Intellectual assessment and prediction: an analysis of cultural involvement based on the culutrual-distance hypothesis

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This paper explores socio-cultural factors which lead to group performance differences on IQ tests and learning tasks in an attempt to determine empirically if the Cultural-Distance Approach hypothesis is useful in accounting for these differences. The Cultural-Distance Approach, briefly stated, suggests that a sub-culture's distance from the major culture on which questions of a test are based and validated will determine that sub-culture's sub-score pattern. Results of the present study indicate that although Blacks and Whites perform similarly on-learning tasks, they perform differently on standardized IQ tests, possibly because of the loading of cultural influences on the latter measures. When cultural influences are controlled for, differences in IQ performance are minimized (i.e., statistically non-significant). The present investigation was a follow-up of the author's previous work in this area (Master‘s thesis; Grubb, 1983), and consisted of two studies. One was a reanalysis of the data obtained in the original study with the addition of college entrance exam scores (SAT) and college grade point averages on the 80 original students. The second study consisted of a replication of the original work with 40-Black and 40-White undergraduates at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. New variables, and their correlation to intelligence, were investigated and included; personality characteristics, racial/ethnic identification, and social adjustment to college. In addition to the previously stated relationships between intelligence, race, and cultural-distance, new information was obtained which indicates: (1) a positive correlation between a conservative, compliant personality and academic ascendancy; (2) a significant correspondence between college involvement (social adaptation or the reduction of cultural-distance) and grade-rated academic performance; and (3) a hypothesized process of supra-cultural (university) adaptation for both Black and White students which has a limiting effect on their sub-culturally based self-esteem. In all, and from all the various sources, this paper tends to support the Cultural-Distance Hypothesis and its influence on group IQ performance.