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Expression of Concern: Lynn, R. Reflections on Sixty-Eight Years of Research on Race and Intelligence. Psych, 2019, 1, 123–131

Global Ancestry and Cognitive Ability

Department of Economics, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Department of Management, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
Ulster Institute for Social Research, London NW26 9LQ, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Psych 2019, 1(1), 431-459;
Received: 8 June 2019 / Revised: 26 August 2019 / Accepted: 28 August 2019 / Published: 30 August 2019
Using data from the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, we examined whether European ancestry predicted cognitive ability over and above both parental socioeconomic status (SES) and measures of eye, hair, and skin color. First, using multi-group confirmatory factor analysis, we verified that strict factorial invariance held between self-identified African and European-Americans. The differences between these groups, which were equivalent to 14.72 IQ points, were primarily (75.59%) due to difference in general cognitive ability (g), consistent with Spearman’s hypothesis. We found a relationship between European admixture and g. This relationship existed in samples of (a) self-identified monoracial African-Americans (B = 0.78, n = 2,179), (b) monoracial African and biracial African-European-Americans, with controls added for self-identified biracial status (B = 0.85, n = 2407), and (c) combined European, African-European, and African-American participants, with controls for self-identified race/ethnicity (B = 0.75, N = 7,273). Controlling for parental SES modestly attenuated these relationships whereas controlling for measures of skin, hair, and eye color did not. Next, we validated four sets of polygenic scores for educational attainment (eduPGS). MTAG, the multi-trait analysis of genome-wide association study (GWAS) eduPGS (based on 8442 overlapping variants) predicted g in both the monoracial African-American (r = 0.111, n = 2179, p < 0.001), and the European-American (r = 0.227, n = 4914, p < 0.001) subsamples. We also found large race differences for the means of eduPGS (d = 1.89). Using the ancestry-adjusted association between MTAG eduPGS and g from the monoracial African-American sample as an estimate of the transracially unbiased validity of eduPGS (B = 0.124), the results suggest that as much as 20%–25% of the race difference in g can be naïvely explained by known cognitive ability-related variants. Moreover, path analysis showed that the eduPGS substantially mediated associations between cognitive ability and European ancestry in the African-American sample. Subtest differences, together with the effects of both ancestry and eduPGS, had near-identity with subtest g-loadings. This finding confirmed a Jensen effect acting on ancestry-related differences. Finally, we confirmed measurement invariance along the full range of European ancestry in the combined sample using local structural equation modeling. Results converge on genetics as a potential partial explanation for group mean differences in intelligence. View Full-Text
Keywords: race; intelligence; ancestry; socioeconomic status; discrimination; nature/nurture race; intelligence; ancestry; socioeconomic status; discrimination; nature/nurture
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lasker, J.; Pesta, B.J.; Fuerst, J.G.R.; Kirkegaard, E.O.W. Global Ancestry and Cognitive Ability. Psych 2019, 1, 431-459.

AMA Style

Lasker J, Pesta BJ, Fuerst JGR, Kirkegaard EOW. Global Ancestry and Cognitive Ability. Psych. 2019; 1(1):431-459.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lasker, Jordan, Bryan J. Pesta, John G. R. Fuerst, and Emil O. W. Kirkegaard. 2019. "Global Ancestry and Cognitive Ability" Psych 1, no. 1: 431-459.

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