The positive manifold of intelligence has fascinated generations of scholars in human ability. In the past century, various formal explanations have been proposed, including the dominant g-factor, the revived sampling theory, and the recent multiplier effect model and mutualism model. In this article we propose a novel idiographic explanation. We formally conceptualize intelligence as evolving networks, in which new facts and procedures are wired together during development. The static model, an extension of the Fortuin-Kasteleyn model, provides a parsimonious explanation of the positive manifold and intelligence’s hierarchical factor structure. We show how it can explain the Matthew effect across developmental stages. Finally, we introduce a method for studying growth dynamics. Our truly idiographic approach offers a new view on a century-old construct, and ultimately allows the fields of human ability and human learning to coalesce.
about the speaker
Gunter Maris is ACTNext’s director of advanced psychometrics. Prior to joining the ACTNext team, Gunter was a full professor of psychological methods at the University of Amsterdam (for 10 years), and a principal research scientist with CITO (for 16 years). Gunter’s research focuses on when and why learning does, or does not, happen, and when education does, or does not, work. As a by-products of this research, Gunter contributed to the founding of network psychometrics as an independent field of research, and to the advancement of online real-time rating systems for educational measurement. Gunter earned his MSc in theoretical psychology from the University of Leuven, and a PhD from the University of Nijmegen. He lives in Arnhem (the Netherlands) with his wife and two teenage daughters.