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The Malleability of Intelligence Is Not Constrained by Heritability

  • Douglas Wahlsten

Abstract

In The Bell Curve, Herrnstein and Murray claim that a high value for heritability of intelligence limits or constrains the extent to which intelligence can be increased by changing the environment.1 In this chapter it is argued that the calculated numerical value of “heritability” has no valid implications for government policies and that evidence of a nonspecific genetic influence on human mental ability places no constraint on the consequences of an improved environment. On the contrary, a very small change in environment, such as a dietary supplement, can lead to a major change in mental development, provided the change is appropriate to the specific kind of deficit that in the past has impaired development. The results of adoption studies, the intergenerational cohort effect, and effects of schooling also reveal that intelligence can be increased substantially without the need for heroic intervention.

Keywords

Cohort Effect Mental Ability Bell Curve Harvard Educational Review Nutritional Deficiency Disease 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

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  • Douglas Wahlsten

There are no affiliations available

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