The Effect of Race on Human Abilities and Mental Test Scores

  • H. J. Eysenck
Part of the Perspectives on Individual Differences book series (PIDF)


Theories concerning racial differences in intelligence are age-old and antedate empirical studies by thousands of years; Greek and Roman writers in the centuries preceding and following the birth of Christ had much to say about the weak intellects of “barbarians.” The development of IQ tests made possible more experimental investigations, and we now have a plethora of results from such studies. Unfortunately, these results are not easily interpreted, and diametrically opposite views have been expressed by different writers. Some are clearly writing outside the scientific tradition (Lawler, 1978; Liungman, 1972; Gillie, 1976), and such works only contribute to the popular suspicion that psychologists are not scientists evaluating empirical evidence, but prophets mouthing environmental or genetic shibboleths. But agreement is not noticeably closer when we turn to more academic works, ranging from Kamin (1974), who denied that there is any evidence of genetic causes of IQ differences even within a given racial group, through Block and Dworkin (1976), Flynn (1980), Eckberg (1979), Halsey (1977), and Loehlin, Lindsey, and Spuhler (1975), to Eysenck (1971) and Jensen (1972, 1973, 1980). The writers involved in the dispute acknowledge that those whose views they criticize have important points to make, and none suggest that sufficient data are available, or that the available data are of sufficient quality, for a final decision to be made on the question(s) raised in the title of this chapter.


Test Score White Child Intelligence Test Black Child American Black 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. J. Eysenck
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonLondonEngland

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