Andrew Sullivan complains that it is:
It's been strangled by p.c. egalitarianism. The reason is the resilience of racial differences in IQ in the data, perhaps most definitively proven by UC Berkeley psychologist Arthur Jensen [...}
The right response to unsettling data is to probe, experiment and attempt to disprove them - not to run away in racial panic. But the deeper problem is that the racial aspects of IQ have prevented non-racial research into intelligence, and how best to encourage, study and understand it.
In support of his case, Sullivan cites an article entitled: IQ Blackout: Why Did Studying Intelligence Become Taboo? The author quotes UCLA post-doc researcher, Dennis Garlick. Dr. Garlick has some major publications under his belt. It doesn't seem to me that there is a professional blackout being imposed on his work, which, by the way, looks quite interesting.
Perhaps there has been a decline in funding of research into general intelligence (no numbers are cited in the article), but a Google Scholar search of the terms intelligence genetics, for example, turns up 25,200 results for the past 5 years. For the search terms intelligence MRI, I find 21,400 results in the last 5 years.
My suspicion is that the area of neuropsych and brain research has grown so large, costly and complex in recent years, that if there is a decline in funding, it might be because the piece of the research-funding pie going to the study of intelligence has fallen simply because of competition for resources. There's a helluva a lot of brain research going on out there. Not only is that research sucking up money, it's also drawing a lot of talented people to newly emerging areas of brain and mind investigation.
Digging a little further into Google Scholar, I see that the search results don't indicate that the WAIS-R has been seriously neglected. Sixty-seven hundred publications reference it or employ parts of the WAIS-R as measures for study during the past 5 years.
The results from year to year are fairly stable back to 1992, which is as far back as the Google scholar index goes.
A search of Stanford Binet yields 5,670 results in the last five years, and there are 16,200 results for the terms: Kaufman intelligence. Even more results turn up in a search for the WISC, which is to be expected given that IQ tests are most heavily used with children for diagnostic evals. Since 2006, publications reference the WISC 23,700 times.
Is this strangled non-racial research or research that is of no interest to Andrew Sullivan? Actually, I imagine he's just unaware. So much of the public discussion of intelligence has been politically motivated.
The focus in the political discussion has been on Full Scale IQ score, that single number that fascinates many lay people. FSIQ is of relatively limited clinical utility. There are circumstances in which that number is diagnostically relevant to a referral question and to our recommendations, but in my experience, it is not particularly relevant for most cases. Yes, you can say that someone with an IQ of 85 isn't going to be up to college level work, or that someone with an IQ of 130 has a great deal of intellectual capacity, but more often we're interested in specific cognitive functions, and we're looking for patterns of relative strengths and weakness across numerous functions to develop our diagnostic hypotheses. Within the WAIS itself, different scatterings of scores among the subtests often point us to much more important information than the FSIQ score which may tell us nothing about what we need to know.
For example, if we see someone whose vocabulary and level of factual information would be typical of an examinee with a Full Scale IQ in the 90th percentile, while scores on subtests that tap attention and concentration fall in the 30th percentile, we may be seeing an indication of relatively recent neurological impairment. Performance on the former measures are more strongly related to long-term functioning while the latter are more vulnerable to recent injury and dysfunction.
It's much more complicated than that, but I'm just trying to illustrate how different the public discussions of intelligence and intelligence testing are from the direction of research that is clinically most powerful.
My additional comment on Sullivan's subsequent defense of his position.
Update: and my final thought here.