12 thoughts on “The Intelligence Gap”

  1. I really enjoyed how you described intelligence as well as point out a difference between races that I had never heard of before.
    I think you could have possibly edited or cut your video to eliminate studders and slight mistakes, but other than that, it was very intriguing and I enjoyed it very much.

    1. Thank you, Owen, for your comment. Yes, I probably should have edited my video and cut out unnecessary frames, but I was tired and couldn’t stand the thought of going through my voice one more time and editing. I probably should have planned my time better. I will try to keep that in mind next time.

      1. Oh, I forgot to ask questions.
        I was wondering what the statistics were for other races, (not black or white) and what they are compared to that of black and white intelligence levels.

        1. Hi Owen,

          That’s a great question, I also thought about it when I first began researching. I chose Black and White because they had the most info, even though I may have liked to do Asian. So basically, Asian and Jew have slightly higher average intelligence that whites, and whites have higher intelligence than Hispanics and Blacks. Out of these two, Hispanics have higher average intelligence than Blacks.

          Hoped it helped,


  2. I enjoyed watching your TED Talk, Tony! First of all, this topic is something that I’ve been interested in, but have never taken to time to research, so thanks for getting me started. Your introduction was very powerful, as it asked several “thinking” questions and already had me engaged before you even explained what you were going to be speaking about. Overall, your talk was very well written, and you used very intelligent word choices that made the talk seem more scientific and fact-based. Also, you did a good job of defining several terms, so I could understand what you were speaking about. Your ending was extremely powerful as well, using a call-to-action to try to motivate your audience.
    Also, great job using editing to make it look like you were actually on a stage, and your delivery was also very well done. Your volume control was superb, and I could clearly understand everything you were saying.
    I just had a few points with the content of your talk: First of all, why is the more recent way of defining intelligence preferred to the previous method for IQ? Also, are there any specific reasons you can pinpoint for why there has been a large difference between white and black students, and provide some historical background for the current situation we are in?
    Awesome job again.


    1. Hi Lucas,

      Thanks you very much for your feedback. You asked some very thoughtful questions, and I will try my best to answer them.
      First, as I mentioned, the IQ, intelligence quotient, is defined as the mental age of the test taker divided by the chronological age and then times 100. The test will measure the mental age, and then they can calculate the IQ. There is one problem, however, as the IQ test is designed for children. It would make sense of a 12 year old child performing like a 10 year old be deemed an IQ of 83 (below the average of 100), but it wouldn’t make sense for a 40 year old performing at the level of a 20 year old to get an IQ of 50. So now intelligence tests measure the performance of an individual against the average performance of people in the same age range.
      For your second question, there are two main things that experts suggested for one is that there are cultural differences, and the other is that there is schooling differences. The culture argument says that because blacks had limited opportunities, they developed an “oppositional” culture that equated academic success with “being white.”Also, “academic competence developed partly through competition, and that ‘rumors of inferiority’ made blacks reluctant to compete academically.” This mainly says that stereotypes cause them to doubt themselves and becomes not as confident (as I was trying to say in my talk). This could also be shown in how black test scores improve if there is a black examiner. When we go into a test with a mind that is doubting ourselves, it has been proven that it will negatively affect your mark. This is the same with life. For the school argument, it mainly applies to older America. There was and I don’t know if there still is, all black schools. Blacks from those schools had lower scores than blacks in mixed schools. This is because of the differing qualities of teaching.
      For historical background, here is an excerpt from a source listed below that I encourage you to check out if you are interested. It basically has all the info that I addressed on my talk, and it was a shame I discovered it really late. “The best trend data come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which has been testing seventeen-year-olds since 1971 and has repeated many of the same items year after year. Figure 1-2 shows that the black-white reading gap narrowed from 1.25 standard deviations in 1971 to 0.69 standard deviations in 1996. The math gap fell from 1.33 to 0.89 standard deviations. When Min-Hsiung Huang and Robert Hauser analyzed vocabulary scores for adults born between 1909 and 1969, the black-white gap also narrowed by half. ” As you can see, the gap is narrowing a lot. The current gap is 15 points, and you can imagine what it was like during the early 1900’s.
      Source: http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/j/jencks-gap.html

      Hoped it helped,


  3. Fantastic talk, Tony!

    I loved your use of greenscreening and your great charts. You also had a lot of different examples to prove each and every point you made. However, the video was a bit too quiet in my opinion. I also found the intro slightly confusing at first.

    But seriously, that was an awesome talk.


    1. I forgot to ask questions. Oops!
      First of all, what are people doing now to reduce the intelligence gap?
      Second, why do some people still deem IQ as the be-all and end-all?
      Finally, how do you think your topic relates to Alexander Hamilton’s education?

  4. Hey Tony,
    Your TED talk is really cool! I really like your keying idea and the use of a TED Talk background with the audience. I find your TED Talk very nicely structured with an interesting intro, supporting examples and diagrams, and a strong conclusion. I really enjoyed how you left the talk on a positive note for us to change while still maintaining the vibe of a TED Talk, not a persuasive speech.
    I’m currently reading a book for Big History recommended by Ms. Mulder called ” Guns, Germs, and Steel” that discusses why Eurasia and Northern Africa often end up the focus of history, while other cultures receive little or no attention. The author Jared Diamond claims that this is because the different civilizations developed at different rates of advancement; while the Eurasians were using steel tools and preparing for industrialization, some Aboriginal Australians were using stone tools to hunt and gather food.
    So I want to ask why certain civilizations just happen to develop faster than others. How come us humans-coming from the same ancestors- became so different from each other in the beginning of mankind?

    1. Thank you for your comment and feedback Deon. Your questions are very interesting, and here is a short explanation that I would give:
      Recall, or not (I don’t think I mentioned it in my talk), that intelligence test scores depend on genetics more than the environment. (70% vs. 30% in some studies) Assuming that we all had the same ancestor, so at first the genetic factor is the same, us humans spread out throughout the globe to different environments. We then adapted differently to our various environments, and in some conditions we were given the opportunity to further our development. For example, at a comfortable environment, humans have the privilege of actually sitting down and innovate. In some more extreme environments, all the thought is put on how to survive, therefore leaving no time for advancements. Slowly, as some people used their brains more and some kept to the original, those who kept exploring had an advantage in intelligence (remember how environment shapes). And then, because of genetic influences, this group’s offspring also tend to have a higher than average intelligence. This becomes a positive, upwards spiral. At this point, remember that “environment” doesn’t just include nature. It include everything that we see right now and more, so basically everything other than our genes. So then, as mankind slowly adapted into communities, those close together could share their findings, and will then begin their upwards spiral. This also enables strategically located communities to gather the ideas from all over and develop into a center for commerce and art. So then, these communities will obviously develop faster. Those in remote communities knew nothing of what others have discovered, and all that a tribe of a few hundred could discover is not much. Therefore, they were maybe still in the stone age when others have moved on to the industrial revolution.

      I hope I have answered your question, and that my answer made sense.

      PS. Northern Africa you mean Middle East?

  5. Wow, Tony. That really opened my eyes and got me thinking! What an interesting topic! I really really love how the conclusion was that race or whatever other labels don’t determine your intelligence. It displayed societal issues with different labels (race, gender, etc.), and I think that was great.
    As for your presentation itself, it was so great! You had a great clear tone in your voice, great hand gestures and use of pictures in the back. I think it was so cool how you made it seem like you were actually on a Ted Talk stage!
    I have a few questions: Was the story of that boy aspiring to become a mathematician true?
    Also, what exactly is an “IQ?” I always knew that it was a thing to determine your intelligence but exactly what part of your “intelligence” was determined, and what does it stand for?
    Great job Tony!
    Michelle H

    1. Hey Michelle,

      Thanks for commenting! I sure hope it was of value to you. For your questions, first, the story is real, it is something that a friend told me, and it is something that prompt me to do this story. Of course, being a mathematician is his childhood dream, but it was sad how he couldn’t achieve it in the end.
      The IQ test, or the Intelligence Quotient, is defined as the mental age of the test taker divided by the chronological age and then times 100 (quotient you know). The test will measure the mental age, and then they can calculate the IQ. So for example, if you are 15, and I think you are, and you perform like a 18 year old, then your IQ is 18/15 * 100 = 120. Keep in mind that tests these days never test for the IQ anymore. While you may get an IQ score, it is not determined by the way I just demonstrated. They test for the intelligence of you vs. the average intelligence of others the same age as you. Average people score a 100.

      Hope it helped,


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