Soccer’s Eyferth Study


In World Cup news, it turns out that Germany’s Germans beat America’s Germans 1-0. But Portugal beat Ghana, so America’s 1-1-1 record is good enough to make the octofinals.

The U.S. team has a famous German coach who dealt with the nature-nurture issue by choosing among his 23 players, sons of five American soldiers, four of them black, who all grew up in Germany with their German mothers. In Germany, the lads learned how to play soccer like a German, not like an American.

This suggests Klinsmann possesses a worldview in which nurture is massively important, since 5/23rds of his team came from a miniscule subsegment of American citizens exposed to an advanced soccer culture from the cradle.

But it also suggests that nature, especially race, matters too. Disproportionately, four of the five German-Americans chosen by Klinsmann were black.

That reminded me of the Eyferth Study of 1959, which is often mentioned in race and IQ debates, such as the 2006 one between James Flynn and Charles Murray. From Wikipedia:

The Eyferth study is the name often given to a study conducted by psychologist Klaus Eyferth concerning the IQs of white and racially mixed children in post-Second World War West Germany. The mothers of the children studied were white German women, while their fathers were white and African-American members of the US occupation forces [and North Africans enlisted in the French Army, too?]. In contrast to results obtained in many American studies, the average IQs of the children studied were roughly similar across racial groups, making the study an oft-cited piece of evidence in the debate about race and intelligence.[1]

Eyferth’s study was published under the title Eine Untersuchung der Neger-Mischlingskinder in Westdeutschland in the journal Vita Humana in 1959.[2]

Rob (but not Fab) of Milli Vanilli would also have qualified by nature and nurture as a subject for a replication of the Eyferth Study.

My reaction to the famous Eyferth Study has always been, “That’s most interesting. Could somebody replicate it, please?”

But as far as I know, in the 55 years since, nobody has replicated it.

Or even tried.

This even though the type of individual who would be needed (black father, German mother, raised in Germany) is common enough that potential Eyferth 2.0 subjects make up over 1/6th of the U.S. World Cup team.