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The Effect of Biracial Status and Color on Crystallized Intelligence in the U.S.-Born African–European American Population

Ulster Institute for Social Research, London, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Psych 2019, 1(1), 44-54;
Received: 2 January 2019 / Revised: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 5 March 2019 / Published: 7 March 2019
PDF [218 KB, uploaded 7 March 2019]


The relationship between biracial status, color, and crystallized intelligence was examined in a nationally representative sample of adult Black and White Americans. First, it was found that self-identifying biracial individuals, who were found to be intermediate in color and in self-reported ancestry, had intermediate levels of crystallized intelligence relative to self-identifying White (mostly European ancestry) and Black (mostly sub-Saharan African ancestry) Americans. The results were transformed to an IQ scale: White (M = 100.00, N = 7569), primarily White–biracial (M = 96.07, N = 43, primarily Black–biracial (M = 94.14 N = 50), and Black (M = 89.81, N = 1381). Next, among self-identifying African Americans, a statistically significant negative correlation of r = −0.102 (N = 637) was found between interviewer-rated darker facial color and vocabulary scores. After correction for the reliability of the measures, this correlation increased to r = −0.21. Corrections for the validity of color as an index of African ancestry would raise this correlation to around r = −0.48. This association among self-identifying African Americans was not accounted for by confounding factors, such as region of residence and interviewer race, or by parental socioeconomic status and individual educational attainment. In the multivariate models, the standardized betas for color and crystallized intelligence among African Americans ranged from β = −0.112 to β = −0.142. Based on the coefficients from the multivariate analysis, it was further found that cognitive ability was a significant mediator in the context of color and education, while education was not in the context of color and cognitive ability. It is concluded that these results further substantiate the statistical relation between intelligence and biogeographic ancestry in African and European American populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: skin color; African Americans; intelligence skin color; African Americans; intelligence
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Fuerst, J.G.R.; Lynn, R.; Kirkegaard, E.O.W. The Effect of Biracial Status and Color on Crystallized Intelligence in the U.S.-Born African–European American Population. Psych 2019, 1, 44-54.

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