Saturday, January 23, 2010

Flynn Effect Daubert challenges in Atkins MR/ID death penatly cases: The Flynn Effect is heating up

As discussed previously, the Flynn Effect (adjusting IQ scores downward due to the date of the norms of an intelligence test---click here for definition; click here for all prior FE related posts at IDCP) is a critical psychometric issues raised with regularity in Atkins MR/ID death penalty cases.  Although the FE is generally accepted as a scientifically and empirically-supported finding among intelligence scholars and applied intelligence test developers (although the "why" of the FE is still being debated), the FE concept is sometimes challenged as per scientific validity (Daubert challenges) Atkins cases.

Kevin Foley, a regular guest blogger here at ICDP (who has  a tremendous database of literature re: Atkins cases)  has located a few Daubert challenges.  In the  Kevin Green matter, there was a Daubert challenge to the Flynn Effect. Although the analysis was brief, the judge allowed the use of the FE and concluded that, " In addition to these indications that the Flynn Effect is widely accepted in the profession, the experts testifying during the evidentiary hearing all accepted that there is a Flynn Effect which causes, or at least caused through the 1990s, IQ scores to rise over time." 

In addition, Kevin has located FE Daubert-type challenge heating up in Texas (Eric Dewayne Cathey). In November, 2008, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals remanded the case back to the trial court to hold a hearing to determine,
  • the scientific validity and reliability of the "Flynn effect";
  • whether clinical practitioners who are ordinarily called upon to diagnose mental retardation for purposes outside of the criminal justice system use and apply the "Flynn effect" to I.Q. test results when making their particularized diagnoses of mental retardation;
  • whether the application of the "Flynn effect" to individual test results is generally accepted scientific procedure in the pertinent professional community outside of the criminal justice system; and
  •  the known or potential "error rate" of the "Flynn effect" as it applies to a specific I.Q. test result.
Click here for a copy of the document. As far as we know, the Cathey case is in the discovery phase.

Finally, the blogmaster (Kevin McGrew) is aware that a psychological assessment journal has organized a special issue dealing with the FE.  How do I know?  Well.....I've been provided copies of the two featured FE-related articles a as I agreed to be 1 of a number of responders to the two key articles.  I don't have permission to share the name of the journal, who wrote the two central articles, or whom else is responding at this time. is clear that scholars in intelligence theory and testing are raising some new questions re: the FE.  It is clear the the "heat is being turned up" on the FE both in the court of law and the court of psychological research.  During the next year there are going to be a number of important new research articles published re: the FE.  ICDP will post information regarding these reports as soon as it is possible.

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