The Generality of Spearman’s Law of Diminishing Returns

Jun 17th, 2015
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Spearman (1927) discovered that when he compared the test scores of 2 groups of children in a correlation matrix

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The Generality of Spearmans Law of Diminishing Returns Diminishing ReturnsSpearman (1927) discovered that when he compared the test scores of 2 groups of children in a correlation matrix, where one group composed of normal children and the other group composed of children with low abilities, the mean test score correlations were lower for the normal group (+0.466) compared to the low ability group (+0.782). Spearman used the term diminishing returns to describe this phenomenon, alluding to the fact that the benefits accorded to persons with higher g, diminishes the more g he possesses and since then several studies substantiated what he called the Law of Diminishing Returns now aptly named Spearmans Law of Diminishing Returns (SLODR). Among these were Detterman & Daniels (1989) study using the Wechsler scales on large samples divided into 5 ability levels, Legree et al.(1996) on the 1980 Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) normative sample, and that by Martin Evans (1999) using confirmatory factor analyses on large samples of test scores from the ASVAB and the Otis-Lennon Mental Ability test. All three rediscovered SLODR with lower correlations for high ability groups. Several hypotheses were put forward to explain this phenomenon and many subscribe to the fact that the cause of this is due to the more specialized abilities of high ability subjects. In other words the higher the level of g, the more is invested in specialized

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