The Bell Curve

Topics: Intelligence quotient, Intelligence, Cognition Pages: 5 (1737 words) Published: December 6, 2005
The Bell Curve

The Bell Curve was designed to explain, using empirical statistical analysis, the variations in intelligence in American Society, raise some warnings regarding the consequences of this intelligence gap, and propose national social policy with the goal of mitigating the worst of the consequences attributed to this intelligence gap. The bell curve begins with a brief description of the history of intelligence theory and recent developments in intelligence thought and testing, through the eyes of the authors. There are six important assumptions that the authors build much of the Bell Curve case upon. These six assumptions are theories that regard the validity of "classical" cognitive testing techniques. These assumptions include: (1) There is such a difference as a general factor of cognitive ability on which human beings differ; (2) All standardized test of academic aptitude or achievement measure this general factor to some degree, but IQ tests expressly designed for that purpose measure it most accurately; (3) IQ scores match, to a first degree, whatever it is that people mean when they use the word intelligent, or smart in ordinary language; (4) IQ scores are stable, although not perfectly so, over much of a persons life; (5) Properly administered IQ tests are not demonstrably biased against social, economic, ethnic, or racial groups; and (6) Cognitive ability is substantially heritable, apparently no less than 40 percent and no more than 80 percent. In chapters 1-4 discusses "The Cognitive Elite". The cognitive elite are the people who have high IQ's. This part of the book is saying that Americans that have a higher IQ are selected for college and end up in a set amount of professions. It's saying that all of the smart people go into a select few occupation, only for the "smart, or bright" people. The authors suggest that the more intelligent people are the individuals that are most likely employed in top professions such as law. The authors also argue that an IQ test is an important indicator to measure an employee's potential. They also feel that an IQ test should have an input to the hiring process. Their final point is made with respect to earnings based on cognitive ability. The cognitive elite are more skilled and as a result end up with top jobs, larger homes, and more financial stability, which leads directly to physical separation from the rest of society. It is the writers' contention that "The Cognitive Elite" are overrated. Due to the fact that you have a higher IQ, doesn't mean that you will necessarily end up with the more prestigious occupation. You can get one of the highest scores on an IQ test and have not a bit of common sense. It doesn't take a very smart person to get an important job done. A perfect example is a man named Richard Williams. He dropped out of high school in the 10th grade due to personal problems at home and as a result earned a GED. He started his own electrical business and later on started working for the City of Miami. He is an electrical inspector and is a step away from becoming the first black chief inspector of the City of Miami. By no means was he a child prodigy, but he's the best at what he does and that's all it takes for a job to be done properly. He is also still apart of society in all classes. Chapters 5-12 of the book discuss the social groups of society that are at the low end of the cognitive ability spectrum. Claims were made and conclusions were drawn about the tendency of individuals involved in anti-social or otherwise undesirable behavior or situations to be below average when measured for cognitive ability. Poverty, schooling, unemployment, family matters, welfare dependency, parenting, crime, and civility and citizenship are the leading undesirable behaviors or situations most prominent of those with low IQs. Chapters 13-17 address issues of a national focus, turning attention to cognitive and social behavioral differences between racial...

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