Intelligence Controversies

Researchers in the field of human intelligence have encountered a considerable amount of public concern and criticism - much more than many scientists would be accustomed to or comfortable with.

Some of the controversial topics include:

The relevance of psychometric intelligence to the common-sense understanding of the topic.

The importance of intelligence in everyday life (see IQ).

The genetic and environmental contributions to individual variation in intelligence (see Nature versus nurture).

Differences in average measured intelligence between different groups and the source and meaning of these differences (see Race and intelligence and Sex and intelligence).

The implications of the dramatic increase in test scores over time (scores have been increasing at about 1 Standard Deviation per generation).

Stephen Jay Gould was an important popular critic of intelligence theory. In his book The Mis-measure of Man, Gould made the following claims about intelligence:

Intelligence is not measurable.

Intelligence is not innate.

Intelligence is only partly heritable, and what is inherited is mutable.

Intelligence cannot be captured in a single number.

However it is reported that he has largely ignored at least a decade of important recent research and draws from outdated information to validate his conclusions. Some of Gould's criticisms are aimed at Arthur Jensen. Jensen alleges Gould made several misrepresentations of his work.