Why cognitive inequality demands our attention

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Martin Bryant. Image credit: Robert McKnight
[April 28, 1996, Martin Bryant used] two rifles and a shotgun stashed inside a sports bag on the passenger seat of his car to perpetrate the worst massacre in modern Australian history. By the time it was over, 35 people were dead and a further 23 were left wounded.

[T]he most notable and concrete fact of Bryant’s psychological condition was his extremely low IQ of 66—well within the range for mental disability.

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Clearly, being born with a low IQ is sufficient to set one up for an unlucky and unhappy life. But could low IQ have contributed to—not explain, but be a factor in—the massacre committed by Martin Bryant?

Martin Bryant’s life, characterized by loneliness, depression, and numerous frustrated attempts at making friends, is replete with examples that follow this pattern. Clearly, his actions mark him as an extreme outlier among those with low IQ—but his troubled life experiences are distressingly representative. Four in 30 children in classrooms across America are made to compete with their peers for grades and university places in spite of low IQ and with little success. And, like them, Bryant found society’s ‘normal’ to be simply unobtainable.

Related article:  Does a higher IQ lead to a better, happier life?

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Pretending that those burdened with low IQ are just lazy, or lack the appropriate motivation, is a way of absolving ourselves of responsibility to help them.

Read full, original post: The Dangers of Ignoring Cognitive Inequality

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