New Study Shows That Blacks Have Narrowed the IQ Gap

A new Brookings Institution study finds that blacks have narrowed the IQ gap by about one third over the past 30 years.

The study, coauthored by William T. Dickens of the Brookings Institution and James R. Flynn of the University of Otago in New Zealand, found that blacks have shaved 5 or 6 points off the standard 15-point IQ gap that most previous studies had found between blacks and whites.

Professor Flynn is well known for producing evidence that today’s generation scores 20 to 30 points higher on IQ tests than did its parents and grandparents. This so-called Flynn Effect is widely accepted.

In the nurture versus nature debate, the new study points the finger toward environmental causes. An evolutionary genetic change can take thousands of generations to take hold. A genetic mutation in the intelligence of an individual or even a small group could not be spread to a large population in a short time of a generation or two. As a result, it is logical to conclude that environmental factors are responsible for the fact that the people of today are smarter than their immediate ancestors. Factors such as improved nutrition, better prenatal and infant care, an increased level of sanitary conditions, less toxins such as lead paint in the environment, and smaller family size may well be responsible for the overall improvement in IQ scores. From this, it is a rather small leap to conclude that because blacks have been on the short end of many of these environmental factors, their IQ scores will, on average, be lower than white scores. It may also explain why over the past 30 years blacks have narrowed the IQ gap as more economic and educational opportunities have been opened to them.