January 18, 2018

Blacks and Whites with the Same IQ Still Differ a Lot

The cognitive profile of whites and blacks are different. So even if the full-scale IQ is the same, blacks and whites do better or worse on different tests. This is based on one study by Craig Frisby, two studies by Arthur Jensen, one by Cecil Reynolds.

For the same IQ, whites will be generally better at problem-solving and spatial reasoning, while blacks will be better at memory, procedural tasks and rote learning.

The Frisby WAIS-IV Study

In 2015, Craig Frisby and Alexander Beaujean gave 1250 people the WAIS-IV IQ test, aged 16-90, and looked at the black-white gaps on the various subtests.

Friby and Beaujean (2015)

And so what we can see is that the black-white gaps are the largest on block design and picture completion. Blacks do relatively much better on cancellation, which is where you are told to quickly cross out certain shapes on a page.

What this means is that not only is there a difference in full-scale IQ between blacks and whites, but the cognitive profile is different. Daniel Seligman describes it thusly:

“On average, whites do better on all the subtests, but their margin of superiority varies considerably from one subtest to another. Or look at it this way: If you took a sample of black and white children, all of whom had scored around 100 on the WISC-R — that is, the black kids in the sample were above the black average — you would expect to find significant black-white differences on six of the thirteen subtests. The average black kid would do better on Arithmetic and Digit Span; the average white kid would do better on Comprehension, Block Design, Object Assembly, and Mazes”

The Jensen WISC-R Study

In 1987 Jensen took 86 blacks and 86 whites aged 9 and 10 and recorded their overall IQ scores, but also their subtest scores, and found that on some subtests blacks did relatively better, and on others whites did relatively better:

Black-White Gap by Subtest in Jensen 1987 Sample

Subtest Gap in SD
Object Assembly 0.7
Block Design 0.7
Similarities 0.68
Vocabulary 0.56
Information 0.49
Comprehension 0.47
Arithmetic 0.41
Picture Completion 0.36
Picture Arrangement 0.34
Digit Span 0.1
Coding -0.02
FSIQ 0.73

Gaps are in white Standard Deviations of 15.

Now the subtests all have smaller differences than the full-scale IQ; this is because the full-scale IQ is an aggregate of the subtests. Think of it like components of a football team – the best overall team doesn’t necessarily have the best offensive line, or the best cornerbacks, or the best quarterbacks – but it has the best combination of these things.

Normally the black-white full-scale IQ gap is closer to 1 standard deviation, but this just happened to be a slightly above average black sample Jensen was working with.

But the takeaway is the huge difference in subtest scores. Moreover, the two tests which blacks do massively better on are the digit-span test and coding. The digit-span test is remembering a string of numbers and repeating them back. Coding involves matching numbers to shapes on a grid. On more abstract problems, such as assembling an object out of pieces, or designing a shape out different colored blocks, whites tend to do better.

To illustrate this further, we can, using this data, make projections of what the black-white gaps would be on each subtest if the blacks and whites had equal overall IQ scores for different IQs:

Black-White Subtest Gaps Assuming Identical Full-Scale IQs at Different IQs and Linear Scaling of the Gaps

Subtest Gap in SD Gap with same FSIQ of -94.5 -120 -130 -140
Object Assembly 0.7 0.265 0.33655 0.36464 0.392465
Block Design 0.7 0.265 0.33655 0.36464 0.392465
Similarities 0.68 0.245 0.31115 0.33712 0.362845
Vocabulary 0.56 0.125 0.15875 0.172 0.185125
Information 0.49 0.055 0.06985 0.07568 0.081455
Comprehension 0.47 0.035 0.04445 0.04816 0.051835
Arithmetic 0.41 -0.025 -0.03175 -0.0344 -0.037025
Picture Completion 0.36 -0.075 -0.09525 -0.1032 -0.111075
Picture Arrangement 0.34 -0.095 -0.12065 -0.13072 -0.140695
Digit Span 0.1 -0.335 -0.42545 -0.46096 -0.496135
Coding -0.02 -0.437 -0.55499 -0.601312 -0.647197

If this is confusing, I made a bar graph showing how much more whites scored than blacks on various subtests when their overall IQ is the same. Negative numbers means blacks are scoring higher:

Black-White Difference by Subtest when Full-Scale IQ is the Same Assuming Linear Scaling (Based on Jensen 1987)

To clarify this further, we can look at this in terms of what the black IQ is relative to the white IQ (always defined as 100) at given percentiles based on a black standard deviation of 12.5:

Black IQ by percentile, and predicted “subtest IQ”

Percentile Coding FSIQ Obj / Block
50 (0 SD) ~91 86 ~82.5
84.1 (1 SD) ~105.5 98.5 ~94.5
97.7 (2 SD) ~118.75 111 ~106.5
99.9 (3 SD) ~132 123.5 ~118

And so we can see that, for object assembly and block design, the black score on that is only 6.5 points higher than the white average at the 97.7th percentile. In addition, IQ deviation from racial means systematically regresses toward the mean, and so for the second generation of high IQ blacks, these are the best predictions of their offspring IQ:

Black IQ by percentile, and predicted “subtest IQ” of the second generation of parents with IQs in the above chart

Percentile Coding FSIQ Obj / Block
50 (0 SD) ~91 86 ~82.5
84.1 (1 SD) ~98.25 92.25 ~88.5
97.7 (2 SD) ~104.88 98.5 ~94.5
99.9 (3 SD) ~111.5 104.75 ~100.25

This model probably underpredicts the number of blacks with extremely high IQs because those are likely due to epistatic effects. That said, the proportion of blacks who – according to this – do as well as the white average on the object assembly / block design tests for more than one generation at a time will be vanishingly small.

I put ~’s next to the numbers, because these are not deep analyses, just rough estimates based on the NLSY data showing a regression effect of about .5 for both whites and blacks that deviate from their racial means.

Kaufman-ABC Results

Jensen also looked at the results from the Kaufman ABC test using the same sample of blacks and whites, and these were the results by subtest:

White-Black Gap in SD on Kaufman-ABC

Subtest Gap in SD
Arithmetic 0.64
Riddles 0.64
Triangles 0.56
Spatial Memory 0.44
Reading/Understanding 0.37
Matrix Analogies 0.32
Faces and Places 0.26
Reading/Decoding 0.24
Photo Series 0.19
Hand Movements 0.18
Gestalt Closure 0.14
Word Order 0.1
Number Recall 0.04

The main difference that pops out is that whites had a huge advantage on arithmetic in this compared to the WISC-R results, even though these were literally the same people as took the above test. So the arithmetic is probably different on K-ABC than on the WISC. However, overall, you see whites doing the best on riddles, triangles and spatial memory, while blacks doing relatively the best on number recall, word order and photo series.

Comparing Blacks and Whites with Actual Same Full-Scale IQs by Subtest

Cecil Reynolds in 1983 actually found 270 blacks and 270 whites with a median IQ of 89, and so instead of having to statistically infer the subtest gaps for theoretically equal full-scale IQ blacks and whites, he just compared groups of blacks and whites that actually were equal, and the results were slightly different from the above projections:

Black-white gap by subtest of blacks and whites who all have a full-scale IQ of around 89

Reynolds (FSIQ matched) Gap in SD
Object Assembly 0.51
Mazes 0.5
Block Design 0.27
Similarities -0.11
Vocabulary 0.06
Information -0.16
Comprehension 0.44
Arithmetic -0.36
Picture Completion 0.11
Picture Arrangement 0.34
Digit Span -0.62
Coding -0.49

The results don’t necessarily add up to zero because of weighting.

The results here are similar to Jensen 1987 at the extreme ends, with whites doing relatively the best at Object Assembly and Mazes, blacks doing the best at digit span and coding. The real changes though are arithmetic – where blacks do relatively much better, and comprehension, where whites do relatively better, than they did according to Jensen 1987. This could just be the a result of real changes in IQ not scaling linearly with each subtest in a given direction.

That said, you still see whites doing better in more abstract tasks, with blacks doing better in more mechanical, concrete tasks when IQ is matched.

Now one criticism would be that these studies are old. But so is the black-white IQ gap, and the reality is that the Flynn Effect (the general rise in IQ scores) stopped in western countries roughly around the time these tests were being done. So while the data is old, the situation in terms of IQ and “g” hasn’t changed from when these tests were done.

But when you step back for a moment, think about the proposal that for whites and blacks must have precisely identical cognitive profiles when IQ is matched. Why would we assume this? Why would we assume that all of the different cognitive skills would just so happen to line up with populations that have spent tens of thousands of years evolving apart, when they don’t even have the same brain size and shape or the same overall IQ scores?

 The point being that the whole structure of intelligence between blacks and whites is significantly different, full-scale IQ is only part of the story, and blacks and whites with the same overall IQ will have very different cognitive abilities.

Facebook Comments
  • Mark Martinson

    Fascinating. I guess that’s why Muhammed Ali could have a low IQ but still be so glib.

    • On average, blacks have higher verbal than spatial iq.

      • ThatGuy CalledPhil

        Reminds me what my father told me, in segregated schools, Black education was different in which alot of culture relevant teachings such as life skills were taught.

    • Gilberto Carlos

      Concussions are common among fighters, and they tend to cause a drop in IQ.

  • Mark Martinson

    The fact that blacks IQs regress to a lower mean is to my mind on the best arguments for race realism. Apparently it works equally well with siblings. Since siblings tend have similar environments it is quite compelling.

    • But they don’t regress to the racial mean. There is a family mean. The breeders equation. If all high iq aberrations fell immediately back to the racial mean, selection for high iq wouldn’t have occurred.


      • Mark Martinson

        But the evidence shows that race is dragging them down. If a white has an IQ of 100, his siblings will have IQs of 100 (on average). With blacks the siblings will average (100 + 85) / 2 = 92.5

        • Of course it is. But they do it fall all the way to the racial mean. There is a family mean. If all high iq people fell to the racial mean in one generation, selection for high iq wouldn’t have occurred.

          Read the jayman article.

        • Gilberto Carlos

          Think of IQ as a pool of dice inside genes.
          When someone is born, they are rolled, and this is his IQ.
          Different genes have different numbers and sides of die.
          You inherit this pool of dice from your parents.

          Now imagine 2 blacks with an IQ of 130, to get this score(+3sd), they would need a good pool of dice and a lucky roll, their sons will inherit the pool, but not the luck on the roll, this is what we call regression to the mean.

          Over the long term, genetic potential will remain, that’s why there are still many intellectuals with the surname Darwin.

          • Charlotte W

            unless WE SAVE THE WRONG CHILDREN

    • Charlotte W

      Siblings raised apart confirmed the theory that environment and early intervention do no alter IQ.

      the most distressing new piece of evidence is that of low IQ blacks with a higher IQ child. the grand children revert to the mean in almost every instance. This is a death sentence for Western civilization… and white people.

  • It’s nice to have a proper evergreen article I can toss at the “IQ nationalists”. They need to be taken down a few pegs.

    • Daniel Hollizzle

      that and the article: nonwhites of every stripe vote Democrat. Competing interests we dont fully understand

    • waffleironmarch

      With high intelligence, though, “different’ does not really mean “worse” the way it does with differences in overall intelligence. Smart people with different strengths can work together in a way that dumb and smart generally cannot, and intelligence also tends to encompass increased conscious restraint restraint over detrimental impulses (hence why high IQ schizophrenics are less prone to delusions and unquestioning belief in the reality of hallucinations than low IQ schizophrenics.)

      • Totally disagree with this BTW. The fact that, for instance, only 10% of blacks are even at the level of white trailer trash intellectually, and even then are essentially verbalistic savants is a bit of a big deal. Verbal IQ doesn’t get us to the moon, and doesn’t keep the lights on at night. I’m no Einstein myself, but I think it’s obvious which IQ profile is better.

        • waffleironmarch

          I’m talking about the ones who are highly intelligent.
          The Asian population tends to have an average verbal IQ comparable to whites but a much higher visuospatial IQ which has been correlated to technological and scientific progress.
          However, high verbal has been repeatedly tied to the most commonly agreed upon measures of life success, which is why I say that no one form of HIGH IQ is better than another but just different. That’s a pretty long way from equivocations between someone with an 85 IQ and a rocket scientist, for instance.

          • Charlotte W

            an IQ of 85 disqualifies anyone from participation in a democracy.

            90 is the threshold… and the average for American blacks is, i think, 86. That’s the mean for 600 million Latinos to the south, but for Chile and some of Costa Rica.

            Below an IQ of 90 – people cannot defer gratification, resolve conflict without violence or suppress harmful urges. Concepts such as “event horizons’ or “intermediate and final goals or ends” are beyond anything they can quantify.

            I knew the IQ of the planet was plunging… but this news is distressing because there is NO ELEVATION OF IQ with environment or early intervention.

            That’s the dirty little secret to forced migration… the only “solution” say the attendees in Gstaad, Aspen and Bohemian Grove is interbreeding… and SOON

    • Kris Polk

      They can certainly make the case for limited immigration from some high IQ populations, and they can also suggest that as a policy for countries like Singapore, Dubai, or Magic Libertarian Floating Platform Land, but a purely IQ-based policy for any large, traditional nation is A U T I S M at work.

  • chrism9

    If we had a race-neutral, wordless IQ test(like no questions involving the velocity of yachts) I bet blacks would outperform other races very significantly. But we’re not the ones calling the shots so we’ll never know. the truth

    • Ryan Faulk

      Did you read the article? There are several subtests that don’t involve verbal intelligence. Look at the tables. Block design, object assembly.

      Blacks do WORSE on those, not better. The kinds of tests to speculate blacks would do better on are precisely the tests they do the worst on.

      And if you remove verbal and information subtests, it’s not going to change the overall gap.

      What you suggest has already been done. It’s called “Progressive Matrices”:

      And no, blacks, even when comparing black engineering students to white engineering students, they still do massively worse on this :

      In fact blacks do WORSE on these kinds of tests than they do on a pure vocabulary and information test. Cultural loading HELPS blacks. This has been shown time and time again, decades ago, and everyone who does research in this field already knows it:

      What you have is idiot professors who repeat speculations from the 1970s as if they are proven facts. Like “cultural bias”. Sure, there’s a plausible-sounding hypothesis. “Cultural differences”. But in reality, when the cultural loading is removed, the race gap INCREASES.

      A culture-loaded test tests more of your cultural knowledge than the general intelligence factor. The average black is more likely to know what a saucer is than he is to be better at abstract pattern-recognition than the average white person.

      I think you recognize that blacks have worse vocabulary, and think that is a cultural thing. But it’s not, the worse vocabulary is just a symptom of a lower overall general intelligence.

      • chrism9

        Thats because the non-verbal tests are white washed. If these intelligence tests werent tilted in your favor youd see the shorter end on your side. Ive yet to see pattern-recognition tests on things which are spiritually black or somehow peculiar to the black race, like egyptain hieroglyphs or the sumerian and roman numbering system. Biased tests are worthless. And there is no relevance of race in these tests as race scientifically doesn’t exist. You just need to remove the white cultural elements from these testings, like pure math. Examining and recognizing hieroglyphs wouldnt be fair to snowbirds, so just pure math and memory, and tetris like brain games.

        • Constantinum

          wow you really showed him with your empirically false claims and lack of data. Nice work.

        • Thats because the non-verbal tests are white washed.

          Citation needed.

          If these intelligence tests werent tilted in your favor youd see the shorter end on your side.

          How are IQ tests biased?


          Ive yet to see pattern-recognition tests on things which are spiritually black or somehow peculiar to the black race, like egyptain hieroglyphs or the sumerian and roman numbering system.

          Does this look like an intelligence test?


          Biased tests are worthless

          You’ve not shown that IQ tests are biased.

          And there is no relevance of race in these tests as race scientifically doesn’t exist.

          Citation needed.

          You just need to remove the white cultural elements from these testings, like pure math.

          So here you seem to admit there is an innate difference between the two groups. By taking away one measure that correlates highly with g, of course you get closer to a “closing intelligence gap”.

          Examining and recognizing hieroglyphs wouldnt be fair to snowbirds

          So you’re admitting there are differences between the two groups and want to take away a critical component of g testing to say that blacks are closer in intelligence to whites. What a coincidence that blacks have higher verbal IQs. So by your proposed measure, their IQ would rise. This would he a false rise in intelligence though.

          Ridiculous reasoning to day that IQ tests are biased.

        • Martheric Sherwood

          So, you’re saying blacks are worse off in a white culture and homogeneity/segregation is a good idea so everyone performs to their maximum potential… Or are you suggesting a whole new language, educational and numerical system for whites to make sure blacks have a fair advantage? Or will you just assume that you’re correct and then propose legislation – like affirmative action or a race tax in order for blacks to have the same quality of life, despite being able to do so meritocratically within Western countries? (I know, you probably think ‘Western countries’ don’t exist)

          Which do you choose? Forcing people to pay for the cultural handicap on blacks or restructuring the whole society?

          Well, we can say then (accurately) that blacks are disabled and whites are providing more value within the culture they created.

          Or do you think we should breed out all racial differences? So, the benefits of ‘diversity’ are no longer there anyway? Does a mulatto have the same capacities or an averaged capacity?

          Should we enforce miscegenation so the ‘primal’ nature of man’s identifiers like race are bred out? Homogeneity by forced miscegenation or by segregation?

          Or, we can do nothing – because differences apparently aren’t enough to do anything except assert the rights to individuals… Except the right for them to self-segregate ethnically, right? Freedom of association – freedom to deny business or employment to those you just don’t like…

          Or will we enter into a post-racial society? Who decides? What decides that? If it’s just whoever is in power.. do you think that sets a good standard? Whatever the media and corporations say?

          You’re not in a warzone, kiddo. You’re fucking with the structure of society which needs smart management skills – not just reactive emotionality. Have a plan, a solution, or else you’re like a child throwing a tantrum because their parents can’t afford to give you your toy. If you can’t provide solutions, then grow up.

          • Charlotte W

            Well said… but kiddo is black and they still employ an [ r ] strategy for reproduction.

            THAT plus penicillin, vaccines and SAVE THE CHILDREN…. and you have the end of Western Civilization.

            Since they aren’t smart enough to believe they lost the lottery. – they hate us.

            We bought into a business model based on Africans capturing and selling others for profit… for a nano second in history…. and for that …. we are the excuse for their retardation.

            It’s their sheer numbers that our going to be our demise. [ r ] reproduction impregnates the neighborhood and moves on… think rabbits.. .few resources invested into any given offspring.. hoping some survive…

            K strategy – in use in White and some Asian cultures… devoted lots of time, energy and resources into fewer offspring.

            the environment that created [ r ] strategy breeding – Africa, Equatorial regions… also created a need for W.H.O. AND UNICEF…. mix the 2 and you have a murder suicide pact for every bird and butterfly

        • ronno

          you must be trolling lol

          • Noesis

            Hahaha agreed. Too funny.

            >Egyptian hieroglyphs

            WE WUZ

          • ronno


        • Relentless Onslaught

          Are you a race realist troll? That’s the only explanation I can find for you saying the things you say and simultaneously being able to write.

        • Jeremy Smith

          Better yet, let’s just have blacks and hispanics go back to Africa and South America and they can adjust the tests to fit their cultural elements. I’m sure those tests will then reveal the superiority of blacks and hispanics and those continents will rival Europe and the US in a short time.

          • Charlotte W

            Blacks and Inca’s hadn’t yet noticed that rocks roll down hill when Notre Dame was built.


        • Charlotte W

          My question for you is… why are you invested in the fate of low IQ blacks? If you have a high IQ – good for you.

          I don’t find myself defending the monstrous behavior of Germans in WWII or the Russian purges…nor am I offended when they are vilified for their murderous history.

          and I’m Russian and German.


      • ronno

        absolutely. it’s kind of like how africans would never invent advanced tools, but one can easily work on an assembly line without much problem. likewise, if they’re given the training wheels of living in a white society they can be trained to behave somewhat like other members of society and perform better than abysmally on culturally loaded tests.

      • Mash Man

        “I think you recognize that blacks have worse vocabulary, and think that is a cultural thing. But it’s not, the worse vocabulary is just a symptom of a lower overall general intelligence.”

        So you literally believe that 200 years of slavery and many years of Jim Crow and lower literacy rates for blacks due to many years of them being excluded from proper education did not in any way affect the vernacular of African Americans today? You don’t even see how outrageous your claim is?

        • Ryan Faulk

          Your incredulity is not an argument. No individual had to go through anything for 200 years. It could have been 10,000 years, and it wouldn’t matter. I suspect you believe in some sort of environmental mysticism, where events from the far past have a non-darwinian impact on behavior today. It’s weird; blacks in the US are stupid and violent, just like in Africa, just like in France, Sweden, Britain, Canada, Australia… in comes some “deep” and “sophisticated” environmental explanation, a complexity of which you probably cannot fully comprehend. If only magic science man were here, then he’d show these racists what for!

          You don’t NEED some convoluted and exotic environmental explanation for the global pattern of behavior – a genetic explanation works just fine. There’s not some “problem” or “mystery” of racial inequality that needs to be solved, we have a perfectly fine general explanation. It’s the same explanation we use for any systematic difference between populations of any other animal. That doesn’t make it necessarily true, you may want to say “humans are different in a way that those things are not analogous”, okay, but you have to explain why it’s disanalogous, and I have lots of arguments that the analogy holds, and why human exceptionalism is overblown and a lot of these extreme environmentalist theories are utter trash and a reaction to WW2 and Hitler.

          And in 1865 blacks in the US had higher literacy than Russia (which included Poland, the Balts and Finland), and probably higher literacy than Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece as well. They had a higher literacy rate than China, and it was certainly higher than in black Africa.

          So if you’re trying to guilt-trip whites based on literacy rates, it’s fallacious; white involvement in the African slave trade didn’t increase the total number of blacks who became slaves, and it increased the literacy of at least those blacks who ended up in the United States, and probably Brazil too.

          But look, blacks born in 1950 don’t have “200 years” of anything. And the schools they had may have been slightly worse before 1954. But on guilt, whites didn’t owe them equally good schools – in fact, even during segregation there was still a net wealth transfer from whites to blacks. But if you want to say that funding difference mattered, well, good luck finding some causal proof of that.

          And even if you do, you then have to extrapolate that forward to today. Even if the past was total narrative, that your schooltime narrative of history is 100% correct – the history that you were taught in the political climate at the point in history that you went to school was 100% correct unlike every other regime in history which obviously taught a false narrative of history – so what?

          I mean you can hypothesize lamarckian / lysenkoism / epigenetics as some cause, you can claim “bad schools”, but voucher studies show that’s a myth. You can’t just assert historical events as a cause of modern gaps even if your view of history is 100% correct; it doesn’t free you from having to argue about things today.


        • Charlotte W

          Actually, American blacks have realized a 20 point gain on their relatives in Africa… but it took 200 years. African blacks, especially Somalians and Eritreans have an intelligence quotient bordering on retardation.

    • Those questions were removed decades ago. Is the BITCH IQ test better for you?

    • Charlotte W

      You have an investment in that theory… but there is no evidence that blacks have created a successful culture, or contributed to the rise of civilization anywhere.

      Jump, run, toss, block, beat, breed or dance – oh, and blame.

  • Martheric Sherwood

    I have a question that I still haven’t seen a scientific definition on: What is “white”? Or, more specifically, what is “European”? And, why should we use that definition over another?

    • Kris Polk

      “white” and “European,” in terms of how people actually mean them, mostly mean the same thing, unless people are being deliberately obtuse.
      It can be a little bit unclear if you’re talking about Syrian Alawites or Lebanese Maronites, who are not indigenous to Europe but their ancestral origin (the original populations of the Levant) are closer to Mediterranean Europeans than they are to Arabs from the peninsula. They certainly look White and pass as White in the US, but this is because they are close cousins of Europeans. A similar thing with Turks, many of whom are basically Greeks, except they are Muslim and speak Turkish, while some other Turks are what we’d call ‘Brown’ people, or Central Asians like the other Turkic ethnic groups.

      However when we are talking about the United States, it’s pretty clear who we mean when we say ‘White.’ There are certainly some Euro-descended Latin Americans who are suddenly pretending to be people of colors, even as they tell “indio” jokes in private. Their refusal to identify as White in the USA (as they’d do in their native Mexico) is entirely political.

    • Segregate

      It’s the box you check when you fill out your EEO form for affirmative action.

  • Jotaro Goebbers

    Why is the coding gap 0.8 in The Frisby WAIS-IV Study at the beginning of the article? Is that a different kind of coding? I’m confused.