Racial and ethnic group differences in the heritability of intelligence: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Bryan J. Pesta*, Emil O.W. Kirkegaard, Jan te Nijenhuis, Jordan Lasker, John G.R. Fuerst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview article


Via meta-analysis, we examined whether the heritability of intelligence varies across racial or ethnic groups. Specifically, we tested a hypothesis predicting an interaction whereby those racial and ethnic groups living in relatively disadvantaged environments display lower heritability and higher environmentality. The reasoning behind this prediction is that people (or groups of people) raised in poor environments may not be able to realize their full genetic potentials. Our sample (k = 16) comprised 84,897 Whites, 37,160 Blacks, and 17,678 Hispanics residing in the United States. We found that White, Black, and Hispanic heritabilities were consistently moderate to high, and that these heritabilities did not differ across groups. At least in the United States, Race/Ethnicity × Heritability interactions likely do not exist.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101408
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Early online date28 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020



  • Ethnicity
  • Heritability
  • Intelligence
  • Race

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