Sense and Nonsense about IQ: The Case for Uniqueness

Sense and Nonsense about IQ: The Case for Uniqueness

Sense and Nonsense about IQ: The Case for Uniqueness

Sense and Nonsense about IQ: The Case for Uniqueness


This fascinating and potentially controversial book is a wide-ranging exploration of the essential issues relevant to IQ. Locurto examines data on the effectiveness of preschools; the impacts of adoption, heredity, and the role of environment; he evaluates the possibility of enhancing IQ in the early years; and he describes and analyzes the major cases relevant to IQ research. The balanced nature of the work, neither identifying with those who follow the extremes of hereditarianism or of environmentalism, ensures that Locurto's volume will be a most valuable resource.


My own interest in iq and intelligence testing began with a graduate school course on individual differences. It is a course that seldom is taught today in graduate programs, and the training of psychologists is much the worse for that omission. I say that because, arguably, no other area of psychology illuminates the complexities of human nature and the futility of adopting extreme positions regarding the origins of human nature as does the study of individual differences.

Ironically, the study of individual differences in intelligence has long been the birthplace, as well as the final resting place, for some of the most extreme, single-minded views about human nature that psychologists hold. the question of how various sorts of extreme thinking were able to set down such strong roots in this area has long been of interest to me, and detailing that history forms Part I of this book. the setting down of roots, admittedly fascinating in its own right, is, however, far less important than the ideas spawned by the extreme positions themselves. Part ii is devoted to those ideas and to their validity.

There are two forms of extremism to be examined, hereditarianism and environmentalism. Both positions are well known and both are buttressed by longstanding beliefs. Hereditarians, at least the most ardent among them, have historically embraced the idea of the immutability of human nature, cloaked behind the formidable truths of evolution and genetics. Environmentalists, who have more recently dominated the debate, have flirted with a far more provocative idea that has an equally heralded history, one that will be referred to as the Pygmalion myth.

It will here be argued that the extremes, whether the modern embodiment of the Pygmalion myth or one that derives from evolution and genetics, are, in fairly equal measure, incorrect. in the case of the hereditarians this argument is not at all surprising, for documenting their apparent shortcomings has become nothing less than an intellectual cottage industry over the past two decades. It will perhaps be far more surprising to find that the shortcomings of the environmentalists are themselves rather striking. the environmentalists' shortcomings, it also will be argued, derive directly from their reliance on the modern . . .

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