International Society for Intelligence Research

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International Society for Intelligence Research is a controversial scientific society for psychologists who specialise in human intelligence.

ISIR was founded in 2000 by Douglas K. DettermanWikipedia and the society's official peer-reviewed journal is Intelligence.


The ISIR is home to many great scientists, and its journal Intelligence is one of the most respected in its field. Yet Richard Lynn, who has called for the “phasing out” of the “populations of incompetent cultures”, serves on the editorial board of Intelligence, along with fellow director of the Pioneer Fund Gerhard Meisenberg, who edits Lynn’s journal Mankind Quarterly. Two other board members are Heiner Rindermann and Jan te Nijenhuis, frequent contributors to Mankind Quarterly and the London Conference on Intelligence.
—Ben Van Der Merwe, NewStatesman[1]

Some members of ISIR and editors of Intelligence are proponents of hereditarianism and have right-wing to far-right political beliefs.

Editorial Board of Intelligence[edit]

An article published by The Guardian, "Racism is Creeping Back into Mainstream Science", noted in January 2018:[2]

Both Gerhard Meisenberg and Lynn also serve on the editorial board of Intelligence, a psychology journal also published by Elsevier. Meisenberg has authored at least eight articles for it over the years, including one in 2010 on the average IQ of sub-Saharan Africans, and another in 2013 on the relationship between "national intelligence" and economic success. While journals are free to publish whatever they deem worthy, subject to peer review, the choice of who to appoint to an editorial board is important because these members help shape its policy and scope. According to Elsevier's own guidance for editors, they "should be appointed from key research institutes". Lynn is listed on Intelligence's board with no affiliation whatsoever.

Sometime after this criticism, Meisenberg and Richard Lynn were removed from the Editorial Board and are no longer listed.[3] Prior to Lynn and Meisenberg being removed from the Editorial Board, the Editor-in-Chief of Intelligence, Richard Haier had defended both; after questioned about how he felt having Mankind Quarterly editors on the board of his journal, he responded: "throwing people off an editorial board for expressing an opinion really kind of puts us in a dicey area. I prefer to let the papers and the data speak for themselves."

The current Editorial Board includes:[4]

  • Richard Haier (Editor-in-Chief)
  • Thomas Coyle (Associate Editor)
  • Samuel Greiff (Associate Editor)

Of these, Haier is known to have controversially defended The Bell Curve and he was a signatory on Mainstream Science on Intelligence.Wikipedia Despite the name of this public statement, the Southern Poverty Law Center has noted only 10/52 signatures were psychologists who specialised in human intelligence and most were not experts, some not even qualified:

Not only were the majority of the 52 signatories not experts in IQ measurement, but some had no relevant qualifications at all. Garret Hardin, for example, was an ecologist and anti-immigration activist, while Vincent Sarich was an anthropologist who gained notoriety for making racist and homophobic claims in his undergraduate courses (he later admitted to The New York Times that these assertions were not based on established scientific facts).[5]

Intelligence has a few more controversial staff currently on its Editorial Board, including Robert Plomin and Heiner Rindermann, the latter whose work "is often cited by racists seeking to prove that immigrants have low IQs".[6] In 2016, Rindermann spoke at a Property and Freedom SocietyWikipedia Conference, delivering an anti-immigration talk: "Cognitive and Cultural 'Enrichment' of Europe by Immigration".[7] Annual conferences by the PFC have been described as "serious academic racist events by the SPLC.[8] Racists who formerly sat on the Editorial Board include: Jan te Nijenhuis, Arthur R. Jensen and J. Philippe Rushton and Michael A. Woodley of Menie. Woodley was suspended from Vrije Universiteit Brussel in June 2022 after it was discovered his writings on race were cited by white supremacist Payton S. Gendron in his terrorist manifesto.[9] The journal therefore has been criticized by some for being a racialist pseudojournal.

Linda Gottfredson[edit]

The ISIR formerly elected Linda Gottfredson as president in 2012, who the SPLC notes: "has spent more than three decades fighting against the idea that social equality between black and white Americans is possible, or even desirable." Gottfredson has received research grants worth $267,000 from the far-right Pioneer Fund and in 2015 appeared on alt-righter Stefan Molyneux's YouTube channel for a discussion on race and intelligence, defending the hereditarianismWikipedia hypothesis of infamous racist psychologist J. Philippe Rushton.


Intelligence has most controversially published papers by white supremacists and similar far-right individuals:

Magnus Hansen, a postdoc fellow at the University of Copenhagen has noted "racialists have their own venues for publication — primarily Mankind Quarterly but also Intelligence".[10]


ISIR organises annual conferences for its members with talks and presentations. Far-right crank Emil Kirkegaard attended the 2016, 2017 and 2018 conferences, despite not being a psychologist (his only qualification is a BA in Linguistics).[11][12] Kirkegaard listed himself on the 2018 ISIR conference programme as a research fellow of the "Ulster Institute for Social Research".[13] This is not a formal academic institution and only consists of a website that publishes racist literature including the pseudo-scholarly Mankind Quarterly.

ISIR 2022 conference controversy[edit]

On 13 July 2022, geneticist Abdel Abdellaoui a scheduled keynote speaker at the ISIR conference (to be held at the University of Vienna) cancelled attending after complaining about Emil Kirkegaard being allowed to attend as a speaker. Abdellaoui described Kirkegaard as a "careless racist lunatic" and noted he lacks academic credentials.[14] In response to Abdellaoui's complaint, there was an online petition to prevent Kirkegaard from attending the conference. On 16 July 2022, Abdellaoui confirmed Kirkegaard was removed on the speaking list and therefore said he would now himself attend the conference.[15]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]