When Sir Cyril Burt died in 1971, he was widely recognized as Britain's most eminent educational psychologist whose studies of gifted and delinquent children, contributions to the development of factor analysis, and research on the inheritance of intelligence brought widespread acclaim. Within five years of his death, however, he was publicly denounced as a fraud who had fabricated data to conclude that intelligence is genetically determined. Examiners of the published data found serious inconsistencies that raised questions about their authenticity; the case has divided the scientific community ever since. Were the charges justified, or was he a victim of critics fearful of validating such a politically unacceptable scientific theory? This is an up-to-date and unbiased analysis of one of the most notorious scandals in science, now more timely and widely discussed than ever with the publication of The Bell Curve, the best-selling polemic that raises arguments comparable to Burt's. The distinguished contributors examine the controversial areas of Burt's work and argue that his defenders have sometimes, but by no means always, been correct, and that his critics have often jumped to hasty conclusions. In their haste, however, these critics have missed crucial evidence that is not easily reconciled with Burt's total innocence, leaving the perception that both cases are seriously flawed. An introductory chapter lays the background to the case, followed by an examination of Burt's work that relates to the controversy. The book concludes with a chapter on Burt's character, other cases of apparent scientific fraud, and the impact of Burt's alleged fabrications. These findings have profound implications not only for the study of psychology, but for the wider issues relating to integrity in scientific research, and the impact of intelligence testing on social policy.
This book presents an excellent text ... stage in the saga ... the sum of the parts is a rich feast ... Here is a fascinating story, and each chapter in its different way provides a thoroughly good read. I recommend this book as essential reading to all educational psychologists and indeed to psychologists in general. * Professor Geoff Lindsay, University of Warwick, Educational Psychology in Practice, Vol. 1, No. 3, October 1996 * provides some ammunition for those who come down on the framed side of the debate * Times Literary Supplement * This book reveals much about the passions of psychologists and is surprisingly amusing. * David Cohen, New Scientist, September 1995 * Here, the eminent learning theorist Nicholas Mackintosh leads a hand-picked team of scholars in a reexamination of Burt's character and figurework. The book as a whole is fairly and indeed beautifully written. Mackintosh's academic whodunit marks a further step towards Burt's rehabilitation. * Chris Brand, University of Edinburgh, Nature, Vol. 377, October 1995 * by far the most detailed and objective ... this examination of the available evidence must surely be accepted as scrupulously fair and lucidly presented * Times Higher Education Supplement * the authors all find something quite interesting to say ... The book ... is fairly and indeed beautifully written. Mackintosh's academic whodunit marks a further step towards Burt's rehabilitation. * Chris Brand, Nature * by far the most detailed and objective ... this examination of the available evidence must surely be accepted as scrupulously fair and lucidly presented * Times Higher Education Supplement * The most interesting detective story to appear this summer. * Michael Morgan, University College, London, Education, August 1995 *