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190 News & Comment TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences Vol.5 No.

5 May 2001


Allen Newell, David Rumelhart and science thus provided the solution to the
How much money Jay McClelland, and many others have problem; unfortunately, many of us have
should one put into proposed cognitive architectures, chosen to ignore it.
which have been warmly welcomed by We continue to put our money into
the cognitive parking some and roundly rejected by others. parking meters that inadequately register
meter? No wonder that Deary gives no concrete our coins.
examples of such architectures: none has
Many of us have had the unpleasant been accepted by a broad consensus of Robert J. Sternberg
experience of putting money into a cognitive scientists. IBM Professor of Psychology and Education
parking meter, turning the knob, and The cognitive-experimental option and Director, Center for the Psychology of
finding that our money has not registered. is not a bad one, any more than the Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise
Do we put in more coins, move to another biological approach is a good or bad one (PACE Center),
space, or hope we will not get a fine? (see Ref. 3). But that approach, too, has its Yale University, 340 Edwards Street,
The problem of sunken costs is one we strengths and weaknesses. The bottom P.O. Box 208358, New Haven,
all face in one form or another. We invest line, as recognized by Garner, Hake and CT 06520-8358, USA.
in something; the investment turns out to Erikson nearly half a century ago4, is that e-mail: robert.sternberg@yale.edu
be less than successful, but we have in studying any psychological References
already invested, so we might keep phenomenon, one needs to use converging 1 Cronbach, L.J. (1957) The two disciplines of
investing in the hope that eventually the operations, an approach that we have scientific psychology. Am. Psychol. 12, 671684
investment will pay off. But how long is taken in seeking to understand 2 Deary, I.J. (2001) Human intelligence differences:
towards a combined experimentaldifferential
long enough to decide that it might be intelligence. For example, we have
approach. Trends Cognit. Sci. 5, 164170
time to look for another investment sought to use cognitive-experimental, 3 Deary, I.J. and Caryl, P.G. (1994) Intelligence,
or parking space? psychometric, instructional, and cultural inspection time, and cognitive strategies. In
Soon, a half-century will have passed methodologies to validate the theory of Biological Approaches to the Study of Human
since Cronbachs plea for a union of the successful intelligence5. Intelligence (Vernon, P.A., ed.), pp. 259315, Ablex
4 Garner, W.R. et al. (1956) Operationism and the
two disciplines of scientific psychology1. From this point of view, single-method
concept of perception. Psychol. Rev. 63, 149159
It was and still is a noble cause, and one reviews of the literature, such as this one 5 Sternberg, R.J. Construct validity of the theory of
I have contributed to. But as Deary2 (last or the earlier one by Deary and Caryl3, successful intelligence. In Models of Intelligence
month) alludes to, I decided almost 20 are likely to miss an important point for the New Millennium (Sternberg, R.J. et al.,
years ago that, on its own, a cognitive- namely, that there is no one preferred or eds), American Psychological Association
(in press)
experimental approach to the problem even nearly complete method for 6 Sternberg, R.J. and Grigorenko, E.L. (2001)
was not yielding the results I and many understanding intelligence (or, really, The misorganization of psychology. APS Observer
others had hoped for. It still isnt, for all any other psychological phenomenon). 14, 120
the reasons Deary cites. As examples, we A review such as this one is likely to leave
still dont know: (1) the nature of the many issues unresolved as it says it does
causal relation between cognitive precisely because it relies largely or
components and psychometric factors; exclusively on studies that focus on one How much money
(2) if the elementary cognitive tasks used kind of methodology.
to measure mental speed are truly The problem with this review is a
should one put in?
elementary or about as complex as the general one. We have recently argued insert the correct
supposedly complex tasks they are that, as a field, psychology is
supposed to help explain; (3) if the level of misorganized6. It tends to train
amount; no dud coins
mental effort is positively or negatively psychologists to focus on narrow accepted
correlated with intelligence. These are approaches cognitive, biological, social,
just a few of the many lingering puzzles. clinical, or whatever and thereby falsely
The approach has not been without to view largely arbitrary (i.e. method- Reply to Sternberg
fruits. But the fruits have been smaller induced) slices of a phenomenon as the I thank Bob Sternberg for his interest in
and perhaps more bitter than we whole phenomenon. Cognitive science my TICS article on human intelligence
cognitive researchers had once in its combination of psychological, differences1. This reply aims to: (1) agree
anticipated. Dearys solution is to start neuroscientific, computational, about the need for a multi-disciplinary
with a credible cognitive architecture philosophical and cultural approaches approach to intelligence; (2) suggest that
that contains isolable, testable was originally introduced as an antidote Sternberg has seen but not attended to
parameters (Ref. 2, p. 169). But cognitive to this problem. But how many cognitive- evidence for such approaches existing
architectures have produced no more scientific studies published in this journal already; and (3) make a comment on his
consensus judgments than have or any other remain true to this principle parking meter metaphor.
cognitive-experimental approaches to of multidisciplinary or multimethod (1) Urging a comprehensive, multi-level
intelligence. John Anderson, integration? Perhaps very few. Cognitive research programme into human

http://tics.trends.com 1364-6613/01/$ see front matter 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
News & Comment TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences Vol.5 No.5 May 2001 191

intelligence differences is absolutely intelligenceinspection time association the components themselves. As I discuss
correct. The short TICS piece was an that takes in cognitive strategies, elsewhere, these components were
isolated feuille from my recent book, personality theory, developmental abandoned, after too little research was
Looking Down on Human Intelligence2, psychology, psychopharmacology, done properly to validate them. So, sadly,
which examined attempts at reductionism psychophysics, electroencephalography they were either incompletely
in human intelligence from conceptual, and more; and there is new research on investigated and/or incorrect. Therefore,
historical, psychometric, cognitive- the genetic basis of the inspection whilst failing to notice that other
experimental, psychophysical, biological timeintelligence correlation5 and on the investigators are satisfactorily parked and
and genetic perspectives. Where possible, fMRI results obtained while people are paid up for many years of productive
these perspectives were combined. For engaged in inspection time tasks6. Thus research, he has also failed to appreciate
TICS readers, the editor requested we see differential psychologists, that he was putting too little money in the
something that addressed the cognitive developmentalists, cognitive and meter and maybe that his coins were duds.
contribution to this multidisciplinary neuro-scientists, behavioural
enterprise, and so the article dealt with geneticists, psychophysiologists, Ian J. Deary
the differentialcognitive link in a chain psychopharmacologists, neuroradiologists Dept of Psychology, University of
of collaborating investigations into human and others contributing to the study of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh,
intelligence. A TINS article a few years intelligence differences at many levels of UK EH8 9JZ.
ago illustrated another link3. A fuller explanation. And one could repeat this e-mail: I.Deary@ed.ac.uk
discussion of the larger chain is in my book for other areas of interaction between References
and a rounded summary is available in differential and cognitive psychology. 1 Deary, I.J. (2001) Human intelligence differences:
review format4. Because the TICS article For example, work on reaction-time towards a combined experimentaldifferential
visited just one room in the multi-mansioned paradigms and intelligence is far from approach. Trends Cognit. Sci. 5, 164170
2 Deary, I.J (2000) Looking Down on Human
house of intelligence research, it does not being a narrow experimentaldifferential Intelligence: From Psychometrics to the Brain,
mean that only that one exists, or that a collaboration; recent research examined Oxford University Press
narrow-in-scope approach to intelligence the genetic contribution to the correlation 3 Deary, I.J. (1997) Neuroscience and human
was being advocated. between these measures, involving intelligence differences. Trends Neurosci.
20, 365371
(2) Researchers looking into differential and experimental psychologists,
4 Deary, I.J. (2001) Individual differences in
intelligence differences are already using and behavioural genetics experts7. cognition: British contributions over a century.
multifarious approaches to understanding (3) Finally, one wonders how well Br. J. Psychol. 92, 217237
the problems. Take just one example: Sternbergs parking meter metaphor 5 Luciano, M. et al. On the heritability of inspection
inspection time. If one wanted to criticize works. It doesnt really pertain to the time and its covariance with IQ: a twin study.
Intelligence (in press)
narrowness, one could state correctly that substantive issue in the letter the
6 Deary, I.J. et al. The functional anatomy of
intelligence differences cannot be incorrect suggestion that a inspection time: a pilot fMRI study. Intelligence
explained anywhere-near-fully by linking differentialcognitive psychology (in press)
intelligence differences to differences on collaboration is necessarily narrow. As I 7 Neubauer, A.C. et al. (2000) Genetic and
a psychophysical procedure. Sure, but interpret it, the money that Bob fed to the environmental influences on two measures of
speed of information processing and their relation
no-one thinks like that. My book meter was either (i) the time he spent
to psychometric intelligence: evidence from the
documents, and the TICS review investigating his cognitive components as German Observational Study of Adult Twins.
adumbrates, research on the fundamental aspects of intelligence, or (ii) Intelligence 28, 267291

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http://tics.trends.com 1364-6613/01/$ see front matter 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.