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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 30 reviews
on April 28, 2010
Jensen's treatise on defining what intelligence is must be his best. If you can get past chapter 4 with a thorough understanding of the method of correlated vectors, you're well on your way to finally grasping what the contemporary understanding of what "g" is. You come out of this book accepting that "g" could very well be the best proxy for intelligence.
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Jensen's definitions and descriptions of his science are fascinating. g stands for General Ability. It is neither IQ nor intelligence itself. Intelligence, per Jensen, is the capacity of all animals to perceive and act upon the natural world.
The Intelligence Quotient is a statistical artifice that maps individuals' problem solving abilities into a linear scale according to a Gaussian bell-curve distribution. By definition the average IQ is 100 and the standard deviation (SD) 15. By the properties of the bell curve approximately 2/3 of the population falls within one SD of the median, that is, between 85 and 115.
However, as Jensen points out repeatedly, general ability is not a linear function. The discriminators are whether or not an individual can solve specific problems. There is no way to define a lineal relationship between two individuals if once can figure out (for instance) the lowest primo number greater than 90 and another cannot, or one can figure that context requires the word above to be "prime" not "primo" and another cannot. There is no metric for "g" itself. Rather, all tests of mental ability have a degree of "g loading." Psychometrics is the science of assessing and manipulating information about a quality that cannot be measured directly.
Jensen devotes much energy to defending the validity of "g", this thing that defies direct measurement. It is real because:
a) It is statistically "there." It is highly correlated among myriad tests.
b) It works in the real world. There is no single discriminator that approaches the value of "g", usually proxied by an IQ test score, as a predictor of educational or job performance.
c) It has equal predictive power for both sexes, all ages and all populations of mankind. It is independent (as he takes endless pages to prove) of race, language and socio-economic status (SES).
d) Many seemingly unrelated kinds of tests all turn out to measure the same thing. Tests may be verbal or pictorial, or may simply measure the time it takes to react to and act upon a visual or auditory stimulus.
e) By adulthood it no longer has much to do with advantages such as hearing Mozart in the womb or a Montessori kindergarten, or disadvantages such as Jim Crow and slavery.
The other reviews of this book are quite good. Some of Jensen's many fascinating observations:
o Incest is a bad idea. The offspring have a significant intelligence deficit.
o Smart parents, alas, can't count on having equally smart kids. On average their intelligence regresses halfway back to the mean (100 for white Americans). On the bright side, the average people manage by dumb luck to produce enough smarties for each succeeding generation.
o Breast feeding makes a huge difference, about 7 IQ points. Blacks do not breast feed as often or as long as whites. Big, easy change to make in society.
o The factors generally agreed to comprise "g" differ among races and sexes. Blacks exceed whites in short term memory. Men exceed women in spatial intelligence. When the many individual factors are aggregated they reveal different means for different races, with whites in the middle with an average of 100.
o Individuals with IQs below 70 are generally considered to be retarded. White retarded kids frequently look and act somehow different, while retarded kids of other races are more normal in terms of socialization, motor skills and energy. This is related to the two types of retardation, familial and organic. In simple words, there is something "wrong with" an organically retarded child. A bad forceps delivery, spina difida or one of a number of identifiable anomalies. Familial retardation, on the other hand, simply represents a bad spin of the chromosomal wheel of fortune that is sexual reproduction. The odds are higher in populations whose median IQs are lower.
o Cause for concern: If Vanhansen and Lynn are right in "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" there are perhaps a dozen countries in which the average citizen would be considered retarded and hence marginally educable by U.S. standards.
o Illiteracy is not always a matter of reading. Below the threshold of retardation people often have the same inability to understand a sentence whether it is written or spoken. The issue is having enough "g" to make sense out of the words.
o People with lower IQs are markedly more fertile than those with higher IQs. This dysgenic (opposite of eugenic) trend stands to lower "g" within the U.S. population. Average intelligence will of course remain at 100 because by definition it is the population mean.
Jensen comes across through this book as first and foremost an inquisitive mind, a scientist. He often states with unashamed candor that he (nor anybody else) knows the answer to some knotty problems of psychometrics, like the Flynn effect that shows overall intelligence rising 3 points per generation. Contrast his thoroughness and openness with the tone of advocacy found in Stephen Jay Gould (Mismeasure of Man) and sites such as fairtest dot org. Steven Pinker describes in "The Blank Slate, the Modern Denial of Human Nature" the extreme and prolonged abuse Jensen has taken from the academic community. I'm happy to report he hasn't lost his sense of balance. Or sense of humor.
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on June 12, 2000
I found the "The G Factor:...' to be enlightening and thoroughly researched book on a fascinating topic. Although the basic premise, that intellignece matters and that it is primarily inherited was evident, the book was rarely boring. The basic premise regarding intelligence was broadened by Jensen to explain intellignece, G, in statistical and physical terms with forays into G's manifestations in life. The book will not appeal to people without a strong interest in statistics; it will not appeal to people who believe that the environment is the primary shaper of our personailties. I have two criticisms of the book. The book could have been omposed better; sentences were sometimes very long with excessive flourish. My second criticism concerns the authors purpose. Although I have no doubt as to the validity of the information presented, I would wonder about the emphasis of black and white racial differences... I would have liked to see more racial balance in the examination of racial differences. Overall, I found the book to be a fascinating and enlightening.
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on March 1, 2009
Americans continue to spend good money after bad to support the religious-like dogma of education egalitarianism. The g Factor is another reference point of sound research about general intelligence, its correlations/ causations, and reliability. The public school system continues a cult-like mantra that all children can learn, but never acknowledge that an individual's learning is dependent on heritable factors out of the system's control. As Jensen notes, all people can learn; but at different levels which is best predicted by g. Ignoring research, public schools force students to take advanced courses; such as, algebra, trigonometry, chemistry and physics whereby most students can pass only by weakening the passing standard. President Obama announced this week in his State of the Union Speech that he expects more students to go to college. His ambitious proposal does not coincide with the reality that the ability to understand advanced concepts is not something that everyone can do. What psychometric tests do is to clear the lens of reality so that students can be directed into areas where there is a greater likelihood for them to complete training and thus be successful. Other attributes like motivation need to be factored into the equation and Jensen speaks to these- not to make it sound as though g is all encompassing.

After reading this book, you will understand why the egalitarians will never be satisfied with public education since their goals are not based upon reality.
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on January 23, 2013
Wonderful timing, quick and professional. I highly recommend anyone this seller. No complaints. Very quick and diligent. I ordered these for my classes and it all worked out for the best. Thank YOu
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on October 18, 2009
Book indistinguishable from new, arrived in a few days. Great service. Highly recommend
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