Skin Color and Intelligence in African Americans: A Reanalysis of Lynn's Data
Finding a modest yet statistically significant correlation between skin tone and vocabulary test scores among African Americans, Lynn (2002) concludes that “intelligence in African Americans is significantly determined by the proportion of Caucasian genes” (p. 365). In this reanalysis of Lynn's data, I demonstrate that his bivariate association disappears once childhood environmental factors are considered. Therefore, a genetic link between skin color and intelligence among African Americans cannot be supported in his data. Investigators seeking to establish a genetic connection between racial ancestry and intelligence must move beyond simple bivariate results to address the confounding influence of environmental conditions that affect cognitive development.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Fischer, C. S., Hout, M., Sanchez, M. S., Lucas S. R., Swidler, A., & Voss, K. (1996). Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Hill, M. E. (2000). Color differences in the socioeconomic status of African American men: Results of a longitudinal study. Social Forces, 78, 1437-60.Google Scholar
- Hughes, M., & Hertel, B. R. (1990). The significance of color remains: A study of life chances, mate selection, and ethnic consciousness among black Americans. Social Forces, 68, 1105-20.Google Scholar
- Jencks, C., & Phillips, M. (Eds.) (1998). The Black-White Test Score Gap. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
- Keith, V. M., & Herring, C. (1991). Skin tone and stratification in the black community. American Journal of Sociology, 97, 760-78.Google Scholar
- Lynn, R. (2002). Skin color and intelligence in African Americans. Population and Environment, 23, 365-375.Google Scholar
- Mullins, E. I., & Sites, P. (1984). The origins of contemporary eminent black Americans: A three-generation analysis of social origin. American Sociological Review, 49, 672-685.Google Scholar
- Nisbett, R. E. (1998). Race, genetics, and IQ. In C. Jencks & M. Phillips (Eds.) The Black-White Test Score Gap (pp. 86-102). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
- Rushton, J. P. (2000). Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective, 3rd ed. Port Huron, MI: Charles Darwin Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Schafer, J. L. (1997). Analysis of Incomplete Multivariate Data. London: Chapman and Hall.Google Scholar
- Schafer, J. L. (2000). NORM: Multiple imputation of incomplete multivariate data under a normal model, version 2.03. [Computer Software] http://www.stat.psu.edu/%7Ejls/misoftwa. html.Google Scholar
- Williamson, J. (1980). New People: Miscegenation and Mulattoes in the United States. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar