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Bring the Family Address

Intelligence and How To Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count

Sunday, May 24, 2009, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Yerba Buena 9

Richard E. Nisbett

Richard E. Nisbett
University of Michigan

Many laypeople, and many scientists who study intelligence, believe that intelligence is highly heritable and for this reason is little modifiable by the environment. It is often assumed that the environment that families create for their children has little impact on intelligence. In fact, heritability is not as great as is often assumed, is very different for different groups, and poses no barrier to modification. The environment has a massive impact on intelligence. Schools have a huge effect; the environmental differences between families are very important; IQ scores have been going up since they were first tested in the 20th century; different cultures encourage the development of intelligence to very different degrees; and interventions ranging from ambitious pre-school programs to brief interventions by social psychologists have a large impact on academic skills.

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