I just got a letter from Duke University. Apparently, they want my DNA.
Years ago, Duke arranged for me (and many other 7th graders) to take the SAT. I did pretty well (very well, for a 7th grader). Now, some researchers there(?) are doing a study looking for "genetic markers of intellectual functioning" and they tell me that "There is probably no group of individuals in this country who possess higher measured cognitive abilities than the Duke TIP group to which you belong." (That's just one example of the flattery they've used.)
I'm not sure whether to participate. Being used as a genetic exemplar of brilliance sounds great and all, but I find the premise of the study to be pretty cheesy. They apparently believe that my ability to take standardized tests way back in 7th grade is supposed to correlate significantly with intelligence. That was probably a factor, but especially at that early age I'd think that my parents' habit of reading to me (and encouraging me to read grown-up books) contributed at least as much, to say nothing of the Lincoln public school system's fantastic gifted program (I had already had personal math mentors for several years at that point). It's hard for me to believe that "good 7th grade SAT score" will correlate clearly with anything but "white upper-middle class background".
So, what do you think: should I give them my genes or not?
[Edit: Just to be clear (since patrissimo
seems to have missed my point
a bit), I recognize that intelligence is a part of why I did well on the test. The genetic markers they identify may well correspond roughly to "smart
white upper-middle class" kids. But I have serious doubts about their ability to disentangle those factors.]