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Title: Intelligence and social class : an investigation of the intelligence test performance of children of different social groups
Author: Macdonald, John
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 1958
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The problem of social differences in intelligence test performance has been much discussed over the past forty years; there is still, however, little agreement among psychologists as to their interpretation. The first part of this thesis, which incorporates a summary of previous researches on the problem, also makes some attempt to explain the strong differences in opinion which have often arisen. It is perhaps unfortunate that no reasonably satisfactory explanation has yet been suggested, in view of the widespread use of intelligence tests for the purposes of selection. An examination of previous studies makes it clear that the relationship of IQ or test score to socio-economic level, social class, or occupational level is one of the best documented facts in the whole field of mental testing. Since the early experiments of Binet and his colleagues there has been a consistent finding on the part of investigators that subjects in good social circumstances tend to score more highly than subjects in poor social circumstances. Some psychologists have explained this superiority of the upper social classes in terms of assumed hereditary and innate differences, while others have pointed to the known differences in environment. Recently a few American investigators have claimed that differences between social groups in test performance are due to the inclusion in tests of a disproportionate number of problems with which working-class subjects have had no opportunity to become familiar. Sufficiently detailed analysis either of tests or of the social environment of subjects is still relatively lacking; it may therefore be said that where psychologists have come to definite conclusions as to the meaning of social differences in test performance they have done so on the basis of unsatisfactory evidence. It is hoped that the present investigation, the first comprehensive item-analysis study of the problem to be carried out by a British psychologist, provides some new facts against which to assess possibilities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available