Asian Americans: Achievement beyond IQ

By James R. Flynn | Go to book overview

8
Epilogue Setting the Record Straight

The powerful emotions engendered by group differences in test scores, academic achievement, occupation, and income take place in a certain context. That context is the product of human misery. If America can help almost all of its citizens towards a good life, the obsession with total equality between groups will diminish: whether Chinese or Irish or Blacks had exactly the same occupational profile might interest social scientists but not the ordinary person.

Chinese and Japanese Americans focus our attention on the non-IQ factors that cause different ethnic groups to compile different records of achievement. It may be objected that eventually, time will make ethnic groups in America as alike as assimilated subgroups within the White population, thus leaving all groups the captives of their own mean IQs. This objection rests on an unstated assumption: that equalizing the environments of American ethnic groups would leave significant IQ differences intact. That may be false. Asian and White differences would probably disappear with the possible exception of an Asian credit for spatial visualization, but one of no great practical significance. It is quite possible that Black and White differences would also disappear ( Flynn, 1980; 1987b; 1989).

As to the nature of the non-IQ factors that affect group achievement, the proximate causes are different IQ thresholds and capitalization rates. I have argued that the ultimate causes are psychological, sociological, and historical, with a clear bias toward an environmental hypothesis. But it is important not to claim more than has been evidenced. The case for potent non-IQ factors is overwhelming, the question of whether these non-IQ factors reflect genetic or environmental differences is still open. Take the fact that Chinese Americans have a more intense work ethnic than Irish Americans, or the fact that they have lower rates of alcoholism. Perhaps there is a genetic component in these group differences and perhaps genes do much to structure the environment. If a group with the relevant Chinese

-140-

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Asian Americans: Achievement beyond IQ
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • The Ice Ages and the Sino-Japanese Brain 1
  • 2 - The Three Great National Surveys 16
  • 3 - Eleven Studies from Various Locales 32
  • 4 - Measuring the Gap Between IQ and Achievement 61
  • 5 - The Two Factors of Overachievement 78
  • 6 - The Probable and the Tentative 102
  • 7 - Beyond Genes and Iq 112
  • 8 - Epilogue Setting the Record Straight 140
  • Appendix A Matarazzo's Data (from P. 69) 142
  • Appendix B Key Values for the Sat (from P. 85) 144
  • References 147
  • Author Index 156
  • Subject Index 160
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