Mental Ability Ebooks Catalog
Diamond states that the notion that there are genetic factors which cause Europeans to be more intelligent (on average) than Australian aborigines is morally loathsome.1 Surprisingly, though, within two pages of that statement, he himself expresses the view that as a result of natural selection the aborigines of the New Guinea highlands are probably genetically superior to Westerners in mental ability.2
In fact, New Guineans, in Diamond's view, are probably more intelligent than Westerners, and the reason, he says, is genetic. The chief selective pressure on Westerners was the need to acquire resistance to the disease rampant in their crowded communities, whereas in New Guinea, where the chief cause of death is war, murder or starvation, one needed one's wits to survive Natural selection promoting genes for intelligence has probably been far more ruthless in New Guinea than in more densely populated, politically complex societies, where natural selection for body chemistry that is, immunity to disease was instead more potent, Diamond explains. And hence, in mental ability New Guineans are probably genetically superior to Westerners.
In Fisher's major work, The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, published in 1929, he developed the argument that genes for mental ability are more frequent among the wealthy, who have fewer children, whereas the poor, who tend to be less intelligent, have more children therefore natural selection acts against genes that promote intelligence. This aspect of Fisher's work is not much discussed, because it was used to support the disastrous eugenics policies of the early twentieth century. But in the view of some population geneticists, its theoretical argument has not been refuted at least in developed countries, people of higher intelligence tend to have fewer children, so it would seem that their genes cannot become more common in the next generation. Others argue that the poor tend to have more children from lack of education, not any lack of intelligence. Fisher's empirical observation is correct, that the lower orders have more babies, but that doesn't mean their genotypes are...
Wynn's studies are based on the classic investigations of Jean Piaget into patterns of cognitive development in human children -using this as a possible analogue for the development of similar mental abilities during the course of human evolution (Piaget 1960, 1970). Piaget identified three major stages of cognitive development, which he referred to respectively as the 'sensorimotor' stage, extending from birth to about 18-24 months the 'pre-operational' stage, from 18-24 months to around 6-7 years and the fully 'operational' stage, from 6-7 years onwards. Although each stage was defined by a number of different cognitive aspects (levels of communication skills, emotional reactions, social relationships etc.), Piaget argued that each stage was reflected equally in the ways in which children visualize and manipulate physical objects. Piaget was convinced that in recognizing these sequential stages in childhood development he had also identified the major stages in the mental evolution...
2) There are different aspects of intelligence, and typically an individual is not equally gifted in all those aspects. A person's overall mental ability is a combination of his or her general intelligence (which is usually the dominant factor) and various special intellectual strengths and weaknesses.
Backman, Patterns of Mental Abilities Ethnic, Socioeconomic, and Sex Differences, American Educational Research Journal 9 (1972) 1-12 Boris Levinson, A Comparison of the Performance of Monolingual and Bilingual Native-Born, Jewish Preschool Children of Traditional Parentage on Four Intelligence Tests, Journal of ClinicalPsychology 15 (1959) 74-76 Julius S. Romanoff, Birth Order, Family Size, and Sibling Spacing as Influences on Intelligence and Academic Abilities of Jewish Adolescents, Department of Psychology, Temple University, 1976.
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