Psychology a Study of Mental Life

Psychology a Study of Mental Life

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Excerpt: ...also differ markedly in each of these respects. They differ in these special directions as well as in the "general factors" of intelligence. Heredity of Intelligence and of Special Aptitudes Let us now return to the question raised at the very outset of the chapter, whether or not intelligence is a native trait. We then said that the differing intelligence of different species of animals must be laid to their native constitutions, but left the question open whether the differing intelligence of human individuals was a matter of heredity or of environment. Intelligence is of course quite different from instinct, in that it does not consist in ready-made native reactions. The intelligence of an individual at any age depends on what he has learned previously. But the factors in intelligent behavior--retentiveness, responsiveness to relationships, persistence, etc.--may very well be native traits. But what evidence is there that the individual's degree of intelligence is a native characteristic, like his height or color of hair? The evidence is pretty convincing to most psychologists. First, we have the fact that an individual's degree of intelligence is an inherent characteristic, in the sense that it remains with him from childhood to old age. Bright child, bright adult; dull child, dull adult. That is the rule, and the exceptions are not numerous enough to shake it. Many a dull child of well-to-do parents, in spite of great pains taken with his education, is unable to escape from his inherent limitations. The intelligence quotient remains fairly 290 constant for the same child as he grows up, and stands for an inherent characteristic of the individual, namely, the rate at which he acquires knowledge and skill. Give two children the same environment, physical and social, and you will see one child progress faster than the other. Thus, among children who grow up in the same community, playing together and going to the same schools, the more more

Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 10mm | 327g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236732243
  • 9781236732248