Scholars Refute Kanazawa’s Theory of Intelligence and Health – May 1 2007

May 1st, 2007 Print Print Email Email

In several papers published in the current issue of the British Journal of Health Psychology, scholars from the US and the UK refuted the controversial study of Satoshi Kanazawa that attempted to link health to intelligence. (more…)

In several papers published in the current issue of the British Journal of Health Psychology, scholars from the US and the UK refuted the controversial study of Satoshi Kanazawa that attempted to link health to intelligence.
It may be recalled that Kanazawa’s paper, which was published in the November 2006 issue of the same journal, had trigged a universal uproar, especially for its use of questionable and dubious data about national IQs, including those of Ethiopia and many other African countries, to draw far-reaching conclusions concerning the relationship between intelligence and health.

Among the papers that appeared in the May 2007 issue of the journal is an article by Professors Demissie Alemayehu of Columbia University and Tilahun Sineshaw of Ramapo College of New Jersey, who argued, using extensive citations from evolutionary psychology and inferential statistics, that Kanazawa’s research was “bereft of the rigour” required to address the problem under consideration.

Maintaining that “…. critical elements of his [Kanazawa's] study violate fundamental principles of research methodology…,” Alemayehu and Sineshaw wrote:

“… the validity and robustness of the conclusions of the paper are compromised by fundamental problems, including failure to present competing views with fair balance, use of samples of convenience to draw conclusions about populations, performing tests of significance when there is no theoretical basis to do so and confusing association with causation.”

[British Journal of Health Psychology, Volume 12, Number 2, May 2007, pp. 185-190(6)]

With reference to the dubious nature of Kanazawa’s data, the two scholars pointed out:

“[T]he source of most of Kanazawa’s “macro-level” data is questionable at the best, and misleading at the worst. … A case in point is the national IQ figure used for Ethiopia which was based on a group of 14-15 year-olds who took the Progressive Matrices Standard (PMS) test one year after they had emigrated to Israel (Kaniel and Fisherman, 1991). Even if one accepts the idea that the PMS test measures what has been dubbed general intelligence, the Ethiopian data set, which Kanazawa claimed had been ‘directly measured,’ cannot be taken as a direct measure of the IQ of Ethiopians. The group of adolescents used in the study came from an isolated and desolate region of the country that had experienced a devastating war and famine at the time, not to mention the trauma of moving to a completely new urban environment and the experience of blatant racism once in Israel (Wagaw, 1993). As Kaniel and Fisherman (1991, p. 26) also acknowledged in their original article, ‘[I]n Ethiopia, Jews generally lived in small villages of 50-60 families, remote from urban centers. …. prior to their exodus [to Israel], most had never seen electricity, a telephone, or any technological instruments…. In Israel, they must adjust to climatic differences, life in urban centers, a new language,….’ By any measure, data from a disadvantaged group of people, who had emigrated from a specific region of a country with the attendant social and physical deprivations, cannot be considered representative of a country of over 70 million people with complex historical, ethnic, linguistic, and socio-economic diversity.”

They further noted:

“…. Kanazawa’s knowledge of the socio-historical circumstances under which the Ethiopian data were produced leaves much to be desired. The historical and sociological situatedness of empirical data and how much this contributes to or limits the accuracy of analyses and interpretations that follow have been well established (Cole, 1996). The fallacy of how the Ethiopian national IQ score was constructed certainly casts doubt on the credibility of the entire data and analysis and, by extension, the conclusions of the paper. Ironically, the data obtained from the Bete Israel, as the Ethiopian Jews like to call themselves, should have yielded, according to Kanazawa’s hereditarian view, an average IQ score closer to the Israel national score, since they are believed to be descendants of one of the lost tribes! “

Understandably, Kanazawa’s paper had generated a lot of discussion, both in the print media and in popular online forums. Among the media that gave the discredited theory much publicity was the UK-based paper, “The Observer,” which in its November 5, 2006 issue headlined, “Low IQs are Africa’s curse, says lecturer.” It would be interesting to see if those same news outlets would now give their readers the benefit of exposure to the opposing views expressed in the current issue of the journal.

Interested readers may get copies of the papers, including the aforementioned study by Demissie Alemayehu and Tilahun Sineshaw, directly from the journal publishers:

  1. fish
    | #1

    It is believed ethiopia is considered as one of the contributing factor to ward the fall off the british empire in the past. Ethiopians are the only unbowing country for colonizers. Desipte of the continious attack from out side by colonizers and from inside by “bandas”. As we know Japan was the most brutal and barbaric colonizer in their region untill they got humilated by the Americans and surrendered. The british empire also is the main architect of all this colonization idea and the master mind of cast system and aparthide. I mentioned british and Japan only because they are more involved in this flawed so called scientific journal and they deliberately let it published to inflict a premeditated damage on the moral and pride of Ethiopians in particular and africans but most of the present super powers share the same idea.For the colonizers greed make them to grab bigger lands in africa and confine their own ppls in a vry small land.Now they are envying their old colonized land and want get back at any price. That is why we are wittnesing teh present distruction in Africa and some other Arab countries. They use any form of military and psychological warfare on any one who stands aginst their interest in doing so they use their multiblion dollar media and any other form of legal institutions to undermine their oponents and twist the truth. my point of view is that “Kanazawa” is a double sward used by both Japan and british,who practiced and profited from the cast system and resent the present world power shift from old time colonizers to the colonized one,for example China and India, are the perfect examples. Kanazawa’paper is not the first one but he blutantly made the dirty work at a huge price on his acadamic integrety and driven by his incompitense.In addition to that the British Journal of Health Psychology bublished this paper desipite of the unaccaptable research methodology as explained by Professors Demissie Alemayehu of Columbia University. All in all this so called paper is a dangerous and politically motivated move that facilitate a moral justification for their past evil doing. It we may not be surprised in the future if one Japanees or British man said there has to be a diffrent law for Ethiopians or Africans than the present humanright law of the world.It is our guts that this old colonizers don’t like,Zereay deres defy their authority in their own country(rome), Abebe Bikila humilated the Japanese in Tokyo and Lidge Alemayehu of Thewodros rejected their fake hospitality in London.we are the pride of the black ppls we are the origin of humanbeing we are the only uncolonized ppls with diginity. We dominated the world in sport desepite of all what these colonizers wanted to paint us. How come unhealthy and stupid creature can accomplish all this in the present world if it is not may be in the contrary may be we are a supper race. These are the things that motivated an oportunist Kanazawa. It would japan whose so called IQ below may be 40 if some one conducted in simillar way on japanes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who have abirth difect till present day and under achivers.Eventhough i don’t know Kanazawas orogin.



  2. fish
    | #2

    This what i have explained the eivel ppls did.

    (Should-have been-General) Colonel Abdissa Aga, joined the Ethiopian Army around the age of 14 and fought against Fascist Italy in 1936 in Ethiopia. He was captured and imprisoned in a concentration camp in the island of Sicily in Italy. There he met Captain Julio, a Yugoslav hero.
    The two became friends and made a daring escape from the concentration camp taking with them a dozen prisoners to the woods. They returned to the camp a few days later, at night, led by young Abdissa who was terribly feared by the Italians. Abdissa choked and silenced the guards. He and Julio took off the uniforms of the guards. Two of the former prisoners wore the uniforms, held the guns of the dead soldiers, and stood at the gate of the camp pretending to be Fascist watchmen. Abdissa and Julio, followed by the other partisans Penetrated the camp, released all of the prisoners, fought with some of the Fascist officers, robbed them off their ammunitions and supplies, as well as trucks full of weapons, and drove back to the woods.
    They continued to fight in that manner freeing prisoners and robbing concentration camps, banks, government warehouses, etc. until their number grew to an army, and until the Italian Government battled with them fiercely. The partisans chose Abdissa to be their leader and called him Major. The Italian Fascists were terrified since they knew how brave Ethiopians were recalling the Battle of Dogali, Ambalage, Adwa, Maichew and remembering the bravery of Zerai Deres, whom later, Abdissa tried in vain to see and hug. Taking advantage of the fear of the Italian people, Italian gangsters painted their faces black and started robbing banks and pillaging villages imposing as Abdissa and other Ethiopians who were also partisans together with him. Abdissa caught these awe-inspiring gangsters and executed them, since they were discrediting his name by their atrocious acts. The Italian Government did all it could to catch Abdissa by force. As they failed to do so, they tried to cajole and allure him by promising him a big post and by begging him to stop fighting and join their ranks. If I recall correctly, Abdissa shot the Italian officer who brought him the letter from the Italian Government.
    Finally, the Second World War broke out. The Allied forces, Britain, the USA, France and Russia recognized Major Abdissa, Captain Julio and the rest of the partisans and began to supply them with arms and provisions. Major Abdissa Aga was chosen to lead the international army of partisans (former prisoners) which consisted of Americans, English, French, Ethiopians and other nationals. Captain Julio became the commander of the Yugoslav partisans. This way the partisans weakened Italy and contributed to their defeat. Major Abdissa Aga was the first hero who entered and captured the city of Rome sitting in a jeep, waving first and foremost the flag of Ethiopia, which was also tied around the arms of his international soldiers including Americans, French and English. When the armies of the allies reached Rome, they honored Major Abdissa Aga highly. The British made him the Commander of the British Military Police and sent him to Germany to fight against the German Army. He battled with the German Nazis in different cities, defeated them, controlled the cities and villages, and entered Berlin triumphantly again waving Ethiopian and British flags. He was in the spot light all over the world.
    At the end of the war, the British, the Canadians and the Americans wanted him to join their armies promising him high ranks. He refused adamantly saying that though his motherland, Ethiopia, was poor, he would still return to her and see the face of his Emperor whom he had missed for so long. This incensed the Allies, and believe it or not, they accused him of ravaging the Italian Fascists when he was a partisan. The French, the British, the Americans, even the Russians to some extent condemned him. Fortunately, a noble British general who had decorated him with medals previously fought for his release changing the prison sentence to financial fine, which was paid by Abdissa himself and the British Government.

  3. fish
    | #3

    Black immigrants: an invisible model minority
    By Clarence Page
    Posted to the web May 8, 2007


    Clarence Page (SIUC)
    WASHINGTON – Do African immigrants make the smartest Americans? The question may sound outlandish, but if you were judging by statistics alone, you could find plenty of evidence to back it up.
    In a side-by-side comparison of 2000 census data by sociologist John R. Logan at the Mumford Center, State University of New York at Albany, black immigrants from Africa average the highest educational attainment of any population group in the country, including whites and Asians.

    For example, 43.8 percent of African immigrants had achieved a college degree, compared to 42.5 of Asian Americans, 28.9 percent for immigrants from Europe, Russia and Canada, and 23.1 percent of the U.S. population as a whole.

    That defies the usual stereotypes of Asian Americans as the only “model minority.” Yet the traditional American narrative has rendered the high academic achievements of black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean invisible, as if it were a taboo topic.

    Instead, we should take a closer look. That was my reaction in 2004 after black Harvard law professor Lani Guinier and Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of Harvard’s African-American studies department, stirred a black Harvard alumni reunion with questions about precisely where the university’s new black students were coming from.

    About 8 percent, or 530, of Harvard’s undergraduates were black, they said, but somewhere between one-half and two-thirds of black undergraduates were “West Indian and African immigrants or their children, or to a lesser extent, children of biracial couples.”

    If we take a closer look, I said at the time, I bet we’ll find that Harvard’s not alone. With all of the ink and airwaves that have been devoted to immigration these days, black immigrants remain remarkably invisible. Yet their success has long followed the patterns of other high-achieving immigrants.

    As one immigrant Jamaican friend once told me, “I’m too busy working two jobs to worry about the white man’s racism.”

    Now comes a new study that finds a consistent pattern of Ivy League and other elite colleges and universities boosting their black student populations by enrolling large numbers of immigrants from Africa, the West Indies and Latin America.

    Immigrants, who make up 13 percent of the nation’s college-age black population, account for more than a quarter of black students at Ivy League and other elite universities, according to the study of 28 selective colleges and universities. The authors of the study, published recently in the American Journal of Education, included Douglas S. Massey of Princeton University and Camille Z. Charles of the University of Pennsylvania. The proportion of immigrants was higher at private institutions, 28.8 percent, than at the public ones, where they comprised 23.1 percent of enrollment.

    Are elite schools padding their racial diversity numbers with black immigrants who do not have a history of American slavery in their families? This development immediately calls into question whether affirmative action admission policies are fulfilling their original intent.

    But as Walter Benn Michaels, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, writes in his book “The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality,” the original intent of affirmative action morphed back in the 1970s from reparations for slavery into the promotion of a broader virtue: “diversity.” Since then, it no longer seems to matter how many of your college’s black students had slavery in their families. It only matters that they are black.

    That said, I don’t begrudge black immigrants or any other high-achieving immigrants for their impressive achievements. I applaud them. I encourage more native-born American children, particularly my own child, to take similar advantage of this country’s hard-won opportunities.

    But I also think we need to revisit the meaning of “diversity.” Unlike our current system of feel-good game-playing, we need to focus on the deeper question of how education can be improved and opportunities opened up to those who were left behind by the civil rights revolution.

    We tend to look too often at every aspect of diversity except economic class. Yet, the dream of upward mobility is an essential part of how we Americans like to think of ourselves.

    It’s also why a lot more people are trying to get into this country than trying to get out.

    Page is a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist specializing in urban issues. He is based in Washington, D.C. E-mail: (C) 2007 Tribune Media Services

  4. fish
    | #4

    Japan boy ‘severs mother’s head’
    A teenage Japanese boy has walked into a police station carrying a severed human head and claiming to have killed his mother.
    The 17-year-old went to a police station in the town of Aizuwakamatsu, north of Tokyo, carrying the head in a sports bag, Japanese media said.

    Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that the body of a woman was later found at the boy’s home.

    The incident is the latest in a string of grisly killings in Japan.

    On Monday a severed human leg was discovered in a small river in central Tokyo.

    In January, a 32-year-old woman was arrested after she confessed to killing her husband, dismembering him with a saw and dumping body parts around Tokyo.

    In the latest case, the boy, said to be a high school student, reportedly told police he killed his mother overnight and acted alone.

    Aizuwakamatsu is located in Fukushima prefecture, some 200km (125 miles) north of Tokyo.

  5. fish
    | #5

    In my openion Japans is geting to a socially disfuctional state because of that they are trying to prove to the world that they are equally human even if they are shorter than average human being, they are the most barbaric and brutal ppls even compared to Nazy. In addition, the atomic bomb that was was droped by the Americans was apropriet justice for their atrocities.


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