Wheat/Chaff of Intelligence

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Two exquisite critiques on "pop intelligence" theories have recently been written.

1. In the August issue of Intelligence, L. Gottfredson and N. Brody do a masterful job dissecting R. Sternberg’s Tri-archic/Practical Intelligence theory.

2. In the Arthur Jensen festschrift, G.V. Barrett et al. have a great chapter entitled New concepts of intelligence: Their practical and legal implications for employee selection that spells out the minimal criteria for a scientific theory to stand in court, and most of the en vogue ones (e.g., emotional IQ) don’t come close to the minimum.

As it stands today, I have yet to see a better, more researched and supported theory (and I use the term loosely, here) than J. B. Carroll’s 3-strata one. It would be nice if it received even 1/2 of the attention of its "pop" counterparts. Case in point, 6 months ago the American Psychological Association’s newsletter, Monitor, did a piece on intelligence and the only mention of g came from Robert Plomin in a passing comment.

The reason this is important is because in the "real world" it is the parents/educational administrators who ingest this unadulterated pop-rubbish and it is inexplicably hard to explain to them the cogency of intelligence (g) when they are lead to believe that either there are multiple ways one can be intelligent, or that effort can easily overcome any inherent intellectual problems.

Anyway…three cheers for Gottfredson, Brody, Barret, and the others who let data speak over popular notions.

2 Comments

  1. It would be interesting if you could briefly outline some of these points. That’s lots of info you pointed us to, and it seems your area. I have no idea what JB Carroll’s 3-strata theory.

  2. Good point. I wrote such a piece for a student newsletter I used to edit.

    http://www.saspweb.org/newsletter/SASP-Spr2003.pdf

    Starts on p. 11

    Alex

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