The issue concerning the correlation between intelligence and race has aroused heated debates with opposing groups citing different reasons for the variation in IQ test performance among different racial groups.
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The invention of intelligent quotient (IQ) testing heightened the tension on the issue of intelligence and race. IQ tests constitute one of the major components of evaluating intelligence.
To establish the relationship between intelligence and race, professionals in the fields of anthropology, biology and sociology have embarked on extensive studies to obtain clues that support or disapprove claims relating to the relationship between intelligence and race.
IQ tests have demonstrated particular trends regarding IQ levels among individuals of different genetic makeup. Since the genetic makeup of an individual largely defines his or her race, IQ tests provide evidence on the issue of intelligence from a racial perspective.
In a certain survey, repeated tests indicated a lower IQ score among Blacks as compared to Whites. Furthermore, the mean IQ score among individuals from East Asia and those of Jewish descent appeared to be higher than that of Whites (Rushton & Jensen 2006).
The mean IQ scores among individuals of Hispanic descent lied between the averages obtained for Blacks and Whites. Varying levels of cognitive ability and differences in academic, economic and social development in different regions further highlight the link between intelligence and race.
Other tests such as the Geographical distribution of intelligence, Intelligence and brain size relationship and Heritability of intelligence have also suggested variations regarding intelligence among Asians, Caucasians and Blacks (Rushton & Jensen 2006).
Moreover, studies show that genetic inheritance influences intelligence. This forms a basis for evaluating intelligence from a genetic perspective.
The lack of appropriate means to identify different races in a distinct manner makes it considerably difficult to relate races and intelligence levels. It is challenging to categorize races from a genetic perspective considering the lack of variation in evolution.
Research shows that genetic variations were random and resulted largely due to social aspects rather than biological changes (Sternberg et al., 2005). In this regard, social and environmental aspects are the only credible means of explaining variations in intelligent levels.
Research shows that individuals from disadvantaged groups score poorly on IQ tests irrespective of their race. This is because these individuals’ socio-economic factors are unfavorable. Disadvantaged groups face issues such as malnutrition, exposure to toxins and lack of resources.
These factors largely contribute to low IQ performance. A large number of tests regarding intelligence and race focus more on geographical locations rather than particular races (Sternberg et al., 2005). Therefore, conclusions drawn from such tests are subject to environmental and cultural factors rather than race.
Furthermore, not substantial data supports the relationship between an individual’s head size and his or her level of intelligence. Therefore, the hypothesis relating large head size among Asians and their high level of intelligence is not substantial, and thus unviable in supporting the relationship between intelligence and race.
Employing the phenotype approach in evaluating the correlation between intelligence and race is the most appropriate way to categorized varying intelligence levels among different races.
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Although this approach would establish the relationship between intelligence and the traits of certain individuals, a particular race has a certain dominant trait.
However, the dominance of certain phenotypes due to various factors may limit the results of this approach (Sternberg et al., 2005).
Several factors determine an individual’s level of intelligence. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude that a certain race has a high intelligence level. There is a lot of complexity involved in relating intelligence to various hypothesized aspects.
Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2006). The Totality of Available Evidence Shows the Race IQ Gap Still Remains. Psychological Science, 17(10), 921-922.
Sternberg, R., Kidd, K., & Grigorenko, E. (2005). Intelligence, race, and genetics. Am psychol., 60(1), 46-59.