ERIC Number: ED099441
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1974-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Mysteries of the Meritocracy.
Goldberger, Arthur S.
In his book, "I.Q. in the Meritocracy," Richard J. Herrnstein (1973) calls on a classic article by Barbara S. Burks (1928) to support his position that a large part of the variation in intelligence can be accounted for by variation in heredity, as distinguished from variation in environment, and from covariation of heredity and environment. But Herrnstein's report of the Burks study is substantially inaccurate. In Chapter Four of his book, after reviewing other empirical evidence on heritability, Herrnstein turns to the Burks study. His presentation, pages 182-184, is reproduced in this document in its entirety. Burks' study focused on adoptive families. Herrnstein cites, in particular, the low correlations of children's IQs with their adoptive parents' IQs and with environmental variables as evidence that the role of environment is small. It is found in this document that some of Herrnstein's figures cannot be found in the Burks study, that her sample was extremely selective, that her environmental measures were limited, and that widely different estimates of heritability can be obtained from her data. Herrnstein's report cannot be taken at face value: to find out what the Burks study contains, it is necessary to read Burks. Further, the Burks study cannot support strong conclusions about the relative contributions of heredity and environment to the determination of intelligence. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Inst. for Research on Poverty.