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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.
Successful intelligence involves a broader range of abilities than is typically measured by tests of intellectual and academic skills. Most of these tests measure primarily or exclusively memory and analytical abilities. With regard to memory, they assess the abilities to recall and recognize information. With regard to analytical abilities, they measure the skills involved when one analyzes, compares and contrasts, evaluates, critiques, and judges. Several separate factor-analytic studies support the internal validity of the theory of successful intelligence. The theory of successful intelligence is valid as a whole. Moreover, the theory can make a difference not only in laboratory tests but in school classrooms and even the everyday life of adults as well. The educational system in the United States, as in many other countries, places great emphasis on instruction and assessments that tap into two important skills: memory and analysis.
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