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Thurston Group Factor Theory of Intelligence| Group factor theory of Intelligence

Thurston’s Group Factor Theory of Intelligence| Group factor theory of Intelligence

Thurston’s Group Factor Theory

Louis Thurston proceed out with the group factor theory (1937) saying that Intelligence is a cluster of abilities.

These mental operations then comprise a group.

A second group of mental operations has its own merging Primary factor; a third group has a third Primary factor and so on.

Each of them has its own primary factor.

Each of these primary factors is said to be corresponding independent of others.

He explained that there were Seven Primary Mental Abilities and later on added two more.

Seven Primary Mental Abilities 


  1. Verbal comprehension Factor 
  2. Verbal fluency Factor 
  3. Numerical Factor 
  4. Perceptual speed Factor 
  5. Inductive reasoning Factor 
  6. Spatial visualization Factor 
  7. Memory Factor 

Deductive Reasoning (P) 

Problem solving ability factor (PS)

Verbal comprehension Factor 

This factor requires a person’s ability to understand verbal material 

It is measured by tests such as vocabulary and reading comprehension. 

Verbal fluency Factor 

This ability is required in rapidly making words, sentences, and other verbal material. 


It is measured by tests such as one that involves the examinee to make as many words as possible beginning with a particular letter in a short amount of time.

Numerical Factor 

This ability is required in rapid arithmetic computation and in solving simple arithmetic word problems. 

Perceptual speed Factor 


This ability is required in proof reading and in rapid recognition or identification of letters and numbers.


It is measured by tests such as those involving the crossing out of As in a long string of letters or in tests involving recognition of which of several pictures at the right is similar to the picture at the left.

Inductive reasoning Factor 

This ability involves generalization—reasoning from the specific to the general 

It is measured by tests, such as letter series, number series, and word classifications, in which the examinee must suggest which of several words does not belong with the others.

Spatial visualization Factor

This ability is required in visualizing shapes, rotations of objects, and how pieces of a puzzle fit together. 

An example of a test would be the presentation Or giving of a geometric form followed by several other geometric forms.

Each of the forms that follows the first is either the same rotated by some rigid modification or the mirror image of the first form in rotation. 

The examinee has to suggest which of the forms at the right is a rotated version of the form at the left, rather than a mirror image.

Memory Factor 


It means the potential to recall and connect previously learned items successfully or memorize quickly.

Deductive Reasoning (P) – Potential to use the generalized results correctly 

Problem solving ability factor (PS) -   Potential to solve problem independently.

Educational Significance and Implications of Group factor theory

  • Promoted greatly to the measurement of attitudes. ‘Thurston scale’ developed in 1928 was the first formal techniques for measuring of attitudes. 
  • Thurston’s theory of intelligence was a major impact on later theories of multiple intelligences, such as those of Guilford, Gardner, and Sternberg.
  • Developed a relative judgment scaling technique-rank scale, can be used to rank all possible feelings related to an issue and to categorize people expressing an opinion based on the rank of that opinion 
  • If the person wants to perform any specific activity, one or more of these factors or abilities are involved. Some of them are more important than others.