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Developmental Differentiation and Binding of Mental Processes with g through the Life-Span

Department of Social Sciences, University of Nicosia, 1700 Nicosia, Cyprus
Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus, 1678 Nicosia, Cyprus
Department of Psychology, Panteion University of Social Sciences, 176 71 Athens, Greece
Department of Psychology, Croatian Studies University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 22903 VA, USA
Department of Psychology, University of Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
King’s College, University of London, London WC2R 2LS, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 March 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 28 May 2017 / Published: 31 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Development and Intelligence)
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Integration/differentiation of mental processes is major mechanism of development. Developmental theories ascribe intellectual development to it. In psychometric theory, Spearman’s law of diminishing returns postulates that increasing g allows increasing differentiation of cognitive abilities, because increased mental power allows variable investment in domain-specific learning. Empirical evidence has been inconsistent so far, with some studies supporting and others contradicting this mechanism. This state of affairs is due to a developmental phenomenon: Both differentiation and strengthening of relations between specific processes and g may happen but these changes are phase-specific and ability-specific, depending upon the developmental priorities in the formation of g in each phase. We present eight studies covering the age span from 4 to 85 years in support of this phenomenon. Using new powerful modeling methods we showed that differentiation and binding of mental processes in g occurs in cycles. Specific processes intertwine with g at the beginning of cycles when they are integrated into it; when well established, these processes may vary with increasing g, reflecting its higher flexibility. Representational knowledge, inductive inference and awareness of it, and grasp of logical constraints framing inference are the major markers of g, first intertwining with in their respective cycles and differentiating later during the periods of 2–6, 7–11, and 11–20 years, respectively. The implications of these findings for an overarching cognitive developmental/differential theory of human mind are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: intelligence; cognitive development; individual differences; integration/differentiation; awareness intelligence; cognitive development; individual differences; integration/differentiation; awareness

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Demetriou, A.; Spanoudis, G.; Kazi, S.; Mouyi, A.; Žebec, M.S.; Kazali, E.; Golino, H.; Bakracevic, K.; Shayer, M. Developmental Differentiation and Binding of Mental Processes with g through the Life-Span. J. Intell. 2017, 5, 23.

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