Ben017 made a rather detailed comment on my first FYI posting of the NY Times Op-Ed piece on the controversial Nisbett book. I thought it deserved to be featured more prominently, so I've cut/pasted it here (with links embedded). Readers may also be interested in subsequent post made re: Rushton and Jensen's "work in progress" review.
-----------------------comment from Ben017--------------------------------------
Recent neurological studies show brain regions correlated with intelligence are significantly hereditary.
Personality appears to be significantly determined at birth too according to recent research.
Also, note that Nisbett omits a number of studies to avoid a Bell Curve type backlash. See this working paper review of the book.
Sandra Scarr, after conducting the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study:
"Within the range of 'humane environments,'variations in family socioeconomic characteristics and in child-rearing practices have little or no effect on IQ measured in adolescence." P. 476
"There is simply no good evidence that social environmental factors have a large effect on IQ, particularly in adolescence and beyond, except in cases of extreme environmental deprivation." P. 476
By adulthood, all of the IQ correlation between biologically related persons is genetic. P. 178 Phenotypic g closely reflects the genetic g, but bears hardly any resemblance to the (shared) environmental g. P. 187
2. From that study the black children adopted by white families matured to have IQs that are consistent with their biological peers; Asian children adopted by white families mature to have IQs that are consistent with their biological peers and which are higher than their adoptive parents.
Also, note more recent twin studies:
"Contrary to "culture" theory, the ethnic academic gaps are almost identical for transracially adopted children, and to the extent they are different they go in the opposite direction predicted by culture theory. The gap between whites and Asians fluctuated from 19 to .09 in the NAEP data while the gap in the adoption data is from 1/3 to 3 times larger. This is consistent with the Sue and Okazaki paper above which showed that contrary to popular anecdotes, the values that lead to higher academic grades are actually found more often in white homes. In other words Asian-Americans perform highly despite their Asian home cultural environment not because of it. And though the sample is meager, I find it interesting that the gap between the black and white adopted children was virtually identical (within just 4-6 points) to the gap between whites and blacks in the general population, just like in the Scarr adoption study."