Eric Turkheimer

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Eric Nathan Turkheimer

Eric Turkheimer 2017.jpg
OccupationProfessor of psychology
Known forBehavior genetics, Gene-environment interactions
TitleHugh Scott Hamilton Professor of psychology
Spouse(s)Carol Manning
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Texas at Austin
ThesisCognitive development of adopted and fostered children (1986)
Doctoral advisorJohn Loehlin
InfluencesIrving Gottesman
Academic work
DisciplinePsychology, Behavior Genetics
InstitutionsUniversity of Virginia

Eric Nathan Turkheimer is the Hugh Scott Hamilton Professor of psychology at the University of Virginia.

Education and career[edit]

Turkheimer received his B.A. in psychology from Haverford College in 1976 and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986. Also in 1986, he joined the faculty of the University of Virginia, where he became an associate professor in 1992 and a full professor in 2001.[1]


Turkheimer is known for studying the effects of socioeconomic status and genes on IQ, especially in regards to gene-environment interactions. For example, in a 2003 study, he and his colleagues found that the environment accounted for about 60% of the variance in IQ among low-income children, while genes accounted for almost none of it. In contrast, this study also found that the reverse was true for wealthy children.[2][3][4][5][6] A subsequent meta analysis showed this effect did not replicate outside the US, and even within the US the effect size was a third of Turkheimer's.[7] Since then, along with his University of Virginia colleague David Fask, he has published other studies that also suggest that IQ is more heritable among wealthy families than among poor ones.[8] In a 2011 commentary about environmental influences on human behavior,[9] he wrote that “The nonshared environment, in a phrase, is free will. Not the kind of metaphysical free will that no one believes in anymore, according to which human souls float free above the mechanistic constraints of the physical world, but an embodied free will, tethered to biology, that encompasses our ability to respond to complex circumstances in complex and unpredictable ways and in the process to build a self.”[10]


Turkheimer was been featured on multiple Youtube talk shows, including Stefan Molyneux,[11] The Majority Report w/ Sam Seder,[12] and David Pakman Show.[13] In 2017, Turkheimer along with Richard Nisbett and Paige Harden, published a piece in Vox criticizing Charles Murray and Sam Harris' views on race and intelligence, following an appearance of Murray on Harris' show.[14]


  1. ^ "Eric Turkheimer Curriculum Vitae".
  2. ^ Turkheimer, E; Haley, A; Waldron, M; D'Onofrio, B; Gottesman, II (November 2003). "Socioeconomic status modifies heritability of IQ in young children". Psychological Science. 14 (6): 623–8. PMID 14629696.
  3. ^ Benson, E.S. (2004). "Heritability: it's all relative". Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association (published 2004-04-01).
  4. ^ Gopnik, Alison (2013-09-20). "Poverty Can Trump a Winning Hand of Genes". The Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ Ridley, Matt (2012-06-22). "Is IQ in the Genes? Twins Give Us Two Answers". The Wall Street Journal.
  6. ^ Kirp, David L. (2006-07-23). "After the Bell Curve". New York Times Magazine.
  7. ^ Tucker-Drob, Elliot M.; Bates, Timothy C. (2016-02-01). "Large Cross-National Differences in Gene × socioeconomic Status Interaction on Intelligence". Psychological Science. 27 (2): 138–149. doi:10.1177/0956797615612727. ISSN 0956-7976. PMC 4749462. PMID 26671911.
  8. ^ "In the Red". Virginia Magazine. 2011.
  9. ^ Turkheimer, Eric. "Genetics and human agency: Comment on Dar-Nimrod and Heine (2011)". Psychological Bulletin. 137 (5): 825–828. doi:10.1037/a0024306.
  10. ^ Drake, Nadia (2013-05-09). "What You Do Is Who You Are". National Geographic.
  11. ^ Stefan Molyneux (2015-10-18), Does Poverty Impact Intelligence? | Eric Turkheimer and Stefan Molyneux, retrieved 2018-06-22
  12. ^ The Majority Report w/ Sam Seder (2018-05-22), TMBS - 41 - Measuring the Intellectual Dark Web's IQ ft. Eric Turkheimer & Nida Khan, retrieved 2018-06-22
  13. ^ David Pakman Show (2018-06-06), IQ Expert: Race Not the Cause of IQ Gap, retrieved 2018-06-22
  14. ^ "Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ". Vox. Retrieved 2018-06-22.

External links[edit]