Intelligence And Society Essay, Research Paper
In society, people base their life on intelligence. They do everything possible to get ahead in life. To get ahead, they cheat each other, back stab, and commit many sinful acts. Also, they educate themselves so they are capable of doing whatever is required of them. Society is trying to always make themselves smarter. Are they trying to change something that they have no control over though? Intelligence is something that everybody has, but is something that is developed over time. The development of intelligence has many items that play a factor. For instance, environment and heredity both play a role in developing a person’s I.Q.
“Each of us are born with intelligence” (Lawler 15). With one’s intelligence, one finds outside issues exist in playing a role in their I.Q. For instance, the moment a baby is born factors are affecting that child’s I.Q. The baby does not have control over these factors, but they
still take an affect. The factors can range from the baby’s birth weight to the order in which the child was born. Loehlin, Lindzey, and Spuhler state that a child with “low-birth weight tend to have a lower I.Q.”(212). This is true because it is believed that if the child’s birth weight is low then the child must be slower at developing. Since a child is slow at developing, he will therefore have a lower I.Q. On the other end, “If you come from a large family, your I.Q. may go hand in hand with the position you were born. If you are the youngest your intelligence tends to be higher than the first born”(Pinter 530).
After the issues that one can’t control take effect, one needs to concentrate on his parental role in developing a child’s intelligence. “Parental education has no effect on a child until the ages of 2-5” (Lewis 107). When a child reaches this age point, the parents play a large role in the development of his intelligence. For instance, a child that comes from an environment that is uncaring, unlovable, and abusive tends to score lower on an I.Q. test. Put that same child into a different situation, by either adoption or foster care, or just a change of parental support, and that child performance increases. “I.Q. could be based on a range of environments, or lowered by lack of positive environmental feedback” (Loehlin, Lindzey, and Spuhler 103). Without positive feedback a child gives up. He gives up because he feels like he is a failure at what he is doing.
While the main focus on a child’s intelligence comes from the home, other influences also play a role. Pinter stated “By environmental influences we way mean very specific and narrow changes or else those factors of home and school” (94). At school, children learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. In addition to classes, school offers a good place to fellowship with others. During the fellowship, one is able to gain knowledge from other people. That fellowship though isn’t always a good thing. For example, suppose that everything the child hears throughout the day is not true. Then, that child becomes ignorant to the truth. All this happens because the child is bombarded with false information throughout the day. At some time the child will start believing that everything he hears is true.
With children balancing out each other’s intelligence in conversation, the need for it to be built up increases. “Children who get special attention tend to have higher I.Q.” (Loehlin, Lindzey, and Spuhler 112). This is where a child’s teacher plays a role in developing his intelligence. A teacher has the opportunity to “work and train a student by giving help [causing him to] be smarter” (Loehlin, Lindzey, and Spuhler 112). If teachers do not interact with their students, how can one expect the students to gain anything; by teachers helping, it shows love. That love closely relates to the parents’ role in child development. In addition, the child is with the teacher for the majority of the day. How the teacher and the child interact is a decisive factor in that child’s intelligence.
In addition to the teacher’s nature, the classes the teacher teaches takes a part in developing intelligence. Throughout one’s entire school career, the courses taken get more rigorous as one goes on. That should mean that when they finish their schooling, their intelligence should be at it’s highest. Pintner agrees when he stated “While schooling, the harder the courses taken are responsible for higher intelligence” (273). So why does not everyone just keep going to school so that everyone becomes a genius? That assumption only works in a fantasy world, because “the older you get the dumber or lower your I.Q. tends to be” (Pintner 307). This happens because with old age comes a lack of keen mental ability. This is seen in a familiar situation today. Take for instance elderly drivers, their ability is lacking in the their reflexes. This shows that when you increase in age things aren’t as good as they once were.
When one speaks about the topic of intelligence a question surfaces, that question is, are whites smarter than blacks? “ “Race” and “I.Q.” are terms which seemingly posses a clear and well defined meaning for millions of people” (Montague 1). When these two words are combined into “Race I.Q.” it causes people to do things they normally would not. A case in point, if one questions race I.Q. what keeps him from not questioning race-abilities and other items. So he tries avoiding the issue waiting for the topic to be dropped or changed. He avoids the issue so he is not considered a racist. The best thing to do would be to quit categorizing individuals as a race, but instead look at everybody as a whole. Allow everybody to be considered an equal. Then the problem of “Race I.Q.” would not be an issue.
In addition to the race, another problem is the true meaning of intelligence. Loehlin, Lindzey, and Spuhler declare that “the meaning of intelligence is to be able to solve general problems” (49). People out there today have troubles at solving problems. Yet, that is the main way of testing one’s intelligence. Why is it that intelligence is based on the ability to solve problems? Some people may be slow in that particular area, but excel at artistic work, or other areas. One can’t measure true intelligence by putting a paper full of questions in front of somebody and expect to get complete understanding of that person’s true intelligence. A test is unable to show a person’s hidden potential. However, the taking of a test remains the key tool in determining a person’s intelligence.
In the subject of testing, rises another issue. It is unknown by most people that “the average difference between whites and blacks is 15 on an I.Q. test” (Montagu 147). Why is there such a difference between these races’ intelligence? This can be answered many different ways. For instance, who is issuing the test plays a part in the equation. “The average score for a black person drops 6 points when taking the test given by a white than when given by a black” (Richardson and Spears 57). Also, another event that plays a role in this difference would be that “ . . . the standardized test are meant for whites. So when blacks take the test, they are being tested on their white intelligence” (Richardson and Spears 53). The ability of whites to score higher on the test decreases when they are given a test that emphasizes the black culture. If we go and change the test, so they coincide with the person taking the test, it causes too many other problems that people are too lazy to face. It would mean for the current test to be removed and replaced with a new test. The new test would first have to be created so it is culturally correct. Last, to make the test culturally correct it would take numerous people to research each culture so we have an accurate test. And people today aren’t prepared to do all this work. In addition to the actual test, the race issue has an effect on the changing of the test. Nobody wants to be labeled with something unpleasant, such as a racist.
Loehlin, Lindzey, and Spuhler argue that if one wants to “decrease black-white I.Q. differences [they] might be anticipated from improvement in nutrition” (319). Intelligence is like any thing else. In everyday living, it is hard for a person to function without the proper dieting that is needed. Whether a person is going to school or if he is trying to function at the work place, doing activities with friends and family, one needs to maintain proper eating habits to be able to have a healthy life. The same concept applies here. With proper nutrition, one’s intelligence improves. It improves because with proper nutrition one is able to function at a better command.
With environment and heredity both playing a role in the development of a person’s I.Q., people are mistaken by the thought that one can control their own intellectual destiny by means of hard work. One must realize, that in intelligence the outcome is based on things such as home and school, your family, and the culture in which you grow- up in. These items are always going to play a role in the outcome of one’s intelligence. No matter how hard one tries to change them, it will always remain the way it was meant to be.
Lawler, James M. I.Q., Heritability and Racism. New York: International Publishers, 1978.
Lewis, Michael. Origins of Intelligence: Infancy and Early Childhood. New York: Plenum Press, 1976.
Loehlin, Lindzey, and J.N. Spuhler. Race Difference in Intelligence. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1975.
Montagu. Race and I.Q.. New York: Oxford University Press, 1975.
Pintner. Intelligence Testing, Methods and Results. New York: H. Holt, 1923.
Ken Richardson and David Spears. Race and Intelligence. Baltimore: Penguin Books Inc., 1972