Discourse Long Reads

Because you're quarantined and clever.

I’ve separated the two groups of long reads (aka “books”) into first, ones you really need if you wish to be conversant in the IQ debate and second, other relevant volumes that you should embrace if you want to begin the path to mastery on the topic or the debate around IQ.

Get thy read on!

"Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century" by James Flynn 

Are We Getting Smarter? features fascinating new material on a variety of topics including the effects of intelligence in the developing world; the impact of rising IQ scores on the death penalty, cognitive ability in old age and the language abilities of youth culture; as well as controversial topics of race and gender.

Some readers consider this a bit more technical reading.

"IQ Testing 101" by Alan S. Kaufman 

Dr. Kaufman, a leading expert on the development of IQ tests, provides a brief, compelling introduction to the topic of IQ testing-its mysteries, misconceptions, and truths.

Does your IQ really measure your intelligence? Is IQ genetic? Can your IQ vary? Do we get smarter or dumber as we get older? How will IQ tests be different in the future?

This newest edition to the popular Psych 101 Series presents a common-sense approach to what IQ is and what it is not. In lucid, engaging prose, Kaufman explains the nature of IQ testing, as well as where it came from, and where it's going in the future. A quick, fun, even enlightening read, not only for psychologists and educators, but for anyone interested in...

Bias in Mental Testing by Arthur R. Jensen

Jensen claimed in this book that Level II intelligence ( conceptual learning and problem solving) is most common in Asians and least common in blacks and is of intermediate frequency in whites. He bases this on "culture free tests" that he administered in 1962 to various minority group school-children.

The IQ Controversy, the Media and Public Policy by Snyderman and Rothman

The central question addressed in this book is why expert opinion and public views toward intelligence and its measurement are so widely divergent. The authors conclude that the public’s view of the IQ controversy has been shaped by inaccurate media coverage; and, more importantly, by changes in the nature of American liberalism as well as the key role of civil rights issues in American life. The increasing influence of new strategic elites in the United States, and the changing role of the mass media, have profoundly affected the character of scientific information communicated to the general public and how it is communicated.

Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count by Richard E. Nisbett 

Who are smarter, Asians or Westerners? Are there genetic explanations for group differences in test scores? From the damning research of The Bell Curve to the more recent controversy surrounding geneticist James Watson’s statements, one factor has been consistently left out of the equation: culture. In the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man, world-class social psychologist Richard E. Nisbett takes on the idea of intelligence as biologically determined and impervious to culture with vast implications for the role of education as it relates to social and economic development. Intelligence and How to Get It asserts that intellect is not primarily genetic but is principally determined by societal influences.

The Mismeasure of Minds: Debating Race and Intelligence between Brown and the Bell Curve by Michael E. Staub 

The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision required desegregation of America's schools, but it also set in motion an agonizing multidecade debate over race, class, and IQ. In this innovative book, Michael E. Staub investigates neuropsychological studies published between Brown and the controversial 1994 book The Bell Curve. In doing so, he illuminates how we came to view race and intelligence today.

Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own by Garett Jones 

Modest differences in national IQ can explain most cross-country inequalities. Whereas IQ scores do a moderately good job of predicting individual wages, information processing power, and brain size, a country's average score is a much stronger bellwether of its overall prosperity.

I’ll include my assessment of a few of these next Friday if you’re hesitating to commit to a new (set of) book(s). If most of what you know about IQ you have gleaned from media reports, this is a great opportunity to fix that. Chances are you have been materially misled. -Kate

If you really want to go down the rabbit hole on this ….


Braaten E, Felopulos G. Straight Talk About Psychological Testing for Kids. New York, NY: The Guilford Press; 2004 

Flanagan DP, Kaufman AS. Essentials of WISC-IV Assessment. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons; 2004 

Gardner H. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York, NY: Basic Books; 1983 

Hebben N, Milberg W. Essentials of Neuropsychological Assessment. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons; 2002

Lezak MD, Howieson DB, Loring DW, Hannay HJ, Fischer JS. Neuropsychological Assessment. 4th ed. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press; 2004 

Obrzut JE, Hynd GW. Neuropsychological Foundations of Learning Disabilities: A Handbook of Issues, Methods and Practice. San Diego, Calif: Academic Press; 1996 

Sattler JM. Assessment of Children: Behavioral and Clinical Applications. 4th ed. La Mesa, Calif: Jerome M. Sattler, Publisher, Inc; 2002 

Snyder PJ, Nussbaum PD. Clinical Neuropsychology: A Pocket Handbook for Assessment. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 1998 

Spreen O, Strauss E. A Compendium of Neuropsychological Tests: Administration, Norms and Commentary. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press; 1998 

Wechsler D. Manual for the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children–Revised. New York, NY: The Psychological Corporation; 1974 

Wechsler D. WAIS-R Manual: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–Revised. New York, NY: The Psychological Corporation; 1981


Brooks-Gunn J, Klebanov PK, Duncan GJ. Ethnic differences in children’s intelligence test scores: role of economic deprivation, home environment, and maternal characteristics. Child Devel. 1996;67:396–408

Neisser U, Boodoo G, Bouchard TJ Jr, Boykin AW, Brody N, Ceci SJ. Intelligence: knowns and unknowns. Am Psychol. 1996;51:77–101 

Spitz HH. Commentary on the contributions to this volume. In: Detterman D, ed. Current Topics in Human Intelligence: Vol. 5. The Environment. Norwood, NJ: Ablex; 1996:173–177 

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