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Temas em Psicologia

Print version ISSN 1413-389X


FLORES-MENDOZA, Carmen et al. Considerations about IQ and human capital in Brazil. Temas psicol. [online]. 2012, vol.20, n.1, pp. 133-154. ISSN 1413-389X.

Brazil became the ninth largest and fastest-growing economy in the world. In addition, Brazil has acquired a leading position in the Latin American region. Recently, a positive correlation between the mean IQ of countries and their capacity to achieve economic growth has been found by psychological science. However, several studies led by the British psychologist Richard Lynn have reported a mean IQ of 87 for Brazil, which seems to be insufficient for explaining the current Brazilian economical performance. The present article shows data of cognitive performance of 1192 Brazilian adults (46% males) recruited from the general population of Minas Gerais state, and 1641 University students recruited in universities from Amazonia, Bahia, Minas Gerais and São Paulo states. Raven's Standard (general population) and Advanced (University students) Progressive Matrices were the instruments used. The Raven scales are the most preferred tests in studies regarding national cognitive performance. The results indicated a mean IQ of 89 in the general population, thus a value not very different from Lynn's estimative. However, the cognitive performance of top human capital, concentrated in Brazilian public universities, was indistinguishable from the performance of participants in universities of developed countries. The human capital with high cognitive performance is the only segment of society able to produce and to upgrade technologies, move up the development ladder and catch up with developed countries. Thus, it was concluded that the national mean IQ is not a good indicator of the potential for Brazilian intellectual and economic leadership in the Latin American region. Instead, one of the best indicators could be the magnitude (and quality) of the top human capital of Brazil, which was estimated in 20 millions of people. This number rivals the human capital of developed countries in both quality and potential.

Keywords : Brazilian IQ; Intelligence; Human capital; National IQ.

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