Performance Greater than Verbal

The person who scores significantly higher in performance I.Q. than in verbal I.Q. can be described as having a preference for action and activity over reflective inclinations. This preference may result from a variety of factors, including a well-developed interest in mechanical activities, strong capacities for visual analysis, or a well-coordinated motoric response. Another contributing factor may be the subject's background if social and cultural conditioning have deem-phasized verbal stimuli. In this situation, verbal skills that are needed to respond fully and skillfully are not well developed, resulting in lower scores on several verbal subtests. The final test results can easily indicate a lower verbal I.Q., with a correspondingly superior score on the performance I.Q.

Another reason for a performance I.Q. that is substantially greater than the verbal I.Q. stems from the subject's pathology, which may then be linked to diagnostic implications. Several diagnostic possibilities are suggested. The patient with a higher performance I.Q., for example, may be involved in an acting-out or psychopathic approach in which an impulsive, action-oriented style predominates. This tendency facilitates better responses on performance subtests than on verbal subtests. In some schizophrenic patients, verbal material is drawn into symbolic usage or else bizarre, tangential, echolalic, or clang associations are triggered as a result of the person's pathology so that substantial impairment accrues to a number of verbal subtests. When this situation appears, the patient's pathology can contribute to a performance I.Q. that is higher than the verbal I.Q.

A special condition that needs to be noted regarding higher performance scores and lower verbal scores concerns the issue of the testing of bilingual individuals. In many cases, functioning is reduced in the verbal test scores because these bilingual individuals are from immigrant populations or have been exposed to bicultural influences where the cultural factors associated with various verbal test items are unknown to them or have not been strongly emphasized. The cultural layer inherent in the verbal portion of individual intelligence tests is not fully accessible to those steeped in another culture. Further, the efforts of bilingual people to master a new language may dilute their facility in the verbal sphere because of the division of attention they have been required to maintain between the use and mastery of different languages. Even if translation is used during testing, there will be a departure from the norms used in the construction of the intelligence test, resulting in unreliability and weakening of verbal results.

When a verbal deficit appears in the test results of a bilingual subject, one of the challenges for the evaluator will be to determine whether the subject is significantly weak in general development of verbal skills regardless of bilingual factors, or, if bilingual and bicultural influences contribute more to the deficiency. This determination is clearly best accomplished by a bilingual evalua-tor. Such an evaluator could, for instance, alternate verbal questions in each language for comparative purposes to tease out if it is the language or a general verbal deficit that seems to interfere with verbal functioning. A bilingual eval-uator could also test the limits by asking the test questions at the point that the subject begins to fail on verbal subtests in each language. This bilingual limit testing would enable an assessment of whether use of both languages or only the preferred language enhances verbal functioning. Then it could be determined from the results of such limit testing if limited language usage in general contributes to verbal deficiency or if there is a more general lack of overall verbal proficiency. Once again, these approaches involve violation of normative test procedures with, accordingly, weakening of reliability and validity of results, factors that need to be noted in the reporting of any conclusions that are drawn.

A final example of the contribution of pathology to the configuration under consideration involves the organically impaired patient. If the neurological problem involves parts of the brain that relate to verbal skills, the verbal I.Q. in reflecting this impairment, often will be quite substantially lower in comparison with the performance I.Q., which remains relatively intact.

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