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All participants in the NLSY took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a battery of ten tests taken by all who apply for entry into the armed services.
(Some had taken an IQ test in high school, and the median correlation of the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) scores and those IQ test scores was .81).
Similarly, after statistically controlling for differences in IQ, many outcome differences between racial-ethnic groups disappeared.
Excluded from the analysis were never-married individuals who satisfied all other components of the index, and men who were not in the labor force in 1989 or 1990 due to disability or still being in school.
The growth in college attendance, a more efficient recruitment of cognitive ability, and the sorting of cognitive ability by selective colleges are identified as important drivers of this evolution.
Increased occupational sorting by cognitive ability is discussed.
At the close of the introduction, the authors warn the reader against committing the ecological fallacy of inferring things about individuals based on the aggregate data presented in the book.
They also assert that intelligence is just one of many valuable human attributes and one whose importance among human virtues is overrated.
In general, IQ/AFQT scores were a better predictor of life outcomes than social class background.This part of the book discusses ethnic differences in cognitive ability and social behavior.Herrnstein and Murray report that Asian Americans have a higher mean IQ than white Americans, who in turn outscore black Americans.The argument is made, based on published meta-analyses, that cognitive ability is the best predictor of worker productivity.Herrnstein and Murray argue that due to increasing returns to cognitive ability, a cognitive elite is being formed in America.