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date: 03 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The psychometric and developmental traditions obscure what they have in common: understanding human intelligence in all of its manifestations. Each tradition tends to take its theoretical construct as universally relevant. The cognitive history of the twentieth century shows huge IQ gains from one generation to another. Those who follow Spearman discount IQ gains unless they are factor invariant across generations—for example, manifest the enhancement of g. The developmental tradition can accommodate altered cognition over time because it emphasizes mutual interaction between characteristics of persons and the environments in which they are situated. We use IQ gains to reconstruct the history of cognitive skills; and introduce concepts like “habits of mind” and “the mind as a muscle” and “cognitive priorities” to unify history, developmental psychology, and psychometrics. We draw implications for education and interventions, maximizing cognitive ability throughout life, genes and environment, and group differences.

Keywords: i ntelligence, secular IQ gains, developmental psychology, Piaget, psychometrics, Spearman, nature/nurture, interventions, education, group differences

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