Scarr and Weinberg (1976) – The Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study

Scarr and Weinberg AIM
The ‘Transracial Adoption Study’ was designed to test the hypothesis that black and interracial children reared by white families perform on IQ and school achievement tests as well as other adoptees because they are reared in the culture of the tests and the schools.
Scarr and Weinberg PROCEDURE
101 transracial adoptive families were studied. Out of the 176 adopted children, 130 were socially classified as black. The sample also included 143 biological children of the adoptive parents. Among the adoptees, 111 of them were adopted within the first year of their life and the other 65 after 12 months of age. The researchers collected data on intellectual performance and academic achievement, on personality and psychopathology, and on family members’ life adjustment.
Scarr and Weinberg RESULTS
All of the black children that had been adopted scored above the average of the white population for the respected region that they were in, they were also performing well in school. It was also noted that the average score of the adopted black children was around 20 points higher than the scores of the children raised in the black communities. However adopted children did still score below what the biological children scored in most cases.
Scarr and Weinberg CONCLUSION
The data was interpreted to show that: (a) genetic differences between racial groups do not account for a major portion of the IQ performance difference.
The study provides extensive evidence that suggests that the environment plays a large role in impacting the intelligence of black and transracial children. Additionally, this means that improving the environment of those in poverty will better their learning capacity as well.
Over 100 families were examined throughout the experiment, this meant that the sample size was much larger than other adoptive studies participants and therefore could suggest that the study’s findings are more generalisable than other studies results.
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Some people argue that IQ tests are not valid measures of intelligence as they do not accurately measure all of the skills/ cognitive abilities needed to be ‘intelligent’.
The data collected was only correlational, we cannot say for sure whether it was the environment that the children were brought up in that caused them to get better scores in the IQ tests.