B.F. Skinner
An Interview
by  Tony Buzan
The Mensa Journal
(From The Mensa Journal, issue #156, May, 1972.)

In what way do you see intelligence as measured by an IQ test as being valuable, if at all?

(Skinner)  I think it's valuable in the sense that the behaviour sampled is important to the culture or the individual, and an inventory will show you how much you have.  The trouble is that sampling is a real problem. This is true of examinations generally--a two-hour examination measures only a little bit of behaviour and this may not be a representative sample.

Do you then see any value in a society like Mensa, which it seems may not be a representative sample; may in fact be based on too flimsy a definition?

It doesn't seem to be based on any real goal, does it?

But these people might be immensely important.  They should organise in such a way as to be more important than they are unorganised.  This would be true only if importance were defined somewhere along the line.

I could wish that such an organisation would be particularly concerned with the design of a culture.  This is something that has hardly emerged at all....

[Previous] [Index] [Next]