Can Intelligence Change?

4853 Words20 Pages
Can intelligence change? To what extent is intelligence malleable? Extended Essay: Psychology Name: Candidate number: School: Nörre Gymnasium Word count: 37811 Abstract This essay investigated the research question: To what extent is intelligence malleable? It was necessary to start by presenting the debate on defining intelligence since there is not a complete consensus among psychologists, however, this paper accepted a definition which is generally accepted by respected psychologists; that ‘intelligence is the ability to deal with cognitive complexity’ (Gottfredson, 1998). In presenting and analysing empirical evidence such as Howe (1997) supporting the thesis that intelligence can, in fact, change under the right conditions and given enough time, a strong indication of malleability is provided. Especially the Head Start initiative in the U.S.A. has indicated changeability as well as severely deprived orphans, who are adopted into stimulating and caring environments, have shown remarkable mental and physical catchup. Furthermore, an increase in IQ scores over generations in several countries has been found by the researcher J.R. Flynn, which also hints at changeability. Criticisms of malleability, which support the genetic approach and immutability, were presented and discussed as well as essential limitations to the genetic approach and its evidence, since it seemed that a strong genetic influence on intelligence exists but the environment cannot be disregarded. The sociological impact that research within the area of intelligence has had on political decisions was illustrated to show how the media can influence the impressionable public opinion, which might inhibit or derail further research. The conclusion was that intelligence, measured as IQ, is malleable. It is important, though, to understand the conditions under which progress
Open Document