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Intelligence as Predictor Variable

In The Bell Curve, Richard Hernstein and Charles Murray argued that the nation cannot come to terms with its massive social problems until it confronts the role of intelligence. "How bright someone is, is the single variable that has the largest impact on income and social status," argued Hernstein. He further contended that low IQ is the most important factor relating to such social ills such as crime, illegitimacy, and welfare dependency. What are your thoughts on these claims? Is there research that supports these views?

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Please see response attached (also below), and one supporting article to consider. I hope this helps and take care.

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Question 1: In The Bell Curve, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray argued that the nation couldn't come to terms with its massive social problems until it confronts the role of intelligence. "How bright someone is, is the single variable that has the largest impact on income and social status," argued Hernstein. He further contended that low IQ is the most important factor relating to such social ills such as crime, illegitimacy, and welfare dependency. What are your thoughts on these claims? Is there research that supports these views?

Briefly, there does seem to be research that supports Hernstein and Murray's findings. However, I have provided other considerations as well.

There is some truth to both these premises. For example, research suggests that there is a positive relationship between intelligence, future income level and social status. In other words, on average, the higher your IQ level, the higher your future income and social status will be. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, as these are averages - so all people with high IQs do NOT have a high income or social status (i.e. studies of alcoholics who have entered treatment centers, for examples, found that on average, people who enter treatment have above average IQ).

The debate over intelligence and intelligence testing focuses on the question of whether it is useful or meaningful to evaluate people according to a single major dimension of cognitive competence. Is there indeed a general mental ability we commonly call "intelligence," and is it important in the practical affairs of life? The answer, based on decades of intelligence research, is an unequivocal yes. No matter their form or content, tests of mental skills invariably point to the existence of a global factor that permeates all aspects of cognition. And this factor seems to have considerable influence on a person's practical quality of life. Intelligence as measured by IQ tests is the single most effective predictor known of individual performance at school and on the job. It also predicts many other aspects of well-being, including a person's chances of divorcing, dropping out of high school, being unemployed or having illegitimate children [see illustration]. (http://www.psych.utoronto.ca/~reingold/courses/intelligence/cache/1198gottfred.html). However, as we will discuss later, there are other ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides research evidence to determine whether or not intelligence is a predictor of social status and income and if low intelligence is correlated with social problems, such as crime, illegitimacy, and welfare dependency. Supplemented with an article on intelligence and links for further research.

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