Chapter 7


The use of artificial concepts to define an idea is crucial to communicating with others and engaging in complex thought. According to Goldstone and Kersten , concepts act as building blocks and can be connected in countless combinations to create complex thoughts. An artificial concept, on the other hand, is a concept that is defined by a specific set of characteristics. Learning disabilities are cognitive disorders that affect different areas of cognition, particularly language or reading.

In May 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in a related case (Hall v. Florida) that IQ scores cannot be used as a final determination of a prisoner’s eligibility for the death penalty . Gardner’s theory is relatively new and needs additional research to better establish empirical support. Furthermore, developing traditional measures of Gardner’s intelligences is extremely difficult (Furnham, 2009; Gardner & Moran, 2006; Klein, 1997). Generally, a child’s first word is uttered sometime between the ages of 1 year to 18 months, and for the next few months, the child will remain in the “one word” stage of language development. During this time, children know a number of words, but they only produce one-word utterances.

On the other end of the intelligence spectrum are those individuals whose IQs fall into the highest ranges. Consistent with the bell curve, about 2% of the population falls into this category. People are considered gifted if they have an IQ score of 130 or higher, or superior intelligence in a particular area. Long ago, popular belief suggested that people of high intelligence were maladjusted. This idea was disproven through a groundbreaking study of gifted children.

Schema therapy was founded by Jeffrey Young and represents a development of cognitive behavioral therapy specifically for treating personality disorders. They are considered to develop during childhood or adolescence, and to be dysfunctional in that they lead to self-defeating behavior. Examples include schemata of abandonment/instability, mistrust/abuse, emotional deprivation, and defectiveness/shame. Schemata about oneself are considered to be grounded in the present and based on past experiences. Even when encoding is equally strong for positive and negative feedback, positive feedback is more likely to be recalled.

An IQ score of 130 or above is considered a superior level. Atkins v. Virginia highlights several issues regarding society’s beliefs around intelligence. In the Atkins case, the Supreme Court decided that which perspective most clearly focuses on how we learn observable responses? intellectual disabilitydoesaffect decision making and therefore should affect the nature of the punishment such criminals receive. Where, however, should the lines of intellectual disability be drawn?

In this chapter, we will focus on high-level cognitive processes. As a part of this discussion, we will consider thinking and briefly explore the development and use of language. We will also discuss problem solving and creativity before ending with a discussion of how intelligence is measured and how our biology and environments interact to affect intelligence. After finishing this chapter, you will have a greater appreciation of the higher-level cognitive processes that contribute to our distinctiveness as a species. Concepts are informed by our semantic memory and are present in every aspect of our lives; however, one of the easiest places to notice concepts is inside a classroom, where they are discussed explicitly.