The Intelligent Brain

Course No. 1642
Professor Richard J. Haier, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine
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4.7 out of 5
42 Reviews
88% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 1642
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Course Overview

No feature of the mind is as important, controversial, and mysterious as intelligence. It is one of the brain's highest-order activities, allowing us to navigate the complexities of everyday life—thinking, remembering, planning, learning, organizing, solving problems, making snap judgments, and pondering difficult decisions. It is the epitome of brain function, and it has a powerful influence on success in life. And thanks to decades of research, we are closer than ever before to understanding it.

Although many aspects of intelligence remain puzzling, researchers are now on their way to a detailed scientific explanation of what defines intelligence, where it comes from, and how it operates in the brain. Few fields of psychology are as crucial to the lives of people or the social policies of nations. An understanding of how the brain produces intelligence sheds light on questions such as these:

  • What's right and what's wrong with IQ tests?
  • Can intelligence be measured directly from the brain?
  • Can education or brain training enhance intelligence in children or adults?
  • Is intelligence constrained by genes?
  • What is the connection between intelligence and creativity?

The answers to these questions help determine policy decisions in education, employment, health care, and other fields. They also govern personal choices about how we want to lead our lives and raise our children. For example, is it realistic to gauge school success largely by rising test scores? Are everyday tools such as electronic devices unnecessarily complicated for most people to use? Or suppose a pill were available that could raise IQ. Would you take it? Would you allow your school-age children to take it?

The Intelligent Brain plunges you into a myriad of thought-provoking issues such as these in 18 stimulating half-hour lectures taught by Professor Richard J. Haier of the University of California, Irvine. Professor Haier is one of the world's foremost researchers on intelligence and a pioneer in the use of brain imaging technology to explore the workings of the human intellect.

Testing Intelligence

The modern history of intelligence research began with attempts to measure the differences that separate cognitively normal children from “abnormal” children. This was the origin of the first IQ test, designed by French psychologist Alfred Binet in the early 20th century. The Intelligent Brain traces the fascinating history of intelligence testing and its leading thinkers and their ideas, including the following:

  • g factor: First described by psychologist Charles Spearman over 100 years ago, g is the conjectured general factor of intelligence and is widely used today in research. It is not the same as IQ, which can be influenced by social and cultural factors, whereas g is thought to be largely innate.
  • Flynn effect: Challenging the idea of an innate g factor is James R. Flynn's research showing that average intelligence test scores have risen faster than can be explained by evolution. Critics contend that better education and test-taking skills help explain the increase, while leaving g relatively unchanged.
  • Multiple intelligences: Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences holds that instead of a single g factor there are diverse independent abilities—from facility with language to interpersonal skills. But if such abilities are not independent, is this evidence for the g model?
  • Arthur Jensen: The most infamous article in the history of psychology was written by Arthur Jensen, a prolific intelligence researcher. Professor Haier shows how Jensen's work on g factor differences among groups led to widespread criticism about the nature of intelligence.

While most of us are familiar with tests that assess intelligence through a long series of exacting questions, such as those on the college SAT, there may be a much simpler way to gauge intellectual ability. In this course, you get to try a stimulus/response exercise that is a shortcut to establishing mental quickness—and possibly intelligence.

Exploring Intelligence in Depth

As a pioneer in the field, Professor Haier was one of the first psychologists to use positron emission tomography (PET) to study brain function during tasks associated with intelligence. In addition, you investigate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a newer and more powerful imaging technology than PET that can reveal brain structure and rapid changes in brain activity and has helped pinpoint areas of the brain associated with high IQ.

These lectures are illustrated with dozens of PET, MRI, and other remarkable images, including animations that show the shifting pattern of activity in a thinking brain, shedding light on what goes on inside the mind at work. Professor Haier also enlivens his presentation with examples of questions from different intelligence tests, giving viewers a taste of the methods used to rank individuals on the intelligence scale.

The Intelligent Brain discusses some of his surprising findings, which include differences in brain function in males and females when they are engaged in the same challenge at the same performance level. These results show that not all brains work the same way. Professor Haier also presents evidence that brain efficiency, not increased mental effort, may be the hallmark of intelligence.

You close the course by looking into the future. Today, no one questions the use of caffeine to improve mental performance. What will the attitude be toward neurochemicals that promise to enhance memory, learning, and other aspects of brain function? Will it be considered cheating for students to use such brain boosters before tests? Will these chemicals be embraced as a benefit to society? Should they be required like vaccines? What if only the rich can afford them? With The Intelligent Brain, you gain a deeper understanding of the intriguing recent research findings on this most complex of human phenomena.

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18 lectures
 |  Average 29 minutes each
  • 1
    What Is Intelligence?
    Probe the nature of intelligence by looking first at the phenomenon of savants—individuals who excel at a narrow mental skill. Does this qualify as intelligence? Examine how intelligence is defined, and explore its connection to IQ and a variable called g, which is the conjectured general factor of intelligence. x
  • 2
    Assessing Intelligence
    What does an IQ test measure? Study the history of intelligence tests, including the Stanford-Binet test and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Consider typical questions used to measure intelligence, and learn how they are designed to avoid bias. Also look at the SAT for college admission. x
  • 3
    General Intelligence in Everyday Life
    Survey the importance of intelligence in 10 areas of everyday life, from school success to managing money to making medical decisions. What does the g factor predict about the ability to cope in these situations? Finally, consider the implications of such predictions for public policy. x
  • 4
    To g or Not to g—Is That the Question?
    Analyze a model of intelligence that incorporates two special factors: fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. Then explore alternatives to the g concept, including Robert Sternberg’s theory of practical intelligence and Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. What is the evidence for these ideas? x
  • 5
    Intelligence and Genius over the Life Span
    Follow the careers of geniuses throughout their lives in three classic studies that began in California in the 1920s, Scotland in the 1930s, and Baltimore in the 1970s. Each study started when the test subjects were children, testing their mental abilities and successes at various intervals. x
  • 6
    Early Childhood Experience and Intelligence
    Do early childhood experiences affect intelligence? Look at the value of compensatory education, which was evaluated in what may be the most controversial article in the history of psychology. Then examine the impact of environmental elements, such as culture, birth order, and family size. x
  • 7
    Genes and Intelligence
    Are there intelligence genes? Delve into the connection between genes and intellectual capacity, focusing on the search for relevant genes and environmental triggers that may govern gene expression. Also examine the history of intelligence research on identical twins, particularly those reared apart. x
  • 8
    Can We See Intelligence in the Brain?
    Brain imaging technology may be the most important development in intelligence research in the last 40 years. Explore positron emission tomography, or PET, which highlights areas of the brain that are working hardest. Learn that these data correlate in an unexpected way with intelligence. x
  • 9
    What Brain Imaging Reveals about Intelligence
    Turn to magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, a technique that can measure brain structure and changing brain activity. Among other findings, MRI scans suggest that men and women may have different brain areas related to the g factor. Also investigate a new brain imaging technology called magneto-encephalogram, or MEG. x
  • 10
    Intelligence and the Brains of Children
    Examine research about intelligence and the brains of children and adolescents. Focus on three questions: What aspects of brain development are related to intelligence? Are these developmental factors essentially the same for everyone? Is there a critical period when these factors can be influenced? x
  • 11
    Sex and Intelligence
    Survey average differences between the sexes in specific mental abilities, such as verbal fluency, fine motor skills, and mathematical and scientific reasoning. Do different performances in these spheres relate to sex differences in the brain? Do these differences help explain the disparity of men and women in certain professions? x
  • 12
    Race and Intelligence
    Tests such as the SAT show a persistent performance gap connected to race. This is one of the most volatile issues in the social sciences. Use the information developed in the course so far to analyze the issues and possible causes and remedies for closing the gap. x
  • 13
    Are We Really Getting Smarter?
    Delve into the controversy over the Flynn effect, named for psychologist James R. Flynn, who was one of the first to study the phenomenon of worldwide rising IQ scores. Is each generation really smarter than the last? If so, does this trend disprove a major role for genetics in intelligence? x
  • 14
    The Mind in Milliseconds
    Scores on intelligence tests are only meaningful compared to those of other people. In this lecture, explore a simple and easy way to estimate intelligence in absolute terms. Also, learn about the concept of “mental chronometry” to measure intelligence as proposed by the prolific and controversial researcher, Arthur Jensen of the University of California, Berkeley. x
  • 15
    Creativity and Intelligence
    Examine rare cases in which brain trauma unleashes hidden powers of creativity. How do such examples shed light on the problem of defining and measuring creativity? Next, probe the connection between creativity and intelligence, and explore intriguing clues from brain imaging studies. x
  • 16
    Can Intelligence Be Enhanced?
    Look into the future of intelligence enhancement, which may involve gene manipulation and an understanding of how specific genes function to increase intelligence. Then cover two nongenetic techniques that are being researched currently: memory training and an approach that promotes accelerated learning with mild electric shocks to the brain. x
  • 17
    Intelligence, Child Rearing, and Education
    Probe the potential for brain imaging to evaluate a student’s cognitive abilities. Can brain data be used to create a profile that would predict not only the pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses, but also how to tailor education for a person with that pattern? x
  • 18
    The IQ Pill
    If we could raise intelligence, should we? Consider the current controversy over the use of drugs by students to get better test scores. What about the future, when drugs to enhance memory, attention, and learning may be vastly better? Probe the ethical quandaries we may soon face in pursuit of ever-greater intelligence. x

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Your professor

Richard J. Haier

About Your Professor

Richard J. Haier, Ph.D.
University of California, Irvine
Dr. Richard J. Haier is Professor Emeritus in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, where he has been teaching and conducting research since 1984. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his Ph.D. in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University. Before his appointment at Irvine he was on the faculty of Brown University's Alpert Medical School. Professor...
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The Intelligent Brain is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 42.
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not what I was after. Defective #2 Disc For someone who is deeply interested in psychology and its various research projects, this might be worthwhile.
Date published: 2018-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Solid explanations on brain functions A thorough discussion on ways to evaluate aspects of intelligence using measured brain data. Lots of interesting statistics on what contributes to intelligence and what doesn’t.
Date published: 2018-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course! The professor dared to use evidence and facts when discussing gender and race, which is almost never done in 21st century America. The whole course was interesting and worth buying. One of the best from The Great Courses.
Date published: 2018-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Intelligent Brain This is the 12th course that I have purchased over several years. This one is the tops! The professor is marvelous and an obvious master of a subject that is relevant to all of us. He is candid and fearless entering controversial areas. Each lecture is extremely interesting and I found myself binge viewing. This is the first review of a course that I have recommended so strongly.
Date published: 2018-03-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intersting, hopeful, but lots is unknown so far Review of The Intelligent Brain #1642 Richard J. Haier 4star Interesting discussion about Intelligence – definitions, testing problems, meaning, differences between sexes, race, age, etc. Good graphics, tho most need more annotation. His specialty is in brain imaging - &suggests that it might show to use that to better understand intelligence, IQ, etc. Not all that clear that we can do that yet. As an old psych PhD, interesting, but maybe overly optimistic about what the studies mean. For the layman, should explain more of the power & why use factor analysis. I long ago found it to be very powerful. A lot of time spent on IQ, the “G Factor” testing, etc., - all before we get to any brain scans. Brain scans shown are interesting, but hard to see much “science” in the scans shown. He is optimistic that we will be able to see more detail & better evidence of what the scans mean. Not much hard evidence so far. He proposes that response time is related to intelligence, shows some data, but no real proof. This & other examples he says “are related”, but with no value for the correlation. To some of us a correlation of .50 is not very helpful, unless it comes from some very large, meaningful data set. A few tid-bits: 1. there are differences in people, in sexes, races, but no insight of why. 2. The brain seems to have local areas of activity, but also many cases of general wide spread activity. 3. Learning some tasks leads to LESS brain activity, implying more efficient processing, etc. Presentation is good, looks at the camera, clear speech, no odd mannerisms. Interesting – does present many sides to most questions, topics , interpretations. I did have the thot about when electro scalp measures were started – high hopes of finding meaning, but later it was like listening outside of a truck factory & asking what color is being used. So now interesting, but need a lot more study to make sense of what it means.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Presenter This is a cogent and balanced presentation on a complex topic by an exceptionally good presenter who has a demonstrated body of work in intelligence research and who is active in ongoing research. Highest quality of the six Great Courses I have viewed so far.
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Most Intelligent purchase ever A group of old-timers, 70's to 90's, have been watching The Intelligent Brain lectures. We enjoy them and they lead to very lively and provocative discussions. Sometimes the content amazes us. It always get our juices flowing.
Date published: 2016-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incitful and objective dealing with difficult matt Prof. Richard Haier's course titled "The Intelligent brain" is a well reasoned, erudite, and objective study covering current scientific knowledge of human intelligence along with the physical mechanism in which learning and understanding occur in the brain. The course serves as a prism through which much else can be seen. Haier's contribution is provocative in the best sense of the word. At every lecture, the listener will find new gripping and compelling observations worth pondering and new arguments worth weighing. No one will come away from this course without having learned much, while gaining a new perspective and curiosity for future developments in this field. Prof. Haier's course not only enlightens but serves as a breath of fresh air whose scholarship is focused on the truth of the matter. Tom Roth
Date published: 2016-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to open your brain box. An interestingly enjoyable course. Excellently taught and presented. Very good graphics. Well recommended.
Date published: 2015-09-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Teaching Company's Best Ever I can't praise this course enough! Although I am a doctoral level psychologist with several courses in intellectual assessment, I was blown away with the professor's ability to present the subject matter in such an informative and entertaining manner--no easy task! Human intelligence can be a dry subject when encountered in graduate school courses, especially when the controversial areas of IQ are discussed (e.g., heritability, "g", race, biological aspects, and many other politically incorrect concepts). Professor Haier shies away from nothing! I believe this course will change the way you look at human psychology. I've purchased many TC courses, and the only one approaching this level of quality is Timothy Taylor's introductory economics course. I give it my highest recommendation!
Date published: 2015-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course I highly recommend this course from substantial and form perspective.
Date published: 2015-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST course EVER, EVER in Great Courses Words alone cannot convey how tremendously useful, interesting, and valuable "THE INTELLIGENT BRAIN" course is for helping understand how people operate, and describing the vital role that intelligence plays for fluent functionality in life. In my entire life of 70 years, I never heard or appreciated anything like the content of this course !! I truly enjoyed the carefully laid out presentations so much, that I stayed awake late into the night, totally enchanted and fascinated. I have now listened to the course 4 times, and will listen again and again. Professor Richard Haier does a top-notch job that is scientifically comprehensible -- as well as politically correct -- to simplify and clarify the fundamental neuroscience architecture of the intelligent brain. I have purchased over 25 courses from TGC. This is the #1 course that I found most satisfying and insightful. I never expected to get so much new information from a topic that I thought I already understood, with my two Masters degrees in physics and statistics. I was wrong. There are great amounts of novel information -- surprising, literally amazing content -- that I had never heard or understood before. The lectures are clear, almost breathtaking, and presented in a lucid format, with short clear summary charts interspersed within each lecture. No matter how many TGC courses you have acquired, "The Intelligent Brain" is the one course you positively must obtain. The script is so clear, and the charts are so simple and vivid, that the course is appropriate for both the average person as well as the most erudite scientist-mathematician. Fascinating, surprising, interesting, superlative, unbelievable, and indescribably delightful. You just cannot stop listening!
Date published: 2015-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent series of lectures A superb survey of current scientific understanding of human intelligence. The structure of each lecture and the choice of lecture topics are well thought out, and the visual aids (graphs, video clips, MRI images etc.) greatly help understanding of the information presented. A heartfelt thanks to Professor Haier for giving credit for intelligence to us, his audience, and not dumbing down the content of the course.
Date published: 2015-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Intelligent Brain--Haier Hits Home Run This course is superb in multiple respects: 1. It discusses misconceptions and wishful thinking just enough to dispel them, then moves on without any compromise to wishful thinking nor political "correctness". 2. Every topic Prof. Haier covers is of great interest to any curious mind. He is not afraid to include a lecture on creativity and discuss how one has tried to measure it. 3. Experimental evidence--often very recent--is repeatedly presented to show why informed researchers believe what they do. 4. When the evidence is conflicting or expert opinions are divided, Prof. Haier says so. 5. He clearly calls attention to when he is just expressing his own opinion. 6. He discusses what he hopes may be learned and become possible in the future. 7. Without wasting time with vain speculation, he makes it clear how much the research impacts how we should run our society: some cherished illusions die hard, and questions of fairness can--and optimizing individual and societal function most certainly do--end up being dependent on brain research. 8. Prof. Haier is a very clear lecturer who is very well organized. Hardly a minute is wasted. If you--like me--are tired of the drivel that sounds good that routinely comes out on this subject, you will be refreshed to spend 9 hours with Prof. Haier. I was unable to listen to the course one lecture at a time--I *had* to listen to the next lecture, even when I had other things to do. I have been interested in this subject for years and done some background reading in it, and I believe it would be very hard indeed to give a better introductory course on this subject at this stage of the research. (Of course he could not cover everything: the detailed neurochemistry and cell biology were not really covered. Neither was there a detailed discussion of nootropics, and the discussion of brain training was limited.) Truly one of the best of the Great Courses on a fascinating subject!
Date published: 2014-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just some feedback Very much appreciated Prof Haier's presentation of this course. His demeanor was well preparated, articulate and well understood. He was organized in thought and word. His manner of accentuating the high points and indicating what was more important or less important was superb. Thank you prof. Haier for your personal preparation!!!
Date published: 2014-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Course! If the measure of a course is how much it excites you about it's field of study & prompts you to dive in deeper, then this course passes the test. Worth your time. Only wish it was 24 lectures, not 18. Professor Haier is intelligent & some of it will rub off (hooray for epigenetics! Ha.).
Date published: 2014-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just the Facts What a breath of fresh air. Dr. Haier delivers a fine set of lectures on a topic suffused with general misconceptions and unwarranted emotion. His presentation is clear, straight-forward and comprehensive. Really a model of the effective communication of scientific findings. He shares what is known about human intelligence, reveals the limitations of the knowledge base where appropriate, and clearly states when he is expressing a personal opinion. I would particularly recommend this course to public policy makers as a useful framework for thinking about how to develop services that work well for a broad range of abilities. And this course should be part of the required training for all educators, both working administrators and teachers and those in teacher preparation programs. Two other resources I recommend as supplements for this course are the books, "G is for Genes" by Asbury and Plomin and "Nudge" by Thaler and Sunstein. Both offer help in applying the ideas developed by Dr. Haier. I hope to see new editions of the course as the knowledge base on human intelligence continues to expand.
Date published: 2014-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Intelligent Science on Intelligence Dr. Haier presents a fact based scientific analysis of intelligence. Bravo to him for his courage to present this without preconceived notions of political correctness or philosophical bias. He begins the course with a thorough analysis of intelligence testing history and provides data driven correlations to show that there are, in fact, ways to test for intelligence. Beyond that he shows actual brain mapping techniques which show differences between low intelligence test performers and high test performers. He is careful along the way to differentiate between what is fact and what is speculation. He tackles the differences noted by race, gender, and socioeconomic class. He also shows what things do and what things do not affect intelligence development during childhood. He does correlate intelligence to the neurology of the brain and genetics, as far as such correlation is known today. He repeatedly makes the point that the brain's intelligence is a biological process. From beginning to end his points are supported by data from research and he explains when the data are conclusive and when they are not. Dr. Haier's presentation skills are quite good. He obviously uses the teleprompter but he adds expression and body language to make his points clear. His style is engaging, his pace is appropriate and uniform, and he "discusses" instead of lecturing. As for the DVD production, it is first rate and a bit less "over the top" than in some other 2013 productions. The use of "picture in picture' where Dr. Haier is shown speaking in a smaller window inside a graph or other graphic is very effective. The segue screens within the lectures between topics are useful. The charts, photos, and text banners are all of high quality. The somewhat random flashing of text while Dr. Haier is speaking can be annoying but it seems to be done less frequently in later lectures. The course guide is good. Lecture summaries are excellent and there is a good bibliography. Noticeably absent is a glossary which would help a lot; also absent are biographical notes, which are nice to have. I took this course directly after finishing TTC course "Understanding the Brain" by Dr. Jeanette Norden. I would recommend taking the two courses in this sequence as familiarity with the brain's sections and functions was quite useful for getting more out of Dr. Haier's course. Dr. Haier does a very good job of sticking to the science and observed fact, even in the midst of controversial topics. He deserves to be applauded for his bravery in doing so.
Date published: 2013-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Flawless This was the model TC course: research based, well presented, interesting, and practical. I truely enjoyed it! The professor is not only competent, but articulate, concise, and not afraid to tackle difficult issues objectively using all points of views. Up-to-date research is presented in a comprehensible and interesting manner. Every lecture is well done. Highlights of the course include the clarification of IQ and g factor, differentiating intelligence from achievement, reviewing what has and has not been proven effective in childhood learning, the Flint effect (each generation seems to be increasing it's IQ every decade!), and an amazing overview of neuro-radiology. I highly recommend this course to everyone. It clearly shows how basic research findings can become overblown or misinterpreted in the media leading to markets selling 'intelligence-boosting' products without any real basis. Great course! You will not be disappointed!
Date published: 2013-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perhaps the bravest and most important course Nothing has greater potential to abet our lives and that of society than intelligence. Yet today, it's a topic that is difficult to discuss honestly, even if tremendously valid data backs one's assertions. That is why it was such a pleasure to take The Intelligent Brain course. Dr. Haier addresses, with crystalline clarity and unflinching yet fair exploration, all the key issues: What is intelligence? Why is it so valuable to study and think about? How much is affected by genes and environment? Issues of race and gender and intelligence? And fascinatingly, the up- and downsides of trying to enhance intelligence. Of course, we all enhance our intelligence every time we drink a cup of coffee, but he's taking the current research and reasonably extrapolating to if, for example, there were an IQ Pill? Would you take it? Want your child to take it? Make it available free to the poor to avoid increasing further the gap between society's intellectual haves and have-nots. I commend this course to you with my strongest endorsement.
Date published: 2013-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GRIPPING, COURAGEOUS This review refers to the DVD's. This nine hours of lectures are almost guaranteed to keep one riveted to the screen. Dr Haler begins with definitions of what he proposes to discuss by how to define intelligence. He points out the theme in all the definitions of intelligence is a general ability. He delves into the issue of IQ, and goes on discuss the IQ distribution in the general population with the notorious bell curve which reflects facts despite the attacks from some quarters. He makes the startling, to me, assertion that IQ also predicts health and even mortality. He developed a framework for measuring brain capability integrating several factors such as Reasoning, Spatial Ability, Memory, Processing Speed, and Vocabulary. These are weighed and assigned values which culminate in a numerical score called G.. One of the more exciting issues in his presentation is the research efforts to measure how the brain functions and what parts of the brain are involved in processing information. It turns out mental efforts are a collaborative project enlisting many parts of the brain. He provides a brief history of IQ and other projects to measure intelligence. He explores the impact of early childhood experience as well as physical environment. He enters into the issue of genes and intelligence and what brain imaging is beginning to tell us. Reports on brain development in children are discussed. He's not afraid to address what science tells what it has determined about the relationship between intelligence and the gender of those being measured as well as the race of participants. All this material is handled in a dispassionate manner and is most informative. What we know and what we don't know is covered. He closes with lectures on questions of whether we are getting more intelligent. There has been a rise on a world wide basis over many years of the IQ level for reasons we don't yet understand. Another topic is whether there are better ways to measure intelligence with machines or programs. The relationship between creativity and brain power is discussed. Enhancement of intelligence is covered. Child rearing and education is explored. He concludes with the potential of some sort of IQ pill. Dr Haler is a polished lecturer. He, and TGC organization, are to be congratulated for publishing this material on what could be considered in some quarters as explosive subjects. All of it is presented in an even-handed manner with the emphasis on the science. Unfortunately, many of the experiments and conclusions are based on small samples, but all of it is very interesting. These lectures should appeal to everyone interested in what the current status of the science is as well as some pointers towards the future of our species. They are highly recommended.
Date published: 2013-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Intelligent Brain So far this is my favorite great course that I have purchased. This is a truly outstanding course in every way. A very understandable and up to date review of 100+ years of research on intelligence measurement and research including brain science and intelligence from a leading researcher in the field. An especially good description of psychometric g and its relation to intelligence tests. Overall a very balanced approach even though professor Haier has his preferences/biases which he makes clear in his presentations. This would make an excellent addition to an introduction to intelligence testing course or to an introduction to psychology course. This would also be useful for parents and students about to begin the college search – especially in describing why it is important for students to match their SAT/ACT scores to those of the students in the colleges they are going to consider.
Date published: 2013-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Profound Aspects of Intelligence Intelligence, it seems clear at face value, is a primary component accounting for individual differences. But what is it? Can it be reliably measured? Can it be enhanced? On average, are there differences in intelligence among races? Between the sexes? Is intelligence increasing in populations over the generations? Big Questions. Professor Haier gives us here his insightful, at times rather bold, and I believe objective answers and opinions based on his forty years of intense study. His presentation of this sensitive subject is concise, cogent and respectful. We are not created equal in terms of intelligence. This assertion, although quite obvious, does go against the grain of treasured American myth and political correctness. No, no matter how hard we may try, we will be limited in some ways by our individual intelligence. For me, though, one indirect conclusion, and maybe the most important of this course, is that we should first assess people as individuals and not as members of particularly population subgroups. Although groups may vary on average, within those groups is always a significant range. I found this course fascinating. It addresses questions I have often pondered. That at their best is what The Great Courses do.
Date published: 2013-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding! An excellent course from a very knowledgeable professor. The only negatives were the extremely annoying sound-effects.
Date published: 2013-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Polished presentation, great course The most polished presentation of all the courses I’ve seen : great speaking techniques, graphs, visual aids. The course is very well logically structured, always beginning with definitions and quickly moving on to complex ideas. I found topics related to neurological aspects of assessing intelligence especially interesting, while supporting lecture topics, for instance, those giving the viewer sense and feel of commonly used intelligence assessment techniques also very entertaining. Great course. Might be interesting as either introductory to the topic or informative to more advanced viewers.
Date published: 2013-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding introduction to Intelligence Research! Excellent review of current research on intelligence and Brain function. Professor Haier's presentation of the topic is outstanding as is the cited research support. I am deeply interested in early child intelligence development and found this course a great asset to my understanding. I enjoyed the brain function scans depicting energized regions and found myself considering our choices relative to free will. In one f-MRI scan, memory region activated first during response testing. Excellent video and graphics. I look forward to Professor Haier continuing this topic series. Outstanding in every aspect.
Date published: 2013-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic This is an excellent course that focuses on not just intelligence but a number of thought provoking issues like: intelligence and society, morality, equality, gender relations, and others. This course provides a summary of the most important research related to IQ as well as the latest controversial topics, what they are and why they matter. It gives a reasonably good definition of IQ in terms of the g-factor and other more specific abilities. I'm encouraged to read more on this topic after viewing all the lectures. Delivery: very good but the professor is not an excellent speaker. He has good eye contact, gestures, a few facial expressions, voice variation, and his enthusiasm shines, especially while covering favorited areas. One aside: the professor inserts some absolutely hilarious comments now and then, pulling it off with a straight face. Value: Excellent. I was not aware of how intelligence affects nearly every facet of society including fairness, race, gender, education among others. Knowing how people differ will allow the viewer to be more informed of his peers and will shed light on day to day experiences. The 17th lecture, in particular, I felt was very useful as an educator myself. I wish more educational policy makers and teachers in public schools would view it. Overall: This is a well-done course on the topic, so if you're even slightly interested, it really gives a great introduction in an easy to understand lay-person's lecture format. five stars
Date published: 2013-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Well-Done Intro to Intelligence Theory&Practice Although brief, this excellent course provides an introduction to a remarkably broad range of issues in the theory and practice of "intelligence." It covers the definition of intelligence; IQ testing and the general intelligence ("g") factor; what intelligence can and cannot predict; the relevant neuroscience; controversial and incendiary issues such as the relationship of intelligence to gender and race; nature versus nurture arguments; and related social, political, and moral issues. Of course, given the short time devoted to such a range of complex topics, it is impossible to cover them in depth. Nonetheless, enough background and perspective is provided to enable the student to understand the essentials, and to know what questions he or she may wish to pursue. Professor Haier is excellent. His delivery is smooth, eloquent, and erudite. He is careful to make clear what areas are well-substantiated by the evidence, and where there is controversy and speculation - which, in this field, is widespread. He also lets us know exactly where he stands when there is scholarly disagreement, while giving those with opposing views a balanced exposition. And each lecture, as well as the course as a whole, is very well organized. The only major drawback to the course, aside from its brevity, is that it is perhaps not of general interest. Yes, the issues surrounding intelligence, particularly with regard to education and gender bias, are important to all of us. But much of the material is basic and theoretical, and will be fascinating to some, but certainly lacking in intrinsic interest to many. Still, it provides a fine background to the broad field of intelligence, and I recommend it highly to any with a concern for this field, whether with its theory or with its practical applications.
Date published: 2013-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good, could be better Before reviewing the course itself I feel the need to comment on the new widescreen format adopted by TTC. I viewed the course on a 42" high definition television and often found the graphs and charts too small to read. Many times I had to toggle to the zoom mode to see the content, then back to widescreen as some of the data would be chopped off in the zoom mode. I spoke to a technician at TTC and to my dismay widescreen is here to stay. Perhaps I'm being a little too churlish here, but I don't like widescreen format. The course itself provides an informed overview of current thoughts about intelligence, confining itself, by and large, to developments in the last century. I would have enjoyed two or three additional lectures treating how views on intelligence have changed through the ages, but as all the other course material seemed indispensable to the modern position, the series would need to be expanded to accomplish it. More bothersome to me was a question of mine about the distribution of intelligence that went unanswered. Measuring intelligence is not as sure a proposition as measuring height or weight. Perhaps our predisposition for normal distribution as observed in other human characteristics leads us to wrongly impute the same distribution to human intelligence and design our intelligence tests accordingly. What is our basis for discarding intelligence tests which don't show normal distribution and retaining only those which do? It seems that we are reasoning by analogy here: since other characteristics are normally distributed in populations, such as height and weight, intelligence is too. Response time tests such as mental chronometry hold out the possibility of objectively establishing normal distribution of tasks associated with intelligence in the population independently of traditional standardized intelligence tests, but remain unsatisfying at this point. Even given further development of response time tests, questions are bound to persist as to the way we define intelligence and what these tests measure by way of our assumptions. Perhaps there is a good answer for this, but if so, it wasn't addressed here. The value of the course isn't greatly diminished by these omissions, but they are noticeable. The professor's presentation in all other respects was outstanding. Bottom line: If you want a snapshot of current thoughts on intelligence and their modern origins, this course if for you. If you are looking for a treatment of intelligence on a deeper, more philosophical level, you may be a little disappointed.
Date published: 2013-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfection is what's best decribes this course This is by far, in my opinion, the best course I have watched from TGC. Content, presentation and organization are a top notch. The professor is pause, but not slow nor boring. He takes you step by step from the definition of Intelligence up to how moral it would be if we can enhance intelligence by artificial ways and a lot case studies, savants and even some tests. The video edition is well balance and the sound effects too. Recently TGC made a change in the aspect ratio of the video formats, so be aware of this, because it is not specify anywhere, some people will like it, some not. If you watch the downloaded videos in a big monitor at full screen it probably will look a little blurry, if you watch them in tablets or in the 100% window size it will be sharp. So make the decision if the DVD is for you or the Download version. I really recommend the course to everyone I just got it yesterday and couldn't stop it! , you'll enjoy it.
Date published: 2013-04-06
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