Special Issue "Beyond Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability"
A special issue of Psych (ISSN 2624-8611).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 July 2019
Prof. Bryan J Pesta
Department of Management, Cleveland State University, 2121 Euclid Ave. BU 327, Cleveland, OH 44115, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: intelligence; IQ; discrimination law; individual differences; group differences; religiosity and IQ; testing; selection; cognition, cognitive psychology; human resource management
Fully 13 years have passed since Rushton and Jensen (2005) published their review of race differences in cognitive ability. The article now has over 500 citations. Rushton and Jensen’s (2005) work was impactful, partly because it carefully pitted culture-only versus hereditation models of the cause of race differences in intelligence. The authors were also thorough (the article is 60 pages long) in that they reviewed literature across ten “categories of evidence” regarding which model was possibly true. Ultimately, Rushton and Jensen (2005) concluded that “some genetic component [exists] in Black–White differences in mean IQ.”
Were they correct? What newer research has or will come to bear on this question? The special issue seeks high-quality scientific contributions regarding either Rushton and Jensen’s (2005) overall conclusion, or any of the ten categories of evidence they reviewed. Multiple perspectives are welcome. So too are reviews, new empirical evidence on the question(s), and articles that expand the scope beyond just Black / White comparisons. The contributions may focus on individuals as the unit of analysis, or feature aggregate-level (e.g., nations, regions, states) data.
The question is critically important because IQ is arguably the most powerful variable in social science. As such, group differences on IQ correlate with group differences on a host of variables (e.g., education, income, health, crime) that together seem to comprise human well-being. Without understanding the source of group-mean differences, we cannot make progress toward maximizing human well-being for everyone.
The ten categories of evidence include:
- The worldwide distribution of test scores,
- The g factor of mental ability,
- Brain size and cognitive ability,
- Transracial adoption
- Racial admixture
- related life-history traits
- human origins research
- hypothesized environmental variables
Prof. Bryan J Pesta
Manuscript Submission Information
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- Group differences
- Nature / Nurture
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Weak Genes or Strong Germs?
Chanda Chrisala, Stanford University
Abstract: Presents an alternative biological hypothesis to the Jensenian genetic hypothesis for Black-White IQ differences in America. Looks at some of the most recent epidemiological findings on infections that were previously not known to directly lower cognitive ability, and that happen to be much more prevalent in African Americans than European Americans. This pathogenic hypothesis invites serious consideration to replace Jensen’s default hypothesis as it appears to also predict other phenomena that have persistently defied simple hereditarian models.
A test of the UV radiation-intelligence connection across 3064 counties of the United States
Federico Leon, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola
John Fuerst, Ulster Institute for Social Research
Abstract: Absolute latitude is associated with both well-being and IQ, but the nature of their relationship is ambiguous. Some have proposed evolutionary hypotheses. An alternative is the UV radiation hypothesis which proposes that contemporaneous UV (ultraviolet) radiation effects cognitive ability through a number of physiological and behavioral pathways. This study applies path modeling to data on 3064 counties of the United States of America to further test the UV-IQ visa vis racial composition models. The evidence for the UV hypothesis is summarized and discussed in light of these results.
Modeling the Spearman's hypothesis using MGCFA: The Woodcock Johnson dataset
Meng Hu, Independent Researcher
Michael Woodley, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Research, Belgium
Abstract: There has been a good deal of research on Spearman's hypothesis with regard to Black-White differences in tests of cognitive ability. Most of the research has relied on Jensen's Method of Correlated Vectors (Jensen, 1998). This method, however, is incapable of rigorously testing competing models that do not involve group differences in g (Dolan, 2000, Dolan & Hamaker, 2001). The purpose of the present paper is to test Spearman's hypothesis using Multi-Group Confirmatory Factor Analysis applied to three waves of Woodcock-Johnson standardization data. First, using Jensen's MCV, it is found, for all three standardization waves, that there is a Jensen effect, i.e., positive correlation between the subtests' g-loadings and the Black-White differences. Secondly, while measurement invariance (MI) was generally found to hold, results from MGCFA using either the high-order-factor or the bi-factor model approach were unclear, indicating a lack of discriminatory ability. Recommendations for future research on Spearman’s hypothesis are made.
Mixed race, intermediate results? A meta-analysis of over a century of studies on racial admixture and cognitive ability
John Fuerst, Ulster Institute for Social Research
Abstract: Whether racial admixture is associated with cognitive ability in admixed populations has figured prominently in debates on the etiology of group differences. To evaluate this issue, we review over 100 years of research looking at the association between genetic, genealogical, phenotypic, and cultural indexes of admixture and intelligence or academic achievement scores. We focus on the following major biogeographic groups from six continental regions: Europeans, North East Asians, American Indian, Sub-Saharan Africans, Pacific Islander, and Australian Aborigines. Results are discussed in light of ongoing debates regarding the cause of ethnic group differences in measured cognitive ability.
Rushton’s Hypothesis Revisited:The Biogeography of Human Diversity in Life History Strategy
Aurelio José Figueredo1, Steven C Hertler2, & Mateo Peñaherrera-Aguirre1
1University of Arizona; 2College of New Rochelle
Abstract: Rushton (1985) advanced a controversial theory relating “race” to life history strategy in human populations. The essence of the hypothesis was as follows: (1) different human subpopulations (“races”) evolved in different physical and community ecologies; (2) these ecologies should at least partially determine the selective pressures shaping the evolution of human life history strategies in different parts of the world; ergo (3) different human subpopulations (“races”) should be associated with different modal life history strategies. Although the argument seems sound in its stark logical form, however, there are several limitations to the way that things were operationalized. For example, the traditional “Big Three Races” used (Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid) do not correspond very closely to the six or seven major population clusters identified by modern genetics for the human species. Furthermore, these “races” are neither completely discrete nor mutually exclusive, as they have many zones of overlap and interbreeding, which make setting geographical boundaries fuzzy and imprecise. Moreover, fixing the “race” issue will still not directly address what we take as the fundamental premise of the theory: That of human life history strategy being largely determined by ecological factors.
The present study addresses that last point directly by using the updated zoogeographical regions (Holt et al. 2013), based on data from over 21K species of terrestrial vertebrate, to establish ecologically-informed geographical areas within which humans (and other species) can be expected to evolve and develop different life history adaptations. By dividing modern humans roughly into such regional ecotypes, instead of conventionally-defined “races”, we can more directly test the basic premise of Rushton’s hypothesis, while avoiding much of the unnecessary controversies surrounding the definitions and utilities of such historically-received but antiquated racial concepts. We only used regions for this analysis which were still inhabited mostly by the aboriginal populations that existed there prior to the 15th Century AD. The results, although obtained by procedures quite different from those used originally by Rushton (1985) and subsequent works, nevertheless produced results that were surprisingly convergent with the basic premise underlying the original hypotheses.
The first industrial revolution. Did cold seasonal climates select for cognitive ability?
Peter Frost, Université Laval, independent researcher
Abstract: In their joint article, Rushton and Jensen argued that cognitive ability differs between human populations. But why are such differences expectable? Their answer: as modern humans spread out of Africa and into the northern latitudes of Eurasia, they entered colder and more seasonal climates that selected for the ability to plan ahead, since they had to store food, make clothes, and build shelters for the winter.
This explanation has a long history going back to Arthur Schopenhauer. More recently, it has been supported by findings from Paleolithic humans and contemporary hunter-gatherers. Tools become more diverse and complex as effective temperature decreases, apparently because food has to be obtained during limited periods of time and over large areas. There is also more storage of food and fuel and greater use of untended traps and snares. Finally, shelters have to be sturdier, and clothing more cold-resistant. The resulting cognitive demands fall on both men and women. Indeed, because women have few opportunities to get food through gathering, they specialize in more cognitively demanding tasks like garment making, needlework, weaving, leatherworking, pottery, and use of kilns. The northern tier of Paleolithic Eurasia thus produced the "first industrial revolution"—an explosion of creativity that pre-adapted its inhabitants for later developments, i.e., agriculture, more complex technology and social organization, and an increasingly future-oriented culture. Over time these humans would spread south, replacing earlier populations that could less easily exploit the possibilities of the new cultural environment.
As this cultural environment developed further, it selected for further increases in cognitive ability. In fact, mean intelligence seems to have risen during historic times at temperate latitudes in Europe and East Asia. There is thus no unified theory for the evolution of human intelligence. A key stage was adaptation to cold seasonal climates during the Paleolithic, but much happened later.