Personality Differences: African Americans vs. Caucasians

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Psychological Differences between African-American and Caucasian Individuals: An Endless Controversy Alana Carran
Psychology 308K 7980
Semester 1209

Alana Carran
Dawn K. Lewis
Psychology 308K
15 December 2012
Psychological Differences between African-American and Caucasian Individuals: An Endless Controversy

Introduction
Investigating the psychological differences between African-Americans and their Caucasian counterparts has been fraught with contention, an endless debate revolving around whether or not the lower IQ scores of African-Americans to Caucasians is to be attributed to either environmental or biological factors, or both. Caucasians and African-Americans endure a number of both physical and psychological differences—large variations in the rate of childhood development, brain size and what this implies about intelligence, as well as behavior. Evidence exists to suggest these differences lie in the general socioeconomic inferiority of African-Americans and stereotype vulnerability, while separate studies both prove and disprove the theory that admixture African-Americans (those of European descent) score higher on IQ tests and behave more like “whites.”

There is compelling, conflicting evidence in favor of African-Americans typically behaving more aggressively and impulsively than Caucasians as a result of genetics, while other evidence contends that this is a result of socioeconomic status. These various studies and theories concerning the behaviors and intellectual capacity of African-Americans versus their Caucasian counterparts will be explored and analyzed for accuracy in methodology and the implications of the results.

Physical Development
African-Americans, on average, excel in sports. They are born a week earlier than the average Caucasian, but their bodies mature at a much faster rate (measured by bone development). By age six, they are able to perform all the physical activities that require short bursts of energy, such as the high jump and the dash. Caucasians, however, do not have bones nearly as developed as the African-Americans, and do not exert especial skill in this area (Rushton, 1995). By adolescence and teenage years, African-Americans have faster reflexes, and anywhere from 3 to 19% more of the hormone testosterone, which means they are capable of exerting an incredible amount of energy, which benefits them for activities like boxing, basketball, football and sprinting (Rushton, 1995). For women, an earlier and quicker development means earlier periods and preparation for pregnancy, which can be a major contributing factor to why African-American women endure teenage pregnancy and marital strife more frequently and at a younger age than Caucasians (Herman-Giddens, 1997). African-American women are more geared towards reproduction, with their probability of having twins nearly double the rate of Caucasians, and even quadruple the rate of Orientals. They, on the average, are built with larger sex characteristics, higher hormone levels, and greater intercourse frequencies (Herman-Giddens, 1997).

These differences in physical development can account for behavioral distinctions between African-Americans and Caucasians, with a higher rate of African-Americans engaging in sports and pursuing professional careers in them than Caucasians, and African-American women having more children at a younger age.

Impulsiveness
Studies have been conducted to determine that African-Americans maintain a higher concentration of testosterone than Caucasians. This greater amount of testosterone would be responsible for the increased impulsive behavior that is observed in African-Americans, particularly in men, in the fact that African-Americans are nine times as likely to commit murder than Caucasians (Binkley, 1989). However, other research suggests that African-Americans do not have a higher concentration of testosterone, but rather estradiol, a sex hormone related to estrogen.

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