Up What?

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(10), 723–724. Reviews the book, Up the IQ! by Paul I. Jacobs (1977). Jacobs summarizes the rules for solving matrix problems that appear most frequently on standard aptitude and group intelligence tests. There are only 12 basic rules and variations, he says, that make up nearly all such problems. He may well be right. But many would disagree that this is all we mean by intelligence. What about the ability to environment by solving diverse problems? Unfortunately for the parent-consumers of Jacob's book, their children will be exposed to test items that are not matrix or series problems (e.g, vocabulary, information, and comprehension) to which his rules do not apply. Jacobs is not alone in his definition of intelligence as abstract reasoning. The research is surrounded by a lot of handwaving consumerism. IQ tests and test-makers are repeatedly ridiculed, as Jacobs mischievously reveals the “secrets” of tests (or, more appropriately, those sections with matrix problems). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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