Intelligence and how to Get it: Why Schools and Cultures Count

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2009 - Social Science - 304 pages
Who are smarter, Asians or Westerners? Are there genetic explanations for racial differences in test scores? What makes some nationalities excel in engineering and others in music? Will math and science remain a largely male preserve. From the damning research of The Bell Curve to the more recent controversy surrounding geneticist James Watson's statements, one factor has been consistently left out of the equation: culture. In the tradition of The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould, world-class social psychologist Richard E. Nisbett takes on the idea of intelligence as something that is biologically determined and impervious to culture--with vast implications for the role of education as it relates to social and economic development. Intelligence and How to Get It asserts that intellect is not primarily genetic but is principally determined by societal influences. Nisbett's commanding argument, superb marshaling of evidence, and fearless discussions of the controversial carve out new and exciting terrain in this hotly debated field.


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User Review  - alana_leigh - LibraryThing

The experience of reading this book in public was not pleasant. I got several poorly-crafted observation jokes of "trying to be more intelligent, eh?" from some co-workers, who met my withering glance ... Read full review

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A nice read, touches subjects like IQ among different races and cultures.


Varieties of Intelligence
Heritability and Mutability
Getting Smarter
Improving the Schools
Social Class and Cognitive Culture
IQ in Black and White
Mind the Gap
Advantage Asia?
Raising Your Childs Intelligence and Your Own
What We Now Know about Intelligence and Academic Achievement
Informal Definitions of Statistical Terms
The Case for a Purely Environmental Basis for BlackWhite Differences in IQ

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About the author (2009)

Richard E. Nisbett is Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan and Research Professor at Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. He has taught courses in social psychology, cultural psychology, cognitive psychology, and evolutionary psychology. His research focuses on how people from different cultures think, perceive, feel, and act in different ways. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association and the William James Fellow Award of the American Psychological Society and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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