The term bell curve has several meanings. One meaning is that of a statistical distribution, termed the normal distribution, which was identified by Carl Friedrich Gauss. Its shape is that of a bell. The other meaning comes from a book title.

This latter meaning of the bell curve relates to one of the most stimulating and controversial books published in the past two decades, written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, and titled The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. This volume engendered a national conversation and even widespread debates about controversial issues, such as racial and ethnic group differences in intelligence test scores, the respective roles of nature versus nature in influencing intelligence, and the meaning of intelligence.

The primary thesis of this ...

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