An investigation of the relationship between impulsiveness and intelligence in first-grade children



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It was the purpose of this study to related personality characteristic continuum, impulsivity-reflection, to a standardized measure of intelligence. A secondary purpose was to replicate a part of an earlier experiment done by Kagan (1965), in order to substantiate, if possible, his findings. Impulsivity and reflection were measured by the Design Recall Test (DRT); intelligence was measured by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). These two tests were administered to thirty first-grade children (an equal number of boys and girls) at the Oxford and the Keys Private Nursery Schools in Pasadena, Texas, in the Spring of 1968. There was an age range from six years, one month, to seven years, eight months, with a mean age of six years, six months. To determine any relationships, the WISC test scores (full IQ, verbal IQ, performance IQ, and ten subtests) were correlated with impulsivity-reflection measures (DRT "time" scores, in seconds, and DRT "correct" scores). Six statistically significant correlation coefficients were obtained between the impulsivity and intelligence measurements. An analysis relating impulsivity to intelligence and sex groupings was achieved through use of the chi-square technique. However, no significant sex difference was noted as regards the impulsivity variable. As was hypothesized, in this study, children classified as impulsive, in contrast to reflective, in general, scored lower on their intelligence quotient scores. The results of this study did substantiate certain of Kagan's findings: 1. that "there were no significant sex difference for any of the variables" (p. 617, 1965). 2. that "as usual, there is a negative relationship between response time and errors" (p. 617, 1965) (p. 36, 1964). 3. In his Study 2 (1964) Kagan found that with "slow instructions" given (child told to think before responding), the coefficient of correlation attained between the WISC Vocabulary and the DRT response "time" scores was .36. This was significant at the .05 level of confidence. In this study (with no instructions as to slowness or fastness of responding) the coefficient of correlation attained between WISC Vocabulary and DRT "time" scores was .398. This also was significant at the .05 level of confidence. However, in Kagan's study with "fast instructions" given (child told to respond as quickly as possible), there was only a small and insignificant coefficient of correlation between the above variables (p. 12, 1964). 4. Kagan (Study 2, 1964) found "that accurate performance on DRT had a moderate relation to IQ score" (p. 11, 1964).



Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Impulse