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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Intelligence

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Abstract Intelligence is the ability to learn from past experience and, in general, to adapt to, shape, and select environments. Aspects of intelligence are measured by standardized tests of intelligence. Average raw (number‐correct) scores on such tests vary across the life span and also across generations, as well as across ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Intelligence can be understood in part in terms of the biology of the brain—especially with regard to the functioning in the prefrontal cortex. Measured values correlate with brain size, at least within humans. The heritability coefficient (ratio of genetic to phenotypic variation) is between 0.4 and 0.8. But genes always express themselves through environment. Heritability varies as a function of a number of factors, including socioeconomic status and range of environments. Racial‐group differences in measured intelligence have been reported, but race is a socially constructed rather than biological variable. As a result, these differences are difficult to interpret. Different cultures have different conceptions of the nature of intelligence, and also require different skills in order to express intelligence in the environment. WIREs Cogn Sci 2012 doi: 10.1002/wcs.1193 This article is categorized under: Psychology > Reasoning and Decision Making

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