Biracial babies more intelligent?

I keep hearing it in various places - talk shows, web pages, and I believe I’ve even seen it mentioned in passing on the board - that biracial children tend to be more intelligent than children born to parents of the same race.

Now, this seems like a load of BS. First of all, it’s dependent on the idea that there are actual genetic differences between the races; hell, it’s dependent on the idea that the races actually exist, which most people on the board will shoot down immediately.

Additionally, the only explanation I’ve heard is the horribly racist “halo effect” - the baby looks smart compared to them thar backward black folks. :rolleyes:

But I figured I had to check the boards to see if there’s any truth to this whatsoever. Does anyone have a cite for biracial children being, on average, more intelligent?

Wow, this is a dangerous thread.

Maybe the belief stems from the old saw that interbreeding
dogs tends to maker smarter puppies.

In the case of many dog breeds, it’s probably just that the
gene pool needed expanding.

That’s just a guess. I have no other intent in bringing up
dogs than that which I have explicitly stated.

Here’s a WAG why it might be true. Perhaps when parents are from different races, then there is less chance of a recessive genetic disease/defect that might reduce intelligence.

Even if there are no meaningful genetic difference between races, I think it’s true that people have tended to marry within their race, for proximity purposes at the very least. Wouldn’t this increase the chances for recessive genes being expressed?

All of this is just guessing off the top of my head. Even if my arguments don’t have fatal flaws, I suspect that even the lessening of recessive gene expression would have little overall widespread effect. And who’s to say that the recessive genes might not have a positive effect, now that I think about it?

Babies that grow up in racially diverse homes are exposed to two (or more) cultures, languages, points of view, etc… which is just another way of saying that they are a product of their environment.

Problem with this is, there is no such thing a race genetically. Two people with White skin, or two people with black skin may share no genetic heritage whatsoever. There is no such thing as a bi-racial child genetically, so obviously it couldnt be smarter

Ace, can you provide cites or links for any of these places you keep hearing this? I have never heard of anyone making this claim.

As usual, interesting, Attrayant. That said, how can we say there is an African-American (or caucasian) culture, language, point of view, etc.?

This is a subject fraught with much danger of becoming a GD if we aren’t careful to limit ourselves to facts.

Make of it what you will, but several years ago I made an entry in my notebook of a study done by someone named Nagoshi that purported to show that biracial (Asian-white) children in Hawaii had IQs on average 2 to 3 point higher than the control group (or groups?) made up of monoracial Asian and white children. I didn’t write down the title or any other information. It might be either of these two, or it might be another one altogether [ul]Nagoshi, C. T. and Johnson, R. C.
1987 Cognitive abilities profiles of Caucasian vs. Japanese subjects in the Hawaii family study of cognition. Personality and Individual Differences 8, 581-583.

Nagoshi CT, Johnson RC. Familial transmission of cognitive
abilities in offspring tested in adolescence and adulthood: a
longitudinal study. Behav Genet 1993 May;23(3):279-85. [/ul]

bibliophage do you recall if they took into account the IQ scores for the parents?

Two or three points higher? IIRC, any IQ test is considered “accurate” (such as it can be) +/- 5 points. That makes a 2-3 point difference statistically insignificant.

One of my problems with this is that intelligence is so difficult to accurately measure. We have all heard stories of people with “low IQ” or who were considered “not too bright” and were later shown to be brilliant. (Einstein, for one.)

Still, the idea that different races are totally identical doesn’t work for me. Most people can identify most members of a given race at a glance, right? There are internal differences, too: for instance, Blacks seem to be more prone to high blood pressure, Whites to osteoporosis, etc.

The biggest problem I have with the whole “which race is smarter” question is this: individual variation seems so great, even among such homogenous groups as small villages, that greater generalizations become meaningless. Can you imagine choosing an employee or a spouse based on a philosophy of “x race is smarter?” Or, for that matter, “x race is more loyal,” or “x race is handsomer?”

Information about an individual is critical to decision-making. Information about a group, even a well-meaning and well-researched average, doesn’t give enough information about an individual person to be useful.

I wonder how the IQ of people who marry outside of their race compares to that of people who marry within it?

With the precision of terms in describing “IQ” and “race” and “bi-racial” being what they are, I suspect the difference is as significant as the measurement itself.


“When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.” ~ Eric Hoffer ~

You won’t catch me saying such a thing. The OP was very broad with its question about “biracial” babies. I was envisioning a (possibly) German father and (perhaps) an Indonesian mother in my scenario.

There are lots of cards in the deck, so to speak, and lots of different hands to be delt from it.

Shib, unfortunately, I can’t. I’ve been exposed to the idea as one of those “folk wisdom” things on talk shows and otherwise from people who would want to believe such a thing. I personally don’t buy it and was just curious if anyone could support it.

I’ll have to go with Attrayants’ idea of it being to do with nurture rather than nature (should it turn out to be factual). Parents of two different races and therefore usually cultural heritages (to some degree) would simply have more to teach and expose their children to. Not to make generalizations, but parents of different races could possibly be more open to ideas (or simply have more of them) from different sources and be more tolerant to differences in people in general, which could rub off on their kids and help give them a more varied background and to devellop the same open-mindedness about the world.
For a brief and slightly flawed example - although I ain’t biracial, my mom’s Canadian and my Dad came from Hamburg having lived through the war and served in the Hitler Youth. I know one hell of a lot more about Nazi Germany and what went on from their point of view than I’ve ever seen written in history books or in interviews of war vets, even though it happened more than 30 years before I was born. That’s not to do with IQ, but more of a better understanding of the world in general.

I’d of course like to point out that no scientific definitions really exist for “race” or for “intelligence.” Both are hazy kinds of terms applied to all types of non-scientific discussions.

Another factor might be that those who intermarry, or marry outside of their direct culture, may be those who are exposed to more cultures. Those who are exposed to more cultures may be more educated. More educated parents tend to encourage education in their children. And finally, more education shows up as “higher intelligence” in most of the standard measures of intelligence out there.

Until such time as someone does a wide-ranging study of many biracial children which shows that there is a consistent, significant increase of IQ in biracial children as opposed to monoracial ones, there’s nothing to discuss here. The only study mentioned so far apparently looks at one set of children from one kind of racial mixing in one location, and the difference it claims to find is so small as to be nearly random noise. Without any decent research on this subject, there’s no point in trying to come up with an explanation for a possibly non-existent effect.

Let me just reiterate the OP. I’m afraid I may not have been terribly clear, since Wendell’s post, along with most of the others, seemed to take an unintentional hijack.

I’m not asking why biracial babies are more intelligent; I’m asking if there’s any evidence that they are.

Just thought I’d clarify that.

I wouldn’t be suprised to see a small (i.e. insignificant in terms of real-life success but, still statistically evident)difference in IQ.

While race may not exist in objective, scientific terms (I am of the opinion that it does not); one would probably concede that two people “of the same race” are more likely to share genes than people of “different races”. Case in point: I found out, after we were married, that my wife and I were cousins, albeit some eight or nine times removed. This was not suprising as we were both born in a town of some 30,000-40,000 people and were both of mixed Acadian descent. Simply put, marrying outside your race would be a good policy if you are phobic about reccessive genes doing your progeny harm.

The main cause of a correlation, if it should be established, would probably be sociological not genetic. People who feel easily threatened, fear difference or change, accept without question the beliefs and views they are exposed to (read; your typical racists), are likely to be less intelligent than their neighbors in the gene pool. So, now you have the stage set for a phenomenon I would consider a statistical artifact.

“Less intellegent people are less likely to cross racial lines in reproducing.”

The corrolary being that “mixed” children are more likely to be the product of more enlightened and educated people. Prehaps people that are genetically predisposed to greater intelligence.

I strongly doubt that a significant increase would ever be found. If one existed it would probably be noticed and confirmed by now. I was only refering to a statistically noticable one, and only theoretically.

That’s not necessarily true. Even if an individual measurement is only +/- 5 points, an aggregate average of many measurements can have arbitrarily good accuracy (depends on how many you take), under some common assumptions (namely, that “random” errors are statistically independent).

That’s not to say that these IQ tests are meaningful, though :slight_smile: