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Gould S, A Nation of Morons

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Gould S, (1982) A Nation of Morons Intelligence is the ability to learn or understand. IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is a measure of intelligence. An IQ test produces a score which represents a person's mental age. The major debate surrounding intelligence is whether the differences between individuals can be explained by genetic or environmental causes. Eugenics is a political idea which argues that the human race should be 'improved' by preventing 'undesirables' from breeding so they cannot pass on their supposedly inferior genes. Gould's Aim was to review the mass IQ testing conducted by Robert M. Yerkes during the First World War. Gould's procedure was a review. A review article is an essay or article that gives a critical evaluation. Gould was reviewing the work conducted by Yerkes and his colleagues. Gould argued that there were many problems with the way the testing was carried out and with the conclusions that can be drawn from the testing. ...read more.


According to Yerkes the average mental age of White American males was 13. This was just above the level of 'moronity'. As you can imagine, this caused eugenicists to blame the unconstrained breeding of the 'feeble minded', the spread of Negro blood through inter-breeding and the swamping of an intelligent America with immigrating 'dregs' from Southern and Eastern Europe. European immigrants could be graded by their country of origin. The average man of many countries was a moron, but the darker people of Southern Europe were less intelligent than the fair people of Western and Northern Europe. Negroes had the lowest mental age of just 10.41. These results had an enormous effect on the immigration debate. Immigration quotas were set so as to bar people from Southern and Eastern Europe. This meant that huge numbers of people fleeing Hitler were not allowed to enter the US and hence had nowhere to go. ...read more.


For example, recent immigrants would have to be familiar with phonograms, tennis courts and light bulbs. The Beta test required the use of pencil and the writing of numbers, and many men had never even seen or used a pencil before. The administrator of the tests was seriously flawed. Recruits were often wrongly allocated to Alpha tests measuring that they failed, often not being recalled to take the Beta test. Racism was also evident here; in some camps it was the black recruits who were not given a second chance at the tests. The data showed that the average score rose with length of time spent in the USA. This is a clear indication that the more experience a person had of the USA the higher their score on the test, suggesting a cultural bias in the questions. Gould's review highlights the scientific racism, (i.e. the use of bogus scientific arguments to oppress another group) in the arguments made by Yerkes and uncovered some of the awful consequences of this racism. The tests were not valid ...read more.

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