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Untangling The Relationship Between Race And Intelligence

2112 words - 8 pages

The debate concerning the nature of the relationship between race and intelligence has been highly contested by psychologists for many years. With the emergence of genetic research in recent times, some clarity has been provided, however, many unanswered questions still remain. This essay discusses the implications of IQ test scores and the potentially misleading information they generate when administered to non-Western individuals. Although it is argued that race is a dynamic social construct and therefore not scientifically sound, this essay will explain why considering context-specific information about an individual is vital when assessing their intelligence due to the substantial roles environmental factors play in the learning process. In fact, internal genetic factors and external environmental factors both contribute to the development of intelligence. As a result of this, IQ is regarded as a fluid concept, capable of both positive and negative change. Lastly, this essay examines intelligence and socioeconomic success, in order to determine whether there is any significant relationship between the two. Contrary to popular belief, recent studies have shown the presence of wealth does not cause a higher IQ, however, having a higher IQ does appear to lead to greater socioeconomic success. It is evident that the scientific community has yet to agree upon a universally viable explanation of the interactions between race and intelligence.
A psychosocial phenomenon known as ‘race’ has the power to bind a group of people together and determine how they are expected to behave (Kendig, 2011). Our behaviour is determined by another phenomenon known as ‘intelligence’ (Colom, Karama, Jung, & Haier, 2010). Since these are both such fundamental aspects of how our society functions, it is crucial for psychologists to understand how these factors interact. However, despite many circulating theories, psychologists have yet to agree upon the extent to which these phenomena affect each other. In this essay, I will explore the reasons for division and ambiguity in the scientific community regarding the definitions and explanations of race and intelligence, and assess whether it is prudent to assess their effect on each other at present. I will first address the issue that intelligence quotient (IQ) test scores do not indicate a fundamental intellectual ability, due to the dissonance between races and their understanding of intelligence. In order to impartially gauge the intelligence of an individual, it is scientifically valid to consider their specific context, as the diversity of cultural values strongly affects the importance put on certain abilities, which in turn affects how intelligence must be measured (Bouchard, 1998). Empirical evidence suggests intelligence is a combination of socially mediated mechanisms and genetics (Berg, et al., 2005). Environmental factors, such as education and social support, as well as genetic contributions, appear to be...

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