Maximizing Intelligence
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Maximizing Intelligence

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The "nature versus nurture" controversy dates back to at least the nineteenth century. How much of a role does genetics or environment play in accounting for reasoning skill and other intellectual aptitudes? At a time when the public school system in the United States is under attack, this debate has taken center stage in arguments about what accounts for differences in academic achievement. Maximizing Intelligence convincingly argues that, while both genetics and environment play a role in a child's intelligence, environmental factors, especially at an early age, are of primary importance. Working from this premise, Armor suggests how intelligence may be heightened.Armor presents four propositions about intelligence. His first is that intelligence exerts a major influence on educational and occupational success, following a chronological sequence, from a child's cognitive skills learned before school, to academic success during the school years, to eligibility for college. His second proposition is that intelligence can be changed, at least within limits. There is ample evidence that a child's intelligence is not fully given at birth, but continues to evolve and change at least through the early elementary school years, although at a declining rate.Proposition three is that intelligence is influenced by a series of "risk factors," and most of the influence occurs before a child reaches school age. Risk factors include parent intelligence and education, family income, family structure and size, nutrition, and specific parenting behaviors. The fourth proposition flows from the second and third--that the most promising avenues for maximizing intelligence come from a child's parents. Armor persuasively argues for a "whole family" approach whereby government programs are modified or created to inform parents of risk factors and to reward behaviors that optimize positive outcomes.Maximizing Intelligence is meticulously researched and reasoned, and will be welcomed by those interested in education, sociology, psychology, social theory, and policy studies.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 239 pages
  • 157.5 x 233.7 x 22.9mm | 476.28g
  • Taylor & Francis Inc
  • Transaction Publishers
  • Somerset, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • 076580185X
  • 9780765801852

Review quote

."..this book addresses the nature of intelligence. Armor agrees that the variable that accounts for most of the variation in IQ scores is genetic inheritance, yet he comes to a different conclusion about the malleability of IQ. He argues that environmental factors, considered in aggregate, account for nearly as much of the variance as genetics...his is an optimistic approach to the IQ debate" "--Choice" "The glaring gap in academic achievement is the most important source of racial inequality in American society today. David Armor's fascinating study provides a probing and persuasive analysis of the environmental and behavioral sources of that gap. This is a must-read for anyone concerned with the American future." "--"Stephan Thernstrom, Winthrop Professor of History, Harvard University "Many people are dismayed at reports that half of IQ may be genetically determined. David Armor sees the glass as half full, or more: at least half of our IQ (perhaps more) can be improved by changes in the environment in which we raise children. "Maximizing Intelligence" provides invaluable insight into what is known about intelligence, as well as a practical guide to improving IQs." "--"Francis Fukuyama, Dean of Faculty, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University "Americans tend to believe that their children's intelligence is either innate or based on what they learn in school. This volume speaks to the importance of another important set of influences: early family environments. Armor's research suggests that young people need to focus much more on how their own decisions about marriage and childbearing affect their children's future success." "--"Isabel Sawhill, The Brookings Institution "Armor's detailed analysis, practical wisdom, and innovative solution-oriented thinking make Maximizing Intelligence a rich resource for educators, academics, policymakers, and parents of all backgrounds and income levels." "--"Collette Caprara", townhall.com" -...this book addresses the nature of intelligence. Armor agrees that the variable that accounts for most of the variation in IQ scores is genetic inheritance, yet he comes to a different conclusion about the malleability of IQ. He argues that environmental factors, considered in aggregate, account for nearly as much of the variance as genetics...his is an optimistic approach to the IQ debate- --Choice -The glaring gap in academic achievement is the most important source of racial inequality in American society today. David Armor's fascinating study provides a probing and persuasive analysis of the environmental and behavioral sources of that gap. This is a must-read for anyone concerned with the American future.- --Stephan Thernstrom, Winthrop Professor of History, Harvard University -Many people are dismayed at reports that half of IQ may be genetically determined. David Armor sees the glass as half full, or more: at least half of our IQ (perhaps more) can be improved by changes in the environment in which we raise children. Maximizing Intelligence provides invaluable insight into what is known about intelligence, as well as a practical guide to improving IQs.- --Francis Fukuyama, Dean of Faculty, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University -Americans tend to believe that their children's intelligence is either innate or based on what they learn in school. This volume speaks to the importance of another important set of influences: early family environments. Armor's research suggests that young people need to focus much more on how their own decisions about marriage and childbearing affect their children's future success.- --Isabel Sawhill, The Brookings Institution -Armor's detailed analysis, practical wisdom, and innovative solution-oriented thinking make Maximizing Intelligence a rich resource for educators, academics, policymakers, and parents of all backgrounds and income levels.- --Collette Caprara, townhall.com ..".this book addresses the nature of intelligence. Armor agrees that the variable that accounts for most of the variation in IQ scores is genetic inheritance, yet he comes to a different conclusion about the malleability of IQ. He argues that environmental factors, considered in aggregate, account for nearly as much of the variance as genetics...his is an optimistic approach to the IQ debate" --Choice "The glaring gap in academic achievement is the most important source of racial inequality in American society today. David Armor's fascinating study provides a probing and persuasive analysis of the environmental and behavioral sources of that gap. This is a must-read for anyone concerned with the American future." --Stephan Thernstrom, Winthrop Professor of History, Harvard University "Many people are dismayed at reports that half of IQ may be genetically determined. David Armor sees the glass as half full, or more: at least half of our IQ (perhaps more) can be improved by changes in the environment in which we raise children. Maximizing Intelligence provides invaluable insight into what is known about intelligence, as well as a practical guide to improving IQs." --Francis Fukuyama, Dean of Faculty, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University "Americans tend to believe that their children's intelligence is either innate or based on what they learn in school. This volume speaks to the importance of another important set of influences: early family environments. Armor's research suggests that young people need to focus much more on how their own decisions about marriage and childbearing affect their children's future success." --Isabel Sawhill, The Brookings Institution "Armor's detailed analysis, practical wisdom, and innovative solution-oriented thinking make Maximizing Intelligence a rich resource for educators, academics, policymakers, and parents of all backgrounds and income levels." --Collette Caprara, townhall.com
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About David J. Armor

David J. Armor is professor of public policy in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. He is the author of Forced Justice: School Desegregation and the Law and Competition in Education. In 1999 Armor was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Military Recruiting.
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