Seymour William Itzkoff (born 1928) is an American professor known for his research into intelligence.[1] He has taught at Smith College since 1965 where he is currently professor emeritus of education and child study.

Life and career

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Itzkoff earned a B.A. degree from the University of Hartford.[2] While at school, he was a cellist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; he then joined the United States Army, playing in the U.S. Army Orchestra. He later taught elementary school while earning a master's degree in philosophy from Columbia University in 1956. While studying for his doctorate, he taught education at Hunter College, CUNY. He earned his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1965, and took a position at Smith College that year. Itzkoff was married while attending Columbia and subsequently had two children.

Itzkoff is a strong advocate of the effects of biological determinism on intelligence.[3] Itzkoff suggests in Why Humans Vary in Intelligence that hereditary factors probably account for 70% to 80% of variability in IQ.[4] He has stated that standardized test ability is difficult to improve, especially verbal ability.[5]

Itzkoff's work on intelligence has been published in Mankind Quarterly, and he has been a Pioneer Fund recipient.[6] The ensuing tension echoed similar problems faced by Pioneer Fund recipient Linda Gottfredson at University of Delaware.[7] One historian wrote, "While the Delaware and Smith cases are unique, they illustrate an inherent tension between freedom in research and other central academic values."[8]

According to science journalist Malcolm Browne, Itzkoff's 1994 book The Decline of Intelligence in America was one of a series of books that year which claimed Americans "probably no longer have the intellectual capital that can profit from the available educational resources."[9] In 1994 he was one of 52 signatories on "Mainstream Science on Intelligence,[10]" an editorial written by Linda Gottfredson and published in the Wall Street Journal, which declared the consensus of researchers in intelligence and related fields following the publication of the book The Bell Curve.

Itzkoff, who is an advocate of eugenics, wrote the preface to John Glad's 2008 book, Future Human Evolution: Eugenics in the Twenty-First Century, in which he states, "The real history of eugenics, as Dr. Glad points out, is rich in a truly liberal vision for the improvement in the state of all of humankind."[11]

Itzkoff has published works on Jewish identity and Jewish intelligence, as well as books outlining his predictions about 21st-century global crises and his recommended responses. He has also written about music, including a biography of cellist Emanuel Feuermann.

Selected bibliography

  • Cultural Pluralism and American Education. International Textbook Co. 1969.
  • Ernst Cassirer: Scientific Knowledge and the Concept of Man. University of Notre Dame Press, 1971. 2nd ed 1997, ISBN 978-0-268-00937-3
  • Emanuel Feuermann, Virtuoso. Internationale Kammermusik-Akademie, 1979. 2nd ed 1995, ISBN 978-3-926300-19-5
  • The form of man: the evolutionary origins of human intelligence. Paideia Publishers, 1983. ISBN 978-0-913993-00-2
  • Triumph of the Intelligent. Paideia Publishers, 1985. ISBN 978-0-913993-01-9
  • How We Learn to Read. Paideia Publishers, 1986. ISBN 978-0-913993-04-0
  • Why Humans Vary in Intelligence. Paideia Publishers, 1987. ISBN 978-0-913993-09-5
  • The Making of the Civilized Mind. P. Lang, 1990. ISBN 978-0-8204-1154-5
  • The road to equality: evolution and social reality. Praeger, 1992. ISBN 978-0-275-94400-1
  • The Decline of Intelligence in America: A Strategy for National Renewal. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1994. ISBN 978-0-275-94467-4
  • Children Learning To Read: A Guide to Parents and Teachers. Praeger, 1996. ISBN 978-0-275-95436-9
  • The Inevitable Domination by Man: An Evolutionary Detective Story. Paideia Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-913993-16-3
  • 2050: The Collapse of the Global Techno-Economy. Paidea Press, 2003. ISBN 978-0-913993-19-4
  • Intellectual Capital in Twenty-First-Century Politics (The Human Prospect, 3). Paideia Press, 2003. ISBN 978-0-913993-20-0
  • Who Are The Jews?: A Nation Of Philosophers. Paideia Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0-913993-18-7
  • Who Are The Jews?: Soul of the Israelites. Paideia Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0-913993-17-0
  • Rebuilding Western Civilization: Beyond The Twenty-first Century Collapse (Human Prospect). Paideia Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-913993-21-7
  • Fatal Gift: Jewish Intelligence and Western Civilization (Who Are the Jews?). Paidea Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-913993-22-4
  • Cultural pluralism and American education (The international series in foundations of education). International Textbook Co., 2006. ISBN 978-0-7002-2216-2
  • The World Energy Crisis and the Task of Retrenchment: Reaching the Peak of Oil Production. Edwin Mellen Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-7734-5056-1


  1. ^ Lynn, Richard (2001). The science of human diversity: a history of the Pioneer Fund, pages 417-427. University Press of America, 9780761820413
  2. ^ Staff report (September 18, 1948). Music School Awards Five Scholarship. The Hartford Courant
  3. ^ Dembart, Lee (October 13, 1987). Book Review Author Votes for Nature Over Nurture. Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ Seligman, Daniel (October 12, 1987). Some Think Smarter Than Others. Fortune
  5. ^ Calem, Robert E. (April 27, 1995). S.A.T. Software: Does It Work? New York Times
  6. ^ Fischel, Jack (February 10, 1995). Strange 'Bell' fellows. Commonweal
  7. ^ Blits, Jan H. The silenced partner: Linda Gottfredson and the University of Delaware. Academic Questions, Volume 4, Number 3 / September 1991 pp. 41-47.
  8. ^ O'Neil, Robert M. Free Speech in the College Community. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1997. pp. 174-75
  9. ^ Browne, Malcolm W. (October 16, 1994). What Is Intelligence, and Who Has It? New York Times
  10. ^ Gottfredson, Linda (December 13, 1994). Mainstream Science on Intelligence. Wall Street Journal, p A18.
  11. ^ From preface to Future Human Evolution: Eugenics in the Twenty-First Century, abridged online version