The Role of Intelligence in Modern Society

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  1. rtwngAvngr
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    The Role of Intelligence in Modern Society

    Are social changes dividing us into intellectual haves and have-nots? The question pushed aside in the 1970s is back, and the issues are far from simple
    Earl Hunt

    This article originally appeared in the July-August 1995 issue of American Scientist.

    Last year, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray published The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. Although it had more graphs than a Ross Perot speech, The Bell Curve made its authors' names household words, sometimes accompanied by four-letter words. Herrnstein and Murray maintained that America is splitting into the intelligent, who will move and shake society, and the less intelligent, who will be moved and shaken. They thought that the split is inevitable, because our technological society requires intelligence to run it. Finally, they said that intelligence is largely hereditary, and that numerous government programs, especially Affirmative Action, are undesirable because they amount to discrimination against the capable.

    Such thoughts are not entirely politically correct. The first reactions to The Bell Curve were expressions of public outrage. In the second round of reaction, some commentators suggested that Herrnstein and Murray were merely bringing up facts that were well known to the scientific community, but perhaps best not discussed in public. A Papua New Guinea language has a term for this, Mokita. It means "truth that we all know but agree not to talk about."

    The uproar over The Bell Curve is remarkably similar to a debate in the early 1970s. The earlier debate began when Arthur Jensen (1969) wrote that the educational enrichment programs of the Great Society were inherently limited by the immutability of intelligence and when Herrnstein (1973) claimed that differences in intelligence are largely genetic. Counterattacks followed, and by the early 1980s widely read books and articles maintained that there is no such thing as general intelligence (Gardner 1983), or that if there is it is largely a statistical artifact of the way that tests are constructed (Gould 1983), and that even if IQ exists it has little to do with life outside of a few narrow academic settings (Ceci and Liker 1986). Some of these authors have recanted (Ceci and bruck 1994, pg. 79).

    A central question in the debate is whether or not mental competence is a single ability, applicable in many settings, or whether competence is produced by specialized abilities, which a person may or may not possess independently. Almost equally important is the question of how cognitive skill, as evaluated by IQ tests, translates into everyday performance. Popular presentations on both sides of these questions leave the impression that these questions have simple answers. They do not. My goal in this essay is to discuss different theories of how intelligence is related to performance in modern society. The plural was chosen intentionally, Although we know a good deal about individual differences in human cognition, there is no monolithic, agreed-upon, all-purpose theory to organize these facts, nor is there likely to be one. There are a number of different theories that are neither right nor wrong, but are useful for different purposes.


    read more

    http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/24538?fulltext=true
     
  2. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    and interesting chunk from page 8.


    I have just cited examples of programs that achieved success by one measure, which happens not to be IQ scores. Herrnstein and Murray cited different examples to buttress their conclusion that programs intended to enrich children's intellectual experiences, such as Head Start, have failed. This has serious policy implications, because enrichment programs are generally targeted toward children who, as a statistical group, have low IQ and are considered at risk for school failure. Saying that the programs have failed is a bit strong, because the programs certainly should not be judged solely by their effect on children's IQ scores, and perhaps not even solely upon children's school records. But by these measures it is clear that enrichment programs have not been nearly as successful as it was hoped that they would be when they were initiated in the 1960s and early 1970s.

    What measures are appropriate to judging such programs? In our society the labor market supplies the yardstick. Herrnstein and Murray maintained that changes in our society are increasing the value of intellectually demanding occupations, relative to the value placed on less intellectually demanding ones. For example, they would argue that in modern times the values to society of computer-system designers and bank-portfolio managers have increased relative to the values of bookkeepers and tellers. They are not the only ones to have made this observation. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich (1991) has described the ascendancy of the "symbol analyst," the person whose expertise is in dealing with abstract models of the world rather than dealing with it directly. The evidence for this trend is overwhelming, and all indications are that it will be accelerated by technological changes that are clearly on the horizon (Hunt 1995).

    The trend has implications for economic investment in education. During the 1960s and 1970s, and to a considerable extent today, special funds were made available to deal with the "at risk" student, where there was a greater expectation of educational failure. Much less was spent on funding for gifted students. Herrnstein and Murray argue that this is a poor investment policy, on the grounds that education produces a greater added value for society when applied to the top student than when applied to the bottom one. They also argue that because IQ is the driving force in workplace success, and because little can be done to change it, little can be done to change the situation at the bottom.

    Given the evidence for increasing economic value for highly educated, skilled workers, this is not unreasonable. A good case can be made for investing more in the development of high-level skill than we do now. The United States charges tuition to university students who, in other industrial countries, would receive stipends as part of an effort to improve national human resources. Two qualifications have to be added. One is that because of the nonlinearities between intelligence and performance, as documented above, it is not clear that the gains from the cultivation of high-level skills would be as great as The Bell Curve suggests. The other is that because SES is positively correlated with intelligence emphasizing the development of upper-level intellectual skills does tend to make the fortunate more fortunate. The economic advantages of the investment have to be weighed against our society's general disinclination to support the privileged.

    When it comes to programs to improve cognition generally, there is little room for argument.We need to increase competence at all levels because the increasing technological nature of our society has both increased the opportunities available to the capable and increased the penalties for not being able to keep up. Consumer credit is a good example; new banking technologies have provided the average citizen with an opportunity for leveraged investment that were previously open only to the wealthy. (This is what a credit card is!) Managing the opportunity requires a good bit of sophistication, so consumer debt is a problem. The cognitive skills needed to be a fully functional member of our society are clearly on the rise. Once again, intelligence is more closely linked to acquiring these skills than to exercising them once they are acquired. Therefore investments that improve the efficiency of training and education will have larger and larger payoffs as the technological sophistication required to function in society increases.

     
  3. Big D
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    You know IQ tests are meaningless right?
    It is because blacks and hispanics do so poorly on them. Do you know why?
    Well you see white people treated black and hispanic people so bad, that it made ALL blacks and hispanics stupid, all through out the world.

    Now, the only way to fix this is for whites to teach blacks and hispanics so they remember how to be smart again.
     
  4. KLSuddeth
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    You are such a piece of intestinal garbage, dicklicker.

    Who is going to teach YOU?

    Im a friggin genius and even I dont feel up to the task of making you a more learned member of society.

    Shut the fuck up.

    Dismissed.
     
  5. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    lol.
     
  6. Big D
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    I don't know if your a friggin genius, but I can tell you are friggin horny as ever. I bet you are just a little nasty bad girl.

    Do you like that baby huh, OOO yea I know you like it.
     
  7. KLSuddeth
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    KLSuddeth Guest

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    I see that youre showing off youre phone sex etiquette.

    'Men' like you have many things in common - they can only get it when they pay for it - whores, phone sex, etc
     
  8. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    Do us all a favor and just fuck-off and die.
     
  9. rtwngAvngr
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    An ironic end to a thread on intelligence? Yes. I believe so.
     
  10. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    ...Unfortunately, education doesn't seem to be a priority of our elected officials, at any level of government, and regardless of their political affiliation. The best they can seem to come up with is to push the memorize-regurgitate-forget regimen crucial to standardized tests and cutting funding to education on all levels.

    Until we start teaching our children to think and reason effectively and make higher education affordable to those who want it, America will continue its decline in the worlds intellectual and economic marketplace.
     

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