General Mental Ability Testing Overthrown?

Overturning more than 40 years of accepted practice, new research proves that the tools used to check tests of “general mental ability” for bias are themselves flawed. This key finding from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business challenges reliance on such exams to make objective decisions for employment or academic admissions even in the face of well-documented gaps between mean scores of white and minority populations.

Here’s the link.

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6 thoughts on “General Mental Ability Testing Overthrown?

  1. I predict the usual suspects will simply ignore this. Then because everyone is ignoring it, say it doesn’t matter. Then because everyone says it doesn’t matter, feel free to continue ignoring it.

  2. No shit Stephanie, that was painful reading.

    I have to say though, that I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that we may be looking at 40 years of biased testing of testing bias! I mean how could this be? While science in general is very self correcting, psychology has such a glorious history of being self correcting. This is why we’ve entirely done away with the erroneous assumption that women suffer depression at higher rates than me…Err…This is why nobody takes psychodynamics the least bit seriou…Err…This is why no one takes IQ testing seriously, outside the context of determining special needs in primary sch…Err…Fuck!

    I love psychology, don’t get me wrong. But one of the things that I absolutely despise about psychology, is that institutional inertia is often a serious problem. It is getting better. This study is indicative of that, as is the fact that there are a lot of psycho-scientists challenging the assumptions of Pinker, possibly the most visible face of psychology today. Not to mention the constant challenging of many fundamentals of the field.

    Unfortunately there is still inertia and in a field that is probably more rife with research/practitioners, than any others, it is really fucking hard to break that down. Mainly because you have a lot of researchers who turn around and integrate the object of their research into practice. And of course it is really hard to justify restricting this, when the whole point of engaging in a course of research for a given psychologist, is generally their interest in improving the assessment and treatment modalities in a given area they are rather passionate about.

    Note – this is not a claim that such psychologists are engaging in unethical research behavior, fudging data and the like. The problem is that when something else comes along to indicate they might have been mistaken, or there is merely something better, they have a rather easy time ignoring or pushing hard against it. In practice, this often happens with the support of media and/or interest groups with weighty PR – both out of bias interest and/or out of the fact that the original must be better than a newfangled usurper.

  3. The study didn’t find any actual biases, it found that proofs of no bias are invalid. The tests could still be unbiased, but now nobody knows for sure one way or the other. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    You can see the political forces falsely inferring proof of bias already.

  4. Dean, you are incorrect. You clearly have not read either the paper or my post about the paper.

    Indeed, there are “political forces falsely” saying things, and that would be you. I now instruct you to carefully read the “about” section of this blog (see the tabs on top for different pages) so you understand what constitutes thin ice in these parts.

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