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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Synthesis of Current Work on IQ
In a brilliant 40-year career that has earned him a place among the most frequently cited figures in contemporary psychology, Arthur Jensen has systematically researched and extended Charles Spearman's (1927) seminal concept of g, the general factor of intelligence. The g Factor is an awesome and monumental exposition of the case for the reality of g. It does not draw...
Published on 9 Aug. 1999

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1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars post hoc ergo propter hoc
"The g Factor" is a non-event. I am sure that there are those, perhaps even the author, who would love a "Bell Curve"-esque controversy to be brought to a boil in the popular media so that the spurned hereditairians can once again claim their "martyrdom" at the hands of the "PC inquisition." It ilicited from me little more than a...
Published on 26 May 1998


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Synthesis of Current Work on IQ, 9 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The g Factor: Science of Mental Ability (Human Evolution, Behaviour & Intelligence) (Hardcover)
In a brilliant 40-year career that has earned him a place among the most frequently cited figures in contemporary psychology, Arthur Jensen has systematically researched and extended Charles Spearman's (1927) seminal concept of g, the general factor of intelligence. The g Factor is an awesome and monumental exposition of the case for the reality of g. It does not draw back from its most controversial conclusions -- that the average differences in IQ found between Blacks and Whites has a substantial hereditary component, and that this difference has important societal consequences. However, The g Factor is not about race, as such. The first five chapters deal with the intellectual history of the discovery of g and various models of how to conceptualize intelligence. Other chapters deal with the biological correlates of g (excluding race), its heritability, and its practical predictive power. The fact that psychometric g has many physical correlates proves that it is not just a methodological artifact. Among biological variables, g loads on heritability coefficients determined from twin studies and inbreeding depression scores calculated in children born from cousin-marriages. g is also related to brain size measured by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), brain evoked potentials, and intracellular brain pH levels. It (g) is a product of human evolution and is also found in non-human animals. Despite these caveats, The Bell Curve affair allows one to safely predict that The g Factor's coverage of race will strike many as of central importance. All the issues Jensen raised in 1969 are still with us today. Indeed, much of the opposition to IQ testing and heritability would probably disappear if it were not for the stubborn and unwelcome fact that, despite extensive well funded programs of intervention, the Black-White difference refuses to go quietly into the night. Chapter 11 of The g Factor fully documents that, on average, the American Black population scores below the White population by about 1.2 standard deviations, equivalent to 18 IQ points. (This magnitude of difference gives a median overlap of less than 15 percent, meaning that less than 15 percent of the Black population exceeds the White average of 50 percent). The difference between Blacks and Whites in average IQ scores has scarcely changed over the past 80 years (despite some claims that the gap is narrowing) and can be observed as early as three years of age. Controlling for overall socioeconomic level only reduces the mean difference by 4 IQ points. Chapter 12 presents Jensen's technical arguments for why he believes that race differences are about 50 percent heritable. He emphasizes the fact that it is precisely those components of intelligence tests that are most heritable and that most relate to brain size which most profoundly differentiate Blacks from Whites.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arthur Jensen has the final word on intelligence and race, 6 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The g Factor: Science of Mental Ability (Human Evolution, Behaviour & Intelligence) (Hardcover)
The Gauntlet is Down: Jensen Takes the IQ Debate to a New Level! ARTHUR R. JENSEN is Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley. During the 40 years of his tenure at Berkeley, he has been a prolific researcher in the psychology of human learning, individual differences in cognitive abilities, psychometrics, behavioral differences in cognitive abilities, behavioral genetics, and mental chronometry. His work, published in six earlier books and some 400 articles in scientific and professional journals, has placed him among the most frequently cited figures in contemporary psychology. In a brilliant 40-year career that has earned him a place among the most frequently cited figures in contemporary psychology, Arthur Jensen has systematically developed a seminal concept first discovered by Charles Spearman in the 1920s: individual and group differences in mental ability exist, and these differences can be measured by a single, general factor, g. On its surface, this concept seems innocuous. However, Jensen does not draw back from its most controversial conclusions: that the average differences in IQ and other abilities found between sexes and racial groups have a substantial hereditary component, and that these differences have important societal cosequences. The culmination of his career is the most comprehensive treatment of g ever written, The g Factor. In it, Dr. Jensen not only clearly explains the psychometric, statistical, genetic, and physiological basis of g, in the process he also refutes all major challenges that have been brought against the concept of general mental ability. It is a title destined to be a classic in psychology for years to come that boldly addresses some of the most important questions in an increasingly complex and technological world. [Publisher's Introduction] Arthur Jensen's new book The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability finally puts an end to The Bell Curve debate started in 1994 by Herrnstein and Murray. That block buster stood the race debate on its head and brought out the forces to do battle over the causes of human nature, specifically the 100 years of testing that consistently showed that blacks scored poorly on IQ tests, on an average of 85 in the United States. But Herrnstein and Murray's book was not subject to rigorous academic review and was criticized for putting forth public policy as well as analyzing the causes of black pathologies. In order to set the world straight, and bring some order to the chaos, the American Psychological Association (APA) put together a team of experts in 1995 to again look at psychometrics and concluded in their report APA Task Force Examines the Knowns and Unknowns of Intelligence that there indeed was a huge gap between whites and blacks in measured IQ, that the tests were not in any way biased, but the cause was still unknown. The subterfuge and deception continued, as this was just too political a subject to be absolutely honest and candid about. But it was a good start. Now only the cause was in dispute, not the actual disparity that has been so well documented. Now, the most renowned and most frequently cited expert in the field, Arthur R. Jensen, has taken another step in bringing order to a subject as divisive and vitriolic as evolution was over 100 years ago. In fact, in Sulloway's new book, Born to Rebel, he shows how the forces of reactionaries and radicals, many from the same families, will battle these highly charged views that infringe on the political turf of religionists, politicians, and social do-gooders. The principals of scientific debate take a back seat to agendas. But having experienced this anathema to pure science for the last 40 years himself, Arthur Jensen has produced the most thorough compilation of the science of psychometrics and differential psychology yet published. Finally, until an equally qualified academic can summon forth evidence to the contrary, the record will show that general intelligence as defined shows a wide disparity between individuals and different ethnic and racial population groups, and this disparity is primarily genetic. The g Factor is so complete in its coverage, so mathematically thorough in its treatment of establishing general intelligence as the engine that all other brain modules use in solving life's problems, that it is hard to sum up in a few pages what the message is. It is really the culmination of over a hundred years of research into what it is we mean by intelligence. Why is it so important? Because it is the foundation which the socialist/communitarian/egalitarian left must destroy to be able to move forward in trying to remake humans in their own image. To do this, the genetic genie must be stuffed back into its bottle at any cost. If the subject was love, or morality, or fairness and these subjects were attacked with the same vigor that intelligence has undergone, the media, government, and public debate would come to a halt. All we would have to say is, "but no one knows what morality is, everyone has a different definition of it, so it must not exist." Likewise for love, beauty, athleticism, virtue, etc. None of these can be clearly defined, but we can learn much about each by understanding our past, how we evolved, and how and what these terms mean in relation to reproduction, survival, and life's meaning as we pass through this world. (In fact, anyone would have an even harder time defining a mutually acceptable and scientifically sound meaning of life . Does that mean that life is perhaps meaningless?)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychometrics not Politics, 17 Feb. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The g Factor: Science of Mental Ability (Human Evolution, Behaviour & Intelligence) (Hardcover)
I am dumbfounded by the size and persistence of the politically driven anti intelligence construct debate. Much like Charles Murray and Richard Hernstein, authors of the Bell curve, Jensen has managed to exhaust the field of psychometric cognitive testing with a complete and convincing review of the most valid, useful, and thoroughly researched psychological discovery of the 20th century. The G factor is a product of over half a century of excellent cognitive science guided by innumerable empirical studies.
Critical reviewers of The G Factor are typically ill mannered and uninformed; using ad-homonym in place of science to fashion a conterarguement against the most erudite psychologist (Arthur Jensen) on the planet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Synthesis of Current Work on IQ, 9 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The g Factor: Science of Mental Ability (Human Evolution, Behaviour & Intelligence) (Hardcover)
In a brilliant 40-year career that has earned him a place among the most frequently cited figures in contemporary psychology, Arthur Jensen has systematically researched and extended Charles Spearman's (1927) seminal concept of g, the general factor of intelligence. The g Factor is an awesome and monumental exposition of the case for the reality of g. It does not draw back from its most controversial conclusions -- that the average differences in IQ found between Blacks and Whites has a substantial hereditary component, and that this difference has important societal consequences. However, The g Factor is not about race, as such. The first five chapters deal with the intellectual history of the discovery of g and various models of how to conceptualize intelligence. Other chapters deal with the biological correlates of g (excluding race), its heritability, and its practical predictive power. The fact that psychometric g has many physical correlates proves that it is not just a methodological artifact. Among biological variables, g loads on heritability coefficients determined from twin studies and inbreeding depression scores calculated in children born from cousin-marriages. g is also related to brain size measured by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), brain evoked potentials, and intracellular brain pH levels. It (g) is a product of human evolution and is also found in non-human animals. Despite these caveats, The Bell Curve affair allows one to safely predict that The g Factor's coverage of race will strike many as of central importance. All the issues Jensen raised in 1969 are still with us today. Indeed, much of the opposition to IQ testing and heritability would probably disappear if it were not for the stubborn and unwelcome fact that, despite extensive well funded programs of intervention, the Black-White difference refuses to go quietly into the night. Chapter 11 of The g Factor fully documents that, on average, the American Black population scores below the White population by about 1.2 standard deviations, equivalent to 18 IQ points. (This magnitude of difference gives a median overlap of less than 15 percent, meaning that less than 15 percent of the Black population exceeds the White average of 50 percent). The difference between Blacks and Whites in average IQ scores has scarcely changed over the past 80 years (despite some claims that the gap is narrowing) and can be observed as early as three years of age. Controlling for overall socioeconomic level only reduces the mean difference by 4 IQ points. Chapter 12 presents Jensen's technical arguments for why he believes that race differences are about 50 percent heritable. He emphasizes the fact that it is precisely those components of intelligence tests that are most heritable and that most relate to brain size which most profoundly differentiate Blacks from Whites.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best text on psychometrics avaliable., 21 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The g Factor: Science of Mental Ability (Human Evolution, Behaviour & Intelligence) (Hardcover)
The _g_ Factor is a very complete text on virtually every aspect of psychometrics. It is highly technical and is not light reading, but it is worth the effort for those who have a real interest in the subject. Jensen's discussion of brain wave analysis and Elementary Cognitive Tasks are particularly interesting, in that they are not covered in every text on the subject of intelligence.
I was pleased to see that Jensen agreed with Edward Miller that one of the most likely physiological causes of the variation in intelligence is myelination. Jensen also points to nerve conduction velocity as another contributor.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book that could've been composed better., 9 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The g Factor: Science of Mental Ability (Human Evolution, Behaviour & Intelligence) (Hardcover)
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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Authoritative Landmark, 13 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The g Factor: Science of Mental Ability (Human Evolution, Behaviour & Intelligence) (Hardcover)
The amazing thing to me about the 'Science of Mental Ability' is that the science has continued to progress remarkably despite overwhelming ideological-based resistance. To this we owe a few extremely courageous scholars who have persisted despite extreme risk to their careers and personal lives. The depth of scholarship and even-handed reasoning of this comprehensive work expose the weakness and dishonesty of Jensen's opponents such as Gould and Lewontin. The explosive growth in the fields of molecular biology and neuroscience will ultimately flesh out the details of human intelligence and I cannot help but think that Jensen will ultimately receive the popular recognition that he deserves. Hopefully he will not have to wait 400 years for this to happen.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, 11 Oct. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The g Factor: Science of Mental Ability (Human Evolution, Behaviour & Intelligence) (Hardcover)
Reinvigorates the Evolutionary Sciences- those that have been subject to the deceits of the new religion of Political Correctedness. They will beat their chests, tear their hair, but they must listen.
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1 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars post hoc ergo propter hoc, 26 May 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The g Factor: Science of Mental Ability (Human Evolution, Behaviour & Intelligence) (Hardcover)
"The g Factor" is a non-event. I am sure that there are those, perhaps even the author, who would love a "Bell Curve"-esque controversy to be brought to a boil in the popular media so that the spurned hereditairians can once again claim their "martyrdom" at the hands of the "PC inquisition." It ilicited from me little more than a yawn and an occasional giggle. Among the fatal flaws of the "g-factor" (but by no means limited to) are the lack of any justification for the "race" classifications that are used in the book and the continued misrepresentation of fact. The racial classification is based on the rainbow metaphore. It maintains that although colours are a part of a continuous spectrum with no inherint natural breaks, people still have no problem telling red from yellow from blue etc... So too, very few people with baisic sensory capacities and half a clue would mistake a Nigerian from a Swede. Although this is a good demonstration of Jensen's stranglehold on reality, it is of little help when dealing with human variation. The fact that we see colour in the way we do is a fact about ourselves and how we see it rather than a fact about that narrow set of bands in the electromanetic spectrum. I also doubt that Jensen (or anyone else) would have trouble telling a Masai from an Efe from a !Kung even though they are grouped in the same "race." His definition is also so vague that any grouping of individuals could be considered to be a race. His discussion beggs the question an presents a red herring without addressing the issue. The discussion about brain size and "intelligence" (whatever it is) misrepresents the facts that have come to light from biometric and allometric studies. Terrance Deacon provides an exelent review and analysis of the brain size literature in "The Symbolic Species" and I recommend that interested parties go to it for a refutation of the type of claim that Jensen makes. As far as! the "g" factor itself is concerned, the reader is presented with a tour of many of the factor analytic models used to find the structure of intelligence but he or she is not told that this is a "black box" problem and suffers from many of the same limitations that haunted Skinner. The black box level of analysis cannot infer structure of internal states on the basis of input/output studies alone. It is interesting to watch someone very selectively (he alone takes up four pages in the reference section) appeal to authority, disregard opposing views, and erect a straw man to attack all in the name of a method that became obsolete 30 years ago. G is gonna die with its boots on.
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