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Slideshow about Intelligence, IQ, and Crime


Alfred Binet. French scientist who began in the field of

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Intelligence, IQ, and Crime

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Presentation Transcript


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Intelligence, IQ, and Crime

  • History of mental testing and IQ

  • The relationship between IQ and Crime

  • Issues of Spuriousness

  • Direct, or Indirect Effect

  • Criticisms of the Bell Curve


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Alfred Binet

  • French scientist who began in the field of “craniometry”

    • Began to doubt the validity of this method

    • Around 1900, he started “psychological” testing

      (commissioned by government)

    • Devised several “mental tasks” (counting coins, spatial reasoning)


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Binet’s Admonishments

1.Scores are a practical device

  • They do not buttress any theory of “intelligence”

    2.Scores are a “rough empirical guide” for identifying retarded children

  • They should not be used to rank normal children

    3.Children identified as retarded should be helped

  • Low scores should not mark children as “innately incapable”


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The Creation of “IQ”

  • Binet: eventually assigned an “mental age” to each task (normal child x years of age should complete)

    • Subtract the physical age from the mental age to see how big the gap was (identify those in need)

  • Later, others argued that the mental age should be divided by the physical age

    • “Intelligence Quotient” was born


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The American “bastardization”

  • Binet’s methods adopted by scientists in U.S.

    • They managed to break all of the “rules”

  • H.H. Goddard

    • coined the term “moron,” set at a mental age of 12 for an adult

    • avid in the eugenics movement

  • Lewis Terman

    • Created the “Stanford-Binet” IQ exam

    • Goal = “rational society” where people could be assigned jobs based on intelligence


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IQ tests today

  • No longer “mental age/physical age”

  • All correlate with the Stanford Binet or other early versions

  • Calibrated to produce a mean of 100

  • The “Flynn effect”

  • Still multiple tasks covering different cognitive areas


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Seven J. Gould

  • Two biggest mistakes regarding IQ scores

    • 1. Reification

    • 2. Hereditarian fallacy


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IQ and Crime

  • Early positivists (Goddard…) found large differences between criminals and non-criminals

    • As testing improved, this difference shrunk

    • Sutherland (1940s): it will disappear

  • Currently: 8-10 point gap

  • Why this difference???


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Possible Spuriousness

  • Race, Class, SES, Culture?

    • Controlling for these effects, the relationship remains

  • Detection Hypothesis?

    • Detected vs. Undetected offenders = no difference

  • Impulsivity?

    • Ruled out through statistical control


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If relationship is non-spurious

  • The “Direct Effect Model”

    • (The Bell Curve)

    • Low IQ Crime

  • Indirect Effects

    • Low IQ school trouble Delinquency

      labeling process

  • Interactive:

    • Low IQ is proxy for neuropsychological damage

    • (N.P. damage x Parenting) Delinquency


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Criticisms of the Bell Curve

  • Only 3 variables in model (not enough control)

    • Could control for school performance, other factors

  • IQ explains only 3% of the variation in crime

    • The correlation is about .-06

    • Is this important enough to justify their policy implication??

  • Ranked with other “predictors,” IQ is near the bottom of the list