A Synopsis of The Bell Curve

  • Terry W. Belke


The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray has engendered considerable debate.1 Readers bring to their reading of this book an initial attitude toward the subject that colors their interpretation of the message that Herrnstein and Murray are trying to convey. The reader who is vehemently opposed to any claim that “intelligence” has a genetic basis dismisses the words as rantings of racists. At the other end of the spectrum, readers consumed with hatred and bigotry toward individuals of other races and ethnicity interpret the contents of this book as justification for their biases and actions. In either case, these readers are doing this work a disservice. This chapter offers a concise summary of arguments and materials in The Bell Curve. It is a factual reporting of what Herrnstein and Murray say and should be read before the commentary in the chapters that follow.


Cognitive Ability Ethnic Difference Affirmative Action Gifted Student Medical College Admission Test 
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  1. 1.
    Herrnstein, R. J. and Murray, C. (1994), The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, The Free Press, New York.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

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  • Terry W. Belke

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