EDUC 391 Intelligence in Everyday Life


P/F Writing Assignment for Day 21

Genetics of intelligence III: Two big myths


  • Rowe, pp. 133-146, 153-155 

Rowe summarizes two common misunderstandings regarding g as "passive learning theory" and "family effects theory."

1. What are they, and what kinds of evidence does he present to show them false?

a. passive learning theory

b. family effects theory

2. Many (probably most) people are afraid of bringing up genetics when discussing social and educational policy. Please speculate on why this is the case.

3. Rowe suggests, however, that much public policy is based on falsehoods about the genetics of intelligence, in particular, on passive learning theory and family effects theory. We might respond, "so what?" Is there any harm in basing social policy (including health policy) on such misconceptions, or might society even be better off as a result? Defend your conclusion. (Be sure you understand Rowe's article!)