The Intelligence of a People
reviewed by Roberta L. Wollons
The Intelligence of a People is an episodic inquiry into styles of thought in America between 1750 and 1870. Drawing on contemporary psychological literature, Daniel Calhoun, a historian at the University of California, Davis, assumes that social environments influence intelligence much more profoundly than heredity. Consequently, intelligence itself can vary "over periods of history, in whole populations, if the experiences of those populations change" (p. viii). Calhoun's focus is on how, not why, intelligence changed. The result is an imaginative though cumbersome analysis of familial, pedagogical, theological, and occupational mechanisms which shaped, reinforced, and altered patterns of thought in nineteenth century America. Calhoun considers these changes retrogressive.
Piaget heavily influences Calhoun's approach to the changing nature of intelligence. He brings together Piaget's theories of "cognitive styles," making distinctions between verbal, spatial, and quantitative mental abilities; he considers the theories of motivation with particular reference to male/female differences in quantitative and verbal... (preview truncated at 150 words.)
Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 77 Number 2, 1975, p. 291-294
http://www.tcrecord.org/library ID Number: 1297, Date Accessed: 9/23/2014 4:21:11 AM