February 25, 2005

Stephen Jay Gould's Theory of Intelligence Explained

My older son has been reading Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea (If only DD had come up with a D word like "Design" or "Development" instead of "Idea"!). So, he has become interested in the debate between evolutionary psychologists who view intelligence as a multitude of "domain-specific modules" (e.g., the Cheater Detection module) and mainstream psychometricians who emphasize the importance of the g factor for general problem solving ability. (The two models aren't necessarily contradictory; in fact, they are almost certainly complementary, as I wrote in "The Half Full glass.")

My son mentioned that the late Stephen Jay Gould hated the g factor theory, famously denouncing it as the "rotten core" of The Bell Curve. But, he noted, Gould also hated evolutionary psychology. "So, if Gould thought intelligence wasn't general and he also thought it wasn't specific, what else could it be?

Good question.

No comments: