Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Purpose of intelligence competence, mental retardation and death penalty blog

This is currently a blog in the formative stages of development. I recently consulted on a federal death penalty case involving a person where the question of whether he/she had an intellectual disability (up until recently typically referred to as mental retardation) was a central issue. I was asked to review the results from an intellectual assessment. I was not asked to render a judgment on whether the person had an intellectual disability---I only served in the capacity of an expert in psychological measurement and psychometrics, with regard to one intelligence test in particular. At this time I will not divulge whether I served as an expert for the prosecution or the defense.

I learned a lot....most importantly, the apparent lack of understandable information (for judges, lawyers, etc.) [in a single source] regarding basic psychometrics and psychological measurement and how this knowledge void may result in possible improper interpretations and decisions. It is my hope to develop this blog as a resource for individuals involved in such cases. The goal will be to provide balanced and up-to-date information on issues related to this important topic. This will include, but may not be limited, to:

  • Intelligence testing practice
  • Intelligence testing interpretation
  • Differences between intelligence tests
  • Relevant theoretical information about intelligence theories
  • Controvesies and issues
  • Findings of particular cases, court decisions, etc.
  • Glossry of understandable terms
  • Scholarly journal articles that address this and related issues
  • FYI notification of relevant professional publications
  • Important psychometric, measurement, and statistical issues
  • Relevant research on intelligence tests and research (e.g., Flynn Effect)
  • Other issues as they emerge.
This will be a sister blog to my primary blog--IQs Corner. I decided to NOT integrate this project in that larger more general purpose blog that covers intelligence testing, theories and research. If I do get this project off the ground, FYI posts will be made at IQs Corner. I'm also interested in eventually opening up this blog to either guest expert blog posts or other experts in related areas (e.g., adaptive behavior) who might become regular contributors.

This blog is meant to be specialized and will not deal with all issues related to IQ testing and/or the death penalty. There are a ton of websites that provide this information. The intent is to focus primarily on psychometric measurement issues and research related to intelligence testing that may have bearing on capital punishment cases for individuals with an intellectual disability.  Also, this website is not pro- or-con re: the death penalty.  My goal is to stay issue neutral and not advocate.  If some of the posts tend to sound like I am preaching or advocacting, it most likely is due to my fervent passion in the defense of good psychometric and theoretical-based psychological testing and the need to educate others, often via highlighting what I think is bad practice.  If I am guilty of any bias, it is not intentional and is due to my strong belief in the science of psychological measurement, a science that can be abused and misunderstood. 

I will not comment on details of the case that piqued my interest. Lessons learned from that case will appear as more general posts sometime in the future.

It is my goal to provide objective professional information free from my personal beliefs re: capital punishment.

That's the plan.