The Murdoch Mission: The Digital Transformation of a Media Empire

Wendy Goldman Rohm, Author
Wendy Goldman Rohm, Author John Wiley & Sons $44.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-471-38360-4
Reviewed on: 12/03/2001
Release date: 12/01/2001
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 304 pages - 978-0-471-20539-5
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-470-19212-2
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-280-34007-9
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With fast-paced storytelling, freelance journalist Murdoch traces now ubiquitous but still controversial attempts to measure intelligence to its origins in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He takes readers back to 1905 when French psychologist Alfred Binet first formulated tests to measure reasoning, language, abstract thinking and complex cognitive abilities. However, many psychologists began to use the tests as a device to separate the mentally retarded from the rest of society. As Murdoch points out, the tests were often administered unfairly to members of various races, offering proof to the test's administrators of their own theories that intelligence was linked to race. Murdoch also demonstrates that the tests were often used as eugenic devices. In the landmark case of Carrie Buck, faulty IQ testing was used as a justification for involuntary sterilization as part of a move to eliminate feeblemindedness in future generations. Murdoch concludes that IQ testing provides neither a reliable nor a helpful tool in understanding people's behavior, nor can it predict their future success or failure. While much of this material is familiar, this is a thoughtful overview and a welcome reminder of the dangers of relying on such standardized tests.(June)
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