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According to Jensen 1998 the g factor is the highest-order common factor that can be extracted in a hierarchical factor analysis from a large battery of diverse tests of an assortment of cognitive abilities Spearman thought of g as mental energy that could be applied to mental tasks Jensen 1998 According to Spearman individual differences in performance on any mental task result from two sources differences in the amount of mental energy that can be delivered to the specific engine that mediates performance of the task and differences in the efficiency of energy utilization by the engine The efficiency of the various engines differs independently within the same person Jensen 1998 p 19 As a construct the g factor can be represented with varying degrees of convenience efficiency and validity by a wide variety of vehicles psychometric tests laboratory techniques physiological indices Jensen 1998 To obtain what Jensen 1998 called the information-processing speed of the brain you use a device that contains a black button surrounded by a semicircle of eight white buttons The person being tested sits with her hand on the button box She presses the black button on the box and waits for a beep then after a short but unpredictable interval one of the eight white buttons lights up As soon as that happens the subject takes her finger off the black button and presses whichever of the white buttons is lit Through a series of these exercises a computer records in milliseconds how long it took her finger to leave the black button reaction time and how long to press the lighted white button movement time After more than 25 years Jensen and his colleagues developed quite a few similar tests all of which have in common the measurement in milliseconds of how quickly a subject completes elementary cognitive tasks Jensen 1998 believes these measurements especially reaction time or RT are catching something very close to pure g and that
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