IQ and Delinquency: A Direct Test of the Differential Detection Hypothesis

Journal Article

A number of studies have reported that juvenile delinquency is negatively related to IQ scores. The IQ/delinquency relation has been questioned on the basis of the differential detection confound, which attributes the apparent relation to biased likelihood of detection, and thus inclusion in research, of low-IQ delinquents. A direct test of the differential detection hypothesis was conducted by comparing the mean IQ scores of two groups of delinquent subjects from the same birth cohort. Group 1 had been detected in delinquent acts by police. Group 2 was not known to police, but was equivalent to group 1 on amount and seriousness of self-reported delinquency. The two groups did not differ significantly on IQ, but both groups scored significantly below nondelinquent cohort members. Results were inconsistent with the prediction of group differences posed by the differential detection hypothesis.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Moffitt, TE; Silva, PA

Published Date

  • 1988

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 97 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 330 - 333

PubMed ID

  • 3192826

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-843X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037//0021-843X.97.3.330