Critically discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory

Critically discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory

Discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory Right from the dawn of civilisation man has often wondered about individual differences in abilities, yet it was not until the third quarter of the nineteenth century that efforts could be made about understanding its complex nature. Intelligence is a broad term that is employed by layman to denote the presence of such qualities as alertness, quickness of mind, level of one’s academic success, status in an occupation, or the acquisition of an eminence in a particular field of endeavour and so on.

Intelligence is hard to define. In the Indian systems of thought buddhi (intellect)— defined as nischayatmikabuddhih (decision maker) is described as an inner instrument (antahkarana), which possesses wisdom, prudence, emotion, societal values, and relations. In our common parlance when people speak of intelligence, they nod knowingly as if they all share a common definition. However, their understanding of the phenomenon of intelligence may widely vary. Discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theor For some quickness of answering a question might reflect intelligence, while for others leading a successful life might be due to one’s intelligence. Psychologists, too, differ in their definitions of intelligence. We all know what we mean when we use this term, but we find it terribly difficult to precisely define it.

PDF and Handwritten , WhatsApp - 8130208920



Discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory The theories of Spearman, Thorndike, Thomson, Thurstone that we discussed above, and other similar ones, are based on isolating factors after administering several intelligence tests over a large sample of subjects. They did not take into account how an input, e.g. a test item is received and processed and how a cognitive reorganisation takes place prior to giving a response. Das, Nagliery, and Kirby (1994) have developed a theory-based, multidimensional view of intelligence with constructs borrowed from contemporary research in neuropsychology, information processing and human cognition.

Alexander R. Luria’s (1966; 1973; 1980) pioneering researches in the fields of neuropsychology, information processing, and cognitive psychology have provided the theoretical foundation to the PASS theory. Luria divided human cognitive processes into three primary functional units.

i) Maintaining appropriate cortical arousal and attention to allow for adequate vigilance and discrimination between stimuli is the primary function of the first unit.

ii) The second unit is responsible for obtaining, elaborating upon, and storing information using successive and simultaneous processes.

iii) The third functional unit is responsible for programming as well as the regulation and control of mental activity (i.e., executive functioning). Planning, self-monitoring, and structuring of cognitive activities are provided by this functional unit. To elaborate further, the first functional unit, attention-arousal, is located in the brain stem and reticular activating system. This unit provides the brain with the appropriate level of arousal or cortical tone and “directive and selective attention”.

The essential aspect of simultaneous processing is the surveyability; that is, each element is related to every other element. Das (2004) has explained with the help of following example. “To produce a diagram correctly when given the instruction, “draw a triangle above a square that is to the left of a circle under a cross,” the relationships among the shapes must be correctly comprehended” (Das, 2004, p. 9). Successive processing is associated with the fronto-temporal areas of the brain and involves the integration of stimuli into a specific serial order where each component is related to the next. That is, in successive synthesis, “each link integrated into a series can evoke only a particular chain of successive links following each other in serial order”.

Discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory  For example, in language processing, successive processes involved with are decoding and producing syntax, and articulating speech. The third functional unit is located in the prefrontal divisions of the frontal lobes of the brain (Luria, 1980).

Luria stated that “the frontal lobes synthesize the information about the outside worlds . . . and are the means whereby the behaviour of the organism is regulated in conformity with the effect produced by its actions” (p.263).

Planning processes provide for the programming, regulation and verification of behaviour and are responsible for behaviours, such as asking questions, problem solving, and the capacity for self-monitoring. Other activities of the third functional unit include regulation of voluntary activity, impulse control, and various linguistic skills, such as spontaneous conversation.

The third functional unit provides for the most complex aspects of human behaviour including personality and consciousness. All four processes of the PASS theory have been operationally defined by Das, Nagliery and Kirby (1994). Discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory  Planning processes are required when a test demands that the individual makes some decisions about how to solve a problem, execute an approach, activate attentional, simultaneous, and successive processes, monitor the effectiveness of the approach and modify it as needed.

Planning is clearly associated with the frontal lobes, especially the prefrontal cortex. It has connections with the rest of the brain as described before, including the parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes that are responsible for information coding (simultaneous and successive processing), as well as with sub cortical areas that determine the level of arousal and affective reactions to different conditions on the basis of past experiences. Discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory  Attention arousal is a complex process of the PASS theory.

PDF and Handwritten , WhatsApp - 8130208920

Arousal keeps the persons alert. It is associated with the activity of the brain stem and the lower part of the cerebral cortex. Attention on the other hand is associated with the frontal lobes and the lower portion of the cortex together. Simultaneous processing is broadly associated with the occipital and the parietal lobes, while successive processing is associated with frontal temporal lobes Knowledge base is an integral component of the PASS model and therefore all processes are embedded within this dimension.

The base of knowledge included in the PASS model is intended to represent all information obtained from the cultural and social background of the individual, because this determines the form of mental activity. Children’s use of language to analyse, generalise, and encode experience is a critical determinant of the base of knowledge, because mental processes cannot develop apart from the appropriate forms of social life. The final component of the PASS model is output or action and behaviour. Discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory  , It is suggested that both simultaneous and successive processes must be used in the processing of cognitive tasks. Das (1998, p. 221) has thus explained its salient features: “The PASS theory of intelligence (1) has given us tests to measure intelligence as a set of cognitive processes, (2) discusses what the major processes are, and (3) guides us in the remediation of processing difficulties.”

Cognition is a dynamic process that works within the context of the individual’s knowledge base, responds to his experiences, and is subject to developmental variations When considering the measurement of cognitive processes, it must be noted that the effective processing is accomplished through the integration of knowledge with planning, attention, simultaneous, and successive processes as demanded by the particular task.

 Although these processes are interrelated and nonstop, they are not equally involved in all tasks. For that reason, cognitive assessment tasks for planning, attention, simultaneous, and successive processing were developed to adhere to PASS theory and predominantly require a specific cognitive process.

Critical Appraisal of PASS Theory

The PASS theory has provided a novel approach to assess intelligence. It is cognitive in orientation and it bases its tests on neuropsychological theories of Luria. Discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory  Of great importance of Das, Nagliery, and Kirby (1994) was to move away from conventional tests of intelligence and to provide a theory-based multidimensional view of intelligence that is built on contemporary research on human cognition. It has a practical utility also. Undoubtedly all tests of intelligence attempt at tapping cognitive aspects. However, most of them approximate to the underlying processing of informational input.

Another attribute of this theory is that it has developed a Cognitive Assessment System (CAS) test also, which offers a unique opportunity to examine the relative contribution of cognitive processes as a testee undergoes a testing scenario. CAS has four subscales, named after PASS, and the test items are specially designed to assess a testee’s proficiency in each of them separately as well as collectively


The PASS theory of Das, Nagliery and Kirby (1994) is an information processing theory, which has taken its inspiration from the pioneering neuropsychological and cognitive psychological researches of Alexander Luria. Discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory  Luria described human cognitive processes within the framework of three functional units. The function of the first is cortical arousal and attention; the second unit codes information using simultaneous and successive processes; and the third unit provides for planning, self-monitoring, and structuring of cognitive activities. Luria’s work on the functional aspects of brain structures formed the basis of the PASS model and was used as a blueprint for defining the important components of human intellectual competence.

A Cognitive Assessment System (CAS) has also been developed by Das, Nagliery and Kirby (1994) and a number of researches on various aspects of human cognition have extended increasing support to the contentions of the proponents of this theory. The Cognitive Assessment System is an individualised assessment that may be used for a variety of purposes, including diagnosis, eligibility, determination of discrepancies, reevaluation, and instructional planning.

PDF and Handwritten

 WhatsApp - 8130208920



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.