« Social Class | Main | Social Class »

Intelligence and a Constructed Reality

I was really interested in William Roy’s writings on Intelligence and how it is not real, it was created. Roy discusses how tests were created to prove that intelligence exists. The tests were formulated in a way that would lead to a measurement of something that was later called intelligence. What is so amazing is that so much of our society now revolves around this idea. One thing that stands out in my mind is the ACT/SAT exams. These exams are supposed to measure your intelligence and give colleges and universities an idea of how well you would perform at their institution. In my mind these tests are completely ridiculous. They test a person’s book smarts over the course of four hours on one day. I do not understand how anyone would feel that is an accurate measure of how well someone performs academically.

I also really enjoyed reading about how societies construct reality. The idea that, “’things’ exist in nature and that people name them when they discover or decide to use them? (Roy 12). Roy uses colors as an example. Many societies only have one or two words that describe or name colors. For someone in an Anglo-European society, this is a difficult concept to wrap your mind around considering we have hundreds of different colors in our vocabulary. But is that because we created the idea of those colors? Do they really exist? Roy also poses an interesting question, “do categories dictate ‘what’ we see or only ‘how’ we see things?? (Roy 12). He follows by stating that the answer is probably both.

A lot of what we are discussing in class is the result of ‘reification’, which Roy defines as the process where someone’s ideas, speculations or theories are turned into facts and become integrated into the everyday. The example he gives is the construction and conception of the week. This idea of reification was something I had never heard of before, but it makes a lot of sense, especially with the subject of this class. As we have read and discussed, race, class, gender and sexuality are all essentially the result of someone’s theory slowly integrating itself into reality. Once something is given a name it feels real to us and we are able to add value to what essentially is an abstract idea. Roy writes, “Racism was developed to help legitimate North American slavery…?(Roy 21). But as we can see, once the idea of racism was placed in our vocabulary it became real, and the idea of racism is still prevalent in our society, and is acting in ways other than to justify slavery.

If anything these readings have lead me to be more critical on some of the everyday aspects of our society that I have been just accepting. These readings have opened up a lot of windows. They have answered questions for me but have also brought new questions to mind.


I also agree that language can somewhat restrict how we want to express ourselves. And the idea that the number of different colors responding to language in my opinion is true. Being bilingual, I have more colors on a pallet to express how I feel, since I catch myself speaking both English and Vietnamese interchangeably.

The comment about language was really interesting. It made me think of other ways that our language may restrict us. In the case of colors we almost have too many words, but there are also cases were our language restricts us because it limits what we can say. For example we only have one word for Love, where other cultures have multiple words. I definitely think our language effects power and culture.

I found this idea of different number of colors depending on language fascinating as well! I am in this other class that we discuss how language affects power and culture; one of the things we discuss is that our language perhaps restricts our thinking because of the words available for us to use. Kind of goes along with the color idea... If you are interested in the class it is ANTH 3005.

I agree with the comment about ACT/SAT tests are the only ways students get tested and measured and i also feel that these methods are inaccurate. this system and way of tested involves a lot of steps that needs to be reevaluated to fit the way education has changed in the society that we live, there are more things that students have to offer and bring to the table than just intricate ways of how to comprehend the english language through these testings, i also believe that the tests themselves are biased because not every student in the country receives thesame type of education and reach the same levels of education by this age, it hard to clearly judge them accurately without basing it on what they were exposed to in school and have learned so far in Their academic lives. there needs to be some reworking of these tests or they need to start by making sure no child is left behind and all the students are equally being taught the same curriculums in all schools.