Seminar in Intelligence (PSYL11078)

Course Summary

This is an out of date page kept up to record an older version of the course in intelligence in the MSc Psychology of Individual Differences

New link here


Structure of the course

Week Task
Week 1 Overview, Intro ppt;
Week 2 Example talk from Tim or René; Review of your choices
Week 3 Break
Weeks 4-6 Talks
Week 7 Help with your essay
Weeks 8-10 Talks
Week 11 Overview, wrap-up

Assessment: Three elements contribute to your mark:

  1. Your presentation (10% for the summary and 10% for your talk)
    • Choosing major, conceptual papers, not minor flawed papers or click bait will help you do a good job. An example of a good choice is this
  2. Your general and active participation (10%)
  3. Final assignment (70%).

Who's assigned to what

When you choose a topic, please edit this doc. If you can't, ask|| for help.

Weekly discussion

Each week one of you will lead a discussion. We will aim to have one or two presentations each week. The discussion of the paper or papers you choose will therefore take approximately one or two hours.
Below we list several “big topics” and we will also propose a selection of major papers that have contributed to the scientific debate on these topics.

You will need to choose one or more papers to discuss. In almost all cases, these will be from among the major, landmark papers we have assembled above. You should then communicate these to the course organizers who will determine whether they are suitable. You will then write a 1-2 page summary using the “In Course Presentation” guide.

Finally, the week before your presentation you will email the pdfs to us. On the week of your presentation you will hand out your summary, walk people through the summaries, and lead the discussion that follows.

Core topics to choose from

  1. Definitions, structure, and measurement
  2. The nature of general intelligence (underlying causal structure or something else)
  3. Genes, environments and their interactions
  4. Basic cognitive processes: Inspection time, reaction time
  5. Biological foundations: Synapses, connection, volumes…
  6. Evolution (+ Ev Psych and intelligence in nonhumans)
  7. Ageing: Decline and maintenance: Crystallised vs fluid changes
  8. Environments and Processes (Education, Practice, SES, etc.)
  9. Intelligence, health, well-being, and psychopathology
  10. Group differences: Race, class, sex, ethnicity
  11. Intelligence in society: Work, wealth, marriage, savings, peace,
  12. Training (Can intelligence be boosted by cogntive training (a hot topic)? )
  13. Non-cognitive factors: Talent, persistence, openness
  14. Social Intelligence: Being Intelligent about or with people: EQ, Group IQ


Personality and Individual Differences, Intelligence, Behavior Genetics, Psychological Science, and many more