L’intelligenza e l’ambiente sociale: uno studio differenziale


Although human intelligence has been studied by a lot of researchers, today we are still far from reaching a commonly accepted definition that merges together its main features. In the last century, the debate on intelligence focused on scholars’ attempt to establish which factor plays a crucial role in determining differences in the individuals’ intelligence. More specifically, researchers have compared two opposing views that involve two different factors: environment and genetics, trying to ascertain to what extent one prevails against the other. The debate stems from one of Jensen famous article in which he shows the studies himself directed on the importance of genetics in the development of the intelligence. Overcoming the idea according to which aptitude differences and progress to school are due to education, he claimed, on the basis of his researches, that the individual’s level of intelligence is determined predominantly by an innate aptitude rather than by environmental conditions. In the Seventies a bitter dispute over this topic took place involving two psychologists called Hans J. Eysenck and Leon Kamin who embody two opposing point of view. The echoes of their clash still influence the nowadays speculations because the matter under dispute concerns also the social, political and even ethical field. In fact, if we assume that general cognitive ability is essentially an inherited trait, we necessarily need to accept the idea according to which it is useless to invest human and economic resources in behalf of individuals destined anyway to remain mired in their mediocrity. On the other hand, if we assume that intelligence, at least in the age of development, can be empowered by means of appropriate techniques, no alibi would still be employed by the persons who feel free to abandon their fellows to their destiny because intellectually less endowed than them. Moreover there are also scholars who, unlike many innatists, believe that the cognitive ability can be empowered not only in the age of development, but also during one individual’s whole lifetime.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i17201632vXVn26p119

Keywords: intelligence; social environment

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