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Volume 24, Issue 1 (1995)

Commentary on Some of the Empirical and Theoretical Support for The Bell Curve

pp. 36—41

Abstract: This commentary discusses two important components of The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. The first is the original empirical evidence presented by Herrnstein and Murray to demonstrate the central role of intelligence in American life. The second is Spearman’s g, the general factor underlying individual differences in all tests and performances involving cognitive ability. This article concludes that: (a) although the results of Herrnstein and Murray’s multiple regression analyses of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) cannot be easily dismissed, these data do not provide unequivocal support for their policy recommendations; and (b) despite the fact that a considerable amount of contemporary research substantiates the importance of g as a psychological construct, educational and public policy should be based on more than psychometrics and statistics.

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