Primitive Intelligence and Environment

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Macmillan, 1937 - Ethnopsychology - 325 pages
For many centuries the interrelationships of peoples have been profoundly affected by the theory that the differences between races are real and of great importance. The responsibility of governing races supposedly inferior to his own is considered to be the white man's burden, and the duty has been wholeheartedly assumed all over Africa, India, the Malay Archipelago, Australia, New Guinea, and with somewhat less assurance elsewhere. It is probably no exaggeration to say that the daily lives of six hundred millions of dark-skinned people are in some way or another affected by this hypothesis. But the theory goes further, and is made of far wider application than to the differences between white, brown and black. It extends to the various divisions of the Caucasian race. To the vast majority of people, at least to those who belong to the reputedly superior race, the significance of racial differences seems self-evident. The physical diversities of races are apparent to all; so, too, the inequalities of cultural status and achievement. In the individual there is a significant correlation between intelligence and achievement; hence, many assume that a similarly close correlation must exist between racial intelligence and cultural standing. At the other pole of opinion are those who believe that racial differences, like beauty, are only skin deep. If we grant that there are individual differences in intelligence there seems to be no good reason to expect otherwise than that there should be group differences in mentality also. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the question is not necessarily one of racial superiority but of racial differences. There are a myriad of problems when it comes to measurement of these differences. The author has endeavored to present the environmental picture through the medium of a narrative of travel. By thus devoting special attention to this phase of the problem, we may hope to diminish the force of the common objection that nurtural handicaps have not been taken into account. If under conditions of equivalent environmental stress it can be shown that the two groups have achieved different levels of development in different directions, it would seem to me that the study should provide a clear demonstration of the reality and significance of racial differences in intelligence. This book examines closely the racial differences in intelligence among the "primitive" peoples of Australia, Africa (Botswana, the Kalahari), and various Asian and Pacific islander peoples (Malay Peninsula, Japan, Borneo, and Philippine Islands). Along the way, the difficulties these people endure in their particular environments are also examined.

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Introduction i
The Australian Aborigines
Northwest Australian Environment

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