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n. pseudonym of a family, studied by Henry Herbert Goddard in the early 1900s, that was purported to have one branch characterized as moral, upstanding, and productive and another as immoral, degenerate, and “feebleminded.” The study was claimed at the time to provide evidence of inheritance of moral traits and risk of moral degeneracy due to mental illness or disability. Goddard used these findings to support eugenics practices but later disavowed the argument that there was a linkage between morality and intellectual disability. Moreover, subsequent reviews of the study have called into question the findings it put forth; the most recent of these suggests that dietary deficiencies and fetal alcohol syndrome were likely sources of the intellectual disabilities and physical anomalies identified in the study.

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June 18th 2024


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