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Intelligence Testing and Darwinian Ideas - Essay Example

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This assignment "Intelligence Testing and Darwinian Ideas" discusses Darwin’s ideas about natural selection which influence the development and use of intelligence testing in the first half of the twentieth century…
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Intelligence Testing and Darwinian Ideas
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Download file to see previous pages The central idea which underlies Darwin’s theory regarding natural selection is that the strongest of the species will eventually be the ones that survive and are able to pass on their genes to the next generation. It has been summed up as the axiom, ‘survival of the fittest’ and in terms of intelligence theories and measurement of intelligence; it has been applied to mean that the most intelligent individuals or animals will be more successful than those who are less intelligent. This is one of the problems which has plagued psychologists for many years i.e. how to create a scale of intelligence to measure one individual against the other?

Darwin himself was not deeply interested in intelligence or the measurement of it since his work concerns itself more with the biological aspects of evolution. The first person to actually apply his theory to the process of intelligence measurement would have to be his distant relative, Francis Galton. At the end of the 19th century, Galton thought that intelligence could be measured directly through the testing of a person’s ability to react. Reaction time was thought to be a genuine measurement of intelligence. Even though we now know that this is not an exact measure but despite this assumption, many of his other achievements stand out significantly (Plucker, 2003).

Galton was the person who came up with a scale of intelligence measurement and the idea of nature versus nurture (Plucker, 2003). His interest in intelligence testing began when he studied heredity in 1865 after his cousin (Darwin) had published his famous book. He was sure that intelligence was a heredity quality which was passed down from generation to generation and wrote his own book where he outlined his ideas that similar to plants and animals inheriting traits from their respective parents, human beings inherit the trait of intelligence from their parents (Fancher, 1995). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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