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Jackson State University
Intelligence has been defined in many different ways including, but not limited to, abstract thought, understanding, self-awareness, communication, reasoning, learning, having emotional knowledge, retaining, planning, and problem solving. Intelligence is most widely studied in humans, but has also been observed in animals and in plants. Artificial intelligence is the simulation of intelligence in machines. Within the discipline of psychology, various approaches to human intelligence have been adopted. The psychometric approach is especially familiar to the general public, as well as being the most researched and by far the most widely used in practical settings.
The definition of intelligence is controversial. Groups of scientists have stated the following:
According to Mainstream Science on Intelligence (1994), an editorial statement by fifty-two researchers: A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—"catching on," "making sense" of things, or "figuring out" what to do. a report published by the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association: Individuals differ from one another in their ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought. Although these individual differences can be substantial, they are never entirely consistent: a given person's intellectual performance will vary on different occasions, in different domains, as judged by different criteria. Concepts of "intelligence" are attempts to clarify and organize this complex set of phenomena. Although considerable clarity has been achieved in some areas, no such conceptualization has yet answered all the important questions, and none commands universal assent. Indeed, when two dozen prominent theorists were recently asked to define intelligence, they gave two dozen, somewhat different, definitions (Intelligence: Known and Unknowns, 1995).
In 1994, a controversial book about intelligence by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray called The Bell Curve was published. The book argued that IQ tests are an accurate measure of intelligence; that IQ is a strong predictor of school and career achievement; that IQ is highly heritable; that IQ is little influenced by environmental factors; that racial differences in IQ are likely due at least in part, and perhaps in large part, to genetics; that environmental effects of all kinds have only a modest effect on IQ; and that educational and other interventions have little impact on IQ and little effect on racial differences in IQ. The authors were skeptical about the ability of public policy initiatives to have much impact on IQ or IQ-related outcomes.
The Bell Curve sold more than 300,000 copies and was given enormous attention by the press, which was largely uncritical of the methods and conclusions of the book. The Science Directorate of the American Psychological Association felt it was important to present the consensus of intelligence experts on the issues raised by the book, and to that end a group of experts representing a wide range of views was commissioned to produce a summary of facts that were widely agreed upon in the field and a survey of what the experts felt were important questions requiring further research. The leader of the group was