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Consider whether it is acceptable or not to continue to study race and intelligence.

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HELEN COSGROVE                                                     Race and Intelligence

The purpose of this essay is to consider whether it is acceptable or not to continue to study race and intelligence. The strengths and weaknesses of previous research studies will be discussed. There seems to be a mix of both hereditary and environmental factors featured within all individuals but on the whole there is no major difference in mental capability between any human group. The main finding stands that race and intelligence is distasteful and inappropriate. Assumptions to the contrary qualify as racism and there appear to be some ‘scientists’ who stand by such immoral grounding.

Galton (1884) took for granted that some races were superior in comparison to others and part of his belief held that women were naturally less intelligent than men. Despite Galton’s (1884) failure to identify intelligence through various measures, it would appear the idea is still embedded in some minds that white males hold a superior intelligence compared to blacks and females. In addition, announcement of measures that could identify people as either mildly or severely handicapped became predominant in research, to the discredit of the scientific arena.  The information from such scientific data could be easily misinterpreted and used in the mistreatment of various groups within society, using legislative policies (Kamin 1974, Evans and Waites 1981; Rose 1984; Gould 1997). This was true in the powers that introduced sterilisation and immigration controls.

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Similarly Eysenck favours the genetic approach and agreed that 80% of variability within an individuals intelligence is grounded by genetics. He draws upon Twin studies and sibling studies. However, one such study conducted by Shields (1962) used predominately women, the age range was quite large and it was found that they hadn’t been separated until around 8years of age. Furthermore a study by Schiff, Dyme, Durmaret, Stewart, Tomkiewics and Fiengold (1978) found that the I.Q.s of 32 French Children from a lower class background when adopted into a higher status family were higher, 111 compared to 95, compared to 20 siblings. This backs up claims of an environmental effect.

Human Genome Project 2001

Lynn and Vanhanan (2002) would have us believe that poor nations will remain poor.  They suggest this is due to hereditary features and therefore the economic differences between rich and poor nations will remain. But surely greed of rich nations, inadequate resources and civil war are all proof of environmental outcomes. IQ rates in such a nation is of little consequence when it is survival rates that matter.

 Lynn (1977) outrageously assumes that the categories, Mongoloid and  Causacoid high intelligence when compared to Negroid  is due to their survival in temperate as well as cold climates.

DeVries and Sameroff (1984) found variations between three African tribes, which casts doubt on the limited sampling from British and American studies of Blacks.

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Zuckerman (1990) argues that genetic research be criticised not because of the racist connotations but because there is no real justification in the systematic study of differences of innate intelligence within different ethnic groups. Furthermore he claims that more emphasis should be made on biological and social aspects of individual differences relating to personality and intelligence within peoples of the world. Additionally, Pasamanick and Knobloch (1966) argue that poverty can cause cultural and physical deprivation and that this may have a causal link in reduced intellect within individual. They have found that environment factors such as social class, health and education do play apart in aspects of intelligence.

The genetic promonent is problematic because of the irrelevance of I.Q. tests to determine racial differences in intelligence. I.Q. tests only indicate the ability, conditioned by culture (Flynn 1987).


Alland, 1996).

DeVries and Sameroff (1984)

Evans and Waites 1981

Eyferth (1961)


Flynn. J. R. (1987). Massive IQ gains in 14 nations: What IQ tests really measure. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 171-191.

Flynn, J. R. (1999). Searching for justice: The discovery of IQ gains over time. American Psychologist, 54, 5-20.

Galton (1884

Gould 1997)

Herrnstein, R. J. and Murray, C., (1994). The Bell Curve. New York: The Free Press.


Jenson (1969)

Kamin, L.J. (1974). The science and politics of IQ. Potomac, MD: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lynn. R. and Vanhanan. T. (2002). IQ And The Wealth Of Nations. Praeger

Pasamanick and Knobloch (1966

Rose 1984;

Rushton (1985)

Schiff, Dyme, Durmaret, Stewart, Tomkiewics and Fiengold (1978)

Shields (1962)

Sternberg (1985)

Zuckerman (1990)


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