Some topics of scientific study are sufficiently esoteric that they elude public attention. Intelligence is not such a topic. Hardly a week goes by without some discussion in the media of the nature of intelligence, its source, its measurement, its uses. Nor are these discussions removed from the arena of policy. Consider the following two examples.
In the summer of 1988 the British newspaper the Observer ran an article under the title "Hunt is on to find the country's superkids: Controversy flares over new intelligence tests and the professor's intelligence measuring hat." The article describes new efforts to locate the brightest children in England—the ones with the highest intelligence— so that they can receive the most appropriate education.In years gone by, such children would be identified through administration of a standard intelligence test. Now, however, according to the article, such an exercise may no longer be necessary. Thanks to work of researchers like Hans Eysenck, England's most prominent psychologist, it is possible to place an electronic hat upon a person's head, activate various electrodes, measure brain wave patterns, and in that way determine "who is the smartest of us all." Some scholars even believe that such a determination can be made at birth or soon thereafter; thus the "streaming" at premium in an advanced industrial society need not wait until a child can talk, read, or grasp a number two pencil.