STUDY ALERT: Why teach intelligence?

September 24, 2013 in Study Alerts

Why teach intelligence? 

N.J. Mackintosh


IQ tests are one of psychology’s more visible and controversial products. For this reason alone, a student who has graduated with a degree in psychology ought to know enough about the subject to dispute some of the public’s misconceptions. Controversy breeds disagreement, and although intelligence researchers are agreed on some of the conclusions suggested by their research, they disagree strongly about others. One reason is that many see desirable or undesirable implications of such research, and their evaluation of the research is influenced by those perceived implications. Another is that the nature of intelligence research, where well-controlled experiment is usually not possible, and conclusions are based on mere correlations or the results of necessarily ill-controlled natural experiments, means that not all conclusions are unequivocally dictated by the evidence. For these reasons an advanced course on human intelligence can teach a student how to evaluate necessarily ambiguous evidence, without being swayed by his or her prior beliefs or wishes.

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