Discuss ethical considerations in research into genetic influences on behaviour. (22)

Discuss (22) – A considered and balanced review, including a range of arguments, factors or hypothesis. Opinions and conclusions presented clearly supported by appropriate evidence.

Main ethical considerations

Issues stemming from ethical considerations
What is intelligence?
Gould – Meta-analysis of the IQ study of Yerkes (1915)
[A] Give a critical account of Yerkes’ IQ testing and its effect.
  • Yerkes was allowed to administer an IQ test to 1.75 million army recruits at the start of World War I.
  • The army recruits were split into two groups: Army Alpha and Army Beta.
  • Army Alpha (for those who can read and write) were tested in writing.
  • Army Beta (for those who cannot read nor write – tested on pictorial test) and if they failed the the Army Beta test they would be asked to do an individual spoken.
  • Average mental age of white American males was 13 years old. This is just above the level of ‘moronity’
  • European immigrants could be graded by their country origin.
  • The average mental age of men of many nations was a moron.
  • Darker people of southern Europe and the Eastern Slavs were less intelligent than fair people of western and northern Europe.
  • Black people had the lowest mental age at just 10.41 years old.
  • Impact on immigration, causing political debates.
  • 1924 Immigration Restriction Act reset immigration quotas, southern and eastern Europeans were effectively barred.
  • Estimated that 6 million people from these areas were denied access to US over the next 20 years.
  • Tests claimed to measure native intellectual ability (intelligence unaffected by environment or experience).
  • Beta tests still required culturally related knowledge and alphanumeric knowledge.
  • Requirements for taking the Alpha test were different in different camps.
  • Results should not be generalised to the nation because of the sampling of subjects and other factors affecting the procedure.
  • Shows how belief can triumph over reason.
  • Raises the question of “Who determines the questions on the IQ tests?”
  • Provides alternate perspective in viewing IQ tests.
  • Highlights problems in the collection and interpretation of data.
  • Convincingly argues the tests were neither reliable nor valid since many were given the wrong tests.
  • Was not a test for native intellectual ability but cultural knowledge, which could not have been acquired by people who have recently arrived in country.
  • Highlights dangers of ethnocentrism, contribute to scientific racism.
  • Shows importance of considering original research rather than accepting brief summaries as well as importance of being critical, looking or details of research and how it was conducted.