Few topics have been as controversial as the study of intelligence. In our latest expert guide, Linda Gottfredson goes inside the mechanics of brainpower

DEFINITIONS

Intelligence: What is it?

A century of clashes and discoveries has upended assumptions and revealed fascinating paradoxes – intelligence is not what most of us had imagined

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ORIGINS

IMPROVEMENTS

GENERATIONS

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda S. Gottfredson is a professor of education at the University of Delaware in Newark. She focuses on the social implications of intelligence, including how cultural institutions are shaped by the wide variation in human cognitive capability that is characteristic of all groups. She is also interested in the evolution of human intelligence and especially the idea that it may have been driven by a need to overcome novel hazards associated with innovation

MORE INSTANT EXPERTS

In the Instant Expert series so far, New Scientist has covered general relativity, cloning, unseen universe, extreme weather, human origins, the evolution of language, metamaterials, dark matter, mass extinctions, carbon capture and storage, astrobiology and the theory of everything.

Subscribers can download PDFs of the original highly illustrated magazine pages here.

RECOMMENDED READING

Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction by Ian Deary (Oxford University Press, 2001)

The Genetic and Environmental Origins of Learning Abilities and Disabilities in the Early School Years by Yulia Kovas and others (Blackwell, 2007)

The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability by Arthur Jensen (Praeger, 1998)

Correcting Fallacies about Educational and Psychological Testing edited by Richard Phelps (American Psychological Association, 2009)

Intelligence, vol 24(1) (special issue called Intelligence and Social Policy)

Intelligence, vol 37(2) (special issue called Intelligence and the Brain)

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol 86, p 96 (the Special Section on Cognitive Abilities)

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