The text should follow a Microsoft Word format, a letter size twelve (12) and a spacing of one and a half (1.5) between sentences (or line spacing in the paragraph options). The extension of the work should  not be less than three (3) pages or greater than five (5) pages of content . 




In the third unit we have discussed the controversy around the publication in the 1990s of Charles Murray’s and Richard Hernstein’s  The Bell Curve  and the various responses from specialists in the field of psychology, mental tests and even evolution that try to prove the problems with how we interpret the correlations between “IQ”, “Intelligence”, “Race” and various other social factors, among them “Social Class (or Social Economical Status)”, “Profession” and “Education (or the very limited concept of “Schooling”). Taking this into consideration  discuss why many specialists question these correlations and determinisms, specially how the differences of intelligence and social economic status can be solely  explained though the concepts of “IQ” (or the “g” factor) and “Race” (assumed as a biological, pre-determined and culture free construct).



 It is advisable that you take into account the following “guidelines” when elaborating your discussion:

1. How Neisser’s task force report (composed of specialists in the field from the APA) or other groups efforts by other psychologists (among them Nisbet, Sternberg or even the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould), have shown how these correlations are problematic, discussing that in reality we can’t think of biology (or of genes) without taking into consideration the influence of the environment. Give at least two examples from these texts that show that “IQ” and “Race” cannot be assumed as fixed, exhaustive and causal factors that explain the inequalities of education, social-economic status or others social factors.

2. The political effects of  The Bell Curve’s  thesis and conclusions, that in many ways justify (be it directly or indirectly) racially biased and extremely limited explanations regarding the role and importance of education and any kind of social and environmental reform.

3. Some, like Gould, would argue that these theses and conclusions (from  The Bell Curve  are a continuation (or a sort of “resurrection”) of old forms of racism. In this sense, the problem is not only the validity of “IQ” as an exhaustive measure of “Intelligence” or of the “g” factor as an inherited and fixed measure of “Intelligence”, but the validity of “Race” as a fixed and biological construct. Various specialist, among them Gould and Sternberg, will argue that, in reality, our uses of the concept of “Race” as a biological construct are problematic and in many way pseudo-scientific.

4. Use at  least two (2) of the assigned texts . Limit yourself to said texts and the discussion in class.

Assigned texts (in the order they were assigned).


Neisser, U. et al (1996). Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns.  American Psychologist  51 (2): 77-101.


Nisbet, R. et al (2012). Intelligence: New Findings and Theoretical Developments.  American Psychologists  67 (2): 130-159.


Fenwick, L.T. (1995). A History of the Constructs of IQ and Race: Putting “The Bell Curve” in Perspective.  Paper Presented at the Annual Book Review  (February, 1995): 3-17.


Sternberg, R., Grigorenko, E. & Kidd, K. (2005). Intelligence, Race, and Genetics.  American Psychologist  60 (1): 46-59.


Gould, S.J. (1995). Ghost of Bell Curves Past.  Natural History  2: 12-19 

    Gould, S.J. (1996). Alfred Binet and the original purposes of the Binet Scale. In Stephen Jay Gould,  The Mismeasure of Man  (176-188). New York: W.W. Norton

  Gould, S.J. (1996). H.H. Goddard and the menace of the feeble-minded. In Stephen Jay

Gould,  The Mismeasure of Man  (188-204). New York: W.W. Norton 


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