The Public Interest

A new interpretation of the I.Q. controversy

Brigitte Berger

Winter 1978

ANYONE who wishes to understand the controversy over the differences in I.Q. scores among different racial, ethnic, and social groups is faced with three formidable obstacles: the veritable mountains of seemingly contradictory empirical data; the growing body of vitriolic polemical writings, which scarcely facilitate the dispassionate examination of the data; and what might be described as the paradigmatic rut-the fixation on the old intellectual models of the Nature/Nurture debate. Given these obstacles, it may be useful to try out a new model that will offer a fresh perspective on the data and, at the same time, shift the political ground of the controversy.

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