In 1990, Thomas J. Bouchard Jr. and colleagues published the widely cited 1990 “Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart” (MISTRA) Science IQ study. To arrive at the conclusion that “IQ is strongly affected by genetic factors,” Bouchard and colleagues omitted their control group reared-apart dizygotic twin (DZA) IQ score correlations. Near-full-sample correlations published after the study’s 2000 end point show that the reared-apart monozygotic twin (MZA) and DZA group IQ correlations did not differ at a statistically significant level, suggesting that the study failed the first step in determining that IQ scores are influenced by heredity. After bypassing the model-fitting technique they used in most non-IQ MISTRA studies, the researchers assumed that the MZA group IQ score correlation alone “directly estimates heritability.” This method was based on unsupported assumptions by the researchers, and they largely overlooked the confounding influence of cohort effects. Bouchard and colleagues then decided to count most environmental influences they did recognize as genetic influences. I conclude that the MISTRA IQ study failed to discover genetic influences on IQ scores and cognitive ability across the studied population, and that the study should be evaluated in the context of psychology’s replication problem.

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