Henry Hepburn

Nature vs nurture debate gets a blast from the past

Work of pioneering academic on IQs during inter-war years suggests genes play limited role in achievement

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Imagine that halfway between the two world wars, and then shortly after the Second World War, a country tested the intelligence of its 11-year-olds. Then, more than eight decades later, academics were able to explore how those same brains were performing in maturity – and whether education throughout their lifetimes had made a difference.

That is exactly the legacy of a pioneering University of Edinburgh educational psychologist who, in 1932 and 1947, amassed what remains the only record of IQ-type scores from entire age groups in any nation in the world. His work also provides a highly ...

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