Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count [NOOK Book]

Overview

“[Nisbett] weighs in forcefully and articulately . . . [using] a thoroughly appealing style to engage . . . throughout.”—Publishers Weekly


Who are smarter, Asians or Westerners? Are there genetic explanations for group differences in test scores? From the damning research of The Bell Curve to the more recent controversy surrounding geneticist James Watson’s statements, one factor has been consistently left out of the equation: culture. In the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould’s ...
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Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count

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Overview

“[Nisbett] weighs in forcefully and articulately . . . [using] a thoroughly appealing style to engage . . . throughout.”—Publishers Weekly


Who are smarter, Asians or Westerners? Are there genetic explanations for group differences in test scores? From the damning research of The Bell Curve to the more recent controversy surrounding geneticist James Watson’s statements, one factor has been consistently left out of the equation: culture. In the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man, world-class social psychologist Richard E. Nisbett takes on the idea of intelligence as biologically determined and impervious to culture with vast implications for the role of education as it relates to social and economic development. Intelligence and How to Get It asserts that intellect is not primarily genetic but is principally determined by societal influences.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
That genetics determines intelligence has become a mantra for millions of Americans. Social psychologist Richard E. Nisbett, however, refuses to accept what he regards as a simplistic explanation for a much more complex reality. In Intelligence and How to Get It, he shows how narrow genetic explanations ignore the dominant shaping forces of culture, economics, and education. His refutation of arguments that intellect is essentially an accident of birth will provide encouragement for educators, parents, and citizens dedicated to social reform.
Jim Holt
In Intelligence and How to Get It, [Nisbett] offers a meticulous and eye-opening critique of hereditarianism. True to its self-helplike title, the book does contain a few tips on how to boost your child's I.Q.…But its real value lies in Nisbett's forceful marshaling of the evidence, much of it recent, favoring what he calls "the new environmentalism," which stresses the importance of nonhereditary factors in determining I.Q. So fascinating is this evidence—drawn from neuroscience and genetics, as well as from studies of educational interventions and parenting styles—that the author's slightly academic prose style can be forgiven.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Whether intelligence is largely determined by genetics or environment has long been hotly contested. Nisbett, a University of Michigan psychology professor, weighs in forcefully and articulately, claiming that environmental conditions almost completely overwhelm the impact of genes. He comes to this conclusion through a careful statistical analysis of a large number of studies and also demonstrates how environment can influence not only IQ measures but actual achievement of both students and adults. (People often "overachieve" when appropriate incentives are in place, Nisbett argues.) Nisbett builds a very strong case that measured IQ differences across racial, cultural and socioeconomic boundaries can easily be explained without resorting to hereditary factors. The result is a very positive message: schools, parents and government programs can have a huge impact if they take the right, which are not necessarily the most expensive, steps. Without those steps, he says, the current role of socioeconomic factors is frightening, with economically disadvantaged children largely condemned to failure. Although Nisbett relies heavily on statistics to document his claims, he does so in a manner accessible to general readers and uses a thoroughly appealing style to engage them throughout. (Feb.)

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Chronicle Review
“Nisbett argues that a variety of social, cultural, and economic factors can significantly affect a child’s IQ, and suggests ways to improve intelligence scores, as well as grades, by manipulating those factors.”
Daniel Osherson
“A hugely important analysis of the determinants of IQ. . . . A ‘must-read.’”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393071412
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/8/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 678,656
  • File size: 641 KB

Meet the Author

Richard E. Nisbett is Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan and Research Professor at Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. He has taught courses in social psychology, cultural psychology, cognitive psychology, and evolutionary psychology. His research focuses on how people from different cultures think, perceive, feel, and act in different ways. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association and the William James Fellow Award of the American Psychological Society and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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Table of Contents

1 Varieties of Intelligence 1

2 Heritability and Mutability 21

3 Getting Smarter 39

4 Improving the Schools 57

5 Social Class and Cognitive Culture 78

6 IQ in Black and White 93

7 Mind the Gap 119

8 Advantage Asia? 153

9 People of the Book 171

10 Raising Your Child's Intelligence ... and Your Own 182

Epilogue: What We Now Know about Intelligence and Academic Achievement 193

App. A Informal Definitions of Statistical Terms 201

App. B The Case for a Purely Environmental Basis for Black/White Differences in IQ 209

Notes 237

References 257

Credits 283

Index 285

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