WAIS-IV Use in Societal Context

Lawrence G. Weiss*, Hsinyi Chen, Josette G. Harris, James A. Holdnack, Donald H. Saklofske

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

17 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter endeavors to make the case that contextual interpretation entails more than the historical regurgitation of racial and ethnic differences in performance on cognitive ability tests. These differences are neither due to item or test bias, nor are they unique with respect to many other important areas of life, such as educational attainment, mental and physical health, occupation and income. There is both an intersection and an overlap of factors that impact the development of intellectual abilities and processes, and one's capability to demonstrate those abilities, including both proximal and distal resources and social norms. This chapter offers a view that intelligence is malleable, within limits, by environmental factors that mediate opportunities for cognitive growth and maintenance of cognitive abilities, and that the effects of these mediators may be cumulative across the lifespan. Evidence are presented to suggest that racial ethnic differences in test scores may be decreasing with successive generations, and it is suggested that this may be because the cumulative effects of institutional racism were more pronounced on older generations. Further, racial/ethnic differences are likely to be proxies for a multitude of other variables that are just beginning to be identified and studied. This chapter shows that personal factors account for significant variance in intelligence.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWAIS-IV Clinical Use and Interpretation
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages43
ISBN (Print)9780123750358
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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