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Human Intelligence [Hardcover]

Earl Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

22 Nov 2010 0521881625 978-0521881623
This book is a comprehensive survey of our scientific knowledge about human intelligence, written by a researcher who has spent more than 30 years studying the field, receiving a Lifetime Contribution award from the International Society for Intelligence. Human Intelligence takes a non-ideological view of a topic in which, too often, writings are dominated by a single theory or social viewpoint. The book discusses the conceptual status of intelligence as a collection of cognitive skills that include, but also go beyond, those skills evaluated by conventional tests; intelligence tests and their analysis; contemporary theories of intelligence; biological and social causes of intelligence; the importance of intelligence in social, industrial, and educational spheres; the role of intelligence in determining success in life, both inside and outside educational settings; and the nature and causes of variations in intelligence across age, gender, and racial and ethnic groups.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (22 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521881625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521881623
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 18.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,490,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Earl Hunt has written a book that is deeply informed by a scholarly knowledge of the literature. No one in the field has written in a less partisan and less polemical manner. What impressed me greatly about the book is the extraordinary level of pedagogical skill that is apparent in his writing. He has an unusual ability to focus on the most important studies in the field and to summarize their essential features in a clear and compelling manner. This book will be accessible to many individuals with diverse backgrounds."
– Nathan Brody, Wesleyan University

“Hunt reviews the main topics in the field, from socially relevant and measurement-related affairs to brain research, the interplay between genes and environment, and even the delicate group differences in intelligence (age, sex, and race/ethnicity). Thoughtful discussions follow a clear presentation based on a revision of the available (and relevant) empirical evidence. The resulting text is vibrant, brilliant, and inspiring. Human Intelligence is a significant contribution to future generations. A new wave of intelligence researchers will stand on the shoulders of this giant book.”
– Roberto Colom, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

"An up-to-date, well-rounded, thoughtful, objective, readable book on one of the most interesting areas of psychology."
– Ian J. Deary, The University of Edinburgh

"....Reading the book is like taking a guided tour of the realm of human intelligence, with one of the field’s most distinguished elder statesmen as your guide.... If you are interested in the advances that have been made in the science of human intelligence over the past 100 years, this book offers an indispensable guide.... Human Intelligence is destined to become a classic of human intelligence.... In contrast to the many lightweight “pop psych” books written on human intelligence, Human Intelligence is a comprehensive book that examines major research and theory in human intelligence in a scientifically rigorous yet comprehensible way.... well written and clear.... Human Intelligence can be used as a textbook in an advanced undergraduate or graduate course in human cognitive ability. It would be useful to researchers and scholars in psychology and related fields, as well as general readers, who want to know what researchers and scholars in the field of human intelligence have been up to over the past 100+ years and where they are going. In short, if you are interested in the nature of human cognitive ability written by one of the field’s leaders, this book is for you."
– Richard E. Mayer, University of California, PsycCritiques

"....a compelling and readable overview of the empirical literature concerning human intelligence.... This book will be of interest to readers in all the social and behavioral sciences, not just psychology.... Recommended...."
--G. C. Gamst, University of La Verne, CHOICE

"....Earl Hunt has written a new book on intelligence, and it is a gem. Everyone who studies intelligence or wants to get a state-of-the-art view on virtually all facets of research on intelligence should read this book.... Importantly, the book is written at a level that can be read by undergraduates, graduate students, professional researchers, and the general public; in short, the book is written in an accessible style.... Another very positive aspect of the Hunt book is his ability to portray potentially difficult material – especially material that can raises hackles on all sides – in a fair and balanced way.... Anyone wishing to be informed on current theory and research on intelligence will want to read this book, and Hunt has given the field many things to ponder and dispute in the years to come. This book will certainly become a reference point for future work on intelligence."
--Keith F. Widaman, University of California, Davis, Intelligence

"Earl Hunt, a psychologist with more than 30 years' research study experience, offers a comprehensive survey of our scientific knowledge of human intelligence. He aims to give a non-ideological view, avoiding a focus on a single theory or social viewpoint. The conceptual status of intelligence is viewed as a collection of cognitive skills, some of which go beyond those evaluated by conventional intelligence tests."
--Times Higher Education

Book Description

This book is a comprehensive survey of our scientific knowledge about human intelligence. It discusses the conceptual status of intelligence; intelligence tests, theories, and biological and social causes; the importance of intelligence in social, industrial and educational spheres; the role of intelligence in determining success in life; and the nature and causes of variations in intelligence across age, gender, and racial and ethnic groups.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Earl Hunt is an emeritus professor in psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle
(USA) and an authority in research on human intelligence. The aim of his latest book is to give
a complete overview of psychological research on human intelligence. In the introductory
remarks, the author explains that he aims to moderate extreme views about intelligence. He
also makes it clear that he likes to go into nuanced detail, and that he refrains from simple bold
statements. He has clearly succeeded in doing so, and the result is a really great book!

The book has twelve chapters, which cover topics ranging from the genetic and environmental
factors underlying intelligence to theoretical and applied aspects of intelligence research. It also
has a chapter that gives a balanced review of research on intelligence differences between
various groups, such as men, women, and racial groups.

It is rare to read a textbook that has such a pleasant and easy to follow use of language. The
author has managed to explain difficult topics without becoming unnecessarily technical, for
example when explaining factor analysis, genetics, or neurophysiological techniques.
Nonetheless, this book covers complex topics completely and thoroughly. Therefore, this book
is useful for students and academics who want to keep up to date with the latest developments
in the field alike.

One of the outstanding aspects of this book is that the author explains controversies in the field
well. This is especially useful for students, because it helps them to understand how to critically
evaluate different opinions.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall a good book 19 Sep 2011
By Lily Jan - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Overall I think Professor Earl Hunt, from the University of Washington, wrote a commendable book summarizing the research on human intelligence in 507 pages. I think he achieved his stated objective of accepting a middle ground between the hereditarians and the environmentalists. I also agree this position is the most reasonable. However, I should like to emphasize several points in this middle position that may disturb the general public who may not be as familiar with psychometrics:

1. The hereditarians and the environmentalists both believe that intelligence is influence both by genetics and by environment. They just disagree on the percentages. The hereditarians claims 80% genetic influence while environmentalist claims close to 50% (even Nesbitt does not claim 0%).

2. While Hunt agrees that there are significant intelligence differences among different races, ranking the East Asians, European whites, Hispanics, Middle Easterners , South Asians, and Blacks in that order; he minimize the differences between the East Asians and European whites. He also let stand Lynn and Vanhanen's categories of "sharp IQ differences" (p.440) -- ENAMA (European-North American-North-East Asian), SAME (South American-Middle Eastern), and SASA (South Asian-sub-Saharan African) in that order. He states on page 422 "In summary, there is little doubt that IQ scores and educational data present a consistent ordering of the major racial/ethnic groups...."

3. While Hunt is somewhat critical of Lynn's methodology and his data on sub-Saharan Africa, he is not so critical of Lynn's data on more developed countries of the world and not critical of Lynn's conclusions. On page 440 he say "In spite of these concerns, Lynn and Vanhanen's conclusions about the correlations between IQ estimates and measures of social well-being are probably correct."

4. Hunt is a big fan of Rindermann's methodology and his results using TIMSS and PISA data. On page 442 he said "Rindermann first showed that there is a huge general factor for the "national cognitive skill," calculated across countries. The Lynn and Vanhanen estimates load heavily on this factor..... The centrality of this factor is amazing; the range of the loadings is from .97 to 1.0!" I.e. using different methodology from Lynn and Vanhanen, Rindermann came up with the same IQ differences across countries.

5. Hunt let stand Jensen, Lynn and Rushton's claims of racial differences in brain reaction time and in brain sizes. On page 433 he said "The arguments they propose, which are essentially identical, were well presented in a 2005 paper by Rushton and Jensen." East Asians have faster brain reaction time than European whites who have faster reaction time than blacks. East Asians have larger brain sizes than European whites who have larger brain sizes than blacks.

I do have one major closing criticism of Hunt namely his quick acceptance of a small lower verbal ability of East Asians compared to European whites while accepting a much larger superiority of East Asian's mathematical and visual-spatial reasoning abilities compared to European whites. I think he concedes that visual-spatial reasoning ability is not usually tested in IQ tests and this may be one of East Asians' stronger abilities. Hunt's verbal ability claim is contrary to his general claim that groups with higher IQ in one area tend to have higher IQ in other areas and his claim that both verbal and mathematic skills are dependent on g and East Asians tend to score higher than European whites in high g-loaded tests. His used the high school SAT score in the United States as evidence to support this verbal ability claims. He graphed "Asian" math scores for 2007 at around 578 and whites at 535 with "Asian" English score at 515 and white English score at 525. However:

1. More recent SAT scores actually showed "Asians" to be superior in English as well as mathematics when compared to the national average in the United States.

2. The "Asian" category includes pacific islanders and other Asians not just East Asians (Chinese, Korean, and Japanese).

3. 68% of Chinese Americans have Chinese spoken at home. Over 50% of Chinese Americans are not born in the United States. (I am using Chinese Americans because they are the largest East Asian group in the United States. The same can be said for Korean Americans and less so for Japanese Americans.) Therefore comparing English skills with white Americans would not be a fair comparison of verbal abilities. Additionally, the majority of Chinese American children spend every weekend in Chinese language schools, and therefore their time spent using the English language is further limited compared to American whites. The Chinese American children learn two languages and just testing English and call it "verbal ability", puts them at a disadvantage. For instance, one would not consider it a fair comparison of "verbal abilities" if we were to test Chinese language skills British or American children living in Shanghai and compare them with Chinese children living in Shanghai. Additionally, Chinese and Japanese Americans were originally chosen from the labor class in China and Japan to serve as laborers building the railroads and in Hawaiian plantations, and therefore are not representative of all East Asians. IQ of Chinese in California for instance, have been tested to be lower than Chinese in China.

4. When tested in their native languages as in the latest PISA (which was used by Rindermann to estimate IQ and was much lauded by Professor Hunt) testing of 15 year-olds, the verbal abilities of East Asians are clear. The top ranked 5 countries out of 64 countries tested in the PISA reading comprehension part and their comparative scores are:

1. China.............556
2. Korea.............539
3. Finland...........536 (some claim they are a quarter Mongolian)
4. Hong Kong......533
5. Singapore........526

15. USA..............500
OECD average......500

I completely agree with Hunt that "...individuals should be as free as possible to choose their social roles, within the limits of their own capacity, and that other people should respect those choices." Further, I believe that society should help each individual to achieve their maximum potential no matter what his IQ may be.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A balanced expert account 18 Dec 2012
By Dr JA Thompson - Published on
Earl Hunt has written a very well informed and balanced account of the intelligence literature. I would recommend it as a reference work of quality, serving as a benchmark of fair-minded analysis. He is does not shrink from chastising those who adopt unwarranted extreme positions, and does not equivocate when finally coming to a judgment.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, well informed, modest in its claims, moderate, tempered, 26 Mar 2012
By Graham H. Seibert - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lily Jan has written an excellent review; look at this as simply adding to her excellent summary. It is disappointing that such an important work has found no more reviewers. Hunt takes a middle position among the major figures in the field, whom he knows personally, from Jensen, Murray, Herrnstein, Rushton and Gottfredson on the more hereditarian side to Nesbett, Turkheimer and Gardner on the other.

I find Hunt to be easy to read despite the difficulty of his subject. Other researcher such as Lynn are rather one-dimensional, somewhat blind to what is going on outside their fields of interest. Hunt has a broad perspective.

He jumps into the deep end with a discussion of structural equation modeling, a powerful statistical technique for teasing out the relationships among multiple factors which cannot be measured directly. Statisticians call them latent variables, of which g, intelligence is primary. Others might be subfactors of g, called fluid and crystalized intelligence, and motivation. As powerful of a tool as structural equation modeling is, it has serious limitations:
. It depends on the reliability of the measures - ie, how well does an intelligence test measure what it purports to
. The models must simplify by omitting variables, tacitly or explicitly, or estimating values
. With more degrees of freedom than a simple correlation or regression, the models require a large number of observations

The most significant limitations on intelligence measurement have to do with the fact that the subjects are human instead of laboratory animals. It is hard to get a representative sample and hard to get the same sample to hold still to be resampled over time in a longitudinal study.

As imperfect as the real-world situation is for measurement, the work of all researchers in the field over the past century generally point in common directions, those reported by Lily Jan.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Survey of the Field 11 Dec 2013
By Zeldock - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Earl Hunt, a professor emeritus of psychology at Univ. of Washington, has written seven books and numerous papers on learning and intelligence. "Human Intelligence" is an exceptionally well done survey of the state of research on intelligence. Hunt is a patient teacher and a wise and experienced guide though the thickets.

The book is divided into eleven logically arranged chapters. He starts with a discussion of the concept of intelligence and how it has been defined. He next describes the main tests that have been used to measure intelligence and gather data. That is followed by several chapters on theories of intelligence, moving from psychometric theories (i.e., conventional-test-based theories) to more speculative and controversial ones. Next we learn about research on brain function and the genetic bases of intelligence, followed by the environment's impact on intelligence. His tenth chapter examines evidence that high IQ is useful in real life (it is!). And then he deals with the mother of all controversies, "The Demography of Intelligence."

The book is packed with tables and charts, which is the main reason why I bought the dead-tree version instead of getting it on my beloved Kindle. Being more of a word person than a numbers person, I greatly appreciated his (mostly) clear explanations of statistical approaches. He thankfully does not assume that the reader is already conversant with statistics or genetics. Another strength of the book is his ability to pick out flaws in experimental design. He's very ready to follow the data wherever it leads (but no farther) and keeps policy discussion to a minimum, which is clearly flagged.

I'm grateful that a veteran such as Hunt took the time to give us this map of the territory.
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