IQ matters…or does it?

This is just an FYI post regarding two great articles on IQ.

The first addressees the white-black IQ gap and shows that the gap is due to environmental factors and not genetic. This is a well written article by Malcom Gladwell and is strongly recommended to be read in its entirety. The arguments are manifold:

  1. Flynn effects show that IQ scores have increased over time, and hence IQ is malleable and prone to environmental influences.
  2. Intelligence is also a cultural construct and what may be intelligent behavior in one culture may be deemed stupid in another.
  3. Intelligence can be raised by providing the right socio-cultural environment and cognitive grooming and scaffolding. High heritability may partially be due to the fact that high SES groups are considered in such studies. In poor families IQ heritability drops to 10 to 20 % and environmental factors play a much higher role.
  4. IQ tests are renormed (to take care of the Flynn effect and the definition of IQ as relative to mean IQ of population) and sometimes data that supports claims like Asians have higher IQ than white which have higher than blacks are comparing apples to oranges.
  5. IQ gap is narrowing and the average scores of blacks increasing at a faster rate than whites, which is further proof that there is not a racial gap that is due to genetics.

The second article is by Flynn himself and covers some of the same ground. The main essay is followed by several commentaries and it makes for a stimulating exchange.

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