In Canada, capital punishment was abolished in Having extremely high IQ is clearly less of a problem than having extremely low IQ, but there may also be challenges to being particularly smart. It is often assumed that schoolchildren who are labeled as gifted may have adjustment problems that make it more difficult for them to create social relationships. This study found, first, that these students were not unhealthy or poorly adjusted but rather were above average in physical health and were taller and heavier than individuals in the general population.
The students also had above average social relationships—for instance, being less likely to divorce than the average person Seagoe, These numbers are all considerably higher than what would have been expected from a more general population. But there are also different types of giftedness. Some children are particularly good at math or science, some at automobile repair or carpentry, some at music or art, some at sports or leadership, and so on.
There is a lively debate among scholars about whether it is appropriate or beneficial to label some children as gifted and talented in school and to provide them with accelerated special classes and other programs that are not available to everyone. These claims, and the responses they provoked, provide another example of how cultural interpretations of the meanings of IQ can create disagreements and even guide public policy.
Assumptions about sex differences in intelligence are increasingly challenged in the research.
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In Canada, recent statistics show that women outnumber men in university degrees earned. There are also observed sex differences on some particular types of tasks.
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Women tend to do better than men on some verbal tasks, including spelling, writing, and pronouncing words Halpern et al. On average, men do better than women on tasks requiring spatial ability, such as the mental rotation tasks shown in Figure Boys tend to do better than girls on both geography and geometry tasks Vogel, There are many women who are better than the average man on spatial tasks, and many men who score higher than the average women in terms of emotional intelligence.
Sex differences in intelligence allow us to make statements only about average differences and do not say much about any individual person. As infants, boys and girls show no or few differences in spatial or counting abilities, suggesting that the differences occur at least in part as a result of socialization Spelke, Furthermore, the number of women entering the hard sciences has been increasing steadily over the past years, again suggesting that some of the differences may have been due to gender discrimination and societal expectations about the appropriate roles and skills of women.
Although their bell curves overlap considerably, there are also differences in which members of different racial and ethnic groups cluster along the IQ line. Lynn and co-author Tatu Vanhanen from the University of Helsinki argue that differences in national income correlate with, and can be at least partially attributed to, differences in average national IQ One of the most egregious was the spread of eugenics , the proposal that one could improve the human species by encouraging or permitting reproduction of only those people with genetic characteristics judged desirable.
Eugenics became popular in Canada and the United States in the early 20th century and was supported by many prominent psychologists, including Sir Francis Galton. Dozens of universities offered courses in eugenics, and the topic was presented in most high school and university biology texts Selden, Belief in the policies of eugenics led the Canadian legislatures in Alberta and British Columbia as well as the U.
International Review of Research in Mental Retardation, Volume 27
Congress to pass laws designed to restrict immigration from other countries supposedly marked by low intelligence, particularly those in eastern and southern Europe. In Canada, approximately 5, were affected.
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Fortunately, the practice of sterilization was abandoned in Canada between the s and the s, although sterilization laws remained on the books in some American states until the s. One explanation for race differences in IQ is that intelligence tests are biased against some groups and in favour of others. By bias , what psychologists mean is that a test predicts outcomes — such as grades or occupational success — better for one group than it does for another. If IQ is a better predictor of school grade point average for Whites than it is for Asians, for instance, then the test would be biased against Asians, even though the average IQ scores for Asians might be higher.
But IQ tests do not seem to be racially biased because the observed correlations between IQ tests and both academic and occupational achievement are about equal across races Brody, Another way that tests might be biased is if questions are framed such that they are easier for people from one culture to understand than for people from other cultures. For example, even a very smart person will not do well on a test if he or she is not fluent in the language in which the test is administered, or does not understand the meaning of the questions being asked.
But modern intelligence tests are designed to be culturally neutral, and group differences are found even on tests that only ask about spatial intelligence. Although intelligence tests may not be culturally biased, the situation in which one takes a test may be. One environmental factor that may affect how individuals perform and achieve is their expectations about their ability at a task.
In some cases these beliefs may be positive, and they have the effect of making us feel more confident and thus better able to perform tasks. On the other hand, sometimes these beliefs are negative, and they create negative self-fulfilling prophecies such that we perform more poorly just because of our knowledge about the stereotypes. Because Black students are aware of the stereotype that Blacks are intellectually inferior to Whites, this stereotype might create a negative expectation, which might interfere with their performance on intellectual tests through fear of confirming that stereotype.
In support of this hypothesis, the experiments revealed that Black university students performed worse in comparison to their prior test scores on standardized test questions when this task was described to them as being diagnostic of their verbal ability and thus when the stereotype was relevant , but that their performance was not influenced when the same questions were described as an exercise in problem solving.
And in another study, the researchers found that when Black students were asked to indicate their race before they took a math test again activating the stereotype , they performed more poorly than they had on prior exams, whereas White students were not affected by first indicating their race. That is, they argued that the negative impact of race on standardized tests may be caused, at least in part, by the performance situation itself. Research has found that stereotype threat effects can help explain a wide variety of performance decrements among those who are targeted by negative stereotypes.
Even groups who typically enjoy advantaged social status can be made to experience stereotype threat.
On the cognitive side, individuals who are experiencing stereotype threat show an increased vigilance toward the environment as well as increased attempts to suppress stereotypic thoughts. Engaging in these behaviours takes cognitive capacity away from the task. On the affective side, stereotype threat occurs when there is a discrepancy between our positive concept of our own skills and abilities and the negative stereotypes that suggest poor performance.
These discrepancies create stress and anxiety, and these emotions make it harder to perform well on the task. Stereotype threat is not, however, absolute; we can get past it if we try. What is important is to reduce the self doubts that are activated when we consider the negative stereotypes. In summary, although there is no definitive answer to why IQ bell curves differ across racial and ethnic groups, and most experts believe that environment is important in pushing the bell curves apart, genetics can also be involved.
It is important to realize that although IQ is heritable, this does not mean that group differences are caused by genetics. Although some people are naturally taller than others height is heritable , people who get plenty of nutritious food are taller than people who do not, and this difference is clearly due to environment. This is a reminder that group differences may be created by environmental variables but can also be reduced through appropriate environmental actions such as educational and training programs.
Aronson, J. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35 , 29— Baral, B. Intelligence: What is indigenous to India and what is shared? Sternberg Ed. Brown, R. Automatic category activation and social behaviour: The moderating role of prejudiced beliefs. Social Cognition, 21 3 , — Colangelo, N. Acceleration: Meeting the academic and social needs of students. Balchin, B. Matthews Eds. New York, NY: Routledge. Croizet, J. Extending the concept of stereotype and threat to social class: The intellectual underperformance of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24 6 , — Greenspan, S. Credulity and gullibility in people with developmental disorders: A framework for future research. Glidden Ed. Halpern, D.
Extremes of Intelligence: Retardation and Giftedness
The science of sex differences in science and mathematics. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 8 1 , 1— Hyde, J. The gender similarities hypothesis. American Psychologist, 60 6 , — Johns, M. Psychological Science, 16 3 , — Johnson, W. A role for the X chromosome in sex differences in variability in general intelligence? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4 6 , — Kimura, D. Cognitive pattern in men and women is influenced by fluctuations in sex hormones. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 3 2 , 57— Lewontin, R.
Lubinski, D. Study of mathematically precocious youth after 35 years: Uncovering antecedents for the development of math-science expertise. Scottish Journal of Residential Care: Vol. Fahey P. Walsh E. Emerson S. Randell S.
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