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J Exp Psychol Gen. 1988 Mar;117(1):91-5.

Is it smart to play the horses? Comment on "A day at the races: a study of IQ, expertise, and cognitive complexity" (Ceci & Liker, 1986).

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Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.


Ceci and Liker (1986b) presented data that they contended shows two things: (a) Handicapping harness races is a cognitively complex undertaking that can be captured by a multiple regression model, and (b) neither overall skill at handicapping nor the complexity of the mental model used is related to standard measures of intelligence. The first contention is not at issue. But the second contention, that handicapping performance is unrelated to IQ, is not supported by the data presented; in fact, the opposite conclusion seems more likely. The purpose of this comment is to point out errors frequently made in individual-differences research concerning population definition, sample selection, dependent and independent variable reliability and validity and interpretation of results.

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