Because public policy is often intended to influence the same outcomes (for example to improve education, fight poverty and crime, promote fairness in employment, and counter racial discrimination), policy decisions frequently interact with intelligence measures. In some cases, modern public policy references intelligence measures or even aims to alter cognitive development directly.
While broad consensus exists that intelligence measures neither dictate nor preclude any particular social policy, controversy surrounds many other aspects of this interaction. Central issues concern whether intelligence measures should be considered in policy decisions, the role of policy in influencing or accounting for group differences in measured intelligence, and the success of policies in light of individual and group intelligence differences. The importance and sensitivity of the policies at issue have produced an often-emotional ongoing debate spanning scholarly inquiry and the popular media from the national to the local level.