An anthropological perspective on "race" and intelligence: The non-clinal nature of human cognitive capabilities

Authors
Citation
Cl. Brace, An anthropological perspective on "race" and intelligence: The non-clinal nature of human cognitive capabilities, J ANTHR RES, 55(2), 1999, pp. 245-264
Citations number
75
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Sociology & Antropology
Journal title
JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL RESEARCH
ISSN journal
0091-7710 → ACNP
Volume
55
Issue
2
Year of publication
1999
Pages
245 - 264
Database
ISI
SICI code
0091-7710(199922)55:2<245:AAPO"A>2.0.ZU;2-1
Abstract
Traits that are clinally distributed are under the control of selective for ces that are distributed in graded fashion. Traits that cluster in certain regions are simply the results of relatedness and are not adaptively import ant Traits that are of equal survival value for all human populations shoul d show no average difference from one population to another. Human cognitiv e capacity, founded on the ability to learn a language, is of equal surviva l value to all human groups, and consequently there is no valid reason to e xpect that there should be average differences in intellectual ability amon g living human populations. The archaeological record shows that, at any on e time during the Pleistocene, survival strategies were essentially the sam e throughout the entire range of human occupation. Both archaeological and biological data contribute to the picture of the slow emergence of-human li nguistic behavior and its subsequent maturation. The similarities in human capability were not the result of a sudden, recent, and localized common or igin. Instead, the widely shared common human condition was the consequence of a long-term adaptation to common conditions during which specific unity was maintained by low but nontrivial rates of genetic exchange among group s. The differences in human lifeways that have arisen since the end of the Pleistocene-and in most instances much more recently-have had too little ti me to have had any measurable effect on the generation of inherited differe nces in intellectual ability. When average group differences in "intelligen ce" test scores are encountered the first conclusion to be drawn is that th e circumstances under which intellectual capabilities are nurtured and deve loped are not the same for the groups in question. Where such tests show di fferent "racial" averages in test scores, this should be taken as an index of the continuing effects of "race" prejudice and not of inherent differenc es in capability.