Authors retract study on coloured women's intelligence

A UCT professor has poked holes in a study by Stellenbosch University students which questions the intelligence of coloured women, calling for their article to be removed.
A UCT professor has poked holes in a study by Stellenbosch University students which questions the intelligence of coloured women, calling for their article to be removed.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

The highly criticised Stellenbosch University study‚ titled "Age- and education-related effects on cognitive functioning in coloured South African women"‚ has received massive backlash from South Africans.

The study was done by four students‚ who claimed that they found this to be because of low education levels and unhealthy lifestyles.

A professor from the University of Cape Town conducted an online petition and penned a letter to the Editorial Board of Aging‚ Neuropsychology and Cognition calling for the removal of the article.

In her letter‚ Prof Barbara Boswell said: “We ask that you retract [the article] because of its racist ideological underpinnings‚ flawed methodology‚ and its reproduction of harmful stereotypes of ‘Coloured’ women‚” she said.

Boswell labelled the students' work as “scientifically flawed”‚ adding that the title of their article was among several other aspects that inferred that the results were applicable to all coloured South African women

The authors and publishers issued a statement on Thursday retracting the article.

"While this article was peer-reviewed and accepted according to the Journal’s policy‚ it has subsequently been determined that serious flaws exist in the methodology and reporting of the original study.

"In summary the article contains a number of assertions about ‘colored’ South African women based on the data presented that cannot be supported by the study or the subsequent interpretation of its outcome.

"Specific data that would be relevant to these assertions was not collected. In addition‚ the references provided are not supportive of the claims that are made about the participants in the study or about South African women more generally. Consequently‚ the Editors and the Publisher have taken the decision to retract this article‚" the statement read.

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