Critically discuss Das, Naglieri and Kirby’s PASS theory

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.

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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.

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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.

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Discuss the structure and functions of language

Discuss the structure and functions of language

 The structure and functions of language People talk or use language incessantly. Language, to cognitive psychologists, is a system of communication in which thoughts are transmitted by means of sounds (as in speech and music) or symbols (as in written words and gestures). As you read this text, you are engaging in one of the mind’s most enchanting processes – the way one mind influences another through language. 

In this process, some cell assemblies in your brain are permanently changed, new thoughts are made, and, in a very real sense, you are changed. Cognitive psychology concerns both language and thought and has been popular only since the 1950s. Before that, many psychologists believed that the scientific method could not be applied towards the study of a process as private as thinking. From ancient Greek times, only philosophers and metaphysicians studied the nature of language and thought.

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Discuss the structure and functions of language The study of human language is important to cognitive psychologists for the following reasons:

• Human language development represents a unique kind of abstraction, which is basic to cognition. Although other forms of life (bees, birds, dolphins, dogs and so on) have elaborate means of communicating and apes seem to use a form of language abstraction, the degree of abstraction is much greater among humans.

• Language processing is an important component of information processing and storage.

• Human thinking and problem solving can be conceptualised as processes involving language. Many, if not most, forms of thinking and problem solving are internal, that is, done in the absence of external stimuli. Abstraction of puzzles, for example, into verbal symbols provides a way to think about a solution.

• Language is the main means of human communication, the way in which most information is exchanged.

• Language influences perception, a fundamental aspect of cognition. Some argue that how we perceive the world is affected by the language we use to describe it.

On the other hand, language development is at least largely based on our perception of language. So the perceptual-language process is one of interdependency; both significantly influence the other. Language from this point of view operates as a window. The processing of words, speech, and semantics seem to engage specific cerebral areas and thus provide a meaningful link between neuro anatomical structures and language. In addition, the study of pathology of the brain has frequently shown manifest change in language functions, as in the case of aphasia.

Discuss the structure and functions of language , structure and functions of language ,  structure of language and its components in psychology.  Get MPC 001 Notes and guides and other assignment related help through our website

The Structure of Language

Language is a system of symbols and rules that is used for meaningful communication. A system of communication has to meet certain criteria in order to be considered a language: A language uses symbols, which are sounds, gestures, or written characters that represent objects, actions, events, and ideas. Symbols enable people to refer to objects that are in another place or events that occurred at a different time. A language is meaningful and therefore can be understood by other users of that language. A language is generative, which means that the symbols of a language can be combined to produce an infinite number of messages. A language has rules that govern how symbols can be arranged. These rules allow people to understand messages in that language even if they have never encountered those messages before.

A theoretical intervention about the process which leads to the understanding of an utterance in communication should involve two aspects. Firstly, the aspects of language linked to the recognition of the form of the utterance itself (phonology, morphology, and syntax); secondly, questions about how the meaning of what is understood can be defined, which are linked to semantics and pragmatics of the communication process. These two aspects cannot be separated, and in order to analyse the process of language, both are to be taken into consideration. Thus, to understand the language processes, it is fundamental to understand the basic structure of language first. As should be evident by now, language can be divided into three basic parts, each with its own structure and rules: phonology, syntax (grammar), and semantics. The first of these, phonology, concerns the rules for pronunciation of speech sounds. The second aspect of language, syntax, deals with the way words combine to form sentences. And semantics focuses on the meaning of words and sentences.

Basic Units of Language: Phonemes and Morphemes

All languages are made of basic sounds called phonemes. Adult human beings can produce approximately 100 phonemes, and the English language is made up of about 45 phonemes. Languages vary in the number of phonemes, ranging from as few as 15 to as many as 85. One reason why it is difficult for many Americans to learn foreign languages is that different phonemes are used. For instance, Germanic and Slavic languages contain phonemes never used in the English language. (Phonemes and morphemes have already been defined in the previous chapter).

Higher Levels of Linguistic Analysis

1) The study of speech sounds which make up a language is called phonology, and the study of how these sounds combine to produce morphemes is called morphology. However, psychologists are frequently interested in a more global analysis of language than is provided by phonology and morphology. Psychological investigations of language typically adopt words, phrases, sentences, or prose, rather than more elementary speech sounds, as the most fundamental unit of analysis. There are several levels at which these higher-order analyses can be made. 1) First, one could analyse the lexical content of a sentence or of some other unit of language production. When a lexical analysis is performed, the question is simply, what words are used, and how many times they are used in this sample of language? Information gained from lexical analysis of language, such as that by Thorndike and Lorge, has proved to be very useful in predicting the ease with which different words can be learned in laboratory situations.

2) At another level of linguistic analysis, the syntactic content of language text may be investigated. In the study of syntax, interest is focused on the arrangement or ordering of words to form phrases and sentences. The question asked in this type of analysis is, how is this phase (or sentence) structured? Psychologists and linguists interested in syntactic theory have attempted to specify rules that account for the productivity of language (Chomsky, 1985). The set of rules indicating how the elements of the language may be combined to make intelligible sentences is referred to as a grammar. Although a large number of different grammars have been proposed, there is little agreement about the necessary features of an adequate grammar.

3) Another level of analysis of language is the one that considers the semantic content or meaning of passage. This perspective on language results in the asking of questions such as the following: What does the passage communicate? What is the meaning of this particular sentence? Word meaning is a function of the interaction between word features and the extent to which they match those belonging to certain prototypical and nonprototypical contexts (Lakoff, 1987). Here, both feature theory and prototype theory are seen as important.

Phase Structure of Sentences

In order to understand language in an adult, it is necessary to examine the structure of sentences. At one level of analysis, a sentence can be regarded simply as a string of phonemes. At another level, a sentence can be regarded as series of morphemes, which are grouping of phonemes. From this viewpoint, however, the sentence is viewed as a string of words. Linguists have found it more useful to describe a sentence in terms of phrases, which are grouping of words. Analysis of a sentence into its various phrases describes the phrase structure of a sentence. A sentence is viewed as composed of two basic phrases, a noun phrase and a verb phrase, which in turn are composed of subcomponents.


Language serves many functions, which are all related to the fundamental process of communication. Perhaps most important is that language conveys meaning and is part of almost all kinds of social interaction. Language conveys intentions, motives, feelings, and beliefs. Language is used to issue requests and commands; and is also used to teach and to convey information. Language is useful because it can represent ideas and events that are not tied to present. You can also describe abstract ideas, such as beauty and justice, as well as concrete objects of everyday experience. The structure and functions of language  Thus, language is symbolic, in that speech sounds and utterances stand for or represent various objects, ideas, and events. Regardless of whether we are considering spoken language, written language, or sign language, there are three elements of language expression and human communication that have been identified as operating in the speaker-listener situation: speech acts, propositional content, and thematic structure. A brief description from the analysis by Clark & Clark (1977) is as follows:

i) Speech Acts: Speakers normally intend to have some influence on their listeners. To do so, speakers get the listeners to recognise the speakers’ intentions. Indeed, failure to recognise these intentions can result in awkward situations. Speech-act theory holds that all utterances can be classified as to the type of speech act they represent. For example, speech acts may make assertions, make verbal commitments, convey thanks, give a warning, or issue a command. Typical examples of speech acts including the following: “I insist that you turn down the volume on the stereo” (a command); “What are your plans for weekend?” (a question); “I promise to pay you tomorrow” (a verbal commitment), symbolise ordering, questioning, committing etc, which are common direct speech acts.

ii) Propositional Content: The second element of communication concerns the propositional content of a sentence. In communication, speakers want to convey certain ideas, and to do this, they must be sure that they are understood. Thus, the content around a speech act is very important. As a general rule, the propositional content of a sentence is used to describe certain states or events; it can be part of other propositions. For example, the sentence “The bright student received an A in Mathematics” expresses two separate propositions: “the student is bright” and “the student received an A in Mathematics.” Combined into a single sentence, the propositions convey what the speaker intends to convey. There is experimental evidence that we represent as propositions. For example, the more propositions contained in a sentence, the longer the time required to read the sentence (van Dijk & Kintsch, 1983)(discussed in detail in last section).

iii) Thematic Structure: The third component in communication is thematic structure. To communicate effectively, good speakers pay careful attention to their listeners. Good speakers have to judge what listeners do and do know, keep track of where they are leading their listeners, and regularly examine any assumptions about the listeners’ knowledge of the topic being discussed. In short, the speaker must be able to make reasonably accurate judgments of the listener’s current level of understanding. All of these features are present in good teachers, entertaining and effective storytellers, and interesting conversationalists. The structure and functions of language


Other Important Questions

1) Note the various experimental tasks that have been used to study language comprehension. Have you run into any of them before in this course?

2) It is intuitively obvious that context facilitates word interpretation, but how can it interfere with interpretation?

3) What is the role of context and expectations in the interpretation of speech? How has the influence of context been studied experimentally?

4) What are several major features of language development?

5) Compare and contrast the role of speech perception, syntax and semantics in the development and understanding of language.

6) What are the different processes involved in language comprehension?

7) The exposition of Kintsch’s model is necessarily abstract and therefore difficult to comprehend. Preserve in your reinstated searches! See if you can use it to deal with a new example of text selected from another course.

8) What factors are included in Kintsch’s model? How does the reader enter into this model?

9) Give an example of a humorous violation of one of Grice’s four maxims of successful conversation.

10) Describe the various processes involved in multilingualism?

11) Why study of multilingualism is important for cognitive psychologists?

12) What can multilingualism tell us about language structures and processes?

13) What are the advantages of being bilingual? Can you think of any disadvantages?

14) Give a detailed account of language acquisition of a second language.

15) Suppose you are an instructor of English as a second language. What kinds of things will you want to know about your students to determine how much to emphasise phonology, vocabulary, syntax, or pragmatics in your instruction?

16) Compare and contrast the speech errors made by individuals in different speech disorders.

17) Based on the discussion of language disorders in this chapter, make a worksheet of different kinds of language disorders and their symptoms and causes.

18) What do brain disorders like Broca’s and Wernicke’s aphasias tell us about how a healthy brain processes phonological, syntactic and semantic information?


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June 2019 Question Paper

Time : 2 Hours

Maxima, s ltitsties : 50

Note : All Sections are compulsom


Note : Answer any two of the folio wing-questions in about 450 words each.

1. Define problem solving. Differentiate between well-defined and ill-defined problems.

2. What is creativity ? Discuss the investment and confluence theory of creativity.

3. Analyze Sternberg's triarchic theory of intelligence. Critically evaluate triarchic theory of intelligence.

4. What is problem-solving ? Critically discuss the role of artificial intelligence in problem-solving.


Note : Ansther any four of the following questions in about 250 words each.

5. Explain Kintsch's model of comprehension.

6. What is information processing ? Describe Bloom's taxonomy of cognitive domain.

7. Explain the information processing approach to learning and memory.

8. Discuss the meaning and aspects of creativity.

9. Describe problem-solving behaviour. Explain the role of mental set and functional fixedness in problem-solving.


Note : Write short notes on any two of the followingIn about 100 words each.

10. Additive vs. Substractive bilingualism.

11. Role ofhippocampus in memory.

12. Hebbian learning.