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What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Stanovich refers to IQ as the Algorithmic Mind and rationality as the Reflective Mind. He indicates that the correlation between the two is low. Many people have the equivalent of a powerful computer inside their brain. But, they are surprisingly poor "computer user" of that brain power.Read more ›
Psychologist Keith Stanovich has an interesting idea: maybe "intelligence tests" measure intelligence (as traditionally defined) but not a wholly different faculty of rationality. To Stanovich, the difference between intelligence and rationality is the difference between the "algorithmic mind" and the "reflective mind," or, the difference between the ability to employ algorithms and the ability to think about and CRITICALLY employ algorithms. (I might say that intelligence may be the ability to map or write a sentence and rationality is the ability to formulate arguments and write a persuasive essay.)
The first half of Stanovich's book is dedicated to showing that while IQ tests are a valid measure of a faculty of general intelligence (he does not deny that IQ tests measure a very real thing), it simply does not measure all that we understand to be good thinking.
Stanovich, though, is also a critic of those like Gardner and Sternberg who want to add to the number of "intelligences" (musical intelligence, naturalistic intelligence, creative intelligence). These things, he says, inadvertently beatify the term "intelligence" to be a be-all-end-all that it is not (by implying that any good mental work must be called an "intelligence" rather than a "talent," "skill" or "proclivity.Read more ›
What this book gets right:
- stressing a clear distinction between IQ and rationality
- presenting a taxonomy of thinking processes and associated thinking errors according to current cognitive science
Where this book does not so well:
- examples for irrationality often strangely unconvincing or muddled with issues of preference over raw rationality
- repetition of arguments instead of fleshing them out (the endnotes are better written than the main text because here the authors does not try to pander to the 'average' reader by diluting his argument and finding examples from sports etc)
- creation of unnecessary neologisms ("contaminated mindware" instead of "questionable beliefs")
Where this book fails:
- failure to clearly define elements of rationality beyond the labels "instrumental" and "epistemic" and an arbitrary collection of good thinking habits
- failure to come to terms with, or even mention, the problem of volition - who is the controller, what would propel him to override/control his instincts, in which situations is rational thought it the 'right' choice, are there situations where it is not helpful, can such a choice even be determined a priori etc.
- complete failure to assess the issue of the normative in the discussion of rationality.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Every one should read this book. It explains so much of the stuff in life that appears to make no sense.Published 15 months ago by David Zinda
Poised to discredit some people and that wasn't very nice. Walk a mile in their shoes.Published 17 months ago by Mac
One of the most important books about rationality available today. Excellent integration and analysis of decades of literature, much of which was conducted by or with the author.Published on April 28, 2013 by Barbara A. Drescher
This book is poorly written, but the ideas in it are priceless. It offers great insights about the dumbfounding conundrum: How come some of our most intelligent, razor-sharp minded... Read morePublished on January 16, 2013 by Jonathan P.
Professor Stanovich was asking himself the question why smart, i.e. intelligent, people act foolishly, for example, why they make financial decisions that cause them to lose a lot... Read morePublished on January 6, 2011 by cut-e scienceblog
Fundamentally, this book does something I have been consistently looking for; Although I have found and read a number of books on biases in the human brain, this book goes the... Read morePublished on September 2, 2010 by Jonnan West
In the next book, skip the political in jokes, and choose a less polarizing figure to make fun / an example of. "Bush stupid", har har. Read morePublished on July 12, 2010 by Amazon Customer
Ever wonder why your neighbor with the PhD consults the daily horoscope? Keith Stanovich has a pretty persuasive answer. Read morePublished on April 23, 2010 by J. Davis
Seems like an interesting book--basically that high IQ doesn't stop one from faulty thinking. Unfortunately this applies to the author. Read morePublished on January 13, 2010 by Brorson