Perhaps I should not be too sensitive, but I still get irritated by the “intelligence, whatever that is” brigade, who disparage any attempt to measure ability and strongly oppose any decisions being made on the basis of those assessments.
My irritation is compounded by the confidence with which they make their pronouncements, uncluttered by any knowledge of contemporary findings or any understanding of the debates in the literature.
So, when any work on intelligence gets some publicity, particularly concerning the benefits of high intelligence, I feel more optimistic that public knowledge about intelligence will be proceeding at the speed of publications, not the speed of funerals.
My imagined legions of devoted readers will not need to be reminded of the work of Benbow and Lubinski and the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth. I have mentioned this study 15 times, so I will restrict myself to linking to only the most recent of these posts.
Now David Lubinski writes to me in some haste with a confession. He and his wife have had great coverage of their work in a big spread in Nature, with much subsequent publicity. Ever concerned with accuracy, David wishes to correct an autobiographical misconception which crept into the final part of the article:
However, just so you know, I absolutely did NOT wrestle in college! Had I done that my undergraduate GPA would have been 2.0 units below what it was and we would have never met. I am pleased to report that my days of two 2-hour workouts per day -- followed by going home and eating a handful of grapes and (maybe) a carrot -- are over.
Personally, I did not think of David as a wrestler. Of a good muscular build, certainly. Mesomorphic, no doubt. But not the sort of chap you see in a leotard. So, is Prof Lubinski a wrestler? No, that is a myth. He was not a wrestler at college. Perhaps journalists rely too much on lackadaisical googling.
Am I a cage fighter?
I never talk about my evening work.
Anyway, here is a very good article about the power of intelligence, those bright people who are 1 in 10,000 minds. Key points: to find them test for verbal, mathematical and spatial for best results. Terman was verbally focussed, and thus missed some very bright students. Don’t dream of creating a genius: just encourage and support children as they find their talents, and look after their intellectual and emotional needs. Allow the very bright to skip grades: they do better than those forced to follow the standard curriculum. Intelligence is key, but motivation, personality and effort make a contribution, though far from being as big as pure ability. There is no barrier at IQ 120 or anywhere else: every increase in measured ability leads to higher achievements. Predictably, some educationalists are lukewarm about selecting high ability students for accelerated opportunities. Darkness always has its advocates.
Please make sure that at least one clever silly of your acquaintance gets to read it.