Chapter 9 Intelligence

How much is intelligence determined by our childhood environment vs. our genetics? Are there things we can do later in life to become more intelligent? What exactly is intelligence, anyway? This session explores the strengths and weaknesses of IQ testing, various models of intelligence, some underlying neural mechanisms, the influences of nature and nurture on intelligence, and perspectives on influences of race, effort, and practice.

Some Keywords: IQ, testing, education, Flynn effect, nature vs. nurture, acheivement gap, stereotype threat, Head Start

Session Activities


Read the following before watching the lecture video.

One of the following textbook chapters:

or the intelligence chapter from either of these free text books:


Extra goodies


Further Study

These optional resources are provided for students that wish to explore this topic more fully.

Summary videos of the chapters: Watch video 16 for this chapter

MIT psych 101 video lecture on Intelligence

Controversy of Intelligence:  So, how many different kinds of intelligence are there? And what is the G-Factor? Eugenics? Have you ever taken an IQ Test? All of these things play into the fascinating and sometimes icky history of Intelligence Testing. In this episode of Crash Course Psychology, Hank talks us through some of the important aspects of that history… as well as Nazis. Hey, I said some of it was icky.
Supplemental video StanfordSCOPE. “Claude Steele on Stereotype Threat.” Nov. 23, 2011. YouTube. Accessed March 9, 2012. Brief interview with Prof. Steele, whose research first identified the stereotype threat effect on acheivement gaps.
Textbook supplement Study materials for Ch. 9 “Types of Intelligence: What Does It Mean To Be Smart?” In Kosslyn & Rosenberg, Psychology in Context, 3/e (Pearson, 2007) Practice test questions, flashcards, and media for a related textbook