in childhood and old age. Neurology, 66, 505–512.
Deary, I. J., Der, G., & Ford, G. (2001). Reaction times and intelligence differences: A population-based cohort study. Intelligence, 29, 389–399.
Deary, I. J., Hunter, R., Langan, S. J., & Goodwin, G. M. (1991). Inspection time, psychometric intelligence and clinical estimates of cognitive ability in pre-senile Alzheimer's disease and Korsakoff's psychosis. Brain, 114, 2543–2554.
Deary, I. J., Leaper, S. A., Murray, A. D., Staff, R. T., & Whalley, L. J. (2003). Cerebral white matter abnormalities and lifetime cognitive change: A 67-year follow-up of the Scottish Mental Survey of 1932. Psychology and Aging, 18, 140–148.
Deary, I. J., Simonotto, E., Marshall, A., Marshall, I., Goddard, N., & Wardlaw, J. M. (2001). The functional anatomy of inspection time: A pilot fMRI study. Intelligence, 29, 497–510.
Deary, I. J., & Stough, C. (1996). Intelligence and inspection time: Achievements, prospects and problems. American Psychologist, 51, 599–608.
Deluca, J., & Kalmar, J. H. (2007). Information processing speed in clinical populations. New York, NY: Psychology Press.
Detterman, D. K. (1982). Does g exist? Intelligence, 6, 99–108.
Detterman, D. K. (1987). What does reaction time tell us about intelligence? In P. A. Vernon (Ed.), Speed of information processing and intelligence (pp. 177–200). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Doidge, N. (2007). The brain that changes itself. New York, NY: Viking Press.
Duncan, J., Seitz, R. J., Koldny, J., Bor, D., Herzog, H., Ahmed, A., Newell, F. N., & Emslie, H. (2000). A neural basis for general intelligence. Science, 289, 457–460.
Edmonds, C. J., Isaacs, E. B., Visscher, P. M., Rogers, M., Lanigan, J., Singhal, A., et al. (2008). Inspection time and cognitive abilities in twins aged 7 to 17 years: Age-related changes, heritability and genetic covariance. Intelligence, 36, 210–255.
Egan, V. (1994). Intelligence, inspection time and cognitive strategies. British Journal of Psychology, 85, 305–316.
Engle, R. W., Tuholski, S. W., Laughlin, J. E., & Conway, A. R. A. (1999). Working memory, short-term memory and general fluid intelligence: A latent variable approach. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 128, 309–331.
Eysenck, H. J. (1987). Speed of information processing, reaction time, and the theory of intelligence. In P. A. Vernon (Ed.), Speed of information processing and intelligence (pp. 21–67). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Finkel, D., Reynolds, C. A., McArdle, J. J., & Pedersen, N. L. (2007). Age changes in processing speed as a leading indicator of cognitive aging. Psychology and Aging, 22, 558–568.
Fox, M. C., Roring, R. W., & Mitchum, A. L. (2009). Reversing the speed-IQ correlation: Intra-individual variability and attentional control in the inspection time paradigm. Intelligence, 37, 76–80.
Frearson, W., & Eysenck, H. J. (1986). Intelligence, reaction time (RT) and a new ‘odd-man-out’ RT paradigm. Personality and Individual Differences, 7, 807–817.
Fry, A. F., & Hale, S. (2000). Relationships among processing speed, working memory, and fluid intelligence in children. Biological Psychology, 54, 1–34.
Galton, F. (1883). Inquiries into human faculty and its development. London, UK: Macmillan.
Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York, NY: Harper and Row.
Gregory, T., Callaghan, A., Nettelbeck, T., & Wilson, C. (2009). Inspection time predicts individual differences in everyday functioning among elderly adults: Testing discriminant validity. Australasian Journal on Ageing, 28, 87–92.
Gregory, T., Nettelbeck, T., Howard, S., & Wilson, C. (2008). Inspection time: A biomarker for cognitive decline. Intelligence, 36, 664–671.
Gregory, T., Nettelbeck, T., Howard, S., & Wilson, C. (2009). A test of the Cascade model in the elderly. Personality and Individual Differences, 46, 71–73.
Gregory, T., Nettelbeck, T., & Wilson, C. (2009). Within-person changes in inspection time predict memory. Personality and Individual Differences, 46, 741–743.
Grudnik, J. L., & Kranzler, J. H. (2001). Meta-analysis of the relationship between intelligence and inspection time. Intelligence, 29, 523–535.
Gunning-Dixon, F. M., & Raz, N. (2000). The cognitive correlates of white matter abnormalities in normal aging: A quantitative review. Neuropsychology, 14, 224–232.
Hertzog, C., Kramer, A. F., Wilson, R. S., & Lindenberger, U. (2008). Enrichment effects on adult cognitive development: Can the functional capacity of older adults be preserved and enhanced? Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9, 1–65.
Hick, W. (1952). On the rate of gain of information. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 4, 11–26.
Horn, J. L., & Noll, J. (1997). Human cognitive capabilities: Gf-Gc theory. In D. P. Flanagan, J. L. Genshaft, & P. L. Harrison (Eds.), Contemporary intellectual assessment: Theories, tests, and issues (pp. 53–91). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Hunt, E. (1980). Intelligence as an information processing concept. British Journal of Psychology, 71, 449–474.
Jensen, A. R. (1982). Reaction time and psychometric g. In H. J. Eysenck (Ed.), A model for intelligence (pp. 93–132). New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.
Jensen, A. R. (1987). Individual differences in the Hick paradigm. In P. A. Vernon (Ed.), Speed of information-processing and intelligence (pp. 101–175). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Jensen, A. R. (1998). The g factor: The science of mental ability. New York: Praeger.
Jensen, A. R. (2006). Clocking the mind: Mental chronometry and individual differences. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Elsevier.
Juhel, J. (1991). Relationships between psychometric intelligence and information-processing speed indexes. European Bulletin of Cognitive Psychology, 11, 73–105.
Kail, R. (1991). Developmental change in speed of processing during childhood and adolescence. Psychological Bulletin, 109, 490–501.
Kaufman, S. B., DeYoung, C. G., Gray, J. R., Brown, J., & Mackintosh, N. (2009). Associative learning predicts intelligence above and beyond working memory and processing speed. Intelligence, doi: 10.1016/j.intell.2009.03.004.
Krumm, S., Schmidt-Azert, L., Michalczyk, K., & Danthiir, V. (2008). Speeded paper-pencil sustained attention and mental speed tests. Journal of Individual Differences, 29, 205–216.
Kyllonen, P. C., & Christal, R. E. (1990). Reasoning ability is (little more than) working memory capacity? Intelligence, 14, 389–433.
Larson, G. E., & Alderton, D. L. (1990). Reaction time variability and intelligence: A “worst performance” analysis of individual differences. Intelligence, 14, 309–325.
Lehrl, S., & Fischer, B. (1990). A basic information psychological parameter (BIP) for the reconstruction of concepts of intelligence. European Journal of Personality, 4, 259–286.
Longstreth, L. E. (1984). Jensen's reaction time investigations of intelligence: A critique. Intelligence, 8, 139–160.
Luciano, M., Smith, G. A., Wright, M. J., Geffen, G. M., Geffen, L. B., & Martin, N. G. (2001). On the heritability of inspection time and its covariance with IQ: A twin study. Intelligence, 29, 443–457.
Luciano, M., Wright, M. J., Geffen, G. M., Geffen, L. B., Smith, G. A., & Martin, N. G. (2004). A genetic investigation of the covariation among inspection time, choice reaction time, and IQ subtest scores. Behavior Genetics, 34, 41–50.
Mackintosh, N. J. (1986). The biology of intelligence? British Journal of Psychology, 77, 1–18.
Mackintosh, N. J. (1998). IQ and human intelligence. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Madden, D. J. (2001). Speed and timing in behavioral processes. In J. E. Birren & K. W. Schaie (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (5th ed., pp. 288–312). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Marr, D. B., & Sternberg, R. J. (1987). The role of mental speed in intelligence: A triarchic perspective. In P. A. Vernon (Ed.), Speed of information-processing and intelligence (pp. 271–294). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Matthews, G., Zeidner, M., & Roberts, R. D. (2007). The science of emotional intelligence: Knowns and unknowns. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
McGrew, K. S. (2005). The Cattell-Horn-Carroll theory of cognitive abilities: Past, present and future. In D. P. Flanagan & P. L. Harrison (Eds.), Contemporary intellectual assessment (2nd ed., pp. 156–182). New York, NY: Guilford.
Nettelbeck, T. (1985). What reaction times time. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8, 235.
Nettelbeck, T. (1987). Inspection time and intelligence. In P. A. Vernon (Ed.), Speed of information-processing and intelligence (pp. 295–346). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Nettelbeck, T. (1994). Speediness. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human intelligence (pp. 1014–1019). New York, NY: Macmillan.
Nettelbeck, T. (1998). Jensen's chronometric research: Neither simple nor sufficient but a good place to start. Intelligence, 29, 233–241.
Nettelbeck, T. (2001). Correlation between inspection time and psychometric abilities: A personal interpretation. Intelligence, 29, 459–474.
Nettelbeck, T. (2003). Inspection time and g. In H. Nyborg (Ed.), The scientific study of general intelligence: Tribute to Arthur R. Jensen (pp. 77–91). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Pergamon.
Nettelbeck, T., Gregory, T., Wilson, C., Burns, N., Danthiir, V., & Wittert, G. (2008, December 11–13). Inspection time: A marker for less successful ageing. Paper presented at the Ninth Annual Conference of the International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR), Decatur, GA.
Nettelbeck, T., & Kirby, N. H. (1983). Measures of timed performance and intelligence. Intelligence, 7, 39–52.
Nettelbeck, T., & Lally, M. (1976). Inspection time and measured intelligence. British Journal of Psychology, 67, 17–22.
Nettelbeck, T., & Vita, P. (1992). Inspection time in two childhood age cohorts: A constant of a developmental function? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 10, 189–198.
Nettelbeck, T., & Wilson, C. (1985). A cross-sequential analysis of developmental differences in speed of visual information processing. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 40, 1–22.
Nettelbeck, T., & Wilson, C. (1997). Speed of information processing and cognition. In W. E. J. Maclean (Ed.), Ellis’ handbook of mental deficiency, psychological theory and research (3rd ed., pp. 245–274). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Nettelbeck, T., & Young, R. (1989). Inspection time and intelligence in 6 year old children. Personality and Individual Differences, 10, 605–614.
Neubauer, A. C. (1997). The mental speed account to the assessment of intelligence In J. S. Carlson, J. Kingma, & W. Tomic (Eds.), Advances in cognition and educational practice: Reflections on the concept of intelligence (Vol. 4, pp. 149–173). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
Neubauer, A. C., & Bucik, V. (1996). The mental speed-IQ relationship: Unitary or modular? Intelligence, 22, 23–48.
O'Connor, T. A., & Burns, N. R. (2003). Inspection time and general speed of processing. Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 713–724.
Olsson, H., Björkman, C., Haag, K., & Juslin, P. (1998). Auditory inspection time: On the importance of selecting the appropriate sensory continuum. Personality and Individual Differences, 25, 627–634.
Parker, D. M., Crawford, J. R., & Stephen, E. (1999). Auditory inspection time and intelligence: A new spatial localization task. Intelligence, 27, 131–139.
Petrill, S. A., Luo, D., Thompson, L. A., & Detterman, D. K. (2001). Inspection time and the relationship among elementary cognitive tasks, general intelligence, and specific cognitive abilities. Intelligence, 29, 487–496.
Posner, M. I. (1978). Chronometric explorations of mind. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Posthuma, D., de Geus, E. J. C., & Boomsma, D. I. (2001). Perceptual speed and IQ are associated through common genetic factors. Behavior Genetics, 31, 593–602.
Rabbitt, P., Scott, M., Lunn, M., Thacker, N., Lowe, C., Pedleton, N., et al. (2007). White matter lesions account for all age-related declines in speed but not in intelligence. Neuropsychology, 21, 363–370.
Ratcliff, R., & Smith, P. L. (2004). A comparison of sequential sampling models for two-choice reaction time. Psychological Review, 111, 333–367.
Reed, T. E., & Jensen, A. R. (1992). Conduction velocity in a brain nerve pathway of normal adults correlates with intelligence level. Intelligence, 16, 259–272.
Reed, T. E., & Jensen, A. R. (1993). Choice reaction time and visual pathway nerve conduction velocity both correlate with intelligence but appear not to correlate with each other: Implications for information processing. Intelligence, 17, 191–203.
Reed, T. E., Vernon, P. A., & Johnson, A. M. (2004). Confirmation of correlation between brain nerve conduction velocity and intelligence level in normal adults. Intelligence, 32, 563–572.
Roberts, R. D., & Stankov, L. (1999). Individual differences in speed of mental processing and human cognitive abilities: Toward a taxonomic model. Learning and Individual Differences, 11, 1–120.
Rockstroh, S., & Schweizer, K. (2004). The effect of retest practice on the speed-ability relationship. European Psychologist, 9, 24–31.
Salthouse, T. A. (1996). The processing-speed theory of adult age differences in cognition. Psychological Review, 103, 403–428.
Salthouse, T. A. (2006). Mental exercise and mental aging. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1, 68–87.
Schafer, E. P. W. (1985). Neural adaptability: A biological determinant of g factor intelligence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8, 240–241.
Schaie, K. W. (2005). Developmental influences on adult intelligence. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Schmiedek, F., Oberauer, K., Wilhelm, O., SüB, H.-M., & Wittmann, W. W. (2007). Individual differences in components of reaction time distributions and their relations to working memory and intelligence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 414–429.
Schweizer, K., Zimmermann, P., & Koch, W. (2000). Sustained attention, intelligence, and the crucial role of perceptual processes. Learning and Individual Differences, 12, 271–287.
Sculthorpe, L. D., Stelmack, R. M., & Campbell, K. B. (2009). Mental ability and the effect of pattern violation discrimination on P300 and mismatch negativity. Intelligence, 37, 405–411.
Sheppard, L. D., & Vernon, P. A. (2008). Intelligence and speed of information-processing: A review of 50 years of research. Personality and Individual Differences, 44, 535–551.
Smith, G. A., & Carew, M. (1987). Decision time unmasked: Individuals adopt different strategies. Australian Journal of Psychology, 39, 339–351.
Sternberg, R. J. (1977). Intelligence, information processing, and analogical reasoning: The componential analysis of human abilities. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Sternberg, R. J. (2003). Wisdom, intelligence and creativity synthesized. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Sternberg, S. (1975). Memory scanning: New findings and current controversies. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 27, 1–32.
Stough, C., Thompson, J. C., Bates, T. C., & Nathan, P. J. (2001). Examining neurochemical determinants of inspection time: Development of a biological model. Intelligence, 29, 511–522.
Strachan, M. W. J., Deary, I. J., Ewing, F. M. E., Ferguson, S. S. C., Young, M. J., & Frier, B. M. (2001). Acute hypoglycemia impairs the functioning of the central but not peripheral nervous system. Physiology & Behavior, 72, 83–92.
Stroud, J. M. (1956). The fine structure of psychological time. In H. Quastler (Ed.), Information theory in psychology. Glencoe, Scotland: Free Press.
Turvey, M. T. (1973). On peripheral and central processes in vision: Inferences from an information-processing analysis of masking with patterned stimuli. Psychological Review, 80, 1–52.
Vernon, P. A. (1987). New developments in reaction time research. In P. A. Vernon (Ed.), Speed of information-processing and intelligence (pp. 1–20). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Vernon, P. A., & Mori, M. (1992). Intelligence, reaction times, and peripheral nerve conduction velocity. Intelligence, 16, 273–288.
Vernon, P. A., Wickett, J. C., Bazana, P. C., & Stelmack, R. M. (2000). The neuropsychology and psychophysiology of human intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of intelligence. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Vickers, D., Nettelbeck, T., & Willson, R. J. (1972). Perceptual indices of performance: The measurement of “inspection time” and “noise” in the visual system. Perception, 1, 263–295.
Welford, A. T. (1968). Fundamentals of skill. London, UK: Methuen.
Zajac, I. T., & Burns, N. R. (2007). Measuring auditory inspection time in primary school children. Journal of Individual Differences, 28, 45–52.