Future Bright: A Transforming Vision of Human Intelligence

Michael Martinez. Oxford Univ., $34.95 (320p) ISBN 9780199781843
Martinez (1956–2012), a leading U.C- Irvine education professor and specialist in quantifying intelligence and improving the effectiveness of pedagogic techniques, unravels the complexity of cognition and argues that, rather than being ingrained at birth, “human intelligence is modifiable.” Published posthumously, the book is best suited for undergraduate or beginning graduate students in psychology and education, and is a mildly technical overview of recent research in the field rather than a presentation of new results. Martinez tackles the question of intelligence from numerous angles, structuring each chapter as a series of mini-essays on discrete points. Ultimately, he ties each thread into his argument that intelligence is as much nurture as nature, supported by research suggesting that half of the variability in human intelligence is genetic while half is due to environmental factors. He makes short shrift of theories linking intelligence and race, but gives credence to the existence of certain statistically significant cognitive differences between the sexes. In the conclusion, Martinez proposes 10 decidedly unsurprising strategies for increasing one’s intelligence, including reading books (which, he warns, “may seem like relics of a pre-Internet past”), eating a balanced diet, and exercising. 8 b&w illus. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
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