Linda Gottfredson

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Linda Gottfredson
Born Linda Susanne Howarth
(1947-06-24) June 24, 1947 (age 69)
San Francisco
Citizenship American
Fields Educational psychology

University of Delaware, editorial boards of Intelligence,

Learning and Individual Differences, and Society
Alma mater UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University
Thesis The relation of situs of work to occupational achievement (1977)
Known for Mainstream Science on Intelligence

Linda Susanne Gottfredson (née Howarth; born June 24, 1947) is a professor emeritus of educational psychology at the University of Delaware and co-director of the Delaware-Johns Hopkins Project for the Study of Intelligence and Society. Gottfredson's work has been influential in shaping U.S. public and private policies regarding affirmative action, hiring quotas, and "Race-norming" on aptitude tests.[1]

She is on the boards of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences (ISSID), the International Society for Intelligence Research (ISIR), and the editorial boards of the scientific journals Intelligence, Learning and Individual Differences, and Society. Gottfredson has received research grants worth $267,000 from the Pioneer Fund, an organization which has been described as "racist" and "white supremacist".[2][3][4] According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, "Gottfredson has worked tirelessly to oppose any and all efforts to reduce racial inequality in both in the workplace and in society as a whole."[5]

Life and work[edit]

Born in San Francisco, she and her first husband Gary Don Gottfredson received bachelor's degrees in psychology in 1969 from University of California, Berkeley, then worked in the Peace Corps in Malaysia until 1972. She also taught in schools for the disadvantaged for a time when she was young.[6] They both went to graduate school at Johns Hopkins University, where she received a Ph.D. in sociology in 1977.

Gottfredson took a position at Hopkins' Center for Social Organization of Schools and investigated issues of occupational segregation and typology based on skill sets and intellectual capacity. She married Robert A. Gordon, who worked in a related area at Hopkins, and they divorced by the mid-90s.[7]

In 1985, Gottfredson participated in a conference called "The g Factor in Employment Testing." The papers presented were published in the December 1986 issue of the Journal of Vocational Behavior, which she edited. In 1986, Gottfredson was appointed Associate Professor of Educational Studies at the University of Delaware, Newark.

That year, she presented a series of papers on general intelligence factor and employment. Gottfredson has said "We now have out there what I call the egalitarian fiction that all groups are equal in intelligence. We have social policy based on that fiction. For example, the 1991 Civil Rights Act codified Griggs vs. Duke Power, which said that if you have disproportionate hiring by race, you are prima facie -- that's prima facie evidence of racial discrimination. ...Differences in intelligence have real world effects, whether we think they're there or not, whether we want to wish them away or not. And we don't do anybody any good, certainly not the low-IQ people, by denying that those problems exist..."[8]

She was promoted to full professor at the University of Delaware in 1990.

In 1992, after 2 and a half years of debate and protest, the University of Delaware's administration reached a settlement that once again allowed Gottfredson and Jan Blits to continue receiving research funding from the Pioneer Fund.[9]

Gottfredson's research and views have stirred considerable controversy, especially her testimony on public affirmative action policy and her defense of The Bell Curve, especially Mainstream Science on Intelligence, a statement she wrote, which was signed by 51 colleagues and published in the The Wall Street Journal.[10] Since then she has written a number of articles on race and intelligence, especially as it applies to occupational qualification.

Gottfredson has been very critical of psychologist Robert Sternberg, arguing against his position that there is a "practical intelligence" that is separate from the "analytical intelligence" measured by I.Q. tests.[11]


Barry Mehler writes in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education that Gottfredson is attempting to promote racial theories used by the Nazis:

Thus we see that Gottfredson's opposition to affirmative action is based not in any such claimed "objectivity", but in a sanitized resurrection of ideas put forward by Nazi racial theorists. Under the false pretense of intellectual honesty, she has endorsed the same poisonous ideology that half a century ago led to the Holocaust.[12]

Professional service[edit]

  • Editorial board, Intelligence, 2004–present.
  • Board of editorial advisors, Society, 1997–present.
  • Editorial board, Learning and Individual Differences, 2004–2008.
  • Advisory board, International Society for Intelligence Research, 2000–2010 (Founding Member).
  • Board of directors, International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, 2005–2001.[13]
  • Editorial board, The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 1997–2000.
  • National Council, Federation of American Scientists, 1995–1999.
  • Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Oversight hearing on the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., May 20, 1997.
  • Board of directors, Society of Psychologists in Management, 1994–1997.
  • Board of directors, Society for the Study of Social Biology, 1990–1994.
  • Editorial board, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 1983–1990.
  • Consultant, Department of Labor (DOT revision [APDOT, contract to American Psychological Association], implementation of "Goals 2000" [contract to Institute for Educational Leadership]), 1992–1995.
  • Consultant, Department of Defense Student Testing Program contract awarded to Booz-Allen, Inc. 1989–1991.
  • Panel member, Advisory Panel on the Identification of Alternative Approaches for reporting Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) scores. U.S. Manpower Entrance Processing Command, San Antonio, TX, November 1987.
  • Consultant, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1987–1989.


  • George A Miller Award (for outstanding journal article across specialty areas), Society for General Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2008[14]
  • Mensa Press Award, 2005.[15]
  • Mensa Award for Excellence in Research, 2005.
  • Faculty Senate Commendation for Extraordinary Leadership and Service, University of Delaware, awarded May 2, 2005.[16]
  • Mensa Education and Research Foundation Award for Excellence in Research, 1999–2000.
  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science, elected 1998.[17]
  • Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars, elected 1995.[18]
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association, elected 1994.
  • Fellow, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, elected 1994.

Selected articles and papers[edit]

  • Gottfredson, Linda S. (2009). "Chapter 1: Logical Fallacies Used to Dismiss the Evidence on Intelligence Testing". In Phelps, Richard P. Correcting Fallacies about Educational and Psychological Testing. Washington (DC): American Psychological Association. ISBN 978-1-4338-0392-5. Lay summary (9 July 2013). 


  1. ^ Kilborn, Peter T. (19 May 1991). "The Nation; 'Race Norming' Tests Becomes a Fiery Issue". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Avner Falk. Anti-semitism: a history and psychoanalysis of contemporary hatred. Abc-Clio, 2008, pg. 18
  3. ^ U. Delaware Reaches Accord On Race Studies By Ron Kaufman The Scientist 6[14]:1, Jul. 06, 1992
  4. ^ The Pioneer Fund: Bankrolling the Professors of HateAdam Miller The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, No. 6 (Winter, 1994-1995), pp. 58-61
  5. ^ "Linda Gottfredson". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 24 May 2017. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ "Race, IQ, Success and Charles Murray"
  9. ^ Kaufman, Ron (6 July 1992). "U. Delaware Reaches Accord On Race Studies". The Scientist. 
  10. ^ Gottfredson, Linda (December 13, 1994). Mainstream Science on Intelligence. The Wall Street Journal, p A18.
  11. ^ Goode, Erica (3 April 2001). "His Goal: Making Intelligence Tests Smarter". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ Mehler 1994
  13. ^ "List of previous officers" Archived 2014-07-01 on Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "University Press Release on Award"
  15. ^ "Mensa Press Release on the Reward"
  16. ^ "UDEL-website"
  17. ^ "List of Fellows from APS-website"
  18. ^ "List of scholars"
  19. ^ Gottfredson, L. S. (1981). "Circumscription and Compromise: A Developmental Theory of Occupational Aspirations" (PDF). Journal of Counseling Psychology (Monograph). 28 (6): 545–579. 

External links[edit]