Race and IQ: Malcolm Gladwell On The Flynn Effect

Here is a link to Gladwell’s page, which links to his New Yorker piece.

Gladwell highlights both the Charles Murray argument:  IQ is an accurate enough test to raise deeper questions about genetics (Murray focuses often on the politics of equality and highlights the importance of intelligence itself)…

…with the James Flynn (Flynn Effect, IQ is a rising tide) argument that the test is simply not accurate enough to make such any such claims at all.

Gladwell seems to fall with Flynn.

Here’s another take, the entirety of which can be found here:

Sowell’s argument is a relatively simple one:  “innate” mental abilities do not develop spontaneously but must undergo development, which is differentially fostered by different cultures, even when the abilities are general and abstract and do not consist of items of cultural knowledge.

“…Sowell’s approach splits the difference between “nature” and “nurture“…

I’m not sure where I am on this. 

The test and the thinking behind the test have their limits, and I suspect that Murray could be overlooking those limits in his attempt to prevent the test from merely serving the current social trends and many self-interested players involved.

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2 thoughts on “Race and IQ: Malcolm Gladwell On The Flynn Effect

  1. Sarah

    Jelte Wicherts (2004) looked at the Flynn Effect & found it had few implications for the b-w gap.

    “It appears therefore that the nature of the Flynn Effect is qualitatively different
    from the nature of Black-White differences in the US. Each comparison of groups should
    be investigated separately. IQ gaps between cohorts do not teach us anything about IQ
    gaps between contemporary groups, except that each IQ gap should not be confused with
    real (i.e., latent) differences in intelligence.

    Only after a proper analysis of measurement
    invariance of these IQ gaps is conducted, can anything be concluded concerning true
    differences between groups.

    Whereas implications of the Flynn Effect for B-W differences appear small, the implications for intelligence testing in general are large.”

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