A Study of Intelligence in the United Arab Emirates

By Khaleefa, Omar; Lynn, Richard | Mankind Quarterly, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview

A Study of Intelligence in the United Arab Emirates


Khaleefa, Omar, Lynn, Richard, Mankind Quarterly


Results are reported from a large standardization sample of 6-11 year olds for the Colored Progressive Matrices in the United Arab Emirates. Girls performed slightly better than boys, and younger children performed better than older children relative to British norms. There was no sex difference in variability. In relation to a British IQ of 100, the sample obtained an average IQ of 83.

Key Words: Sex differences; Intelligence; Progressive Matrices; United Arab Emirates; Variability.

We have recently published some data on intelligence in Syria derived from the standardization of the Standard Progressive Matrices for the ages 7 through 18 years (Khaleefa & Lynn, 2008) . The results of this study showed that there were no sex differences on the test in means or variability; that the mean IQ of the total sample was lower than mean IQs in Britain and the United States; and that in relation to British children, the younger children aged 7-9 years performed rather better than the older children. In this paper we present some data on intelligence in the United Arab Emirates and examine how far the results confirm or differ from those in Syria.

The data for the United Arab Emirates are obtained from a standardization of the Colored Progressive Matrices. This is a non-verbal test in which the problem is to find the principle governing the sequence of a series of designs and patterns. The test is described and norms are given for Britain and a number of countries by Raven et al. (1995). The Colored Progressive Matrices is an easier version of the Standard Progressive Matrices which was constructed in Britain in the 1930s by John Raven (1939) and was designed for children aged 5 through 11 years, while the Standard Progressive Matrices was designed for children aged 6.6 years and older, and for adults. Both the Colored Progressive Matrices and the Standard Progressive Matrices have been used extensively in cross-cultural research. The results of several hundred studies that have used the tests in many countries have been summarized in Lynn (2006).

Both the Colored and the Standard Progressive Matrices are widely accepted as one of the best tests of general intelligence and Spearman's general factor (g) (Jensen, 1998). The first and easier items in the test are measures of visualization ability, while the later items are measures of abstract reasoning ability (Lynn et al. (2004).

Numerous studies have been published on the tests during the last seventy years. Three of the issues that have been discussed and researched are: (1) Are there any sex differences on the test? (2) Is there a sex difference in variability? (3) Are there national differences in the mean IQs obtained on the test?

Method and Results

The Colored Progressive Matrices was standardized in the United Arab Emirates in 1997 in a project authorized by the Ministry of Education and Youth and published by Eid (1999). The publication is in Arabic and hence is not readily accessible to western scholars. A total of 4,496 children aged from 6.0 through 11.6 years were drawn as a representative sample and tested. The results are summarized in Table 1. This gives the mean scores obtained by boys and girls of each age, the standard deviations, and the percentile equivalents on the British norms for the Standard Progressive Matrices collected in 1979 given in Raven (1981). These are used because they are more accurate than those for the Colored Progressive Matrices. To calculate these percentile equivalents the scores obtained on the Colored Progressive Matrices had to be converted to equivalent scores on the Standard Progressive Matrices given by Raven et al. (1995, p. 64). There are no percentile equivalents for the Standard Progressive Matrices for scores obtained by 6.0 year olds, so for these the percentile equivalents are for the 1982 British standardization sample of the Colored Progressive Matrices.

Discussion

The results show four interesting features.

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