Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

IQ and Skin Color: The Old World Reexamined and the New World

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

IQ and Skin Color: The Old World Reexamined and the New World

Article excerpt

The primary purpose of the present research is to compare two measures of skin color. The Templer & Arikawa (2006) research reported a country-level correlation of -.92 between (darker) skin color and IQ, using a measure of skin color derived from a skin color map in the physical anthropology textbook of Biasutti (1967). Meisenberg (2004) reported a country-level correlation of .89 between IQ and skin reflectance (proportion of incoming light that is reflected from the skin, greater with lighter skin), based on skin reflectance data compiled by Jablonski & Chaplin (2000). The present study found a correlation of -.96 between the two measures of skin color, indicating very good reliability of the skin color measures. The validity of these two independent measures of skin color is supported by correlations of .88 and .84 with latitude. Both skin color measures correlated .91 with IQ.

The second objective of the research was the extension of the Templer & Arikawa (2006) Old World findings to 18 regions of the New World. Darker skin color correlated -.60 with measured IQ and -.97 with IQ as predicted from Old World countries with identical skin color. These results show that the country-level correlation between average IQ and average skin color is found worldwide.

Key Words: Skin color; Intelligence; Evolution.


The present study expands on the earlier study of Templer & Arikawa (2006), which found that skin color correlated -.92 with the mean national IQ of 129 countries across Africa, Asia, and Europe. It should be borne in mind that these countries were regarded by Templer and Arikawa as having "indigenous" populations that had been present before the voyages of Christopher Columbus. In the present research, they are called "Old World" countries. This correlation was considerably higher than the correlations of IQ with winter high (r = .76), winter low (r = -.66), summer high (r = -.31), summer low (r = -.40), and per capita income (r = .63). Jensen (2006) suggested the correlation of -.92 could be the result of pleiotropy, that is, a single gene having two or more different phenotypic effects.

The earlier research by Templer & Arikawa (2006) was based upon the arguments of Lynn (1991) and Rushton (1995) that colder climates selected for higher intelligence because of the greater cognitive requirements for obtaining food and protection from the elements. Templer and Arikawa conceptualized skin color as a multigenerational adaptation to the climates one's ancestors have lived in for thousands of years.

Templer & Arikawa (2006) employed Lynn & Vanhanen's (2002) tabulation of mean IQs of nations based on IQ tests. Measured IQs were available for 55 countries, and for 74 additional countries the mean IQ was estimated based on the IQs of neighboring countries. Although Templer and Arikawa reported very similar findings for the calculated and estimated countries, Hunt & Sternberg (2006) questioned the legitimacy of estimated IQs. This concern seemed not unreasonable at the time. In response, however, Lynn & Vanhanen (2006) reported a correlation of .91 between the mean estimated IQs of 25 countries in Lynn & Vanhanen (2002) and their mean measured IQs that had been subsequently determined. The IQs used in the present paper are based on Lynn and Vanhanen's updated and expanded 2006 tabulation, with additions and amendments as reported in Lynn (2010).

The skin color measure employed by Templer & Arikawa (2006) was based on a world map in a classic physical anthropology text (Biasutti, 1967) in which skin color was scored from 1 = very light to 8 = very dark. Since the skin color map did not present national boundaries, Templer and Arikawa had three graduate students, who were not told of the purpose of the research, independently specify the predominant skin color for each of the 129 countries. The three ratings intercorrelated . …

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