Intelligence, race, and psychological testing

In Naomi Zack (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Race (2016)

Mark Alfano
Delft University of Technology
This chapter has two main goals: to update philosophers on the state of the art in the scientific psychology of intelligence, and to explain and evaluate challenges to the measurement invariance of intelligence tests. First, we provide a brief history of the scientific psychology of intelligence. Next, we discuss the metaphysics of intelligence in light of scientific studies in psychology and neuroimaging. Finally, we turn to recent skeptical developments related to measurement invariance. These have largely focused on attributability: Where do the mechanisms and dispositions that explain people’s performance on tests of intelligence inhere – in the agent, in the local testing environment, in the culture, or in the interactions among these? After explaining what measurement invariance is in the context of intelligence testing, we explore the phenomenon of stereotype threat as a challenge to measurement invariance, as well as more recent work on overcoming or buffering against stereotype threat.
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