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Nicholas Zarb  Headline of Washington Post, 23 rd February, 1980: “Over 7,500 sterilized in Virginia”; Based on a law implemented.

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Presentation on theme: "Nicholas Zarb  Headline of Washington Post, 23 rd February, 1980: “Over 7,500 sterilized in Virginia”; Based on a law implemented."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nicholas Zarb

2  Headline of Washington Post, 23 rd February, 1980: “Over 7,500 sterilized in Virginia”; Based on a law implemented between 1924 and 1972; Performed in mental health facilities, primarily upon white men and women who were considered feeble-minded; 2

3  ‘They told me that the operation was for an appendix and rupture.’ – Carrie Buck, 1980  She later married but could not conceive;  In 1979, during a routine check-up, she found out why;  ‘I broke down and cried. My husband and I wanted children desperately. We were crazy about them. I never knew what they’d done to me.’ 3

4  The pre-Darwinian American theory of polygeny, i.e., the belief that different human races were created differently;  This theory was held in high esteem by scientists and politicians alike (e.g. Agassiz, Morton, and Lincoln).  Between the 1820s and 1900, evidence, based on craniometry, was collected to support this theory;  The above was fuelled by biological determinism. 4

5  Defined as the ranking of races based on the brain’s size;  Used 3mm lead shot to fill the cranial cavity; RaceNMeanLargestSmallest Cubic inches Caucasian Mongolian Native American Ethiopian

6 Caucasian Mongolian Native American Ethiopian 6 IQ

7  A re-evaluation of Morton’s data confirmed that he unconsciously manipulated his data to fit his preconceptions;  For example, Native American skulls were over- represented by Inca Peruvians, who are of smaller stature, thus lowering the mean cranial capacity;  Morton assumed that the difference in cranial size reflected an innate difference in intelligence rather than, for example, body size;  This style of analysis will later have a bearing on how gender and class inequalities were placed and perpetuated on a ‘scientific platform’. 7

8  The publication of ‘The Origin of Species’ laid to rest the theory of polygeny;  Evolutionary theory was now utilized to explain differences in intelligence;  Paul Broca, in Paris, refined craniometry, and made very precise measurements;  These measurements involved the size of the brain after death;  However, his writings reflect the same bias as earlier writers, whereby conclusions came first. 8

9  Broca collected data to support two hypothesis;  First, that men’s brains were larger than women’s brains;  Secondly, that the difference in size between a man’s and woman’s brains increased through evolutionary time. NAverage weight (grams) Men Women

10 ‘We might ask if the small size of the female brain depends exclusively upon the small size of her body…we must not forget that women are, on average, a little less intelligent than men, a difference which we should not exaggerate but which is, nonetheless, real. We are therefore permitted to suppose that the relatively small size of the female brain depends in part upon her physical inferiority and in part upon her intellectual inferiority.’ 10

11  Broca’s second hypothesis rested on seven male and six female skulls.  Modern statistical analysis, using multiple regression (influence of height and age upon brain size), indicates that the difference between male and female brain size is statistically insignificant. 11

12  Rejected craniometry in favour of psychological methods;  Developed techniques in 1904, to identify children who might have been low academic achievers;  The test was purely pragmatic, and calculated mental age, hence the accent on the word quotient;  IQ = mental age/chronological age X 100; 12

13  Binet made it clear that: 1. IQ tests did not support any theory of intelligence; 2. IQ tests were not a device for ranking children; 3. Low scores were not a measure of a child’s innate incapability and that the right educational environment would lead to improvement. 13

14  American psychologists (e.g. Goddard, Terman, and Yerkes) in the early 20 th century demolished Binet’s principles by: 1. Assuming that IQ tests measured intelligence; 2. Invoking biological determinism and confusing heritability with inevitable; 3. Confusing within- and between-group differences. 14

15  Reified IQ scores as innate intelligence, creating a unilinear classification;  Most of his work was done during, and right after WW1;  Tripartite classification of deficiency: 1. Idiots, who did not develop full speech and had a mental age of less than three; 2. Imbeciles, who could not read or write, and had a mental age of three till seven; 3. Morons, derived from the Greek word meaning foolish, who were just below the normal range. 15

16  Goddard wanted to create an American society on the lines of Plato’s ‘Republic’;  He argued, ‘democracy means that the people rule by selecting the wisest, most intelligent and most human to tell them what to do to be happy. Thus, democracy is a method for arriving at a truly benevolent aristocracy.’  A direct link was established between low IQ scores, immorality, and sociopathic behaviour. 16

17  Goddard’s dictum was simple: don’t allow native morons to breed, and keep foreign ones out! These were the results obtained (1912) from a sample of immigrants who has just arrived from Europe: SampleLabeled as morons (%) 35 Jews83 22 Hungarians80 45 Russians87 50 Italians79 17

18  By 1928, Goddard realized that he was mistaken on several counts: 1. The upper limit of moronity was set too high; 2. Education and training are vitally important; 3. Biological determinism was wrong. 18

19  In the USA, Congress passed the Immigration Restriction Act in 1924, and imposed punitive quotas against nations of ‘inferior stock’;  The yearly quota was 3% (later revised down to 2%) of the 1890, rather than the 1920 census;  It is estimated that such quotas barred up to 6 million southern, central, and eastern Europeans between 1924 and

20  The work of Cyril Burt (a dogmatic determinist when dealing with intelligence) was used to buttress the introduction of the 11+ examinations in  Burt’s priority was to deduce a single figure on an individual basis;  The above reification was based on factor analysis, establishing a unilinear ranking of inherited mental worth.  This led to about 80% of students branded as unfit for higher education! 20

21  During the 1970s Arthur Jensen published a number of articles supposedly demonstrating that: 1. different races are endowed with different intelligence; 2. IQ tests are a measure of such intelligence; 3. The heritability of intelligence is as high as 80%; 4. The relative intelligence of different species may be placed along a unilinear scale. 21

22  ‘The Bell Curve’ in 1995 by Herrnstein and Murray;  Assumptions: 1. Intelligence may be measured using IQ tests; 2. Intelligence is highly heritable; 3. Environmental effects are negligible; Policy recommendations: 1. Elimination of welfare policies; 2. Reduce immigration to the USA; 22

23 23

24  Biological determinism vs. biological potential; ‘The greatest challenge is because these sixth forms have only one aim: that of ensuring that students enter university. Unfortunately there is no plan B. When I look at Matsec exam papers I consider both fails and passes. If you look at the E’s I find it impossible that these students did not learn anything in two years at FE level. These students interacted with other students, some of whom had the same subject. Even if these student didn’t want to, they would have learnt more than they present in their exams. Yet it is the latter that counts.’ 24

25 ‘The whole package, including learning and social experiences that these students were exposed to has given them informal skills and competences that are not graded in any way. They account for about % of the sixth form cohort. We don’t have the ability to value this learning. This is certainly a weakness.’ Informant,

26  Intelligence is unidimensional and can be represented by a single factor;  Intelligence is fixed within individuals and across generations;  IQ tests accurately measure this fixed ability;  IQ tests are equally valid across racial, ethnic, and cultural groups;  Intelligence determines individuals’ professional and social standings;  Environment plays little role in determining an individual’s intelligence;  The intelligence of populations is deteriorating over time; 26

27 Gould, S. J. (1981). The mismeasure of man. New York: Norton. Hacker, A. (1992). Two nations: black and white, separate, hostile, unequal. New York: Scribner. Hall, R. E. (2001). The ball curve: calculated racism and the stereotype of African American Men. Journal of Black Studies, 32(2), Herrnstein, R., and Murray, C. (1994). The bell curve. New York: Free Press. Jensen, A. R. (1969). How much can we boost IQ and scholastic achievement? Harvard Educational Review, 39(1),

28 Onwuegbuzie, A. and Daley, C. (2001). Racial differences in IQ revisited: a synthesis of nearly a century of research. Journal of Black Psychology, 27(3), Shih, M., Todd L. Pittinsky, T. L., and Ambady, N. (1999). Stereotype susceptibility: identity salience and shifts in quantitative performance. Psychological Science, 10(1), Walton, G. M. and Spencer, S. J. (2009). Latent ability: tests and grade scores systematically underestimate the intellectual ability of negatively stereotypes students. Psychological Science, 20(9),


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