Mental Retardation: The Developmental-Difference Controversy

By Edward Zigler; David Balla | Go to book overview

13 MA, IQ, and the Developmental Difference Controversy*

Edward Zigler Yale University

Weir makes a number of points in the previous chapter that merit a reply. His first criticism is based more on how I used the particular word "control" than on any substantive disagreement between us concerning the meaning of MA and IQ. As should be clear from the total context of the paragraph cited by Weir, it may well be that in the MA-matched paradigm one takes into consideration the different rates of cognitive development (IQs) of the nonretarded and retarded persons. This procedure controls for known past differences in rate, and thus guarantees that, at the point in time at which the comparison is made, the two types of subjects are at the same cognitive level. The semantic confusion possible when one attempts to distinguish between rate and level of cognitive development is demonstrated in Weir's view that the IQ score, which is a measure of rate, is "a rough index of the amount of information accumulated in a given number of years of life." This is erroneous, because the amount of information at any point is a level phenomenon. How long it took to acquire that amount of information is a rate phenomenon.

In whatever way I used the word "control" and Wier the phrase "amount of information," we are in total agreement that the IQ is in some senses a rate measure, and MA is a level measure. However, I cannot agree that it is my failure to distinguish rate of development from level of development that leads to questionable predictions from my theory. As should become apparent in the remainder of my reply, developmental theorists such as myself may be wrong, but we are certainly not confused. Weir's major point hinges on one's conception

____________________
*
Portions of this article appeared in Science, 1967, 157, 578-579. Copyright 1967 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Reprinted by permission.

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