Early Biological Theories

Halstead suggested that there are four biologically based abilities, which he called the integrative field factor, the abstraction factor, the power factor, and the directional factor. Halstead attributed all four of these abilities primarily to the functioning of the cortex of the frontal lobes.

More influential than Halstead has been Hebb, who distinguished between two basic types of intelligence: intelligence A and intelligence B. Hebb's distinction is still used by some theorists today. According to Hebb, intelligence A is innate potential; intelligence B is the functioning of the brain as a result of the actual development that has occurred. These two basic types of intelligence should be distinguished from intelligence C—intelligence as measured by conventional psychometric tests of intelligence. Hebb also suggested that learning, an important basis of intelligence, is built up through cell assemblies, by which successively more complex connections among neurons are constructed as learning takes place.

A third biologically based theory is that of Luria, which has had a major impact on tests of intelligence. According to Luria, the brain comprises three main units with respect to intelligence: a unit of arousal in the brain stem and midbrain structures; a sensory-input unit in the temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes; and an organization and planning unit in the frontal cortex.

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