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Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief

BURT, CYRIL LODOWIC (1883-1971), English psychologist.

Conferred Knight of the Royal Garter in 1946, he was the first psychologist so recognized.


Considerable research has since been amassed to support Burt’s central thesis that cognitive ability is the result of genetic endowment. During Burt’s lifetime, few dissented from his view that general cognitive ability is the major determiner of social status; he identified social class of origin as a simple outcome of intelligence rather than being subject to a mediating influence of educational opportunity.

A member of the Eugenics Society, Burt, after his death, was characterized as fascist, racist, and elitist.

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