g-swizz: Dave and friends on general intelligence

Dave and friends have just made a reasonably robust statement on the value of “general intelligence” and the data construct that is “g” in a Commentary just published in Behavioral Brain Sciences. (Hint: correlations, no matter how many times repeated, do not equal causation, nor are they necessarily representative of a mechanistically coherent trait).

Shuker, D.M., Barrett, L., Dickins, T.E., Scott-Phillips, T.C. & Barton, R.A. (2017) General intelligence does not help us to understand cognitive evolution. Behavioural Brain Sciences, 40: e218.

The target paper can be found here.

I enjoyed writing this piece – and Rob Barton and I are currently working to extend the critique – but it is also interesting to see just how invested so many people are in the notion of “general intelligence” as a thing. I mean, is it just me, or does it seem an incredibly old-fashioned construct?

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