Arthur Jensen


Arthur Jensen : biography

24 August 1923 – October 22, 2012

The work became one of—if not the most—cited papers in the history of psychological testing and intelligence research.While only limited inference can be drawn from citation analysis, the paper has received over 1262 citations according to the ISI citation index (Aug. 2006), compared with the other influential figures in the area, Hans J. Eysenck’s 821 citations of "A Revised Version of the Psychoticism Scale" (1987; lead author Eysenck, S. B.G.), Charles Spearman’s 644 of "General Intelligence Objectively Determined and Measured" (1904), James Flynn’s 402 citations of "Massive IQ gains in 14 Nations – What IQ Tests Really Measure" (1987), J. Phillipe Rushton’s 394 of "Behavioral-Development and Construct-Validity: the Principle of Aggregation" (1983; lead author with Brainderd C. J., Pressley M.), "Linda Gottfredson’s 358 of "Circumscription and Compromise: A Developmental Theory of Occupational Aspirations" (1981), and Robert J. Sternberg’s 239 of "People’s Conceptions of Intelligence" (1981; lead author with Conway, BE, Ketron, JL, et al.). It sparked a huge academic controversy. Although his paper was widely cited, a random selection of 60 of these citations revealed that 29 of the papers were direct rebuttals or criticisms of Jensen’s arguments, 8 cited the paper as an "example of controversy," 8 used it as a background reference. Only 15 citations of Jensen’s paper were in any way supportive of his theories, and 7 of these 15 were only in relation to minor points.

After the paper was released, students and faculty staged large protests outside Jensen’s U.C. Berkeley office. Jensen was denied reprints of his work by his publisher and was not permitted to reply in response to letters of criticism—both extremely unusual policies for their day.

In a later article, Jensen argued that his claims had been misunderstood:

…nowhere have I "claimed" an "innate deficiency" of intelligence in blacks. My position on this question is clearly spelled out in my most recent book: "The plain fact is that at present there exists no scientifically satisfactory explanation for the differences between the IQ distributions in the black and white populations. The only genuine consensus among well-informed scientists on this topic is that the cause of the difference remains an open question." (Jensen, 1981a, p. 213).

Thomas Sowell wrote: Professor Jensen pointed out back in 1969 that black children’s IQ scores rose by 8 to 10 points after he met with them informally in a play room and then tested them again after they were more relaxed around him. He did this because "I felt these children were really brighter than their IQ would indicate." What a shame that others seem to have less confidence in black children than Professor Jensen has had.

However, Jensen’s 1998 The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability gives his position suggesting a genetic component is implicated in the white-black difference in IQ. In Chapter 12: Population Differences in g: Causal Hypotheses, Jensen writes:

The relationship of the g factor to a number of biological variables and its relationship to the size of the white-black differences on various cognitive tests (i.e., Spearman’s hypothesis) suggests that the average white-black difference in g has a biological component. Human races are viewed not as discrete, or Platonic, categories, but rather as breeding populations that, as a result of natural selection, have come to differ statistically in the relative frequencies of many polymorphic genes. The genetic distances between various populations form a continuous variable that can be measured in terms of differences in gene frequencies. Racial populations differ in many genetic characteristics, some of which, such as brain size, have behavioral and psychometric correlates, particularly g.

In 1994 he was one of 52 signatories on "Mainstream Science on Intelligence,Gottfredson, Linda (December 13, 1994). Mainstream Science on Intelligence. Wall Street Journal, p A18. " an editorial written by Linda Gottfredson and published in the Wall Street Journal, which declared the consensus of the signing scholars on the meaning and significance of IQ following the publication of the book The Bell Curve.