- Term Papers and Free Essays

Different Races Of People Have Different Levels Of Intelligence' Critically Discuss This Claim, Considering The Arguments For Both Sides.

Essay by   •  November 12, 2010  •  1,292 Words (6 Pages)  •  2,565 Views

Essay Preview: Different Races Of People Have Different Levels Of Intelligence' Critically Discuss This Claim, Considering The Arguments For Both Sides.

Report this essay
Page 1 of 6

Race and intelligence is a controversial area of intelligence research studying the nature, origins, and practical consequences of racial and ethnic group differences in intelligence test scores and other measures of cognitive ability. It has been suggested that people of various races do have different levels of intelligence, however the controversy of establishing what exactly makes a person 'intelligent' is the basis for argument. Intelligence is defined as the capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc. (Dockrell, 1970) says "intelligence may be taken to mean ability - what a person can do at this moment." Due to the complex nature of intelligence it has become increasingly more difficult to standardise a test, which universally tests any persons intelligence. It is the social, cultural, economic and environmental factors that appear to determine a person's intelligence rather then a test.

Currently it is generally accepted in most western countries that the IQ test is a direct basis for determining intelligence however it does not measure all the different aspects, which should be taken into consideration when a persons intelligence is being gauged. IQ" stands for "intelligence quotient." A person's IQ is supposed to be a measure of that person's intelligence: the higher the IQ number, the greater the intelligence. This is inaccurate, however, since it assumes that there is only one kind of intelligence. Most people recognize that there are some people with fantastic memories, some with mathematical minds, some with musical genius, some with mechanical expertise, some with good vocabularies. Some people naturally excel at more than one of these behaviours. It would be more accurate to speak of human intelligences than of intelligence. An IQ test, therefore, should be considered a measure of some kinds of intelligence, but not all. The most accurate claim one can make about an IQ test is that it measures IQ. " IQ or abstract reasoning ability is thus a selection of just one portion of the total spectrum of human mental abilities. This aspect of mental abilities measured by IQ tests is important to our society, but it is obviously not the only set of educationally of occupationally relevant abilities." (Eysenck, 1916 p.24-25).

Different races may have varying levels of intelligence. This does not necessarily mean that their levels of intelligence are lower or higher due to genetics in different races of people but may be higher or lower due to the situation at that time. A developing country will have a lower level of intelligence compared to a developed nation due to the physical, social, and economic climate apparent in the countries or races who have a lower level of 'intelligence'. Third world countries traditionally do have lower levels of intelligence because of lower education levels due to lack of funding throughout the country. This still poses the question whether the race or country are less intelligent which is the reason why the country/nation are still developing, is it due to genetics that 'the chronic poverty and underdevelopment in Africa; the bad self indulgent leaders of some African nations; and the consistent failure of most government programs to much improve the of American blacks.' (Howard 1991 p.117). It is nearly impossible to determine that a race has a lower or higher level of intelligence because 'some scientists dispute that such things as 'races' even exist' (Howard, 1991 p.115) because of the amount of genetic mixing and blending that has been occurring forever. It has been said though that some races are on average less intelligent then others '1986 prime minister of Japan Nakasone created a storm by telling a Japanese audience that Japan held an economic edge over the United States because of the low intelligence of American black and Hispanic minorities' (Howard, 1991 p. 116)

There is still a debate continuing that the most intelligent race is the Mongoloids followed by the Caucasoid's and then the Negroids this is based on studies by Rushton 'which show average brain sizes fitting the pattern 1351gm, 1336gm and 1286gm respectively.'(Howard, 1991 p. 117). These figures may show that different races have different sized brain capacity but what it doesn't show is what the intelligence is relevant to. Intelligence can be seen from many different perspectives for example a person of Asian background may have greater skills in mathematics whereas a rural African person may have extremely greater skills in hunting or using their environment. This again poses the task to efficiently define what exactly intelligence is.

Another factor contributing towards the debate over race and intelligence is social class. For many western societies classes are generally divided into upper, middle and working class. In many developing countries eg, Africa the majority of the population would be placed into working class and the few who have wealth in the upper class. Because of the majority of people in these countries are in the working class with little wealth, higher education



Download as:   txt (8.2 Kb)   pdf (105.3 Kb)   docx (11.5 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »
Only available on