Race-Related IQ

STAN MULAIK pscccsm at prism.gatech.edu
Sun Dec 4 17:31:09 EST 1994


mwspitze at uci.edu (matt spitzer) writes:

| >In article <3bavji$pke at news.iastate.edu>, rox at iastate.edu (Roxanne R
| >Sweney) wrote:

| >> 	Currently I am pursuing an argumentative research paper on the topic
| >> of IQ level inherited in terms of race.  Any information about this topic or
| >> about the recently published book, The Bell Curve, would be greatly
| >> appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

| >One issue you may wish to explore is what IQ actually measures.  A
| >fundamental assumption of psychometric research is that there is a unitary
| >entity, intelligence, that can be measured by IQ tests.  This is a BIG
| >assumption.  Any neurobiologist can tell you that the nervous system is
| >composed of multiple subsystems that subserve different functions.  Do
| >these subsystems operate independently?  Good question.  There is certainly
| >no convincing evidence of a "central processor", analogous to a computer's
| >cpu, anywhere in the brain.  So, the neurobiology suggests that cognitive
| >functions may be distributed among different subsystems of the brain, which
| >would be consistent with a modular view of cognitive functions.  If
| >cognitive functions are modular, then each subsystem, and consequently each
| >function, may be subject to independent genetic control.  If so, studying
| >the heritability of IQ (a unitary measure of cognitive ability) makes no
| >sense. 
Bernard Baars in his _A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness_ argues that
consciousness functions as a global workspace that integrates information from
different parts of the brain and in turn broadcasts it widely to these various
parts.  It can take information from specialized modules and encode it in a formthat can be broadcast globally to the nervous system as a whole.

Louis Guttman argued that intelligence tests are concerned with measuring
people's capacity to correctly perceive logical aspects of relations.  He
distinguished between  two kinds of tests:  Analytic or rule-inferring
tests in which the rules or names of the rules are not displayed in the
question, but the subject has to infer from a display of some instances
of the rule what the rule is.  Achievement test items, in which the name
of the rule or the description of the rule is given, and given one
element in the relation given by the rule, one shows one has achieved the
relation by providing the corresponding second element in the relation.
Example of analytic items:  Dog is to Puppy as Cat is to _____?  One
instance of the relation is displayed in the Dog:Puppy pair, but neither
the name of the relation nor the rule of what pairs fall in this relation
is given.  The proper answer, of course, is kitten.  On the other hand
achievement test items display the rule or the name of the rule and the
subject has to show achievement of the rule by showing he/she can properly
use it in specific instances.  For example:  What is the young offspring of a
cat called?  Interestingly enough empirical data has shown that analytic
ability is a general ability that functions across diverse media: visual,
auditory, whether figural or symbolic, or verbal.  Achievement items
tend to be specific to certain media and depend on having had specific
kinds of experience.  

Raymond Cattell, using factor analysis, found two general factors common
to first-order factors of intellectual performance.  He called these
two factors fluid intelligence and crystalized intelligence.  Everyone of
the fluid-intelligence items falls in what Guttman classifies as a
rule-inferring item.  On the other hand, crystalized intelligence seems
to be  an achievement test general factor, pertaining to general skills
one learns in mathematics and verbal training that have a broad application
to solving problems.  

Putting this all together, processing information in terms of their 
logical aspects, is what consciousness seems to do, for logical aspects
of relations are in the most abstract form, available for encoding into
different specific forms by other components of the nervous system.  I
would assert that intelligence is just a measure of the capacity of
an individual's consciousness to encode and process information in
terms of its logical aspects for use by more specific processors in
the nervous system.

Stan Mulaik

 
-- 
STAN MULAIK
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Georgia, 30332
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