Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blacks, dopamine, and IQ

In this new study in Intelligence, Add Health Study data is used to compare the average level of dopamine-related alleles among students of 36 different middle and high schools. This measure is strongly associated with lower mean IQs (Beta = -.47). The relationship is weakened substantially (to Beta = -.35) when the percent of the school that is black is added as a control in the OLS regression model.

What's the interpretation of this in plain English?  It is this: Some schools have a higher percent of students with genes associated with a low IQ. These schools tend to have a low average IQ. So one important cause of low-IQ schools is having more kids with the bad genes. What the percent black predictor tells us is that: 1) schools with more blacks tend to have more students with the at-risk genes; 2) schools with a higher percent of blacks have lower intelligence levels; and 3) evidently an important reason why some schools are smarter than others is due to having fewer blacks--a group which has a higher prevalence of the bad genes.

This study contradicts the view that: 1) race is a social construction, and 2) the black-white gap in IQ has nothing to do with differences in genes.


Anonymous said...


It's stupid to refer to bad schools instead of bad students.

Bad students make bad schools.

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Anonymous said...

"...the associations between dopaminergic
genes and individual-level IQ scores were either small and statistically significant or non-significant."

There are many troubling gaps in the methodology that the authors used to draw these conclusions. School quality is not held constant, and therefore the quality of education could vary widely. This is a glaring problem when measuring IQ using a test like the PVT. Therefore, all this study has done is confirm that greater genetic variation exists where there is more racial variation. Fascinating.