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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2019

44 - Intelligence and Motivation

from Part VIII - Intelligence and Allied Constructs


In this chapter, we argue that to understand intelligence one must understand motivation. In the past, intelligence was often cast as an entity unto itself, relatively unaffected by motivation. In our chapter, we spell out how motivational factors determine (1) whether individuals initiate goals relating to the acquisition and display of intellectual skills, (2) how persistently they pursue those goals, and (3) how effectively they pursue those goals, that is, how effectively they learn and perform in the intellectual arena. As will be seen, motivational factors can have systematic and meaningful effects on intellectual ability, performance, and accomplishment over time. Our discussion emphasizes that heritability is not incompatible with the malleability of intelligence and that motivation is the vehicle through which intellectual skills are successfully acquired, expressed, and built upon.

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