Monday, October 11, 2010

What Intelligence Tests Miss by Keith E. Stanovich

This was a good book because Stanovich successful argues that IQ tests do not measure many components of rational thinking and behaviour, which in turn explains why we are confused when ‘smart’ people do stupid things. It was not a great book though, because it seems Stanovich couldn’t quite decide on the audience so the book is not of uniform accessibility/challenge (perhaps it was rushed?). The book was a decent overview of decision science findings paired with cognitive scientists’ descriptions of information processing. I also agreed with his ‘narrow’ definition of intelligence and that it is a useful construct that shouldn’t be blurred to accommodate all different types of abilities as those modifications sacrifice explanatory power. His discussion of Bayesian probability could have been better and it would have been extremely helpful to be given some specific techniques to try to overcome our own irrational biases and behaviours.
I can’t fully recommend it because it might be too detailed for a reader unexposed to the literature, but not detailed enough for those readers who have been. Perhaps there is a better version or a book with similar content by Stanovich himself.


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