Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm

By Anthony Walsh | Go to book overview

factors. Indeed, as indicated in Chapter 3, it is quite probable that many "environmental" measures themselves, such as SES, level of nurturing, number of books in the home, and so forth, are mediated by genetics ( Plomin & Bergeman, 1991). Individual and group differences in IQ have such far- reaching social, political, educational, and economic consequences that one wonders why so many sociologists seem to want to ignore them. Surely the time has come for us to acknowledge the role of intelligence--the "master" human trait--in so many of the problems studied by sociologists.

The importance of fluid intelligence in modern society is beyond doubt, but we should not discount the value of crystallized intelligence. Success in modern society requires motivation, inspiration, perspiration, and mastery of a body of acquired (crystallized) knowledge as well as fluid intelligence. Neuroscience tells us that routinely stretching our minds develops new synapses and neural networks and channels to increase the efficiency of information processing. Nobel Prize-winning geneticist John Watson, for instance, revealed on a 1974 CBS television program called "The IQ Myth," that his measured IQ was 110, which is on the border between "average" and "bright average." A distribution of 146 science faculty members of prestigious Cambridge University revealed almost as many members with IQs in the "bright- average" range as in the "superior" range ( Eysenck & Kamin, 1981:31).

Thus, "genius," whatever it is, requires more than fluid intelligence. In addition to the g factor, perhaps we should also be looking at what Itzkoff ( 1987:161) calls the P (for "postponement") factor, which he describes as "the ability to concentrate, focus, plan, persevere, and above all to postpone the momentary gratifications with which life tempts us, all for the sake of the long-term goal." Itzkoff 's P is probably just as necessary as Spearman's g for the achievment of success in an open society (although I suspect that if P is ever properly defined and adequately measured, it will be rather strongly positively correlated with g). Clearly, "success" in modern society relies on more than IQ alone; and we should do what we can to assure all get an equal shot at it via social policies that take into account, not hide from, the fact of individual and group differences in IQ. 8 What these policies might be is beyond the scope of this work (see Zigier & Seitz [ 1986]); my present concern is only that sociologists become more conversant with the "other side" of the learning equation that has been so sadly neglected.


NOTES
1.
The IQs of Nazi war criminals tested by the Allies before going to trial remind us not to confuse intelligence with worth. Herman Göring, Franz von Papen, and Albert Speer all tested at or above the ninety-seventh percentile, with scores of 138, 134, and 128, respectively. Richard Nixon, not exactly the most revered of American presidents, scored 143 on his high school IQ test; John Kennedy, who bested Nixon in the 1960 campaign debate, tested at 119 ( Seligman, 1992:34).

-117-

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Biosociology: An Emerging Paradigm
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Note xv
  • Chapter 1 the Case for Biosociology 1
  • Notes 16
  • Chapter 2 Genetics and Human Behavior 19
  • Notes 41
  • Chapter 3 the Brain and Its Environment 43
  • Notes 66
  • Chapter 4 Emotion and the Autonomic and Endocrine Systems 69
  • Notes 90
  • Chapter 5 Intelligence and Society 93
  • Notes 117
  • Notes 120
  • Chapter 6 Sexual Dimorphism and Sex-Role Behavior 121
  • Notes 142
  • Notes 144
  • Chapter 7 Human Sexuality and Evolution 145
  • Notes 170
  • Chapter 8 the Nature and Nurture of Criminality 173
  • Notes 197
  • Chapter 9 Love, Marriage, and the Family 201
  • Notes 224
  • References 227
  • Name Index 259
  • Subject Index 269
  • About the Author 273
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