The G Factor: The Science of Mental Ability

By Arthur R. Jensen | Go to book overview

Chapter 6 Biological Correlates of g

The fact that psychometric g has many physical correlates proves that g is not just a methodological artifact of the content and formal characteristics of mental tests or of the mathematical properties of factor analysis, but is a biological phenomenon. The correlations of g with physical variables can be functional (causal), or genetically pleiotropic (two or more different phenotypic effects attributable to the same gene), or genetically correlated through cross-assortative mating on both traits, or the nongenetic result of both being affected by some environmental factor (e.g., nutrition). The physical characteristics correlated with g that are empirically best established are stature, head size, brain size, frequency of alpha brain waves, latency and amplitude of evoked brain potentials, rate of brain glucose metabolism, and general health.

The general factor of learning and problem-solving tasks in infrahuman animals has some properties similar to the g factor in humans, and experimental brain lesion studies suggest that a task's loading on the general factor is directly related to task complexity and to the number of neural processes involved in task performance.

It is clear that g, since it is a product of human evolution, is strongly enmeshed with many other organismic variables.

Hierarchical factor analysis has solved the taxonomic problem of dealing with the myriad mental abilities that have been observed and measured. The factors discussed so far, however, concern variables entirely within the realm of conscious, intentional performance on psychometric tests, wherein g appears as a predominant and ubiquitous factor.

Is g a phenomenon that is entirely confined to the psychometric and behav-

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The G Factor: The Science of Mental Ability
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Chapter 2 - The Discovery of G 18
  • Notes 39
  • Chapter 3 - The Trouble with "Intelligence" 45
  • Notes 68
  • Chapter 4 - Models and Characteristics of G 95
  • Chapter 5 - Challenges to G 105
  • Notes 133
  • Chapter 6 - Biological Correlates of G 137
  • Notes 165
  • Chapter 7 - The Heritability of G 169
  • Notes 197
  • Chapter 8 - Information Processing and G 203
  • Notes 261
  • Chapter 9 - The Practical Validity of G 270
  • Notes 301
  • Chapter 10 - Construct, Vehicles, and Measurements 306
  • Notes 344
  • Chapter 11 - Population Differences in G 350
  • Notes 402
  • Chapter 12 - Population Differences in G: Causal Hypotheses 418
  • Notes 516
  • Chapter 13 - Sex Differences in G 531
  • Notes 542
  • Chapter 14 - The G Nexus 544
  • Notes 579
  • Appendix A - Spearman's "Law of Diminishing Returns" 585
  • Appendix B - Method of Correlated Vectors 589
  • Appendix C - Multivariate Analyses of a Nexus 593
  • References 597
  • Name Index 635
  • Subject Index 643
  • About the Author 649
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