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Cyril BurtFraud or Framed?$
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N. J. Mackintosh

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198523369

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523369.001.0001

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Does it matter? The scientific and political impact of Burt's work

Does it matter? The scientific and political impact of Burt's work

(p.130) Seven Does it matter? The scientific and political impact of Burt's work
Cyril Burt

N. J. Mackintosh

Oxford University Press

Burt's major theoretical contribution to psychology was surely his work on the development of factor analysis. Unquestionably, it was Burt who was the first to see that the actual pattern of correlations observed between a large battery of intelligence tests could not be explained simply in terms of Spearman's general factor, but implied the existence of other ‘group’ factors. Of course, the whole issue of social class differences in IQ has been a contentious one, and many critics have denounced IQ tests, and those who devise them, as biased precisely because they appear to reveal differences between the average scores obtained by different social, cultural, or ethnic groups. Burt's paper was widely cited, however, not because it was the first to provide evidence on this topic, but because at first sight the data he presented seemed unusually clear and elegant, and the argument he developed particularly persuasive.

Keywords:   factor analysis, Cyril Burt, intelligence tests, correlations, social class differences, ethnic groups

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