Population Differences in g: Causal Hypotheses
The relationship of the g factor to a number of biological variables and its relationship to the size of the white-black differences on various cognitive tests (i.e., Spearman's hypothesis) suggests that the average white-black difference in g has a biological component. Human races are viewed not as discrete, or Platonic, categories, but rather as breeding populations that, as a result of natural selection, have come to differ statistically in the relative frequencies of many polymorphic genes. The "genetic distances" between various populations form a continuous variable that can be measured in terms of differences in gene frequencies. Racial populations differ in many genetic characteristics, some of which, such as brain size, have behavioral and psychometric correlates, particularly g. What I term the default hypothesis states that the causes of the phenotypic differences between contemporary populations of recent African and European descent arise from the same genetic and environmental factors, and in approximately the same magnitudes, that account for individual differences within each population. Thus genetic and environmental variances between groups and within groups are viewed as essentially the same for both populations. The default hypothesis is able to account for the present evidence on the mean white-black difference in g. There is no need to invoke any ad hoc hypothesis, or a Factor X, that is unique to either the black or the white population. The environmental component of the average g difference between groups is primarily attributable to a host of microenvironmental factors that have biological effects. They result from non- genetic variation in prenatal, perinatal, and neonatal conditions and specific nutritional factors.