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Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   132
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.97" Width: 4.39" Height: 0.4"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 7, 2001
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0192893211  
EAN  9780192893215  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
People value their powers of thinking and most of us are interested in why some people seem to drive a highly tuned Rolls Royce brain while others potter along with a merely serviceable Ford Fiesta. This work describes what psychologists have discovered about how and why people differ in their thinking powers. The book takes readers from no knowledge about the science of human intelligence to a stage where they are able to make judgements for themselves about some of the key questions about human mental ability differences. Each chapter deals with a central issue that is both scientifically lively and of considerable general interest, and is structured around a diagram which is explained in the course of the chapter. The issues discussed include whether there are several different types of intelligence, whether intelligence differences are caused by genes or the environment, the biological basis of intelligence differences, and whether intelligence declines or increases as we grow older.

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Ian Deary is Professor of Psychology at Edinburgh University.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Intellegence a very short introduction  Jul 17, 2006
This book is a brief review of what is known about the "science" of intellegence testing. Evidently, results are not random. People who do well on IQ tests at one time, tend to do well at other times. This is not very helpful.

There is not much discussion about what is being measured or what good a high IQ might be. On the controversial issues like race and IQ, the author punts. Perhaps wisely, he doesn't say anything at all.

This is a pretty good book in that it reflects that fact that after 100 years of IQ testing not very much of interest is known about the meaning of the test results.
An excellent introduction.  Mar 27, 2006
There isn't a single area of Psychology that elicits as much contention as the area of psychometrics. To a certain degree this is understandable, since no one wants to be told that she is not as bright as someone else, no matter how true or obvious it might be. However, of all brunches of Psychology, psychometrics has the greatest predictive power. Within the professional community many of the general aspects of intelligence are very well understood and appreciated. This VSI book is an excellent introduction to this fascinating field. It covers all the major aspects of the Intelligence research and gives directions for further reading. The style of the book is very accessible without being dumbed-down (this is not another one of those "For Dummies"-styled books). If you are serious about finding out more about what scientist know about intelligence, this would be an excellent starting point for you readings. Overall, this is a wonderful little book.
It is the most comprehensive primer  Jun 30, 2004
I read the book, and it covers a lot. Really open my eyes and mind.

The book summaries various aspect of intelligence, from psychometric tests, general intelligence, relationship between aging and intelligence, brain and intelligence, hereditary and environment, Flynn effect and finally what American Psychology Association said about intelligence.

After reading the book, I am capable of reading more in-depth book in the same field. Readers may find Deary's another book: "Looking down on human intelligence", useful. This book is a bit difficult but I am sure with primer info from the "short introduction" readers can read most of the items.

Readers are also suggested to read what American Psych. Association said about intelligence in 1996

It is because this would provide a more balanced view on general intelligence. Deary, in this book, anyway, seems supporting the idea of general intelligence but neglect the fact that g may be just mathematical manipulation and has no casual meaning. In Deary's another book, "Looking down on Human Intelligence", this view point was proposed in Chapter 1 (as far as I remmebered).

Please forgive also that Deary does not write anything about Emotional Intelligence. Perhaps just to keep the book short enough and easy to digest. Step-by-step...

Great book  Jan 7, 2004
This is a great book - quite simply the best of its kind I have read and I have read many of its kind.

I am a researcher in a field non-trivially related to psychology and this book was an enormously helpful starting point in thinking about intelligence.

Short and TONS of useful information - a Great primer!  Feb 5, 2002
This book is a great introduction to the subject of Intelligence and psychometrics! I just completed the book in two days and must say it was very insightful and straight to the point. It wasn't the easiest reading but far more straightforward than most psychology/sociology stuff I have come across. I knew very little about psychometrics before reading this book as I majored in accounting and got my MBA, with an emphasis in finance. Plus I have some engineering. I say this to put it into perspective as psychology, sociology, philosophy haven't been easy for me to comprehend in the past as they have been too verbose for me and boring, as it is out of my primary field of interest. But, I was very happy to read this book and learned a lot in a short matter of time. Additionally, if you want to learn more the author points to additional books/articles on each topic discussed. This book is great for the following reasons:

1) It is easy to read as it is written to the non psychiatrist.
2) It has a section explaining the only technical stuff used, which is statistics (used in studies outside of psychology too.)
3) It provides a synopsis of the top issues, studies, articles and conclusions written about intelligence.

In my opinion, the author of this book is very fair and reasonable as he consistently stated both sides of an argument if there was one to an issue. He did provide his insights only after stating what the majority of his fellow associates had concluded as well as if the debate was largely over or not within each issue.

So what was talked about in this tiny book of 125 pages?
1) Is there a general factor in intelligence?
2) Are there multiple types of intelligence, as Howard Gardner thinks?
3) Are people getting smarter?
4) How does race, age or the environment you are raised in affect intelligence?
5) What is the 'Flynn effect'?
6) How do our brains work?

Basically, Deary convinced me that there is a general factor that accounts for one's mental abilities but, as he states, there is still much research to be done as to how the brain operates so that improvements can occur in testing/research and cures for horrible diseases, such as Alzheimers, can be figured out.


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