Throughout emerged through this process, two theories

Throughout time
scientists and researchers have attempted to define and measure the construct
of intelligence. While many theories have emerged through this process, two
theories provide distinct concepts that influence the practice of
psychoeducational assessment. The Cattell-Horn-Carroll and Luria-PASS theories
provide a modern perspective into the practice of measuring the cognitive
abilities of populations and the effects of this information.

Cattell-Horn-Carroll Model of Intelligence

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Raymond B. Cattell’s
research on intelligence utilized factor analysis techniques. Through cognitive testing, this framework identifies broad ability
and narrow ability factors of differences within individuals. (Jewsbury,
Bowden, & Duff, 2016). Cattell’s beliefs regarding intelligence began to
shift the notions that existed before him. He questioned the idea of a single g,
or general intelligence. He made the claim that intelligence is a developmental
process, and desired to identify the ways in which abilities transform over our

John Horn, the “H” in
CHC theory, provided major contributions to Cattell’s beliefs regarding
intelligence. Horn studied with Cattell and suggested that there were two
primary mental abilities in addition to Cattell’s Gf (fluid reasoning) and Gc.

These abilities were general visualization (Gv) and general speediness (Gc)
(Ortiz, 2014). In addition, both Cattell and Horn proposed two different kinds
of intelligence. The first, fluid intelligence, is our ability to adapt to novel
situations. It is fairly dependent on our physiological structures in our
brains, and also relates to problem solving (Sattler, 2008). Crystallized
intelligence is our knowledge and abilities we have acquired over time. This
particular type of intelligence is ultimately influenced by the culture we live
in, and our abilities and knowledge are developmentally shaped by that culture
(Sattler, 2008).

In 1993, John Carroll
published a book called Human Cognitive Abilities: A Survey of Factor
Analytic Studies. Carroll intended to elaborate on existing theories of
intelligence and add further clarification of the identification and range of
the cognitive abilities already discovered (Ortiz, 2014). Carroll intentionally
created a stratum for the g-factor, suggesting it was a significant facet of
his model. Carroll’s three-stratum model was eventually combined with the
Cattell-Horn model in part by Kevin McGrew, who was attempting to integrate the
two theories in an effort to have intelligence theory brought into the practice
of intellectual assessment (Ortiz, 2014).

With the combination of
Cattell, Horn and Carroll’s theories, the practice of intellectual assessment was
greatly enhanced through clearly established factors, and the development of
tests that can measure those factors. This established a common language among
practitioners and researchers in psychometric assessment. The goal of connecting
these three great theories into one was not to perfect it as the upmost
doctrine on intelligence. Instead, the purpose was in creating a foundational
set of concepts that could be refined and adapted as more is discovered about
human cognition (Schneider & McGrew, 2012).

Many recent or revised
cognitive assessment tests are influenced or created using CHC theory. The
Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities (WJ-III) was the first
cognitive test based on CHC theory. The second edition of the DAS-II describes
in its manual its consistency with the theory. It even includes a table with
the narrow and broad CHC abilities which correlate to each DASS-II subtest
(Keith & Reynolds, 2010).

 The Stanford-Binet has changed considerably
over time, and it most recent version (Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales,
Fifth Edition) is based significantly on CHC theory. While the Wechsler scales
are not distinctly based on CHC theory, the scales have become increasingly
linked with CHC theory over time. In the WISC-IV, researchers found that,
“Arithmetic is primarily an excellent measure of g” (Keith &
Reynolds, p. 641). This extensive list of assessments created with or
influenced by CHC theory demonstrates the reliability and validity of the
theory and its foundational impact of psychological and educational testing.

Luria’s Theory of
Neurological Functioning


Luria was a Russian neuropsychologist in the 1960-70’s. He studied the brain
and its structures in an effort to better understand their unique functions.

Luria believed that our cognition as humans existed within three cooperating
functional units. The first unit is located in the brainstem, the diencephalon,
and the medial regions of the cortex. This unit monitors arousal and attention,
both directive and selective. The ability to hone in on the single stimulus is
dependent on the first unit (Naglieri, Das, & Goldstein, 2012).

second unit exists within the occipital, parietal, and temporal lobes.

Receiving, processing, and retaining information is its primary focus. The unit
also allows simultaneous processing, in which we identify stimuli and sort them
into groups of likeness and coherency. (Naglieri et al., 2012). The third unit
exists in the prefrontal areas within the frontal lobes of the brain. Within
this unit is the ability to plan, regulate, and adapt behavior. This unit
contains our most complex functions and behaviors as humans (Naglieri et al,

units are composed of four psychological processes. Optimal functioning often
includes the four processes in cooperation with one another, but not every task
in which we engage demands all four of these processes. Luria’s theory
identifies the brain as a complex functional system, with each unit working
alongside its counterparts. Luria stressed that our cultural experiences
largely shape the function of our brain circuits (Naglieri et al, 2012). Our
abilities within language, behaviors, and organized thoughts are developed as a
result of our cultural environment. Together, these units create the concept of
executive functioning. Executive functioning is our ability to achieve goals
through intentional behavior. This cognitive process incorporates novel stimuli
and requires the integration of self-monitoring, selective attention, and
memory to solve problems (Naglieri et al, 2012).

theory is the foundation of the PASS (Planning, Attention, Simultaneous,
Successive) theory. Planning is the cognitive function of completing tasks,
setting goals, and creating strategies. Attention is the capacity to focus on
stimuli and ignore opposing stimuli for the duration of a task. Simultaneous
processing is the ability to understand information holistically and spatially.

Successive processing is the capacity to sequence information in chain-like or
other patterns (Sattler, 2008). An individual must utilize the concepts they
know and understand to demonstrate the cognitive abilities identified through

Researchers Jack A. Naglieri and
J.P. Das used Luria’s theories to create an intelligence theory rooted in
research and a tool that could conceive that theory into practice. Using
Luria’s three units, they discovered ways to measure PASS processes. Together
these men created the Cognitive Assessment System (CAS). In regard to the CAS,
Naglieri stated, “This test of intelligence was explicitly developed to
operationalize the PASS theory and therefore is unique among IQ tests”
(Naglieri, p. 1069). A study conducted in 2004 by Naglieri and colleagues used
the CAS to assess children with reading and attention difficulties through the
lens of the PASS theory. This study suggested that the PASS theory components
of planning and successive processes as measured by the CAS have the ability to
identify cognitive issues with attention and reading. The researchers concluded
that the detection of one of these cognitive deficits through the CAS can aid
in efficient diagnosis and subsequent intervention action (Naglieri, Salter,
& Edwards, 2004).

While the CAS certainly
measures PASS abilities, research has shown that the measured constructs are
also consistent with CHC theory. Researchers reported that the CAS Planning and
Attention scales measure similar constructs under Gs, which measures
perceptual speed and the rate of test taking. There were similarities among the
CAS Simultaneous processing scale and Gv and Gf, and the Successive
Processing scale with memory span, which is a narrow Gsm ability. (Keith
& Reynolds, 2017)

Additional tests have been
developed using Luria’s theoretical concepts. The Kaufman Assessment Battery
for Children (KABC), was initially designed through the Luria-Das theory of
cognitive processing to measure simultaneous and sequential mental processing
(Keith & Reynolds, 2017). The KABC-II also specifically measures these
cognitive processes through a Luria theoretical standpoint.

Interestingly, the KABC can
also be understood from a CHC theoretical perspective as well. Researchers
Keith and Reynolds found that, “From a CHC perspective the KABC-II measures Gc,
Gv (equivalent to Simultaneous), Gf (Planning), Glr (Learning),
and Gsm (Sequential)” (p. 640). This finding addresses the similarities
within the theories and the constructs they measure.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Models

Cattell-Horn-Carroll. A strength of the CHC model is that
its constructs are shared across test batteries. Researchers compared the Wechsler
Intelligence Scale for Children-III, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for
Children-IV, Kauffman Assessment Battery for Children-II, Woodcock-Johnson III,
and Peabody Individual Achievement Test-Revised in a cross-battery study. The
researchers discovered that all but one of the 39 subtests loaded on the CHC
factor. In addition, they found that the CHC factors did indeed generalize
across each battery (Jewsbury et al.,

Jewsbury et al. (2017) found that, “the CHC construct validity was supported
across a range of clinically relevant populations, including patients referred
for neuropsychological evaluation, community, elderly, and at-risk for
Alzheimer’s disease populations” (Jewsbury et al, p.557, 2017). This study
reiterates the value that CHC theory brings to psychometric assessment in use
with a multitude of populations. Interestingly, a weakness of the CHC model is
that it does not explicitly describe executive functioning. Executive functioning
is difficult to define, and few studies have attempted to relate executive
functioning to the cognitive constructs seen in the CHC model (Jewsbury et al, 2017).

assessments created with CHC theory are highly verbal. This is because these
assessments are often very Gc loaded,
meaning they are assessing verbal comprehension. This results in assessments
that may lead to insignificant score for a low verbal child with Autism or for an
English Language Learner. (Kan, Kievit, & Dolan, 2011).

Luria and PASS Theory.

The PASS theory was intended to be
applicable and utilized as a tool. Research has demonstrated through the use of
the CAS that its findings can produce helpful information in creating
interventions and strategies for various populations. In studies of children
with dyslexia ADHD/traumatic brain injury, and intellectual disabilities,
Naglieri (2012) suggests that the PASS theory and CAS are effective in
detecting cognitive deficits in these populations and in providing strategies
for intervention (Naglieri, 2012). The applicable nature of the theory provides
a framework through which professionals can aid students with disabilities in
identifying their areas of deficiency and creating supports toward positive

There are numerous academic
interventions that are founded in PASS theory as the interpretive framework. A
strength of this model is its ability to lend itself toward growth in
intervention development and instructional guidance. These interventions often
use the inductive method and discovery based learning as opposed to direct
instruction. An example of these interventions is the PASS Reading Enhancement
Program (PREP) and Cognition Enhancement Training (COGENT), which were both developed
by Das (Naglieri et al, 2012). In addition, assessments created with PASS
theory in mind tend to be less verbally loaded than those with CHC theory (Kan
et al., 2011). This allows certain populations access to assessments that may
better measure their abilities.

A weakness of the PASS
framework and CAS is that it is often used in conjunction with other
assessments which often are heavily CHC influenced (Keith & Reynolds,
2017). While the PASS Theory presents a solid theory of intelligence, the
empirical support behind the CHC model is significantly greater.


            This paper addresses two independent
intelligence theories and their subsequent influences on psychological
assessment. Luria’s neuropsychological concepts as seen through the PASS theory
uses a process-based approach to identify the way our psychological processes
affect cognitive functioning. Is derived from neuropsychological, theoretical
concepts of four distinct and interconnected abilities that provide a modern
model to approaching both testing and practice. The CHC model combines the
theoretical concepts of Cattell, Horn, and Carroll to provide a comprehensive
list of cognitive abilities. The CHC model’s capacity to generalize to other
test batteries strengthens its use in test development and interpretation. Even
with consideration of both theories, the CHC model remains the foremost
taxonomy of cognitive abilities and provides the fundamental exemplar through
which we create and use cognitive assessments.