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Linda Susanne Gottfredson (née Howarth; born June 24, 1947) is an American psychologist and writer. She is professor emeritus of educational psychology at the University of Delaware and co-director of the Delaware-Johns Hopkins Project for the Study of Intelligence and Society. Gottfredson's work has been influential in shaping U.S. public and private policies regarding affirmative action, hiring quotas, and "race-norming" on aptitude tests.[1]

Linda Gottfredson
Linda Gottfredson ISIR Distinguished Contributor Interview.jpg
Linda Gottfredson interviewed in 2016
Linda Susanne Howarth

(1947-06-24) June 24, 1947 (age 71)
Alma materUC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University
Known forMainstream Science on Intelligence
Scientific career
FieldsEducational psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of Delaware, editorial boards of Intelligence, Learning and Individual Differences, and Society
ThesisThe relation of situs of work to occupational achievement (1977)

She is on the boards of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences (ISSID), the International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR), and the editorial boards of the scientific journals Intelligence, Learning and Individual Differences, and Society.


Life and workEdit

Idealized normal curves comparing the IQs of Blacks and Whites in the US in 1981. Source: Social Consequences by Gottfredson. Labels show Gottefredson's expectations for job and life potential for people of different intelligence levels.

Gottfredson was born in San Francisco on June 24, 1947. She is a third generation university faculty member. Her father, Jack A. Howarth (died 2006), was a faculty at U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, as was his father.[2][3] Gottfredson initially majored in biology, but later transferred to psychology with her first husband, Gary Don Gottfredson. They received bachelor's degrees in psychology in 1969 from University of California, Berkeley.[citation needed] She worked in the Peace Corps in Malaysia.[4] Gottfredson and her husband went to graduate school at Johns Hopkins University, where she received a Ph.D. in sociology in 1977.[citation needed]

Gottfredson took a position at Hopkins' Center for Social Organization of Schools and investigated issues of occupational segregation and typology based on skill sets and intellectual capacity. She married Robert A. Gordon, who worked in a related area at Hopkins, and they divorced by the mid-90s.[5][citation needed]

In 1985, Gottfredson participated in a conference called "The g Factor in Employment Testing". The papers presented were published in the December 1986 issue of the Journal of Vocational Behavior, which she edited. In 1986, Gottfredson was appointed Associate Professor of Educational Studies at the University of Delaware, Newark.

In 1989, The Washington Post reported that one of Gottfredson's presentations was cited favorably by an article in the National Association for the Advancement of White People's magazine.[6]

That year, she presented a series of papers on general intelligence factor and employment. Gottfredson has said:

We now have out there what I call the egalitarian fiction that all groups are equal in intelligence. We have social policy based on that fiction. For example, the 1991 Civil Rights Act codified Griggs vs. Duke Power, which said that if you have disproportionate hiring by race, you are prima facie -- that's prima facie evidence of racial discrimination. ...Differences in intelligence have real world effects, whether we think they're there or not, whether we want to wish them away or not. And we don't do anybody any good, certainly not the low-IQ people, by denying that those problems exist.[7]

While an assistant professor of Educational Studies in the late 1980s, Gottfredson applied for and received three grants from the Pioneer Fund, which supported Gottfredson's research into the implications of differences in ability for employment policy. [8] She was promoted to full professor at the University of Delaware in 1990.[citation needed] That year, her fourth grant application to the Pioneer Fund was rejected by the board of the University, which said the funding would undermine the university's affirmative action.[9] Gottfredson challenged the ruling with assistance from the Center for Individual Rights.[10] In 1992, after two and a half years of debate and protest, the University administration reached a settlement that once again allowed Gottfredson and Jan Blits to continue receiving research funding from the Pioneer Fund.[9][11] The arbitrator of the case held that the University's research committee had violated its own standards of review by looking at the content of Gottfredson's research and that Gottfredson had a right to academic freedom that public perceptions alone did not suffice to overcome. [12]

In 1994, in response to the controversy over the publication of the book The Bell Curve by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, she wrote the editorial "Mainstream Science on Intelligence," which had 52 signatories (including Gottfredson herself) and was published in the Wall Street Journal.[13] The purpose of the editorial was to showcase the academic consensus of intelligence research, in the wake of what Gottfredson and the authors viewed as inaccurate and misleading reports made by the media. Of the 131 invitations sent to researchers, 100 responses were obtained by the deadline, and of those 100 responses, 48 declined to sign -- 7 because they thought the statement did not represent the mainstream, 11 because they did not know whether it did, and 30 for other reasons. [14]

Gottfredson has been very critical of psychologist Robert Sternberg's work on the triarchic theory of intelligence, arguing that Sternberg has not demonstrated a distinction between practical intelligence and the analytical intelligence measured by IQ tests.[15]

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, "Gottfredson has worked tirelessly to oppose any and all efforts to reduce racial inequality in both in the workplace and in society as a whole."[16]


Selected articles and papersEdit

  • Gottfredson, Linda S. (March–April 1994). "Egalitarian Fiction and Collective Fraud" (PDF). Society. 31 (3): 53–59. doi:10.1007/bf02693231. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  • Gottfredson, Linda S. (2009). "Chapter 1: Logical Fallacies Used to Dismiss the Evidence on Intelligence Testing". In Phelps, Richard P. Correcting Fallacies about Educational and Psychological Testing. Washington (DC): American Psychological Association. ISBN 978-1-4338-0392-5. Lay summary (9 July 2013).


  1. ^ Kilborn, Peter T. (19 May 1991). "The Nation; 'Race Norming' Tests Becomes a Fiery Issue". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Jack Howrath". Retrieved 2018-09-23.
  3. ^ Wainer, Howard; Robinson, Daniel H. (September 2009). "Linda S. Gottfredson". Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics. 34 (3): 395–427. doi:10.3102/1076998609339366. ISSN 1076-9986.
  4. ^ Hunt, Morton M. (1999). The New Know-Nothings: The Political Foes of the Scientific Study of Human Nature. Transaction Publishers. pp. 96–99. ISBN 9781412838016. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  5. ^ Rowette, Christine (24 November 1994). "Robert Gordon Draws Student Protest at Homewood". The Gazette (Johns Hopkins University). Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  6. ^ ANDERSON, JACK; ATTA, DALE VAN (1989-11-16). "PIONEER FUND'S CONTROVERSIAL PROJECTS". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  7. ^ "Race, IQ, Success and Charles Murray"
  8. ^ Kors, Alan Charles, and Harvey Silverglate. The shadow university: The betrayal of liberty on America's campuses. Simon and Schuster, 1999, pp. 136-146.
  9. ^ a b O'Neil, Robert (2009). Academic Freedom in the Wired World: Political Extremism, Corporate Power, and the University. Harvard University Press. pp. 119–124. ISBN 9780674033726. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  10. ^ Hamilton, David P. (1990). "University Bars Pioneer Grants". Science. 259 (no. 4973): 1103. JSTOR 2878028.
  11. ^ Kaufman, Ron (6 July 1992). "U. Delaware Reaches Accord On Race Studies". The Scientist.
  12. ^ Anderson, Craig B. "Political correctness on college campuses: Freedom of speech v. doing the politically correct thing." SMU Law Review 46(1) (1993): 171-224.
  13. ^ Gottfredson, Linda S. (December 13, 1994). Mainstream Science on Intelligence. Wall Street Journal, p A18.
  14. ^ Gottfredson, Linda S. "Mainstream science on intelligence: An editorial with 52 signatories, history, and bibliography." Intelligence 24(1) (1997): 13-23.
  15. ^ Goode, Erica (April 3, 2001). "SCIENTIST AT WORK: ROBERT STERNBERG; His Goal: Making Intelligence Tests Smarter". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "Linda Gottfredson". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  17. ^ "University Press Release on Award"
  18. ^ "List of Fellows from APS-website"
  19. ^ "List of scholars"
  20. ^ Gottfredson, L. S. (1981). "Circumscription and Compromise: A Developmental Theory of Occupational Aspirations" (PDF). Journal of Counseling Psychology. 28 (6): 545–579. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.28.6.545.

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