All Brains Are the Same Color

All Brains Are the Same Color - Page 1 1 of 1 DOCUMENT The...

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1 of 1 DOCUMENT The New York Times December 9, 2007 Sunday Late Edition - Final All Brains Are the Same Color BYLINE: By RICHARD E. NISBETT. Richard E. Nisbett, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, is the author of ''The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently and Why.'' SECTION: Section 4; Column 0; Editorial Desk; OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR; Pg. 11 LENGTH: 1414 words DATELINE: Ann Arbor, Mich. JAMES WATSON, the 1962 Nobel laureate, recently asserted that he was ''inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa'' and its citizens because ''all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours -- whereas all the testing says not really.'' Dr. Watson's remarks created a huge stir because they implied that blacks were genetically inferior to whites, and the controversy resulted in his resignation as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. But was he right? Is there a genetic difference between blacks and whites that condemns blacks in perpetuity to be less intelligent? The first notable public airing of the scientific question came in a 1969 article in The Harvard Educational Review by Arthur Jensen, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Jensen maintained that a 15-point difference in I.Q. between blacks and whites was mostly due to a genetic difference between the races that could never be erased. But his argument gave a misleading account of the evidence. And others who later made the same argument -- Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray in ''The Bell Curve,'' in 1994, for example, and just recently, William Saletan in a series of articles on Slate -- have made the same mistake. In fact, the evidence heavily favors the view that race differences in I.Q. are environmental in origin, not genetic. The hereditarians begin with the assertion that 60 percent to 80 percent of variation in I.Q. is genetically determined. However, most estimates of heritability have been based almost exclusively on studies of middle-class groups. For the poor, a group that includes a substantial proportion of minorities, heritability of I.Q. is very low, in the range of 10 percent to 20 percent, according to recent research by Eric Turkheimer at the University of Virginia. This means that for the poor, improvements in environment have great potential to bring about increases in I.Q.
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All Brains Are the Same Color - Page 1 1 of 1 DOCUMENT The...

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