Arthur Jensen


Arthur Jensen : biography

24 August 1923 – October 22, 2012

In 2005, Jensen’s article, co-written with J. Philippe Rushton, named "Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability", was published in the APA journal Psychology, Public Policy and Law. Jensen and Rushton present ten categories of evidence in support of the notion that IQ differences between whites and blacks are partly genetic in origin.


He died on October 22, 2012 at his home in Kelseyville, California at age 89.

Early life

Jensen was born August 24, 1923, in San Diego, California, the son of Linda Mary (née Schachtmayer) and Arthur Alfred Jensen, who operated and owned a lumber and building materials company. His paternal grandparents were Danish immigrants and his mother was of half Polish Jewish and half German descent. He studied at University of California, Berkeley (B.A. 1945), San Diego State College (M.A., 1952) and Columbia University (Ph.D., 1956), and did his doctoral thesis with Percival Symonds on the Thematic Apperception Test: He published this work. From 1956 through 1958, he did his postdoctoral research at the University of London, Institute of Psychiatry with Hans Eysenck.

Upon returning to the United States, he became a researcher and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he focused on individual differences in learning, especially the influences of culture, development, and genetics on intelligence and learning. He received tenure at Berkeley in 1962 and was given his first sabbatical in 1964. He has concentrated much of his work on the learning difficulties of culturally disadvantaged students. In 2003, he was awarded the Kistler Prize for original contributions to the understanding of the connection between the human genome and human society. In 2006, the International Society for Intelligence Research awarded Jensen its Lifetime Achievement Award.ISIR Lifetime Achievement Award

Jensen has had a lifelong interest in classical music and was, early in his life, attracted by the idea of becoming a conductor himself. At 14, he conducted a band that won a nationwide contest held in San Francisco. Later, he conducted orchestras and attended a seminar given by Nikolai Sokoloff. Soon after graduating from Berkeley, he moved to New York, mainly to be near the conductor Arturo Toscanini. He was also deeply interested in the life and example of Gandhi, producing an unpublished book-length manuscript on his life. During Jensen’s period in San Diego he spent time working as a social worker with the San Diego Department of Public Welfare.

Jensen’s response and criticism

In Arthur Jensen’s response to Gould’s criticisms, in the paper titled The Debunking of Scientific Fossils and Straw Persons., Jensen begins his paper with this observation

Stephen Jay Gould is a paleontologist at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology and offers a course at Harvard entitled, "Biology as a Social Weapon." Apparently the course covers much the same content as does the present book. Having had some personal cause for interest in ideologically motivated attacks on biologically oriented behavioral scientists, I first took notice of Gould when he played a prominent role in a group called Science for the People and in that group’s attack on the theories of Harvard zoologist Edward O. Wilson, a leader in the development of sociobiology…

While Jensen recognizes the validity of some of Gould’s claims, in many places, he criticizes Gould’s general approach

This charge of a social, value-laden science undoubtedly contains an element of truth. In recent years, however, we recognize this charge as the keystone of the Marxist interpretation of the history of science.

Jensen adds that Gould made a number of misrepresentations, whether intentional or unintentional, while purporting to present Jensen’s own positions

In his references to my own work, Gould includes at least nine citations that involve more than just an expression of Gould’s opinion; in these citations Gould purportedly paraphrases my views. Yet in eight of the nine cases, Gould’s representation of these views is false, misleading, or grossly caricatured. Nonspecialists could have no way of knowing any of this without reading the cited sources. While an author can occasionally make an inadvertent mistake in paraphrasing another, it appears Gould’s paraphrases are consistently slanted to serve his own message.