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The Neuroscience of Intelligence (Cambridge Fundamentals of Neuroscience in Psychology) Paperback – December 28, 2016
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'Forty years of Haier's research and thinking about the neuroscience of intelligence have been condensed into this captivating book. He consistently gets it right, even with tricky issues like genetics. It is an intelligent and honest book.' Robert Plomin, King's College London
'An original, thought-provoking review of modern research on human intelligence from one of its pioneers.' Aron K. Barbey, University of Illinois
'Deftly presenting the latest insights from genetics and neuroimaging, Haier provides a brilliant exposition of the recent scientific insights into the biology of intelligence. Highly timely, clearly written, certainly a must-read for anyone interested in the neuroscience of intelligence!' Danielle Posthuma, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
'The trek through the maze of recent work using the modern tools of neuroscience and molecular genetics will whet the appetite of aspiring young researchers. The author's enthusiasm for the discoveries that lie ahead is infectious. Kudos!' Thomas J. Bouchard Jr., Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Minnesota
'Richard J. Haier invites us to a compelling journey across a century of highs and lows of intelligence research, settling old debates and fueling interesting questions for new generations to solve. From cognitive enhancement to models predicting IQ based on brain scans, the quest to define the neurobiological basis of human intelligence has never been more exciting.' Emiliano Santarnecchi, Harvard Medical School
'Loud voices have dismissed and derided the measurement of human intelligence differences, their partial origins in genetics, and their associations with brain structure and function. If they respect data, Haier's book will quieten them. It's interesting to think how slim a book with the title The Neuroscience of Intelligence would have been not long ago, and how big it will be soon; Haier's lively book is a fingerpost showing the directions in which this important area is heading.' Ian J. Deary, University of Edinburgh
'The biology of few psychological differences is as well understood as that of intelligence. Richard J. Haier pioneered the field of intelligence neuroscience and he is still at its forefront. This book summarizes the impressive state the field has reached, and foreshadows what it might become.' Lars Penke, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany
'It increasingly appears that we are within years, not decades, of understanding intelligence at a molecular level - a scientific advance that will change the world. Richard J. Haier's The Neuroscience of Intelligence gives us an overview of the state of knowledge that covers not only his own field, the brain, but also recent developments in genetics, and he does so engagingly and accessibly for the non-specialist. I highly recommend it.' Charles Murray, American Enterprise Institute
'This book was overdue: a highly readable and inspiring account of cutting-edge research in neuroscience of human intelligence. Penned by Richard J. Haier, the eminent founder of this research field, the book is an excellent introduction for beginners and a valuable source of information for experts.' Aljoscha Neubauer, University of Graz, Austria
'This book is 'A Personal Voyage through the Neuroscience of Intelligence'. Reading this wonderful volume 'forces thinking,' which can be said only about a very small fraction of books. Here the reader will find reasoned confidence on the exciting advances, waiting next door, regarding the neuroscience of intelligence and based on the author's three basic laws: 1. No story about the brain is simple, 2. No one study is definitive, and 3. It takes many studies and many years to sort things out.' Roberto Colom, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
Why are some people smarter than others? This book clearly explains what neuroscience tells us about intelligence and the brain, emphasizing genetic and neuroimaging research. It dispels common misconceptions and shows how neuroscientific methods could dramatically enhance intelligence, with surprising implications for education and social policy.
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These questions and more are concisely answered head-on in this new book by Richard J. Haier, Professor Emeritus at UC Irvine, who has been on the forefront of intelligence research for over 40 years. As Haier closes in on the end of his long and distinguished career, he uses this book to summarize the current state of intelligence research and suggests that there is an exciting “golden age” of discovery that he foresees emerging in this field. The primary target audience is students of psychology and neuroscience, educators, and education policy makers.
Perhaps no field of study in psychology, let alone in the social sciences, is as misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misrepresented as is the study of intelligence. This being the case, Haier clearly states in the Preface that three laws govern this book:
1.No story about the brain is simple
2. No one study is definitive
3. It takes many years to sort out conflicting and inconsistent findings and establish a compelling weight of evidence
“Weight of evidence” is actually the key to this book and to understanding the state of intelligence science. Haier writes “If the weight of evidence changes for any of the topics covered, I will change my mind, and so should you.” He reminds the reader of this point throughout the book to underscore that outlier studies do not necessarily nullify prior data and that the complexity of the science makes it difficult to establish a weight of evidence on the basis just one or two studies.
The book is divided into 6 chapters, each ending with bullet point recaps of the main topics covered and some questions for review.
Chapter 1 covers what we know about intelligence and the weight of evidence
Chapter 2 covers nature vs. nurture and the genetics of intelligence
Chapter 3 covers the early brain scanning studies and their discoveries
Chapter 4 covers the current state of brain scanning and intelligence at work
Chapter 5 covers whether intelligence can be boosted
Chapter 6 covers new research into intelligence and what is on the horizon
Throughout the book, Haier consistently remains cautious, conservative, and measured in his presentation of the evidence and the conclusions drawn from it, and provides extensive citations to the major studies that have established the current weight of evidence.
Some major takeaways from this book are:
*General intelligence is indeed measurable to an accurate degree and it is the best predictor of one’s educational and economic success
*Intelligence is largely genetic - approximately 80% genetic by early adulthood
*Many genes are now being identified which are related to intelligence
*Intelligence does vary between ethnicities, but not so much between the sexes
*Brain scans are showing intelligence at work in greater detail than ever before, and physical differences in brain structures between higher and lower IQ subjects are being discovered
*Arthur Jensen’s controversial findings regarding IQ and education are largely validated by the current weight of evidence
*IQ is not increased by early education, breast feeding, listening to Mozart, educational video games, or by taking cognitive supplements
*”Neuro-poverty” is a real phenomenon that has significant implications for education policy and how social welfare programs are designed
While the above takeaways are established by the weight of evidence, Haier does not shy away from presenting the studies which report conflicting data and discussing what those studies mean in terms of whether they are statistical outliers or the result of poorly designed studies and poor peer review.
The enthusiasm which Haier seems to infuse this book with is directed towards those just entering the field and the incredible discoveries that are sure to come in the next few decades with the improving scanning technology and the decoding of the genome. The possibility of applying these new discoveries to inventing methods of boosting intelligence for lower IQ people to help level the playing field is one of the major goals and benefits to society for the study of intelligence.
This book should be required reading for education policymakers who continue to approach disparate educational gaps, particularly by ethnicity, only as failures in educational bureaucracy, or worse, as a result of institutional racism. This book should also be required reading for students of the social sciences, particularly for Sociology students who are ostensibly studying a “science”, but are far too often indoctrinated into an ideological viewpoint that all differences in life outcomes are strictly due to one’s environment and cultural institutions.
There are numerous "Textbook" Tables and Figures in the book, and in a work filled with specific, and to me unfamiliar, scientific information, the accuracy, clarity, and accessibility of those entries is critical to one's understanding of the material and the author's points.
In chapter 2, the Textbook 2.2 table runs off the screen at the top, and so can't be read in it's entirety. There is no way to scroll, or to page up or down to reveal (at least) one line of text that shows up as only the bottom half of the letters in that line. As I was trying to follow Textbook 2.2's detailed explanation of the complexities of DNA, this loss of one or more lines of information was really frustrating.
In chapter 3, the very important Figure 3.6, Brodman areas, also runs off the screen at the top, with at least the top three-fourths of the illustration not visible. Once again, turning pages doesn't help. This is a diagram of the brain mapped in numbered areas. As these areas of the brain are referenced in the author's following discussion, this format error was beyond inconvenient, and seriously compromised my ability to follow the author's argument.
As the subject line above states, these errors occur when viewing the Kindle version of the book on my Kindle Paperwhite. I opened the book on my computer at work with Kindle for PC, and the errors did not occur. But, since I bought The Neuroscience of Intelligence to read on my Kindle Paperwhite device, I am returning the Kindle version for refund, and going for the paperback.
There are, admittedly, a lot of devices out there for reading ebooks, and formatting is perhaps not the easiest editing task in the world, but the Kindle Paperwhite is definitely a mainstream reader, and this is a Cambridge University Press publication.
You may be slightly lost with the rest (starting at chapter 3), but the beginning alone is worth the book.