General Intelligence as a Domain-Specific Adaptation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Satoshi Kanazawa
Psychological Review
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General intelligence (g) poses a problem for evolutionary psychology’s modular view of the human brain. The author advances a new evolutionary psychological theory of the evolution of general intelligence and argues that general intelligence evolved as a domain-specific adaptation for the originally limited sphere of evolutionary novelty in the ancestral environment. It has accidentally become universally important merely because we now live in an evolutionarily novel world. The available data seem to support the author’s contention that intelligent people can solve problems better than less intelligent people only if the problems are evolutionarily novel, and they have no advantage in solving evolutionarily familiar problems. This perspective can also solve some empirical anomalies, such as the “central theoretical problem of human sociobiology” (D. R. Vining, 1986, p. 167) and the geographic distribution of general intelligence throughout the world.


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