Thinking about intelligence

Adrian Furnham looks at research on lay theories of intelligence and sex differences in estimated intelligence.
Few topics in psychology engender as much popular attention and conjecture as intelligence and intelligence testing. Academics have lost their jobs and their reputations for holding unpopular views on the topic, and related issues are seldom out of the media. Indeed, 50 of the world’s experts were led to write to the Wall Street Journal (15 December 1994) in reaction to Herrnstein and Murray’s The Bell Curve (1994). They covered topics such as the meaning and measurement of intelligence, group differences, practical importance of IQ tests, and the source and stability of within-group and between-groups differences. In the Wall Street Journal the 50 experts unanimously and unequivocally stated that intelligence tests are not culturally biased and that there are indeed race differences in scores. They maintained that intelligence is of great practical and social importance, and that genetics plays a bigger role than does environment in creating IQ differences among individuals.

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