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FUTURE BRIGHT by Michael E. Martinez


A Transforming Vision of Human Intelligence

by Michael E. Martinez

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-19-978184-3
Publisher: Oxford Univ.

To the question, “Can intelligence be raised?” a resounding “Yes!”

Martinez (1956–2012) spent some 30 years researching intelligence, most recently in the education department at the University of California, Irvine. Before offering his ideas about how intelligence can be modified, he presents some necessary background material: the development of IQ tests, researchers’ understanding of the structure of intelligence and the current state of knowledge about external factors that can affect it, including nutrition, breast-feeding, toxins, home environment and family size. After touching on neuroscientists' and cognitive scientists' work on the brain and mind, Martinez looks further into the question of where intelligence comes from. He finds the answer in the work of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who asserted that social environment matters supremely. The major components of intelligence, in Martinez’s view, are fluid intelligence (the ability to deal with novel situations) and crystallized intelligence (the ability to master large bodies of information). These two, combined with effective character, are the keys to success in life. The author explores the ways in which these three factors interact synergistically to enhance intelligence and human effectiveness, then he turns to the question of how they can be improved. Martinez directs his strategies for modifying intelligence at individuals, parents, teachers, institutional leaders and world leaders. He offers some general techniques, but it would be a mistake to think of this exploration of intelligence as a handbook; its lessons are more fundamental. Concerned about the future of life on this planet, Martinez sends the message that solving the severe challenges that face us requires “a tremendous reserve of human intelligence, allied with wisdom and goodwill.”

Readers willing to wade through the textbook-style prose will be convinced of this subject's importance.