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Title: The control of action : an exploration of Spearman's general factor
Author: Bright, P.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1999
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A novel task was designed to investigate goal-relevant behaviour in a group of 38 normal elderly subjects. A critical aspect of the task demanded the suppression of a combined response tendency arising from simultaneously activated, but no longer relevant, requirements ("cognitive reversal"). All subjects produced error on task requirements even though these were understood and subsequently recalled. Performance on the task was highly correlated with measures of fluid intelligence (Spearman's g), with subjects at the lower end of the g distribution producing almost complete neglect of one or more requirements on all trials. In a group of 31 subjects matched on age and g, removal of the cognitive reversal element from the task eradicated the relationship with g. The performance-g correlation demonstrated by the original experiment was subsequently replicated in a group of younger subjects. A neuropsychological study was undertaken to compare performance by a group of frontal lesion patients with that of posterior brain-damaged and normal controls matched for age, education and premorbid intelligence. The relationship between performance and g was maintained across groups. Interactions between task performance, g and side of lesion were also observed. In further studies, variations in task structure (e.g. suppression of response vs alternative response, modification of stimuli type and presentation rate, changes in overall task complexity) all affected the performance-g correlation. Within certain constraints, results indicate that the suppression of inappropriate responses may be an intrinsic property of Spearman's g.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available