The sixties were a boom-time for psychometric assessment, and in particular Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.) research. Perhaps one of the most famous (and controversial) papers of the time, was Arthur Jensen’s article, published in 1969, How Much Can We Boost I.Q. and Scholastic Achievement? It concluded that 80% of the variance in I.Q. in the population studied was the result of genetic factors due to race.
Similar lines of research were done on homosexuals. In Canada, a University of Toronto Social Work professor, John C. Spencer, published an article in the Canadian Journal of Corrections (1961). He looked at 132 sexual offenders in the Toronto Forensic Clinic. These incarcerated individuals were categorized into three groups: exhibitionists, pedophiles and homosexuals. Spencer concluded that while exhibitionists and pedophiles had essentially normal I.Q.’s, the average intelligence of the homosexual offender was significantly higher than average (I.Q. of 114 vs. the population average of 100). Reading between the lines, he may have been an early homosexual rights advocate as he mused openly about criminal law being a vehicle for moral condemnation (see article image below).
Other researchers confirmed the I.Q. findings. Renée Liddicoat, published A Study of Non-Institutionalized Homosexuals, also in 1961, and found that South African homosexual men and women had significantly higher verbal I.Q. scores than that of her heterosexual control group.
A 1949 study of 100 neurotic homosexual and 100 neurotic heterosexual soldiers similarly found evidence of higher intelligence scores and educational achievement amongst the gay soldiers (Winterstein-Lambert, E. Bulletin de la Faculté de Médicine de Instanbul). In fact, this paper’s conclusion was that the gay community did not need psychological treatment, rather job placement support in order to deal with neurotic symptoms.
However, like many I. Q. studies there is a potential for cultural bias in the research as well as other sources of error. Some studies showed no difference, and at least one showed reduced intelligence in homosexual men. A quirky finding in many intelligence studies was the homosexual male’s sensitivity to art and culture. Silvio Marone, in the International Journal of Sexology (1954) wrote, “homosexual behaviour is not rare among artists, and homosexuality has a great influence on art.”
Finally, speaking of great influences, the Calgary Public Library’s Magazine’s and Newspapers department was devastated by the recent flooding in Southern Alberta. Many of the articles researched for this website have come from that basement department (such as: this one). We are really saddened by this particular loss. Individuals interested in donating to the Library’s flood recovery fund can find more information: here.