Heiner Rindermann, David Becker, Thomas R. Coyle
Volume 78, January–February 2020, 101406
• The survey reports answers for up to 102 intelligence experts on 38 questions.
• Questions examined background factors, IQ testing, and perceptions of the media.
• Most respondents supported g factor theory.
• Experts were skeptical of the accuracy and trustworthiness of the media.
• Political perspective and gender correlated with experts’ answers.
Experts (Nmax = 102 answering) on intelligence completed a survey about IQ research, controversies, and the media. The survey was conducted in 2013 and 2014 using the Internet-based Expert Questionnaire on Cognitive Ability (EQCA). In the current study, we examined the background of the experts (e.g., nationality, gender, religion, and political orientation) and their positions on intelligence research, controversial issues, and the media. Most experts were male (83%) and from Western countries (90%). Political affiliations ranged from the left (liberal, 54%) to the right (conservative, 24%), with more extreme responses within the left-liberal spectrum. Experts rated the media and public debates as far below adequate. Experts with a left (liberal, progressive) political orientation were more likely to have positive views of the media (around r = |.30|). In contrast, compared to female and left (liberal) experts, male and right (conservative) experts were more likely to endorse the validity of IQ testing (correlations with gender, politics: r = .55, .41), the g factor theory of intelligence (r = .18, .34), and the impact of genes on US Black-White differences (r = .50, .48). The paper compares the results to those of prior expert surveys and discusses the role of experts’ backgrounds, with a focus on political orientation and gender. An underrepresentation of viewpoints associated with experts’ background characteristics (i.e., political views, gender) may distort research findings and should be addressed in higher education policy.
Experts were skeptical of the quality of media reports on intelligence research (Table 4). In general, mean expert ratings of media accuracy were around 3–4, on a scale of 1 (very inaccurate) to 9 (very accurate). Only two media outlets received positive ratings, the blogs of Steve Sailer (M = 7.38, N = 26 ratings) and Anatoly Karlin (6.10, N = 10 ratings). Unfortunately, the survey did not consider James Thompson’s blog Psychological Comments, which was just beginning when the survey was administered. All three blogs are currently hosted by The Unz Review. Among traditional publications (newspapers, radio, television), only the German newspaper Die Zeit received a positive rating (M = 5.10, N = 20 ratings). (It should be noted that different experts rated newspapers from different countries, written in English, Spanish, French, or German.) Experts were generally critical of state-owned or private television networks and radio networks (means around 2.5–3.5, N = 60–70 ratings), with low variability for the ratings (around SD = 1.5–2.0). The results suggest broad agreement among experts that television and radio do not provide accurate information about intelligence research. …
Table 4. Expert opinions on intelligence in the media and public debates.
Item M or % SD N
Accuracy of media, scale 1 (inaccurate) to 9 (accurate) (19)
a State-owned television networks 3.31 1.80 61
b Commercial television networks 2.67 1.49 70
c National Public Radio 3.53 2.03 62
d New York Times 3.81 2.19 58
e Newsweek 3.50 1.92 44
f Time 3.55 1.90 44
g Wall Street Journal 4.20 1.90 49
h Washington Post 3.54 1.98 41
i Economist 4.21 1.91 43
j Guardian 3.57 2.04 37
k Times 4.30 2.23 30
l Daily Telegraph 3.70 2.04 27
m Steve Sailer blog 7.38 2.25 26
n Anatoly Karlin blog 6.10 2.75 10
o El Pais (Spanish) 3.83 2.37 12
p El Mundo (Spanish) 3.46 1.98 13
q Le Monde (Spanish) 3.88 2.70 8
r Le Figaro (French) 3.63 2.45 8
s Süddeutsche Zeitung (German) 4.42 2.43 19
t Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (German) 4.89 2.63 18
u Die Welt (German) 4.67 2.16 15
v Tageszeitung (taz) (German) 3.60 2.32 15
w Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) (German) 4.54 2.50 13
x Der Spiegel (German) 3.84 2.04 19
y Die Zeit (German) 5.10 2.57 20
z Focus (German) 3.71 2.26 17
I appreciate the regard from psychometric experts six years ago, but I must warn readers I’m no longer as up to date on the field as in the past.