“Dogs Show: IQ Test aren’t so smart (Op-Ed)”

“Dogs have evolved a specific kind of intelligence, the ability to flexibly read human gestures, and an eagerness to please their owners.” CREDIT: Josh Chamot Source: LiveScience

Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, Duke University have written this op-ed piece for Live Science, stating that there are many kinds of intelligence that simply cannot be measured by IQ-type tests.

From the article:

When Harvard graduate and Heritage Foundation study co-author Jason Richwine asserted that Hispanic immigrants and their descendants have lower intelligence quotients (IQs) than whites do — and that immigration policy should be based on IQ — much of the ensuing furor focused on whether that was true. No one questioned whether IQ is a reliable, or even useful, measure of intelligence.

However, cognitive scientists now know that the brain is not a coffee mug that is either more- or less-full of intelligence. Instead, there are many different kinds of intelligence, and genius in one area does not necessarily predict genius in another. Helping to illustrate this concept is a highly sophisticated animal that is probably asleep on your sofa: the domestic dog.

Over a century ago, French psychologist Alfred Binet developed the first standardized intelligence test that eventually became the IQ test. Even Binet stressed that his test did not encompass the full range and diversity of intelligence. American psychologist Henry H. Goddard translated Binet’s test, and it quickly became the most widely used standardized test in the United States.

In an eerie precursor to Richwine’s thesis, back in 1912, Goddard stated in his book, “The Kallikak Family: A study in the Heredity of Feeble Mindedness,” that “feeble-mindedness is hereditary and transmitted as surely as any other character … Segregation through colonization seems, in the present state of our knowledge, to be the ideal and perfectly satisfactory method. Sterilization may be accepted as a makeshift, as a help to solve this problem.”

Members of the eugenics movement used that philosophy as justification for the forced sterilization of thousands of African-American women on the basis of their IQ.

Today, people are still disproportionately judged on their IQ — and by their performance on other standardized tests. These tests are popular because they predict — on average — scholastic success. However, they do not even come close to measuring a person’s full capabilities or entire skill set. For example, no standardized tests assess empathy, creativity or perseverance.

The two have co-authored the book, “The Genius of Dogs”.   Read the full story, click here.


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