Another textbook study: how correct are introductory psychology textbooks?

This is becoming a real trend in research, and I for one am supporting this trend. So this time Russell et al have checked 29 textbooks for introductory psychology courses and they focused on what is being taught about intelligence. The good news, a lot is correct, the bad news concerns Howard Gardner MI theory that is outdated and not well-researched and other non-mainstream theories such as Sternberg’s practical intelligence.

What is being taught in those 29 textbooks?

The 10 most common topics in textbooks were IQ (27 books, 93.1%), Spearman’s g (27 books, 93.1%), Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (27 books, 93.1%), Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence (26 books, 89.7%), the measurement of intelligence (24 books, 82.8%), psychometric validity and reliability (23 books, 79.3%), Alfred Binet and his work (22 books, 75.9%), the Stanford-Binet intelligence test (21 books, 72.4%), environmental influences on intelligence (20 books, 69.0%), and intellectual disabilities (20 books, 69.0%).

Abstract of the study:

Human intelligence is an important concept in psychology because it provides insights into many areas, including neurology, sociology, and health. Additionally, IQ scores can predict life outcomes in health, education, work, and socioeconomic status. Yet, most students of psychology do not have an opportunity to take a class on intelligence. To learn what psychology students typically learn about intelligence, we analyzed 29 textbooks for introductory psychology courses. We found that over 3/4 of textbooks contained inaccurate statements. The five most commonly taught topics were IQ (93.1% of books), Gardner’s multiple intelligences (93.1%), Spearman’s g (93.1%), Sternberg’s triarchic theory (89.7%), and how intelligence is measured (82.8%). We learned that most introductory psychology students are exposed to some inaccurate information about intelligence and may have the mistaken impression that nonmainstream theories (e.g., Sternberg’s or Gardner’s theories) are as empirically supported mainstream theories (such as Spearman’s g). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

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