Tuesday, May 17, 2005


I have just finished reading ‘Intelligence A Very Short Introduction’ by Ian J. Deary. It’s a fab little book, which can be slipped easily in your back pocket and with pleasantly short chapters. It’s written in a lay style meaning it’s also very accessible. Deary covers what kinds of intelligence there are, the effects of ageing on intelligence, how intelligence works, the effects of genes and environment on intelligence, if intelligence testing matters at job selection, if intelligence is rising in each successive generation and lastly what exactly the research community believes is true (which doesn’t seem to be all that much!). The chapter on the old chestnut of nature versus nurture is possibly the best in the book. In the previous chapters Deary has demonstrated that intelligence withstands any of the battery of tests that can be used to measure it and generally if you’re bright you are across the board. He uses twin studies to demonstrate that intelligence is highly correlated to that of your parents and identical twins separated at birth will have very similar IQ scores. More fascinating is that adopted children have scores that correlate with their biological mother more highly, even though they had no contact, than their adoptive mother. So the old assumption that family environment makes a big difference is quite astray. All-in-all a brilliant introduction. Its number 39 in a series of very short introductions published by Oxford University Press, I hope that the others are as good!

1 comment:

laughing magpie said...

George doesn't agree - you'll have to ask him why.

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