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African IQ is the controversial topic related to intelligence test scores of native Africans. On the basis of extensive literature reviews, several scholars have concluded that the average IQ of the Black population of sub-Saharan Africa lies near or below 70, a level of performance which 98 percent of US whites and 84 percent of US Blacks exceed.<ref>The g Factor</ref><ref>Race, Evolution, and Behavior</ref><ref>IQ and the Wealth of Nations</ref><ref>IQ and Global Inequality</ref> These scholars also argue that some portion of the difference in IQ score between African Blacks and other groups is due to genetic factors. Other scholars argue that the average IQ of Black African groups is closer to 80 and that there is no reason conclude that genetic factors are involved.<ref>Wicherts, J.M. (December, 15, 2006). The dark past, obscure present, and bright future of African IQ. 7th Annual Conference of the International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR), San Francisco, CA, US.</ref> Nobel laureate James Watson made remarks about African IQ that sparked controversy in 2007.<ref>James_Watson#Statement_claiming_links_between_race_and_intelligence</ref>

Watson Controversy


In an interview given to the Sunday Times of London, James Watson said that he "is "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really," and [he knows] that this "hot potato" is going to be difficult to address".<ref>Hunt-Grubbe C. The elementary DNA of Dr Watson. The Sunday Times; October 14, 2007.</ref> In his book Avoid Boring People Watson wrote,
<blockquote>A priori, there is no firm reason to anticipate that the intellectual capacities of peoples geographically separated in their evolution should prove to have evolved identically. Our wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so".<ref>Watson JD. Avoid boring people: lessons from a life in science. New York: Knopf; 2007. page 326.</ref></blockquote>

Watson's views were summarized by The Independent with the front page headline, "Africans are less intelligent than Westerners says DNA pioneer".<ref>Milmo C. Fury at DNA pioneer's theory: Africans are less intelligent than Westerners. The Independent; October 17, 2007.</ref>

Scholarly reaction to Watson's comments within the media was largely negative, claiming that Watson's remarks were not supported by science. Francis Collins, who succceed Watson as the director of the Human Genome Project wrote:
<blockquote>I am deeply saddened by the events of the last week, and understand and agree with Dr. Watson’s undoubtedly painful decision to retire in the aftermath of a racist statement he made that was both profoundly offensive and utterly unsupported by scientific evidence.<ref>Collins F. Statement by Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. on the retirement of James D. Watson. NHGRI news release; October 25, 2007. </ref></blockquote>
Similar remarks were made by other scientists. For example, geneticist Rick Kittles of the University of Chicago told The Chicago Tribune that "Watson's remarks aren't backed by science".<ref>Manier J. Peers horrified by famed scientist’s race remarks. The Chicago Tribune; October 19, 2007.</ref>

Average test scores



Intelligence test scores from large samples of Black Africans have been reported in the scientific literature for decades. The non-verbal Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) and Coloured Progressive Matrices (CPM) are commonly used in African samples. Other tests include the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TMSS). Lynn (2002, 2006) reported average IQ scores of less than 70 in Africa based on an extensive literature review. Wicherts (2006) argues for an average IQ closer to 80.

Validity of test scores




According to a number of commentators, the very low average IQ values reported for Black African populations are so low that they must be invalid measures of ability.

One explanation offered is that Black African culture does not value the kind of intelligence measured by intelligence tests. For example, the Chicago Tribune described the views of psychologist Robert Sternberg:
<blockquote>Sternberg, a critic of traditional intelligence testing, believes intelligence can mean something different for different cultures. In parts of Africa, a good gauge of intelligence might be how well someone avoids infection with malaria – a test of cleverness that most Americans likely would flunk. ... In the same way, for many Africans who take Western IQ tests, "our problems aren’t relevant to them", Sternberg said.<ref>Manier J. Peers horrified by famed scientist’s race remarks. The Chicago Tribune; October 19, 2007.</ref></blockquote>

The predictive validity of IQ scores administered to Western populations is established by demonstrating that IQ scores predict other outcomes, such as educational achievement. On average, the correlation between IQ and academic achievement is 0.5.<ref>Neisser et al (1995) Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns</ref> Similar studies performed on Black African populations report similar correlations, indicating that IQ scores have predictive validity for educational attainment in Black African cultures.

Causal explanations





According to J. Philippe Rushton, the low IQ scores in contemporary Africa support a genetic-evolutionary explanation. Scott MacEachern argues that the archeological record does not indicate that the cognitive abilities of African peoples were substantially lower than those of other people during the course of human evolution.<ref>http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1080/00438240500509918</ref>

References



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