Handbook of Mental Deficiency: Psychological Theory and Research

By Norman R. Ellis | Go to book overview
tions necessary lead to other than a simple polygenic model. This next step in theorizing is necessary and must account for the dominance implied by the regression effect, for probable unequal gene frequencies, for other than an additive effect of genes, and for assortative mating. Stern ( 1960) reminded us that if a trait such as intelligence were controlled by the same genotype in all individuals, i.e., species specific, such as upright locomotion, all phenotypic variations would be caused by variations in the environment. By positing five systematic environmental factors acting additively, we should end up with the same model as the one above. There is little doubt that the normal frequency distribution of intelligence phenotypes is the resultant of both genetic and environmental variability.There is nothing sacred about the figure five used above, and the fact that five of the primary mental abilities account for almost all the variance of g should not be construed to imply an endorsement of congruence between psychological and genetic elements. We have already discussed the complexity of the path between traits and genes and the likelihood that any gene has multiple phenotypic effects, i.e., may be part of more than one polygenic system. Royce ( 1957) in an attempt to relate factor analysis to genetics presented an interesting model which did imply a congruence between the two elements. All evidence appears to support the idea that factor analysis does not automatically yield a genetic analysis ( Fuller & Thompson, 1960, p. 340).It is difficult to discuss the transmission of genes without raising in many readers' minds the possibility of control over mating with the hope of increasing the proportion of intelligent genotypes and of decreasing the proportion of genotypes leading to low intelligence. To those who would infer some general eugenic principles from what we have discussed in this chapter, we can only insist on the utmost of caution. The issues involved in eugenics are only partly based on a knowledge of genetics, the others being social, axiological, moral, economic, and political. We agree with Neel ( 1954) that the preservation and improvement of those genetic attributes of man that have resulted in his favored evolutionary position are important but that premature attempts to apply our fragmentary knowledge in any dogmatic fashion would be extremely complex. The reader interested in the genetic facts related to eugenics is urged to note the fallacy of labeling genes as harmful or deleterious rather than their effects ( Snyder, 1954); the implications for selection are enormous. Muller's ( 1961) eugenic suggestions are certainly provocative but should not be read independently of the comments of his peers. Dunn ( 1962), reviewing the crosscurrents in the history of human genetics, reminds us that all scientists face a dilemma because of their desire to advance sound knowledge and also to make it serve its essential social function. While increasing knowledge will not of itself resolve this dilemma, the resolution will certainly not come without it.
ALLEN, G. "Comments on the analysis of twin samples". Acta genet. Med. et Gemelli, 1955, 4, 143-160.
ALLEN, G. "Genetic aspects of mental disorder". In The nature and transmission ofthe genetic and cultural characteristics of human populations


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Handbook of Mental Deficiency: Psychological Theory and Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contributors vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I 9
  • 1 - Field Theory in Mental Deficiency 11
  • Introduction 11
  • References 36
  • 2 - A Social Learning Approach to Mental Retardation 41
  • Summary 86
  • References 86
  • 3 - Hull - Spence Behavior Theory and Mental Deficiency 92
  • Introduction 92
  • A Summing-Up 129
  • References 129
  • 4 - The Stimulus Trace and Behavioral Inadequacy 134
  • Summary 155
  • References 155
  • 5 - The Role of Attention in Retardate Discrimination Learning 159
  • References 220
  • 6 - Intelligence and Brain Damage 224
  • References 251
  • 7 - Genetic Aspects of Intelligent Behavior 253
  • References 291
  • 8 - The Application of Piaget's Theory to Research in Mental Deficiency 297
  • Introduction 297
  • References 323
  • 9 - Social Psychologies of Mental Deficiency 325
  • Summary 348
  • References 348
  • 10 - Psychological Studies of Mental Deficiency in the Soviet Union 353
  • Part II 389
  • 11 - Learning: Verbal, Perceptual-Motor, and Classical Conditioning 391
  • References 420
  • 12 Discrimination Learning 424
  • 12 Discrimination Learning 436
  • 13 - Problem - Solving and Conceptual Behavior 439
  • Conclusions 458
  • References 458
  • 14 - Sensory Processes and Mental Deficiency 463
  • Summary 476
  • References 476
  • 15 - Perceptual Processes 480
  • Conclusions 506
  • References 507
  • 16 - Language and Communication of Mental Defectives 512
  • Introduction 512
  • Summary and Overview 550
  • References 550
  • 17 - Psychophysiological Studies in Mental Deficiency 556
  • 17 - Psychophysiological Studies in Mental Deficiency 569
  • References 571
  • 18 - Abnormal Behavior and Mental Deficiency 574
  • Introduction 574
  • Summary and Conclusions 595
  • References 595
  • 19 - Motor Skills in Mental Deficiency 602
  • Summary 626
  • References 626
  • 20 - Research in Activity Level 632
  • Summary 657
  • References 657
  • 21 - Academic Skills 664
  • Summary 687
  • References 687
  • Contributors 691
  • Name Index 699
  • Subject Index 713


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