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NCJ Number: 168458 Find in a Library
Title: Crime and the Bell Curve: Lessons From Intelligent Criminology
Journal: Crime and Delinquency  Volume:43  Issue:4  Dated:(October 1997)  Pages:387-411
Author(s): F T Cullen; P Gendreau; G R Jarjoura; J P Wright
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 25
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: By reanalyzing the data used in "The Bell Curve" (Herrnstein and Murray 1994) and by reviewing existing meta-analyses that assess the relative importance of criminogenic risk factors, this article shows empirically that Herrnstein and Murray's claims regarding IQ and crime are misleading.
Abstract: In their best-selling book, "The Bell Curve," Herrnstein and Murray argue that IQ is a powerful predictor of a range of social ills, including crime. They use this "scientific reality" to oppose social welfare policies and, in particular, to justify the punishment of offenders. The current study reanalyzed the data on crime reported in the book to show that the effects of IQ on criminal involvement are, at most, modest. This reanalysis is supplemented by summarizing previous meta-analyses and studies of the predictors of crime. This review also shows that IQ is a weak to modest risk factor in offending and that its criminogenic effects are dwarfed by a range of factors, many of which are amenable to change. Building on these points, this article contends that Herrnstein and Murray's policies to control crime, especially among the cognitively disadvantaged, have virtually no empirical support and, on their face, are preposterous. The authors are concerned that "intelligent criminology" be used to deconstruct the "science" and ideology underlying "The Bell Curve." The authors also discuss how IQ might be used responsibly as a factor in correctional interventions. 5 tables, 12 notes, and 85 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Crime causes theory; Intelligence Quotient (IQ); Intelligence-crime relationships
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