Probing the Genetics of Intelligence


Dec 04, 2015 - 1:30 p.m.


The Century Association

Can research on the genetics of intelligence avoid descending into racism and classism?

With the advent of new genomic sequencing technologies, researchers around the world are working to identify genetic variants that help explain differences in intelligence. This research is highly controversial.

Some experts are hopeful that genetic research on intelligence will bring substantial benefits. Others are concerned that such research might have a chilling effect on programs for disadvantaged populations, by promoting the view of inherent differences in intelligence. There are many questions about the ethics and the scientific prospects of teasing out the genetic influences of such complex a trait as intelligence.

Join us for a Hastings Center symposium with the authors and editors of “The Genetics of Intelligence: Ethics and the Conduct of Trustworthy Research,” a Hastings Center special report, developed in collaboration with Columbia University’s Center for Excellence in ELSI Research and the Center for Talented Youth and the Berman Institute for Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University.

Paul S. Appelbaum is the Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, & Law at Columbia University, where he directs to Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry and the Center for Research on Ethical, Legal & Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic & Behavioral Genetics.

Erik Parens is a senior research scholar at The Hastings Center and the author of Shaping Our Selves: On Technology, Flourishing, and a Habit of Thinking (Oxford, 2015).

James Tabery is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and a member of the Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities at the University of Utah. He is the author of Beyond Versus: The Struggle to Understand the Interaction of Nature and Nurture (MIT, 2014).

Space is limited. Please RSVP by November 23rd to Siofra Vizzi at


Paul S. Appelbaum

Erik Parens

​Dorothy Roberts

James Tabery