Race and intelligence
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The connection between race and intelligence has been a subject of debate in both popular science and academic research since the inception of IQ testing in the early 20th century.1 There is no widely accepted formal definition of either race or intelligence in academia, nor is there agreement on IQ's validity as a gauge of intelligence.2 Historically, claims that races differed in intelligence were used to justify colonialism, slavery, Social Darwinism, and eugenics. After losing favor in the post-war period, the idea of racial differences in intelligence was revived by Arthur Jensen in 1969 and drew public attention following the publication of The Bell Curve in 1994. Any discussion of a connection between race and intelligence involves studies from multiple disciplines, including psychology, anthropology, biology and sociology.
Differences in mean IQ scores between racial groups in the United States are well-documented and not subject to much dispute. The average IQ scores of Asian Americans are higher than those of White Americans, and the average IQ scores of White Americans are higher than those of African Americans. Both environmental and genetic explanations have been advanced to account for these differences in IQ scores and group differences in educational achievement. Systemically disadvantaged minorities perform worse in education and on intelligence tests. Other environmental arguments include differences in health and nutrition (including lead exposure and iodine deficiency), educational quality, and test bias.
The American Psychological Association has said that while there are differences in average IQ between racial groups, there is no conclusive evidence for either environmental or genetic explanations for those differences.34 The position of the American Anthropological Association is that variation in intelligence cannot be meaningfully explained by dividing a species into biologically defined races.5 According to a 1996 statement from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, although heredity influences behavior in individuals, it does not affect the ability of a population to function in any social setting, all peoples "possess equal biological ability to assimilate any human culture," and "racist political doctrines find no foundation in scientific knowledge concerning modern or past human populations."6
History of the debate
||This article should include a summary of History of the race and intelligence controversy. See Wikipedia:Summary style for information on how to incorporate it into this article's main text. (March 2011)|
Claims of races having different intelligence were used to justify colonialism, slavery, social Darwinism, and racial eugenics. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, group differences in intelligence were assumed to be due to race and, apart from intelligence tests, research relied on measurements such as brain size or reaction times to demonstrate such differences. The first IQ test was created between 1905 and 1908 and revised in 1916 (the Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales). Alfred Binet, the developer of these tests, warned that these should not be used to measure innate intelligence or to label individuals.7 However, at the time there was great concern in the United States about the abilities and skills of recent immigrants. Different immigrant nationalities were sometimes thought to belong to different races, such as Slavs. The tests were used to evaluate draftees for World War I, and researchers found that people of southern and eastern Europe scored lower than native-born Americans. At the time, such data were used to construct an ethnically based social hierarchy, one in which immigrants were rejected as unfit for service and mentally defective. It was not until later that researchers realized that lower language skills by new English speakers affected their scores on the tests.8
In the 1920s, many scientists reacted to eugenicist claims linking abilities and moral character to racial or genetic ancestry. Despite that, states like Virginia enacted laws based in eugenics, such as its 1924 Racial Integrity Act, which established the one-drop rule as law. Generally, understanding grew about the contribution of environment to test-taking and results (such as having English as a second language).9 By the mid-1930s most US psychologists had adopted the view that environmental and cultural factors played a dominant role. In addition, psychologists were reluctant to risk being associated with the German Nazi claims of a "master race".10
In 1969, Arthur Jensen revived the hereditarian point of view in the article, "How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?"111213 It followed changes in public programs introduced to try to correct decades of discrimination against poor African Americans. Jensen's article questioned remedial education for African-American children; he suggested their poor educational performance reflected an underlying genetic cause rather than lack of stimulation at home.14 Jensen's work, publicized by the Nobel laureate physicist William Shockley, sparked controversy amongst the academic community and student protests.
In their 1988 book The IQ Controversy, the Media, and Public Policy, Mark Snyderman and Stanley Rothman claimed to document inaccurate media coverage of scientific findings regarding IQ. The book builds on the results of a survey conducted in 1984. The survey was sent to 1020 scholars within fields that deal with the issue of IQ and had 661 respondents. 45 percent of the respondents thought that black-white differences in IQ were the product of both genetic and environmental variation, while 15 percent believed that the differences were entirely due to environmental factors; the rest either declined to answer the question, or thought that there was insufficient evidence to give an answer.15
Another debate followed the appearance of The Bell Curve (1994), a book by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, who argued in favor of the hereditarian viewpoint. It provoked the publication of several interdisciplinary books representing the environmental point of view, as well as some in popular science.1617 They include The Bell Curve Debate (1995), Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth (1996) and a second edition of The Mismeasure of Man (1996) by Steven J. Gould.17 One book written from the hereditarian point of view at this time was The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability (1998) by Jensen. In 1994 a group of 52 scientists, including leading hereditarians, signed the statement "Mainstream Science on Intelligence". The Bell Curve also led to a 1995 report from the American Psychological Association, "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns", acknowledging a difference between mean IQ scores of whites and blacks as well as the absence of any adequate explanation of it, either environmental or genetic.
The review article "Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability" by Rushton and Jensen was published in 2005.18 The article was followed by a series of responses, some in support, some critical.1019 Richard Nisbett, another psychologist who had also commented at the time, later included an amplified version of his critique as part of the book Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count (2009).20 Rushton and Jensen in 2010 made a point-by-point reply to this thereafter.21
Some of the authors proposing hereditarians explanations for group differences have received funding from the Pioneer Fund which was headed by Rushton until his death in 2012.12172223 The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Pioneer Fund as a hate group, citing the fund's history, its funding of race and intelligence research, and its connections with racist individuals.24 On the other hand, Ulrich Neisser writes that "Pioneer has sometimes sponsored useful research—research that otherwise might not have been done at all."25 Other sources and researches have criticized the Pioneer Fund for promoting scientific racism, eugenics and white supremacy.12262728
Ethics of research
The 1996 report of the APA had comments on the ethics of research on race and intelligence.1 Gray & Thompson (2004) as well as Hunt & Carlson (2007) have also discussed different possible ethical guidelines.129non-primary source needed Nature in 2009 featured two editorials on the ethics of research in race and intelligence by Steven Rose (against) and Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams (for).3031non-primary source needed
According to critics, research on group differences in IQ will run the risk of reproducing the negative effects of social ideologies (such as Nazism or social Darwinism) that were justified in part on claimed hereditary racial differences.532 Steven Rose maintains that the history of eugenics makes this field of research difficult to reconcile with current ethical standards for science.31
Linda Gottfredson argues that suggestion of higher ethical standards for research into group differences in intelligence is a double standard applied in order to undermine disliked results.33non-primary source needed James R. Flynn has argued that had there been a ban on research on possibly poorly conceived ideas, much valuable research on intelligence testing (including his own discovery of the Flynn effect) would not have occurred.34non-primary source needed
Validity of "race" and "IQ"
The concept of intelligence and the degree to which intelligence is measurable is a matter of debate. While there is a general consensus within Western science about how to define intelligence, the concept of intelligence as something that can be unequivocally measured by a single figure is not universally accepted.35 A recurring criticism is that different societies value and promote different kinds of skills and that the concept of intelligence is therefore culturally variable and cannot be measured by the same criteria in different societies.35 Consequently, some critics argue that proposed relationships to other variables are necessarily tentative.36
The concept of race as a biologically meaningful category of analysis is also hotly contested.37 Articles in the Encyclopædia Britannica and the Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Society state that the current mainstream view is that race is a social construction mainly based not in actual biological differences but rather in folk ideologies that construct groups based on social disparities and superficial physical characteristics.3839 Sternberg, Grigorenko & Kidd (2005) state, "Race is a socially constructed concept, not a biological one. It derives from people's desire to classify."36 The concept of human "races" as natural and separate divisions within the human species has also been rejected by the American Anthropological Association. The official position of the AAA, adopted in 1998, finds that advances in scientific knowledge have made it "clear that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups" and that "any attempt to establish lines of division among biological populations [is] both arbitrary and subjective."32 Others argue that this view is restricted to certain fields, while in other fields, race is still seen as a valid biological category.40
Race in studies of human intelligence is almost always determined using self-reports, rather than based on analyses of the genetic characteristics of the tested individuals. According to psychologist David Rowe, self-report is the preferred method for racial classification in studies of racial differences because classification based on genetic markers alone ignore the "cultural, behavioral, sociological, psychological, and epidemiological variables" that distinguish racial groups.41 Hunt and Carlson write that "Nevertheless, self-identification is a surprisingly reliable guide to genetic composition. Tang et al. (2005) applied mathematical clustering techniques to sort genomic markers for over 3,600 people in the United States and Taiwan into four groups. There was almost perfect agreement between cluster assignment and individuals' self-reports of racial/ethnic identification as white, black, East Asian, or Latino."1 Sternberg and Grigorenko disagree with Hunt and Carlson's interpretation of Tang, "Tang et al.'s point was that ancient geographic ancestry rather than current residence is associated with self-identification and not that such self-identification provides evidence for the existence of biological race."42
The notions that cluster analysis and the correlation between self-reported race and genetic ancestry supports a view of race as primarily based in biology is contradicted by C. Loring Brace43 and geneticist Joseph Graves.44 They argue that while it is possible to find biological and genetic variation corresponding roughly to the groupings normally defined as races, this is true for almost all geographically distinct populations. The cluster structure of the genetic data is dependent on the initial hypotheses of the researcher and the populations sampled. When one samples continental groups, the clusters become continental; if one had chosen other sampling patterns, the clusters would be different. Kaplan 2011 therefore concludes that, while differences in particular allele frequencies can be used to identify populations that loosely correspond to the racial categories common in Western social discourse, the differences are of no more biological significance than the differences found between any human populations (e.g., the Spanish and Portuguese).
Earl B. Hunt agrees that racial categories are defined by social conventions, though he points out that they also correlate with clusters of both genetic traits and cultural traits. Hunt explains that, due to this, racial IQ differences are caused by these variables that correlate with race, and race itself is rarely a causal variable. Researchers who study racial disparities in test scores are studying the relationship between the scores and the many race-related factors which could potentially affect performance. These factors include health, wealth, biological differences, and education.45
||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (February 2013)|
Hunt and Carlson outlined four contemporary positions on differences in IQ based on race or ethnicity. The first is that these reflect real differences in average group intelligence, which is caused by a combination of environmental factors and heritable differences in brain function. A second position is that differences in average cognitive ability between races are caused entirely by social and/or environmental factors. A third position holds that differences in average cognitive ability between races do not exist, and that the differences in average test scores are the result of inappropriate use of the tests themselves. Finally, a fourth position is that either or both of the concepts of race and general intelligence are poorly constructed and therefore any comparisons between races are meaningless.1
United States test scores
Rushton & Jensen (2005) write that, in the United States, self-identified blacks and whites have been the subjects of the greatest number of studies. They state that the black-white IQ difference is about 15 to 18 points or 1 to 1.1 standard deviations (SDs), which implies that between 11 and 16 percent of the black population have an IQ above 100 (the general population median). The black-white IQ difference is largest on those components of IQ tests that best represent the general intelligence factor g.18non-primary source needed The 1996 APA report "Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns" and the 1994 editorial statement "Mainstream Science on Intelligence" gave more or less similar estimates.446 Roth et al. (2001), in a review of the results of a total of 6,246,729 participants on other tests of cognitive ability or aptitude, found a difference in mean IQ scores between blacks and whites of 1.1 SD. Consistent results were found for college and university application tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (N = 2.4 million) and Graduate Record Examination (N = 2.3 million), as well as for tests of job applicants in corporate sections (N = 0.5 million) and in the military (N = 0.4 million).47
A 2006 study by Dickens and Flynn estimated that the difference between mean scores of blacks and whites closed by about 5 or 6 IQ points between 1972 and 2002,48 which would be a reduction of about one-third. However this was challenged by Rushton & Jensen who claim the difference remains stable.49non-primary source needed In a 2006 study, Murray agreed with Dickens and Flynn that there has been a narrowing of the difference; "Dickens' and Flynn's estimate of 3–6 IQ points from a base of about 16–18 points is a useful, though provisional, starting point". But he argued that this has stalled and that there has been no further narrowing for people born after the late 1970s.50 Murray found similar results in a 2007 study.51non-primary source needed
The IQ distributions of other racial and ethnic groups in the United States are less well-studied. The Bell Curve (1994) stated that the average IQ of African Americans was 85, Latinos 89, whites 103, East Asians 106, and Jews 113. Asians score relatively higher on visuospatial than on verbal subtests. The few Amerindian populations who have been systematically tested, including Arctic Natives, tend to score worse on average than white populations but better on average than black populations.47
According to several studies, Ashkenazi Jews score 0.75 to 1.0 standard deviations above the general European average. This corresponds to an IQ of 112–115. Other studies have found somewhat lower values. During the 20th century, this population made up about 3 percent of the total US population, but won 27 percent of the US science Nobel Prizes and 25 percent of the Turing Awards. Jews have high verbal and mathematical scores, while their visuospatial abilities are typically somewhat lower, by about one half standard deviation, than the European average.52non-primary source needed
The racial groups studied in the United States and Europe are not necessarily representative samples for populations in other parts of the world. Cultural differences may also factor in IQ test performance and outcomes. Therefore, results in the United States and Europe do not necessarily correlate to results in other populations.53
Raw scores on IQ tests had until recently been rising throughout the world for a century. This score increase is known as the "Flynn effect," named for James R. Flynn, who did much to document it and promote awareness of its implications. In the United States, the increase had been continuous and approximately linear from the earliest years of testing to about 1998. For example, in the United States the average scores of blacks on some IQ tests in 1995 were the same as the scores of whites in 1945.54
Potential environmental causes
The following environmental factors are some of those suggested as explaining a portion of the differences in average IQ between races. These factors are not mutually exclusive with one another, and some may in fact contribute directly to others. Furthermore, the relationship between genetics and environmental factors may be complicated. For example, the differences in socioeconomic environment for a child may be due to differences in genetic IQ for the parents,4 and the differences in average brain size between races could be the result of nutritional factors.55
A number of studies have reached the conclusion that IQ tests may be biased against certain groups.56575859 The validity and reliability of IQ scores obtained from outside the United States and Europe have been questioned, in part because of the inherent difficulty of comparing IQ scores between cultures.6061 Several researchers have argued that cultural differences limit the appropriateness of standard IQ tests in non-industrialized communities.6263 In the mid-1970s, for example, the Soviet psychologist Alexander Luria concluded that it was impossible to devise an IQ test to assess peasant communities in Russia because taxonomy was alien to their way of reasoning.64
A 1996 report by the American Psychological Association states that controlled studies show that differences in mean IQ scores were not substantially due to bias in the content or administration of the IQ tests. Furthermore, the tests are equally valid predictors of future achievement for black and white Americans.4 This view is reinforced by Nicholas Mackintosh in his 1998 book IQ and Human Intelligence,65 and by a 1999 literature review by Brown, Reynolds & Whitaker (1999).66
Stereotype threat is the fear that one's behavior will confirm an existing stereotype of a group with which one identifies or by which one is defined; this fear may in turn lead to an impairment of performance.67 Testing situations that highlight the fact that intelligence is being measured tend to lower the scores of individuals from racial-ethnic groups who already score lower on average or are expected to score lower. Stereotype threat conditions cause larger than expected IQ differences among groups.68
According to the report of a 1996 APA task force, socioeconomic status (SES) cannot account for all the observed racial-ethnic group differences in IQ in the US. Their first reason for this conclusion is that the difference between mean test scores of blacks and whites is not eliminated when individuals and groups are matched on SES. Second, excluding extreme conditions, nutritional and biological factors that may vary with SES have shown little effect on IQ. Third, the relationship between IQ and SES is not simply one in which SES determines IQ, but differences in intelligence, particularly parental intelligence, also cause differences in SES, making separating the two factors difficult.4
Health and nutrition
Environmental factors including lead exposure,69 breast feeding,71 and nutrition7273 can significantly affect cognitive development and functioning. For example, iodine deficiency causes a fall, on average, of 12 IQ points.74 Such impairments may sometimes be permanent, sometimes be partially or wholly compensated for by later growth. The first two years of life is the critical time for malnutrition, the consequences of which are often irreversible and include poor cognitive development, educability, and future economic productivity.75 The African American population of the United States is statistically more likely to be exposed to many detrimental environmental factors such as poorer neighborhoods, schools, nutrition, and prenatal and postnatal health care.7677
The Copenhagen consensus in 2004 stated that lack of both iodine and iron has been implicated in impaired brain development, and this can affect enormous numbers of people: it is estimated that one-third of the total global population are affected by iodine deficiency. In developing countries, it is estimated that 40% of children aged four and under suffer from anaemia because of insufficient iron in their diets.78
Eppig, Fincher & Thornhill (2010) argue that "From an energetics standpoint, a developing human will have difficulty building a brain and fighting off infectious diseases at the same time, as both are very metabolically costly tasks" and that differences in prevalence of infectious diseases (such as malaria) may be an important explanation for differences in IQ between different regions of the world.79 They tested other hypotheses as well, including genetic explanations, concluding that infectious disease was "the best predictor".80 Christopher Hassall and Thomas Sherratt repeated the analysis, and concluded "that infectious disease may be the only really important predictor of average national IQ".80
In order to mitigate the effects of education on IQ, Eppig, Fincher & Thornhill (2010) repeated their analysis across the United States where standardized and compulsory education exists.80 The correlation between infectious disease and average IQ was confirmed, and they concluded that the "evidence suggests that infectious disease is a primary cause of the global variation in human intelligence".80
Several studies have proposed that a large part of the gap can be attributed to differences in quality of education.81 Racial discrimination in education has been proposed as one possible cause of differences in educational quality between races.82 According to a paper by Hala Elhoweris, Kagendo Mutua, Negmeldin Alsheikh and Pauline Holloway, teachers' referral decisions for students to participate in gifted and talented educational programs were influenced in part by the students' ethnicity.83
The Abecedarian Early Intervention Project, an intensive early childhood education project, was also able to bring about an average IQ gain of 4.4 points at age 21 in the black children who participated in it compared to controls.71 Arthur Jensen agreed that the Abecedarian project demonstrates that education can have a significant effect on IQ, but also said that no educational program thus far has been able to reduce the black-white IQ gap by more than a third, and that differences in education are thus unlikely to be its only cause.84
Rushton and Jensen argue that long-term follow-up of the Head Start Program found large immediate gains for blacks and whites but that these were quickly lost for the blacks although some remained for whites. They argue that also other more intensive and prolonged educational interventions have not produced lasting effects on IQ or scholastic performance.18 Nisbett argues that they ignore studies such as Campbell & Ramey (1994) which found that at the age 12, 87% black of infants exposed to an intervention had IQs in the normal range (above 85) compared to 56% of controls, and none of the intervention-exposed children were mildly retarded compared to 7% of controls. Other early intervention programs have shown IQ effects in the range of 4–5 points, which are sustained until at least age 8–15. Effects on academic achievement can also be substantial. Nisbett also argues that not only early age intervention can be effective, citing other successful intervention studies from infancy to college.85
Logographic writing system
Complex logographic writing systems have been proposed as an explanation for the higher visuospatial IQ scores of East Asians. Critics argue that the causation may be reversed with higher visuospatial ability causing the development of pictorial symbols in writing rather than alphabetic ones. Another argument is that East Asians adopted at birth also score high on IQ tests. Similar relatively higher visuospatial abilities are also found among Inuit and Native Americans, whose ancestors migrated from East Asia to the Americas.8687non-primary source needed
A large number of studies have shown that systemically disadvantaged minorities, such as the African American minority of the United States generally perform worse in the educational system and in intelligence tests than the majority groups or less disadvantaged minorities such as immigrant or "voluntary" minorities.4 The explanation of these findings may be that children of caste-like minorities, due to the systemic limitations of their prospects of social advancement, do not have "effort optimism", i.e. they do not have the confidence that acquiring the skills valued by majority society, such as those skills measured by IQ tests, is worthwhile. They may even deliberately reject certain behaviors seen as "acting white".4888990
This argument is also explored in the book Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth (1996) which argues that it is not lower average intelligence that leads to the lower status of racial and ethnic minorities, it is instead their lower status that leads to their lower average intelligence test scores. One example being Jews in the early 20th century in the US who, the authors argue, scored low on IQ tests. To substantiate this claim, the book presents a table comparing social status or caste position with test scores and measures of school success in several countries around the world. Examples include Koreans, Peruvians and Brazilians in Japan, Burakumin in Japan, Australian Aborigines, Romani in Czechoslovakia, Maori in New Zealand, Afro-Brazilians, Indigenous Brazilians, Pardos and Rural Exiles (as, but not limited to, people from Northeast in Brasília, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro metropolitan areas, and including a minority of European descent) in Brazil, Afrikaners in South Africa, Catholics in North Ireland, Irish and Scottish in Great Britain, Arabs and Sephardi Jews in Israel, and Dalit, low caste, and tribal people in India. The authors note, however, that the comparisons made in the table do not represent the results of all relevant findings, that sometimes studies have shown more mixed findings, that the tests and procedures varied greatly from study to study, and that there is no simple way to compare the size of group differences. The statement regarding Arabs in Israel, for example, is based on a news report that, in 1992, 26% of Jewish high school, predominantly Ashkenazim, students passed their matriculation exam as opposed to 15% of Arab students.91 Stephen Jay Gould in the The Mismeasure of Man also argued that Jews in the early 20th century scored low on IQ tests. Rushton as well as Cochran, Hardy & Harpending have argued that this is a misrepresentation of the studies and that also the early testing support a high average Jewish IQ.5292non-primary source needed
Murray replies that purely sociocultural factors like this cannot explain the gap, because the size of the gap on any test is dependent on that test's degree of g-loading. As an example, Murray notes that the test of reciting a string of digits backwards is much more g-loaded than reciting it forwards, and the black-white gap is around twice as large on the first test as on the second. According to Murray, there is no way that culture or motivation could systematically encourage black performance on one test while decreasing it on another, when both tests are provided by the same examiner in the same setting.93non-primary source needed
Cultural traditions valuing education
Nisbett argues cultural traditions valuing education can explain the high results in the US for Ashkenazi Jews (Talmud scholarship) and East Asians (Confucianism and the Imperial examination system).94
JR Harris suggested in The Nurture Assumption that different peer group cultures may contribute to the black-white IQ gap. She cites the work of Thomas Kindermann, whose longitudinal studies find that peer groups significantly affect scholastic achievement.95
The American Anthropological Association in 1994 stated that intelligence is not biologically determined by race.5 The American Psychological Association in 1994 stated that there is little evidence to support environmental explanations, certainly no support for genetic interpretations, and that presently the cause of the black-white IQ gap is unknown.96 Some scientists, however, have concluded sufficient evidence exists to support substantial genetic contribution to explain the black-white IQ gap.1821339798
Genetics of race and intelligence
The decoding of the human genome has enabled scientists to search for sections of the genome that may contribute to cognitive abilities. However the geneticist, Alan R. Templeton suggests this question is muddled by the general focus on "race" rather than on populations defined by gene frequency or by geographical proximity, and by the general insistence on phrasing the question in terms of heritability.99 Templeton points out that racial groups neither represent sub-species or distinct evolutionary lineages, and that therefore there is no basis for making claims about the general intelligence of races.99 He also finds that phrasing the question in terms of heritability not helpful because heritability "by definition is not applicable to between-population phenotypic differences" and is therefore "completely irrelevant to the question of genetic differentiation for any trait, including intelligence, among human populations." Templeton says that the only way to design a study of the genetic contribution to intelligence is to the correlation between degree of geographic ancestry and cognitive abilities. He states that this would require a Mendelian "common garden" design where specimens with different hybrid compositions are subjected to the same environmental influences, and that when this design has been carried out, it has shown no significant correlation between any cognitive and the degree of African or European ancestry.99
Intelligence is a polygenic trait. This means that intelligence is under the influence of several genes, possibly several thousand. The effect of most individual genetic variants on intelligence is thought to be very small, well below 1% of the variance in g. Current studies using quantitative trait loci have yielded little success in the search for genes influencing intelligence. Robert Plomin is confident that QTLs responsible for the variation in IQ scores exist, but due to their small effect sizes, more powerful tools of analysis will be required to detect them.100 Others assert that no useful answers can be reasonably expected from such research before an understanding of the relation between DNA and human phenotypes emerges.77
A 2005 literature review article on the links between race and intelligence in American Psychologist stated that no gene has been shown to be linked to intelligence, "so attempts to provide a compelling genetic link of race to intelligence are not feasible at this time".101 Several candidate genes have been proposed to have a relationship with intelligence.102103 However, a review of candidate genes for intelligence published in Deary, Johnson & Houlihan (2009) failed to find evidence of an association between these genes and general intelligence, stating "there is still almost no replicated evidence concerning the individual genes, which have variants that contribute to intelligence differences".104
Heritability within and between groups
Heritability is defined as the ratio of variation attributable to genetic differences in an observable trait to the trait's total observable variation. The heritability of a trait describes the proportion of variation in the trait that is attributable to genetic factors within a particular population. Heritability is not the proportion of a trait that is genetic and it does not describe what role, if any, genes play in producing the trait itself. A heritability of 1 indicates that variation correlates fully with genetic variation and a heritability of 0 indicates that there is no correlation between the trait and genes at all. There is broad agreement that individual variation in intelligence is neither fully genetic nor fully environmental, but there is little agreement on the relative contribution of genes and environment on individual intelligence.
It has been argued that intelligence is substantially heritable within populations, with 30–50% of variance in IQ scores in early childhood being attributable to genetic factors in analyzed US populations, increasing to 75–80% by late adolescence.4104 High heritability does not imply that a trait is genetic or unchangeable, however, as environmental factors that affect all group members equally will not be measured by heritability (see the figure) and the heritability of a trait may also change over time in response to changes in the distribution of genes and environmental factors.4 High heritability also doesn't imply that all of the heritability is genetically determined, but can also be due to environmental differences that affect only a certain genetically defined group (indirect heritability).105
Jensen and Rushton have argued that there may be environmental factors ("X factors") that are not measured by the heritability figure, but such factors must have the properties of not affecting whites while at the same time affecting all blacks equally, but, the hereditarians argue, no such plausible factors have been found and other statistical tests for the presence of such an influence in the United States are negative.21106
Dickens and Flynn argue that the conventional interpretation ignores the role of feedback between factors, such as those with a small initial IQ advantage, genetic or environmental, seeking out more stimulating environments which will gradually greatly increase their advantage, which, as one consequence in their alternative model, would mean that the "heritability" figure is only in part due to direct effects of genotype on IQ.1107108
Spearman's hypothesis states that the magnitude of the black-white difference in tests of cognitive ability is entirely or mainly a function of the extent to which a test measures general mental ability, or g. The hypothesis, first formalized by Arthur Jensen in the 1980s based on Charles Spearman's earlier comments on the topic, argues that differences in g are the sole or major source of differences between blacks and whites observed in many studies of race and intelligence.
Studies on Spearman's hypothesis have often confirmed that racial IQ differences between Blacks and Whites are in line with Spearman's hypothesis.109non-primary source needed Some have criticized these results. Hunt and Carlson argues Spearman's hypothesis is just one of several models that could explain the observed distributions in test scores.1
Gradual gap appearance
Fryer & Levitt (2006) found in tests of children aged eight to twelve months only minor differences (0.06 SD) between blacks and whites that disappeared with the inclusion of a limited set of controls including social-economic status.110 Flynn has argued that the United States black-white gap appears gradually which suggests environmental causes. "At just 10 months old, the average score is only one point behind; by the age of 4, it is 4.6 points behind, and by the age of 24, the gap is 16.6 points. This could be due to genes, but the steady rate after the age of 4 (about 0.6 IQ points lost every year) suggests otherwise, since genetically driven differences such as height differences between males and females tend to kick in at a certain age."111non-primary source needed
Rushton and Jensen argue that the black-white IQ difference of one standard deviation is present at the age of 3 and does not change significantly afterward.18 Murray argues that the heritability of IQ increases with age which is reflected in the racial IQ gaps gradually increasing.93
Several studies have been done on the effect of similar rearing conditions on children from different races.
The Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study (1976) examined the IQ test scores of 122 adopted children and 143 nonadopted children reared by advantaged white families. The children were restudied ten years later.112113114 The study found higher IQ for whites compared to blacks, both at age 7 and age 17.112115 Three other studies found opposing evidence with none finding higher intelligence in white children than in black children. However, unlike the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study, these studies did not retest the children post-adolescence when heritability of IQ would be much higher.1821116 Moore (1986) compared black and mixed-race children adopted by either black or white middle-class families in the United States. Moore observed that 23 black and interracial children raised by white parents had a significantly higher mean score than 23 age-matched children raised by black parents (117 vs 104), and argued that differences in early socialization explained these differences. Eyferth (1961) studied the out-of-wedlock children of black and white soldiers stationed in Germany after World War 2 and then raised by white German mothers and found no significant differences. Tizard et al. (1972) studied black (African and West Indian), white, and mixed-race children raised in British long-stay residential nurseries. Three out of four tests found no significant differences. One test found higher scores for non-whites.117
Studies on Korean infants adopted by European families have consistently shown a higher IQ than the European average.1898118 Frydman and Lynn (1989) showed a mean IQ of 119 for Korean infants adopted by Belgium families. After correcting for the Flynn effect, the IQ of the adopted Korean children was still 10 points higher than the indigenous Belgian children.1898118 Lynn and Rushton claim that a Stams et al. (2000) dataset shows a mean IQ of 115 for Korean infants adopted in the Netherlands.98119120
Racial admixture studies
Many people have an ancestry from different geographic regions. For example, African Americans typically have ancestors from both Africa and Europe, with, on average, 20% of their genome inherited from European ancestors.121 If racial IQ gaps have a partially genetic basis, blacks with a higher degree of European ancestry should on average have higher IQ, because the genes inherited from European ancestors would likely include some genes with a positive effect on IQ.122
Witty and Jenkins (1936) compared a group of 63 black students all with an IQ of 125 and above and compared their white ancestry level to Herskovits (1930) national sample of blacks and concluded no significant difference in the level of white ancestry between their sample of gifted students and the national sample of Herskovits (1930).123124
This study has been criticized as the study's control sample of Herskovitz (1930) was not considered representative. 50 percent of the Herskovitz (1930) sample were composed of Howard University undergraduates and “well to do” professions with higher than average SES.125 Blacks in both the control sample of Herskovitz (1930) and the test sample by Witty and Jenkins (1936) had higher percentage of white ancestry (approximately 30%) than the national average.126
Shuey (1966) summarized 18 black-white admixture studies and concluded 16 out of 18 studies showed a positive correlation between lighter skin color and higher IQ with correlation ranging from 0.12 to 0.30.127128129 Nisbett and Jensen have both argued that skin color is a highly imprecise measure of racial ancestry.130
The frequency of different blood types vary with ancestry. Correlations between degree of European blood types and IQ have varied between 0.05 and -0.38 in two studies from 1973 and 1977. Nisbett writes that one problem with these studies is that white blood genes are very weakly associated with one another in the black population, so they are not a reliable method of estimating ancestry.131 T. Edward Reed, an expert on blood groups, argues that the methodology used in these studies would have been unable to detect any difference, regardless of whether or not the hereditarian hypothesis is correct.132
Some authors have suggested that new studies of the relationship ancestry and IQ should be performed using modern DNA-based ancestry estimations, which would provide a more reliable measure of ancestry than is possible based on skin tone or blood groups.41133
Mental chronometry measures the elapsed time between the presentation of a sensory stimulus and the subsequent behavioral response by the participant. This reaction time (RT) is considered a measure of the speed and efficiency with which the brain processes information.134 Scores on most types of RT tasks tend to correlate with scores on standard IQ tests as well as with g, and no relationship has been found between RT and any other psychometric factors independent of g.134 The strength of the correlation with IQ varies from one RT test to another, but Hans Eysenck gives 0.40 as a typical correlation under favorable conditions.135 According to Jensen individual differences in RT have a substantial genetic component, and heritability is higher for performance on tests that correlate more strongly with IQ.106 Nisbett argues that some studies have found correlations closer to 0.2, and that the correlation is not always found.136
Several studies have found differences between races in average reaction times. These studies have generally found that reaction times among black, Asian and white children follow the same pattern as IQ scores.137138139 Rushton and Jensen have argued that reaction time is independent of culture and that the existence of race differences in average reaction time is evidence that the cause of racial IQ gaps is partially genetic instead of entirely cultural.18 Responding to this argument in Intelligence and How to Get It, Nisbett has pointed to the Jensen & Whang (1993) study in which a group of Chinese Americans had longer reaction times than a group of European Americans, despite having higher IQs. Nisbett also mentions findings in Flynn (1991) and Deary (2001) suggesting that movement time (the measure of how long it takes a person to move a finger after making the decision to do so) correlates with IQ just as strongly as reaction time, and that average movement time is faster for blacks than for whites.140
Harry Jerison writes that there are real race differences in brain size, if races are defined sociologically rather than genetically, but it is difficult to know what to make of these differences. Within a race, sex, or age group, brain size has about a 0.4 correlation with IQ. He also writes that because of politics, it is almost impossible to discuss these differences in any scientific forum.141
Earl Hunt states that because brain size is found to have a correlation of about .35 with intelligence among whites and is almost entirely genetically determined, race differences in average brain size are therefore an important argument for a possible genetic contribution to racial IQ gaps. However as brain images are expensive to obtain, much of the research in this area is based on external measures of head size, which only measures brain size indirectly and thus makes the data less reliable. Hunt notes that Rushton's head size data would account for a difference of .09 standard deviations between Black and White average test scores, only a portion of the 1.0 standard deviation gap in average scores that is observed.142
Hunt and Carlson write that whether there is a relationship between race, genetics, brain size, and IQ is at present unknown. However, they say that it is an area both feasible and reasonable to study. Summarising Rushton's hypothesis that the black-white IQ gap can be explained by larger average brain size among whites, they say that because this argument presents a biological mechanism known to influence intelligence that could potentially help explain racial IQ gaps, discussing ideas like this is more likely to be informative than arguing about heritability statistics.1
Jensen and Rushton argued that the existence of biological group differences does not rule out, but raises questions about the worthiness of policies such as affirmative action or placing a premium on diversity. They also argued for the importance of teaching people not to overgeneralize or stereotype individuals based on average group differences, because of the significant overlap of people with varying intelligence between different races.18
The environmentalist viewpoint argues for increased interventions in order to close the gaps.citation needed Nisbett argues that schools can be greatly improved and that many interventions at every age level are possible.143 Flynn, arguing for the importance of the black subculture, writes that "America will have to address all the aspects of black experience that are disadvantageous, beginning with the regeneration of inner city neighbourhoods and their schools. A resident police office and teacher in every apartment block would be a good start."111 Researchers from both sides agree that interventions should be better researched.13621
Especially in developing nations, society has been urged to take on the prevention of cognitive impairment in children as of the highest priority. Possible preventable causes include malnutrition, infectious diseases such as meningitis, parasites, and cerebral malaria, in utero drug and alcohol exposure, newborn asphyxia, low birth weight, head injuries, and endocrine disorders.144
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