A Study of Intelligence in the Karakalpakstan Region of Uzbekistan

By Salahodjaev, Raufhon; Omanbayev, Bekhzod et al. | Mankind Quarterly, Winter 2016 | Go to article overview

A Study of Intelligence in the Karakalpakstan Region of Uzbekistan


Salahodjaev, Raufhon, Omanbayev, Bekhzod, Lynn, Richard, Mankind Quarterly


Estimates of the IQs of nations and their socio-economic associations with economic development, quality of living conditions and human capital have been presented in Lynn (1978) and Lynn and Vanhanen (2002, 2006, 2012). In the last of these compilations, Lynn and Vanhanen (2012, p. 19ff) gave measured IQs for 160 nations. These national IQs have been calculated by setting the IQ of Britain at 100 (standard deviation = 15), and the IQs of other countries were converted to this scale. They also gave estimated IQs for 41 other nations and territories, estimated from the measured IQs of neighboring countries with similar populations, culture and economic development. This compilation has no measured IQs for the nations and sub-national units of central and northern Asia including Asian Russia, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The lack of IQ data for this group of countries is the greatest deficiency in the 2012 compilation, but a more recent study by Grigoriev and Lynn (2014) has begun to fill the gap by reporting data for Kazakhstan for which the IQ was estimated as 87.9 and the IQ of a small sample of 51 ethnic Uzbeks in Kazakhstan was estimated as 86.

An early study of the intelligence of the Uzbeks was carried out in 1931 by the Russian psychologist Luria (1979). He did not use intelligence tests but gave a descriptive analysis of the Uzbeks' cognitive abilities. He distinguished two modes of thought designated graphic recall (memories of how objects in the individual's personal experience are related) and categorical relationships (categorisation by abstract concepts). He concluded that the thought processes of illiterate Uzbek peasants were confined to graphic recall and that they were not able to form abstract concepts. He gave the example that they were shown a hammer, an axe, a log and a saw, and asked which of these did not belong. The typical Uzbek answer was that they all belonged together because they are all needed to make firewood. He argued that people who are able to think in terms of categorical relationships identify the log as the answer because the other three are tools (an abstract concept). He reported that illiterate Uzbek peasants were unable to form concepts of this kind. They were also unable to solve syllogisms. For instance, given the syllogism "There are no camels in Germany; the city of B is in Germany; are there camels there?" Luria gave as a typical Uzbek answer "I don't know, I have never seen German cities. If B is a large city, there should be camels there." Similarly, Luria asked "In the far north, where there is snow, all bears are white; Novaya Zemlya is in the far north; what color are the bears in Novaya Zemlya"? A typical Uzbek answer was "I've never been to the far north and never seen bears" (Luria, 1979, p. 77-8). Luria concluded that "the processes of abstraction and generalization are not invariant at all stages of socioeconomic and cultural development. Rather, such processes are products of the cultural environment" (Luria, 1979, p. 74). Luria proposed that the ability to think in terms of categorical relationships is acquired through education. He did not suggest that the Uzbeks have any genetic cognitive deficiency. His distinction between the categorization of objects in terms of practical experience and in terms of abstract concepts is similar to Piaget's (1929) distinction between concrete and formal operations.

In this paper we contribute to this research program by reporting the first study of an IQ for the Karakalpakstan region of Uzbekistan. The Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices Plus was administered in Karakalpakstan in 2016 to a representative sample of 614 school children aged 11 to 13 years. The British IQ of the sample was 86, which is above global average levels.

Karakalpakstan, also spelled Kara-Kalpakstan, or Qaraqalpaqstan, also called Karakalpakiya, Uzbek Qoraqalpoghistan, is an autonomous republic in Uzbekistan, located southeast and southwest of the Aral Sea. …

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