Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ron Unz on Race, IQ, and Wealth



Former juvenile detention center in Torgau, East Germany. Was truancy treated the same way in West Germany and the DDR? (source)

Ron Unz has come out with an article on “Race, IQ, and Wealth” in the latest issue of the American Conservative. He had earlier sent me a draft copy and asked for my comments. I did as best I could, not considering myself to be an authority on IQ.

Reading through the published article, I can see that very little was modified. The only real change was that he toned down his anti-Gould rhetoric at the beginning of the article. In general, the introduction seemed to be written in such a way as to “hook” HBD-oriented readers and get them to read the whole thing. Judging by the comments at iSteve, his strategy worked …

While I don’t disclose criticisms of unpublished drafts, I feel free to criticize the published versions. The following text is the one I had sent Ron, minus my comments on certain words and sentences he later removed. The quotes from his article have also been updated to reflect the article as actually published.

If I could rewrite this text, I would point out more clearly that the IQ difference between West Germany and East Germany probably reflected differences in truancy. The more leniently a school treats absenteeism the higher it will score on IQ tests, since the truants tend to be problem students. But the higher IQ score is illusory.

I would also add that IQ may indeed differ between European countries. The existing data, however, are compromised by problems of comparability. Europeans are separated not only by national boundaries but also by different political systems. These differences create differences in sampling bias, in ways of conducting IQ tests, and even in the test itself.


Comments on “Race, IQ, and Wealth”

When I read the first two pages of your article, I got the impression you were trying to get on the good side of HBD readers, as if you wanted to be treated as “one of us” and not “one of them.” If so, you’re overdoing it. Why not forget the reader and concentrate on presenting your argument to a naïve version of yourself?

Your main argument


Your main point is that the variability in European IQ over time and space suggests that most of this variation is environmental in origin and not genetic. By extension, this point casts doubt on the genetic origin of larger-scale IQ difference, particularly those between White Americans, on the one hand, and Black and Hispanic Americans, on the other.

This argument is hard to reconcile with the evidence from twins and/or adopted children. In the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study, for instance, racial differences in IQ remained unchanged even within a shared family environment overseen by liberal-minded parents. Could differences in uterine environment have been responsible? This is unlikely, since the biracial children among the adopted had probably come from white mothers.

You acknowledge this problem when you refer to studies on adopted twins:

These individual results, usually based on relatively small statistical samples of adopted twins or siblings, seemingly demonstrate the extreme rigidity of IQ—the "Strong IQ Hypothesis"—while we have also seen the numerous examples above of large populations whose IQs have drastically shifted over relatively short periods of time. How can these contradictory findings be squared?

There is an answer. In adoption or twin studies, the data are produced by a single research team who use the same methodology, the same sample of subjects, and the same context of data production. In contrast, your analysis involves studies that differ in all three:

Differences in methodology


You cite several studies that were done in Eastern Europe before the collapse of communism. Eastern bloc countries, however, never used Western-designed IQ tests. Even the term “IQ” was avoided. I suspect those countries were using an older type of test that was less culture-free than modern IQ tests.

Sampling bias


IQ tests are usually performed on students in a classroom. They thus exclude those students who are (a) truant, (b) currently expelled from class, or (c) have parents who can’t or won’t pay certain mandatory fees. There is thus a sampling bias that tends to exclude lower-performing students. More to the point, this bias varies from one time period to another and from one jurisdiction to another.

Differences in context of data production


In some cases, the IQ test is administered after the students have had some experience doing sample questions. In other cases, the test is administered unannounced. In some cases, the test is administered in the native language or dialect of the students. In other cases, it isn’t. This is a problem in many European countries where the official written language differs from the normal spoken language. The Greek language, for instance, comes in two versions, and the version used in the schools has varied according to the dictates of the party in power.


Other criticisms of your paper



Lynn and Vanhanen draw the conclusion that intelligence leads to economic success and—since they argue that intelligence itself is largely innate and genetic—that the relative development ranking of the long list of nations they analyze is unlikely to change much over time, nor will the economic standing of the various groups within ethnically mixed countries, including the United States.

No, this isn’t their argument. Intelligence leads to economic success only in a system where people can accumulate wealth by working and by keeping the fruits of their labor. If people accumulate wealth mainly through pillage and tribute, there will be a selection for a different package of mental and behavioral traits. For this reason, Lynn and Vanhanen argue that market economies tend to outperform State-run economies if innate intelligence is held constant.

[…] although Greeks and Turks have a bitter history of ethnic and political conflict, modern studies have found them to be genetically almost indistinguishable

Two populations can be almost indistinguishable on some genetic traits, yet very different on others. It depends on the intensity of selection. Selection is typically weak and slow-acting because most genetic traits are of low selective value. This may be seen in the large genetic overlap that exists between any two human populations.

When the early waves of Catholic Irish immigrants reached America near the middle of the 19th century, they were widely seen as particularly ignorant and uncouth and aroused much hostility from commentators of the era, some of whom suggested that they might be innately deficient in both character and intelligence. But they advanced economically at a reasonable pace, and within less than a century had become wealthier and better educated than the average white American, including those of "old stock" ancestry. The evidence today is that the tested IQ of the typical Irish-American-to the extent it can be distinguished-is somewhat above the national white American average of around 100


In the 19th century, Irish immigrants were perceived as being uncouth largely because American moral and behavioral norms were much stricter than they are now. Dancing, for instance, was banned in many communities. So there has been convergence in both directions. Immigrants have assimilated to American norms, but those norms have also become more liberal.

I would like to see your sources for Irish American IQ. In Canada, most people of Irish origin are only part-Irish (including myself). Yes, one can find people who are sure of their Irish ancestry and who can produce genealogical records to prove that their ancestry is entirely Irish. But such people would tend to be better educated as well as more interested in history and genealogy. If that isn’t a biased sample, I don’t know what is.

(last two pages)

I realize you feel passionately that Mexican Americans are getting bad press. I also realize that the conclusions from your analysis of European IQ may have implications for the American immigration debate. Unfortunately, you tend to go off on a tangent and discuss points for which the implications are far from evident.

As you note, WordSum has a correlation of 71% with standard IQ tests, which in turn have a correlation of 50 to 75% with innate intelligence. So we are already two steps removed from any genetically transmitted factors. I’m not surprised that Mexican-American performance on WordSum has improved over time. But does this improvement rule out innate differences in IQ between Mexican Americans and White Americans? Is that your argument?

With regard to Hispanics, you also note that from 1994 to 2006 the poverty rate dropped by one-third and that household income rose by 20%. Most of this rise can be traced to the boom in construction, as well as to the generally good economic climate of that time. But what does this factoid tell us about IQ? You’re going off on a tangent.


[…] it seems likely that the tens of millions of Hispanics living in America in the early 1990s probably advanced more rapidly in economic and educational terms than had any of America's large European immigrant groups of the past, such as the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, or the Slavs.


Steve Sailer would argue otherwise. Several intergenerational studies have shown that Mexican Americans have lagged behind Americans of other ethnic origins.

Reference

Unz, R. (2012). Race, IQ, and Wealth, The American Conservative, July 18.
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/race-iq-and-wealth/

103 comments:

James Graham said...

HBD? I'm guessing Human Blank Blank.

(If you revise your article please deleted this -- very mild -- complaint.)

Beyond Anon said...

Human Bio Diversity.

With respect to Greeks and Turks, doesn't the fact that the mixing of Turkic genes into the original population of the region, and the fact that many of the original population who stayed behind converted to Islam, mean that the two groups are hard to distinguish?

Chris Crawford said...

I'd like to raise once again an objection I raised earlier that was never answered: that IQ is a one-dimensional measure of cognitive performance in a brain that clearly has many dimensions of cognitive performance. In particular, the well-established (but still debated) notion of mental modules strongly suggests independence between different dimensions of cognitive performance. At the very least, the firmly-established gender differences in some areas of cognitive performance shatter the very concept of a one-dimensional intelligence factor.

In particular, such abilities as social reasoning, a talent for lying convincingly, and a talent for detecting lying are cognitive abilities not measured in IQ tests, but are surely of importance in human behavior. And what are we to make of the IQs of idiot savants?

Sean said...

Unz seems to think the Irish in the US are rather endogamous, like Armenians. A trip to the south west coast of Ireland, would disabuse him of that notion.
Hardly anyone is totally or even mainly descended from Irish immigration of the early nineteenth century. Some say that Irish women were reluctant to marry their men, believing them to be, drunken, jobless, wife beaters. The ethnically Irish in the US have remained of low socio economic status. That is why there was so much conflict over busing and integrated housing in low class areas of Boston. The Irish specialized in using political muscle at local level to obtain jobs, especially as cops (Police Riot of 1857). They never matched the achievements of comparable people like the Scots.

Chris, you (like Unz) saying that is analogous to a 7 foot basketball player claiming that the concept of height is one dimensional, and not a real hereditary advantage.

Chris Crawford said...

Chris, you (like Unz) saying that is analogous to a 7 foot basketball player claiming that the concept of height is one dimensional, and not a real hereditary advantage.

Um, it should be intuitively obvious that height is in fact a single dimension. Are you claiming that intelligence is one-dimensional? If so, that claim is easily demolished. If not, then why the comparison to height?

The "hereditary advantage" is a completely separate topic. I agree that people can inherit cognitive skills to some degree, but I deny the notion (if that's what you're suggesting) that there is a single gene that is responsible for the complete package of cognitive talents.

Sean said...

I never said the 7 foot basketball player was wrong to say height is one dimensional.

The point is a person who has chosen his parents wisely, like a star basketball player who is 7 feet tall, would be bigging himself up to say height (a hereditary advantage that he possesses) is largely irrelevant to success in basketball, and therefore the team should invest in short players and train them up. The basketball player may believe what he says of course.

You inherited a high IQ, so did Unz.

JL said...

Chris, the g factor is probably the most replicated result in all of psychology. Aside from face recognition ability, there is simply no evidence for completely independent cognitive modules. IQ scores are computed as weighted averages of different cognitive tests and represent estimates of general mental ability, i.e. estimates of how an individual performs intellectually regardless of the content of the specific task. IQ scores are not just averages of the specific abilities assessed by a particular test, because different test batteries produce highly invariant g factors.

The existence of the g factor is compatible with the existence of specific abilities or cognitive modules. Specific abilities are correlated with g, albeit never perfectly. Analogously, g can be thought of as the CPU of the brain, while specific abilities are components such the video card, the RAM, etc. Performance on any task depends on both the CPU and specific components.

While men and women differ in specific abilities such as verbal and spatial ability, the best studies suggest that there's little difference in the mean level of general mental ability, or g, between the sexes. For practical purposes, g is much more important than any specific ability, because it explains much more of the variance in cognitive performance.

Chris Crawford said...

JL, thanks for the links; I followed every one of them and even followed some links within those, just to be certain that I have properly acquainted myself with the conceptual development of g. I did find a few new tidbits, but most of the material was not new to me.

I don't reject any of the basic claims made for g; my objection is that g is far from a comprehensive measure of cognitive performance. I think I need to step back for a moment to explain some of the fundamental ideas that drive my thinking.

My starting point is evolutionary psychology. The fundamental assumption of evolutionary psychology (that the broad structure of the human mind is necessarily the product of evolutionary processes) strikes me as beyond question.

The concept of mental modules arises naturally from evolutionary psychology. After all, if the mind changed in response to specific environmental challenges, we would expect those changes to be specific to the challenge rather than generalized. I recognize that there is some debate on this question, but that debate seems to me to be quite lopsided in the support each side has.

The strongest argument against the mental module construct is in fact the high correlation between different forms of cognitive performance. However, that correlation loses significance if we decide that the cognitive abilities measured in the different tests do in fact arise from the same module.

The evidence here is muddled by the unifying role played by language in the mind. Because language necessarily penetrates each mental module, it mixes them together, making it difficult to clearly differentiate them. This puts all of us into a mud pit with our ideas mixed together in a messy fashion.

However, I think that I can point to one factor that provides us with some clarity: social intelligence.

An aside here: social intelligence has gotten short shrift, largely because most males are bereft of it and therefore are unaware of its existence. As so many females are wont to say, "Guys just don't get it!" I caution male readers, especially younger male readers, not to dismiss a cognitive ability merely because they lack it. (Older males aren't much better at social reasoning than younger males, but they've had enough interaction with females to respect that ability, which sometimes goes under the misnomer "female intuition".)

Chris Crawford said...

...continued from above:



In behavioral terms, social reasoning manifests itself as the ability to get other people to do things for you. It's how to win friends and influence people, an ability that males may need to read about in a book, but females have great proficiency in.

There's quite an irony here: it is well-established that g is correlated with income and high levels of achievement. That would suggest that g presents us with an effective measure of overall behavioral success, right? But wait a minute: what about the wives of all those high-status males? They get half the wealth of the males! If you earn $100 million, and I charm you into you into giving me $50 million, am I less behaviorally successful than you? Does the ability to find similarities between differently oriented shapes or to detect incorrect parallel relationships, or grasp numerical relationships in ANY fashion apply to the ability to charm another person?

Is not charisma a cognitive talent? Is it measured by ANY of the tests used to determine g? How about salesmanship? Where among the many intelligence tests is the ability to get other people to give you their money measured? What about a talent for raising young children? Or teaching them, for that matter? Is that not an important behavioral talent? Of course, we don't count it among our measures of career success -- is that because it's insignificant or because it's woman's work?

While the continuing research on g has plenty of academic value, we should not be so self-assured as to claim that it measures overall human cognitive ability. I'm quite certain that my sister-in-law does not have as high a value of g as I have, but I recognize that, in raising three talented young men, she accomplished something that I could never do.

Anonymous said...

"In the 19th century, Irish immigrants were perceived as being uncouth largely because..."

Inbreeding depression unwinding?

People from inbred villages move to New York and inter-marry - a few generations later?

Anonymous said...

"
While the continuing research on g has plenty of academic value, we should not be so self-assured as to claim that it measures overall human cognitive ability. I'm quite certain that my sister-in-law does not have as high a value of g as I have, but I recognize that, in raising three talented young men, she accomplished something that I could never do."

Fascinating posts. One quibble: someone as knowledgeable on the research as you should no parenting does not determine how kids turn out. It's genes plus social circle. Every cross adoption study has shown that.

You're right about female intuition, social intelligence and all that. Just got your behavioral genetics wrong.

Chris Crawford said...

One quibble: someone as knowledgeable on the research as you should no parenting does not determine how kids turn out. It's genes plus social circle. Every cross adoption study has shown that.

First, what I've seen in the literature is that there's roughly an even division between genes, parenting, and childhood social group in determining final personality. However, at a more fundamental level, are you suggesting that there's no difference whatever between bad parents and good parents? That certainly flies in the face of common experience.

I've known two mothers whom I could clearly see were doing an excellent job and in fact their children have turned out great. I have also known three mothers whom I knew at the time were doing a lousy job, and sure enough, their kids turned out to be so-so. Yes, it's just anecdotal, but I'm sure everybody here has seen something roughly similar (if they've lived long enough to see their friends' children grow up).

I'm not attributing all outcomes to parentage, but I am confident that there is a genuine difference in the quality of parental performance, and that it has a genuine result in the children.

Kiwiguy said...

***Several intergenerational studies have shown that Mexican Americans have lagged behind Americans of other ethnic origins.***

David Frum linked to a study on this point a couple of years ago:

"Many Americans carry in their minds a family memory of upward mobility, from great-grandpa stepping off the boat at Ellis Island to a present generation of professionals and technology workers. This story no longer holds true for the largest single U.S. immigrant group, Mexican-Americans.

Stephen Trejo and Jeffrey Groger studied the intergenerational progress of Mexican-American immigrants in their scholarly work, “Falling Behind or Moving Up?”

They discovered that third-generation Mexican-Americans were no more likely to finish high school than second-generation Mexican-Americans. Fourth-generation Mexican-Americans did no better than third.

If these results continue to hold, the low skills of yesterday’s illegal immigrant will negatively shape the U.S. work force into the 22nd century.

The failure to enforce the immigration laws in the 1990s and 2000s means that the U.S. today has more poorly skilled workers, more poverty and more workers without health insurance than it would have generated by itself."

The Future Cost of Today's Cheap Labor

Kiwiguy said...

Also, blogger "Chuck" who analyses this type of data regularly has a rather critical post.

"Unz’s claim: “Thus, almost two-thirds of the IQ gap between American-born Mexican-Americans and whites disappeared in two decades, with these results being based on nationally representative American samples of statistically significant size.”

Unz bases his claim of a gap narrowing on two data sources, the General Social Survey and the NLSY 97. I was unable to replicate the cited GSS findings. Below are the results of my own analysis, with search variables noted. Based on the results, the gap in the 2000s is no less than 0.7 SD. In the first table, Mexicans were identified with the “Specified Hispanic” variable, for which there was only data since 2000; the gap was 0.77 SD. In second table, Mexicans were identified through the country of origin Variable “Ethnic.” For this variable, there was data from the 70s through 2010. The gap in 2000 was 0.67 SD. This GSS gap of around 0.7 SD is approximately the same size as that found between non Hispanic Whites and 2nd generation Mexicans in the nationally representative ADD health (1994-1995) sample, which can be analyzed online. That gap was approximately 0.72 SD...

Other data comes from Jason Richwine’s analysis of the 2003 New Immigrant Survey (Richwine 2009) – which was based on a nationally representative sample of immigrants. In this sample, 2nd generation Mexicans performed 1.2 SD below non-Hispanic Whites on the very culturally reduced backwards digit span (which was given in Spanish for those wishing so).

There are other data points to consider. Based on Roth et al.’s 2001 meta-analysis, the Hispanic –White difference, between 1970 and 2000, was .72 SD (N>5 million). Mexicans comprise 2/3rds of the US Hispanic population and the other large Hispanics groups (e.g., Puerto Ricans) score little worse than them, so this is probably a fair index of the Mexican IQ between those time intervals. With regards to Mexican IQ in particular, Linda Gottfredson reports several large studies in the Appendix section of “Implications of Cognitive Differences for Schooling Within Diverse Societies.” We have: 0.63 SD in 1974 from Jensen’s California school district study; 0.55 SD from GABT job applications from the 1940s to 1970s; and 0.65 from the 1966 Coleman report.

The various studies are summarized below. For comparison, Lynn and Meisenberg (2010) give a Mexican national IQ of 88 based on 6 IQ samples and 6 international tests. As can be seen, the Mexican in the US Flynn effect has yet to occur.

No Mexican Flynn Effect

Sean said...

Chris, as would be expected from your proven computing skills, you have a masculine type of intelligence. The feminine social intelligence you're promoting is indeed undervalued - by you when you're discounting the importance of IQ. See here.

Why Genes Matter More Than Ever

The type of social intuition that you are eulogising is exactly what is dwindling in the new intellectual elite. An emerging over-class of knowledge workers, caused by associative mating among nerds, will inevitable result in an dearth of social intelligence, as exemplified by the number of autistic children in silicon valley. The West is fated to go under; it will increasingly be led by Asperger's types whose cognitive style means they just can't see the dangers ahead.

Chris Crawford said...

Sean, the first article you cite contradicts your criticism and supports my overall claim that IQ is not a sufficiently broad measure of human intelligence:

"we have a distorted picture of true intelligence because our current measures of IQ are limited to just one dimension, are severely deficient in measuring mentalism, and omit many important measures of mechanistic IQ"

As to the likelihood that overall social intelligence in our culture is declining, I see nothing to worry about. I certainly agree that we've got a problem among the technical population, but there are a lot of people who just don't fit into that category. Indeed, as women penetrate further into the halls of power, I expect that they'll be able to suppress the hierarchical thinking (which requires little social intelligence) that has long dominated the West.

Anonymous said...

Chris: In a large, randomly sampled set of people who are generally representative of the general population, in every country we run any battery of intelligence tests (particularly those with a low component of specific trained knowledge), we find that there is one large principal component / statistical factor that explains the majority of the variance, called g. So from this perspective, reducing to a single IQ score is not that big a deal.

That is not to say though, that there are not some individuals for whom there is not really a large single g factor and other much smaller factors - it is simply true of the mass of the group, not necessarily every individual. So for some subset of the population, g and an overall IQ score is not necessarily so useful. But for all general populations, g and IQ are pretty OK.

It may be that g does not hold for some things that we cannot test for in a pen and paper (or verbal) IQ test type format. How to test this in a non-subjective fashion? Also, things such as lying and social reasoning are likely to be heavily influenced by personality - and I think most people find a personality ability distinction useful...

Sean said...

The Paul Allen type personality is going to become more common among the cognitive elite that will result from associative mating of nerds. They'll be an individualist caste which thinks in universalistic terms, and is slow to detect ulterior motives ("talent for detecting lying"). The society will remain hierarchical because knowledge based society fosters high IQ governance. The ruling class will be unable to perceive people as a group with different interests than their own.

The mass of the population will be increasingly made up of clannish immigrants who will be difficult to deal with because of their suspiciousness. They'll be disposed to use their numbers collectively as political muscle to work the system, just like the Irish did. It will become impossible to get elected without advocating more immigration. Game over.

Chris Crawford said...

Anonymous, my claim is only that g does not embrace all factors of human mental performance. One of these factors is social intelligence. We agree that there's no good way at this time to objectively measure social intelligence. That's not a disaster; it means only that g should not be taken as indicative of ALL forms of human intelligence.

Anonymous said...

Great criticism.

I wonder whether Unz even himself believes the stuff he writes. It seems just like another of his ongoing love letters to Hispanics.

As someone else pointed out: the Irish are European; most Mexicans are not.

From list:

"According to the CIA World Fact Book, Mexico is:
60% mestizo
30% Amerindian
Less than 10% European (mostly Spaniard)

And what is the ancestry of mestizos? Examining genetic ancestral markers, Rubén Lisker has found lower-income mestizos in Mexico City to be:

59% Amerindian
34% European [mostly Spaniard]
and 6% black"

JayMan said...

Chris:

As we've discussed before:

The existence of mental modules is not incompatible with the existence of a general intelligence factor (g) that underlies all cognitive ability.

What you're advocating is along the lines of Howard Gardner's "multiple intelligences". Which would be a fine argument if it wasn't for the overwhelming evidence for g's existence, as explained to you.

The fact that different people possess different cognitive strengths should be quite evident the second anyone considers these examples: I'm pretty certain that my IQ is considerably higher than LeBron James'; yet I don't have a chance of taking him on the basketball court. As well, there's a whole host of exceptional musicians that I'm sure I could best on cognitive tests, but not at playing their instruments (I'm not at all musically inclined). Sports or music require a strong degree of cognitive power, I'm sure we'll agree. Yet the existence of varied mental abilities that are not necessarily commensurate with IQ or g does not remove the central importance of g.

In any case, this was recently tested, see here. Even on "domain-specific" tasks, IQ was found to be important.

But, as I alluded, even if we find that all cognitive ability is underlain by g, but that there is considerable individual-level and group-level variation in particular cognitive abilities (for example, the infamous creativity deficiency of East Asians, or the exceptional visual memory of Australoid groups), so what? The existence of mental specialties does not throw IQ or g out the window. It is *not* the case that individuals or groups deficient in g will make up for it by a surplus of other abilities. See Greg Cochran's discussion of the matter.

First, what I've seen in the literature is that there's roughly an even division between genes, parenting, and childhood social group in determining final personality.

I think we've been through this about parenting, and it's clear this is wrong. A quick look at the numbers shows this to be case. I'd strongly recommend Judith Harris.

JayMan said...

@Peter Frost:

Thanks for posting this, this saves me from writing a blog post.

The problems with Unz's piece are so egregious I have to wonder why he even bothered writing it.

Chris Crawford said...

JayMan, I don't think that you're understanding my comments. You wrote:

The existence of mental modules is not incompatible with the existence of a general intelligence factor (g) that underlies all cognitive ability.

My claim is that the tests that are used to define g do not address factors such as social intelligence. I agree, the existence of social intelligence is compatible with g; it is even possible that g does in fact play a role in social intelligence. The fact remains, however, that there is no evidence whatsoever to support the belief that g plays a role in social intelligence.

Your claim that g underlies "all cognitive ability" is contradicted by your later statement that:

Yet the existence of varied mental abilities that are not necessarily commensurate with IQ or g does not remove the central importance of g.

So your position here is inconsistent. Can we at least agree that the "all" part of your statement is incorrect, that in fact there are some dimensions of intelligence that have not (yet) been shown to be commensurate with g?

The Scientific American article to which you linked is excellent; I very much appreciate it. However, it does make one mistake: it extends the various traditional tests that are used to derive g by adding the Wason test -- and then extrapolates that single extension to ALL forms of human intelligence, an extrapolation unsupported by their evidence.

I want to make this point very clear, so I'm going to be quite explicit: there is as yet no reliable test for a mental faculty (social intelligence) of whose existence we are confident. If we can't measure it, it's not part of g, and there's no way we can determine any relationship between g and social intelligence. You're welcome to speculate that there is a connection, but please recognize that such is mere speculation, unsupported by evidence.

You refer to "the central importance of g". This is the kind of vague wording that leads into scientific morasses. Yes, g is a useful construct. But let us not indulge ourselves in intellectual hubris. We can use g for many useful tasks, but let us not think that we have nailed down human intelligence and reduced it all to a single number. The human mind remains the most poorly understood phenomenon in the universe. Let's not proclaim g to be an unsinkable Titanic.

At another point you refer to throwing g or IQ out the window. Let me restate for the umpteenth time that I am not denying the utility of g or IQ; I am instead arguing that it does not measure the entirety of human mental faculty.

Here's another example of sloppy wording that leads only to confusion:

It is *not* the case that individuals or groups deficient in g will make up for it by a surplus of other abilities.

What in the world do you mean by "make up for it"? Do you mean "earn a living"? "Attract mates"? "Attain high social status"? "Kill more antelopes"? I recall several cases of idiot savants who did very well for themselves by becoming public entertainers, performing remarkable mental feats for the entertainment of paying audiences. Did they "make up for" their mental deficiencies?

Chris Crawford said...

continued...


I also read the piece by Greg Cochran to which you linked, and it in fact demonstrates the correctness of my claims. He writes:

IQ, as measured by IQ scores, is a decent measure of the cognitive skills that you need in order for technical innovation or more routine science and engineering. It’s generally useful in modern technical civilization.

The title of this piece is "The Only Game in Town". The implication is clear: Mr. Cochran regards science and engineering as the only worthy human endeavors. This is completely characteristic of the sophomorism of so many HBD advocates. I infer that Mr. Cochran would dismiss Michelangelo, Petrarch, Shakespeare, Shelly, Thoreau, and the hundreds of other brilliant artists who grace our history as worthless failures.

I reject the myopic view that technical reasoning is the only form of human intelligence worthy of our consideration. I believe that there are other forms of intelligence that are unquestionably beyond the ken of our intelligence tests that are important to human progress. I have used social intelligence as an example only because it is the clearest, simplest example of my meaning, but there are other mental faculties to consider.

I think we've been through this about parenting, and it's clear this is wrong.

Only in the sense that you have denied my assertion without offering evidence to support your denial. The link you provide does not in the least support your claim that parentage plays no role in personality development. It establishes only the partial heritability of personality traits. For those traits whose heritability is less than 1.00 (all of them), we must ask, what factors other than heritability influence personality?

I am so flabbergasted by your assertion re the role of parenting in personality development that I feel an obligation to get clarification from you. Therefore I ask first this question:

Can bad parenting lead to personality disorders? For example, can an abusive parent cause a child to have criminal proclivities? Or are such proclivities pre-determined by genetic endowment?

I really hope that you'll agree that bad parenting can negatively affect personality development; that will at least get us started. We can move forward from there.

JayMan said...

Chris,

I'm going to aim to keep this short.

At another point you refer to throwing g or IQ out the window. Let me restate for the umpteenth time that I am not denying the utility of g or IQ; I am instead arguing that it does not measure the entirety of human mental faculty.

I'm not disputing this point. Indeed, I gave you examples to the contrary.

I infer that Mr. Cochran would dismiss Michelangelo, Petrarch, Shakespeare, Shelly, Thoreau, and the hundreds of other brilliant artists who grace our history as worthless failures.

I haven't seen him dismiss these individuals' accomplishments. Perhaps it'd be better to stick to what he did say rather than speculate about things he did not say?

I reject the myopic view that technical reasoning is the only form of human intelligence worthy of our consideration. I believe that there are other forms of intelligence that are unquestionably beyond the ken of our intelligence tests that are important to human progress.

Chris, it seems that your views are particularly confused on this matter. For one, no one is disputing that there are mental abilities that are not necessarily captured by IQ tests (such as musical ability). Two individuals with the same IQ score can have significantly different cognitive strengths and weakness. This is not questioned. But then so what? What is so significant about this fact in this context?

I am so flabbergasted by your assertion re the role of parenting in personality development

First, have you read either The Nurture Assumption or No Two Alike, both by Judith Harris? Since you are heavily interested in the technical aspects of this, I don't think it'll be a very useful endeavor for me to go through it with you here. I'll direct you to read either of those two books, then we'll discuss things.

Chris Crawford said...

Good, JayMan, you and I are in agreement on the most important point: that neither g nor IQ provide us with a complete measure of human cognitive ability. Each of these is a one-dimensional view of a multi-dimensional value.

I suppose, then, that you would be in disagreement with Mr. Hunter's paragraph:

If there were one or a few kinds of intelligence that were not measured well by IQ tests, but allowed people with low IQs to accomplish remarkable things - you’d think we would notice. We know that they don’t invent railroads or transistors or penicillin: what comparably important and useful things have they done?

After all, Mr. Hunter is pretty clear in his claim that the only kind of intelligence that permits people to accomplish remarkable things -- yet we know that there are musical idiot savants who can accomplish remarkable musical things.

I regard Mr. Hunter's narrow-mindedness with contempt. The world is much larger than Mr. Hunter appreciates, and there are people out there who can do astounding things, people whose performance in the kind of formal thinking that g measures is weak. I caution you not to fall prey to his kind of self-important view of the world.

You write:

For one, no one is disputing that there are mental abilities that are not necessarily captured by IQ tests (such as musical ability).

Mr. Hunter certainly disputes that!

Two individuals with the same IQ score can have significantly different cognitive strengths and weakness. This is not questioned. But then so what? What is so significant about this fact in this context?

Not much. But what about two individuals with very different IQ scores? Do you deny that the one with the lower IQ score might have superior social reasoning skills, or be a superior artist?

I have not read Ms. Harris' books, so I set out on an Internet search of her writings and critical reaction to them. What I learned was that Ms. Harris has indeed assembled an impressive array of evidence to support her claim that peer groups matter more than parents in determining personality. I must therefore abandon my belief in the triple equipartition of influence (genes, peer group, parents) and accept a lower value for the influence of parents.

However, I reject Ms. Harris' claim that parents have absolutely no effect on personality, and there are scholars who share my rejection of her absolutist position. I am still examining a variety of sources on this question, so have not made any more than a tentative conclusion.

The argument that is most compelling arises from evolutionary considerations. If parental behavior has zero effect on child development, then we would expect to see no selection effects in favor of parental concern for children, but we know that mothers are subject to very strong emotions with respect to their children -- emotions that are necessarily the result of selection effects.

It is conceivable that such selection effects are limited to the provision of adequate nutrition, but I find such a limitation unduly artificial.

Finally, an observation: you seem quick to suggest that my failure to read some book or other disenfranchises me from productive discussion with you. There are a great many books that I have read that are pertinent to this discussion that you, apparently, have not read, yet unlike you I deign to engage you in discussion.

FredR said...

By "The Only Game in Town", I assume Cochran meant only that, as you have pointed out, we don't have a good way of measuring other aspects of intelligence, not that the aspect of intelligence measured by IQ is the only one that matters.

Sean said...

Chris, of course personality and IQ can be negatively affected in a perminant way by growing up in a very bad social environment, but Unz is suggesting an improved environment (living in the US) will raise the average IQ of Mexicans to a far greater extent that the evidence warrants. He seems to be talking about the standard of living rather that a more nuturing upbringing making the improvements. I dare say Mexican parents love their children as much as anyone else and always have behaved in a nurturing way to them.

Given two individuals with very different IQ scores, the one with the lower IQ score might have superior social reasoning skills, or be superior, and not just as an artist One good way at this time to objectively measure social intelligence is to see how successful someone is. Steve Jobs had social intelligence plus IQ. Buffet and Gates are largely just IQ. John Gotti obviously required social intelligence, but his IQ was 140. Anyway some types of social intelligence have effects that are not conducive to the functioning of an advanced society.

I don't know how socially intelligent artists are in their own life (wasn't Shakespeare ruled a vexatious litigant) Some of Shakespeare's plots exemplify a high level of practical social intelligence. Is Aaron Sorkin better than Shakespeare?

However social intelligence has a dark side. It is involved with furthering nefarious drives to hirarchy through forming alliances to get the better of others, and hostility to competing groups.

WASPs have IQ but lack some types of social intelligence. Mexican immigrants have relatively low average IQ (and may or may not gain some IQ from living the US), but there is no reason to think they lack the less avowable varieties of social intelligence. . They're going to alter US society to a far far greater extent than the Irish did - culturally, economically and genetically.

JayMan said...

Chris,

After all, Mr. Hunter is pretty clear in his claim that the only kind of intelligence that permits people to accomplish remarkable things -- yet we know that there are musical idiot savants who can accomplish remarkable musical things.

While I have no proof at the moment, I'd wager that if you assemble a list of the most truly gifted artists—in all fields of art—composed of artists that a group consensus determined were the greatest artists, that this group would have a significantly higher average IQ than the general population. This is even allowing for the many great Black musical innovators (a group who, I'd suspect, have a higher average IQ than their population mean).

And, it's not exactly true that I have no proof. Artistic ability is correlated with the personality dimension of openness to experience, and openness to experience is correlated with IQ. That does suggest that great artists do have a higher than average IQ.

"For one, no one is disputing that there are mental abilities that are not necessarily captured by IQ tests (such as musical ability)."

Mr. Hunter certainly disputes that!


I don't think Dr. Cochran disputes that anywhere. Rather, he is disputing the significance of this fact in the big picture.

Finally, an observation: you seem quick to suggest that my failure to read some book or other disenfranchises me from productive discussion with you.

In this particular instance, it'll be grossly inefficient and unproductive for me to discuss this much with you without you having read these books, because I would have to repeat much of the entirety of Harris' books to satisfactorily address your objections.

My only other suggestions would for you to read Chapter 19 of Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate (which you seem to have read), or refer to my blog here.

Chris Crawford said...

I think it would be useful if, at this point, we step back and look at the big picture. We have already established agreement on my main point:

IQ is a one-dimensional measure of cognitive performance in a brain that clearly has many dimensions of cognitive performance

But there remain some finer points to establish, and I think we can reach agreement on some of these. Let me begin by pointing out that all these measurements are based on multiple kinds of tests. The Wechsler test (WAIS-IV), for example, includes 15 different tests. The fact that there are multiple tests with differing scores proves that there are multiple dimensions of intelligence.

How are the results of these different tests combined? If we have N tests, then the final number we get is usually something like this:

IQ = Sum( weight(i) * score(i))

I'd like to focus attention on that weighting factor. How is that established? There is no theoretical basis for determining the value of the differing weighting factors. Does a high score on spatial reasoning deserve greater weight than a high score on verbal reasoning? The weighting factors are entirely arbitrary.

Think in terms of geometry. Imagine a multidimensional space of N dimensions, each dimension representing some element of human cognitive performance. Each individual can be pinpointed somewhere in that space by their test scores. Imagine, then, a lot of people occupying this N-dimensional space -- their positions marked by little dots. We see a flock of dots scattered all over the place.

But we want to boil all those dots down to a one-dimensional measurement, so we mash them all together to get IQ.

Thus, IQ is a gross simplification of the reality. We have multiple tests measuring multiple dimensions of cognitive performance -- and we know that there are plenty of dimensions we're not testing for.

At this point, you object that g values are known to correlate across all measurements. In fact, I'm sure that you could carry out a multi-dimensional scaling analysis of the individual tests and come up with a single number representing g that has a pretty good connection to the multiple dimensions. In other words, the multi-dimensions collapse somewhat well into a single dimension. That supports the claim that g represents a global form of intelligence.

Don't forget, however (I doubt that you question this point), that the correlation coefficients are less than 1 and so some information is lost in boiling down those test scores to a single number.

But we're still stuck with two killer problems:

1. Our weighting factors are arbitrary. The correlation coefficients that we have suggest that those weighting factors should be similar only to the degree demanded by the magnitude of the correlation coefficients.

2. There are dimensions that we know exist that we also know are not measured by any of our existing instruments. Social reasoning is one such factor.

I repeat for the umpteenth time that this does not mean that g is useless. But it does mean that, every time we use g, we must ask ourselves if the application of g to this particular use is appropriate, given its known limitations. It would be interesting to see correlations between g and career success in fields requiring high social skills: sales, elementary school teaching, counseling, etc. I suspect that we'll see some small correlations, if only because none of these jobs require social reasoning to the exclusion of all other forms of cognitive performance.

Sean said...

Chris, I'm afraid I don't have the IQ to follow your argument. If your father was a Mexican day labourer it would be relevant to the subject of the post. (That Mexicans in the US have children with higher IQ's). Would you like to tell us what you father did for a living?

JayMan said...

Chris,

The fact that there are multiple tests with differing scores proves that there are multiple dimensions of intelligence.

Not necessarily. That fact, by itself, doesn't prove that.

Think in terms of geometry. Imagine a multidimensional space of N dimensions, each dimension representing some element of human cognitive performance. Each individual can be pinpointed somewhere in that space by their test scores. Imagine, then, a lot of people occupying this N-dimensional space -- their positions marked by little dots. We see a flock of dots scattered all over the place.

I'm very glad that you used this to illustrate your point, because it shows exactly where you're running into trouble.

What you're saying would be of more concern if, for any given individual, those points were randomly distributed all over the place on this parameter space. But that's just it: they're not. While there is a fair degree of individual variation, one's performance of any cognitive subtest is correlated with one's performance on all the other subtests. That's the whole point of g, and how it was discovered. And this is how we are justified in doing this:

But we want to boil all those dots down to a one-dimensional measurement, so we mash them all together to get IQ.

Continuing...

Don't forget, however (I doubt that you question this point), that the correlation coefficients are less than 1 and so some information is lost in boiling down those test scores to a single number

But Chris, no one is saying that IQ is everything! This is certainly not the case on the individual level, where IQ is at best only partly (though reliably) correlated with success. IQ is far more correlated with economic development on the national level, but the correlation is not perfect because of other factors (e.g., geography and cultural/group-wide personality factors).

Hence, pointing this out (varying mental sub-abilities), as true as it is, is just attempting to knock down a strawman argument with what is, really, a red herring (double duty).

But it does mean that, every time we use g, we must ask ourselves if the application of g to this particular use is appropriate, given its known limitations.

Everyone who talks seriously about IQ already does this. You're the one stuck on this point.

It would be interesting to see correlations between g and career success in fields requiring high social skills: sales, elementary school teaching, counseling, etc.

This has already been studied, if you've read through the information I've previously provided you. g is known to correlate with job performance in all manner of fields.

I suspect that we'll see some small correlations, if only because none of these jobs require social reasoning to the exclusion of all other forms of cognitive performance.

This is a different issue from the topic at hand. While this is an interesting research question, it is on a tangent from what the initial blog post was about and what we've been discussing in the comments. It is significant in its own right, but has little bearing on what we're looking at here.

Ron Unz said...

Well, I'm probably just wasting my time contributing to this silly discussion, but let me focus on one simple question, related to the Irish, which seems to be a significant part of the critique directed against my analysis.

Lynn provides three Irish IQ samples: a 1972 sample of 3,466 yielding an IQ of 87, a 1993 sample of 1,361 yielding an IQ of 93, and another 1993 sample of 2,029 yielding an IQ of 91. These are all very large samples. There is also another minuscule 1979 sample of 75 which (unsurprisingly) yields an outlying value. All these results are Flynn-adjusted by Lynn.

Furthermore, in a recent interview Lynn himself stated that his Dublin research in the late 1960s convinced him that the Irish were a low-IQ people, and that only a strong campaign of eugenics could solve the country's problems. His opinion is very consistent with the (independent) test scores I have given above.

However, in America Irish these days have IQs slightly above the white average, and in Europe the recent PISA scores for Ireland are also right around those for Germany, France, and Britain.

Now I suggest that the huge recent rise in Irish IQs is probably due to changes in urbanization and socio-economic factors. Perhaps I'm totally wrong. Then what is the alternate hypothesis explaining these wildly different Irish IQ scores across just a 35 year period.

hbd chick said...

@ron - "Then what is the alternate hypothesis explaining these wildly different Irish IQ scores across just a 35 year period."

i'd want to know which irish were tested both back in the 70s/90s and more recently and in the u.s. vs. ireland to know if we were comparing apples with apples.

are we talking about native irish or anglo-irish or scots-irish? a combination of two or more? if the pisa tests are mostly conducted in the dublin area, then you might be looking at a heckuva lot of anglo-irish descendents, a group which has generally been brighter than the locals.

Anonymous said...

"Then what is the alternate hypothesis explaining these wildly different Irish IQ scores across just a 35 year period."

If it exists then i'd suggest different groups were being tested or (at least in the US case) inbreeding depression being lifted.

Working with a lot of Irish lads on construction sites many years ago there was a very dramatic difference between the very rural ones and the urban ones.

The Irish tell Kerryman jokes.

http://www.irishjokes.co.uk/jokes/kerryman/one_liners_6.shtml

Kiwiguy said...

Comments by 'Chuck' on the East Asian exception:

"ne problem with Ron Unz’s new theory of Mongoloid fitness (i.e., that East Asians developed a novel genetic resistance to cognitively depressing environments), invoked to explain the “Asian Socio-Economic exception,” is that East Asians aren’t particularly exceptional when it comes to the relation between National IQs and socio-economics. Generally, the “socio-economic” explanation suffers from the following problems: National IQs predict growth rate not just wealth, national wealth is unable to explain the covariance between IQ and educational scores (so one has to problematically propose that wealth increases National IQ by acting through the g-nexus), the IQs of oil rich Middle Eastern nations are no greater than those of the poorer Greater Middle Eastern nations (the “Middle Eastern Socio-Economic exception”), and longitudinal studies show that National IQs are antecedent to national wealth. And there is, of course, the whole issue of the biological, ecological, and historic cognitive correlates of national IQ. (These correlates preclude a simple contemporaneous Wealth –> contemporaneous National IQ hypothesis for the obvious reasons that neither differences in contemporaneous wealth nor contemporaneous National IQ can induce differences in these evolutionary markers and that the correlation between these markers and National IQs is greater than that between National IQs and wealth or between these markers and Wealth. Right? — try creating a plausible path model yourself.)

The other problem, of course, is parsimony. It’s possible that Mongoloids evolved a unique genetic system which buffers their cognitive ability against environmental depressors. But a much simpler explanation is that they simply evolved higher IQs. With the former, you have to invoke between race gene x environment interactions — in the classic biometric sense, not the pseudo Turkheimer sense — which don’t exist within populations or, at least, have yet to be detected. In effect, you have to propose a dissimilarity in racial developmental processes, one which has not been found. With the latter, you can just call upon the garden variety within population factors to explain between population variance. Of course, proposing the latter, that there was increased selection of beneficial IQ alleles in the Northern Asian populations, might lead some to wonder if there was selection in other northern populations. And it’s appreciated that the point is to introduce the larger topic in a politically acceptable way."

East Asian Exception?

hbd chick said...

@ron - "Lynn provides three Irish IQ samples: a 1972 sample of 3,466 yielding an IQ of 87, a 1993 sample of 1,361 yielding an IQ of 93, and another 1993 sample of 2,029 yielding an IQ of 91....

However ... in Europe the recent PISA scores for Ireland are also right around those for Germany, France, and Britain."


you also might want to consider the "self-sorting" processes connected to the irish diaspora. from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, any irish person with half a brain emigrated to britain or the u.s. or australia. presumably those who were left behind were either: 1) the upper-crusties who had so much wealth (and smarts) there was no point to leave, or 2) the not-so-smarts.

the population seems to have bottomed out in the 1960s/1970s, right around the time of lynn's lowest iq scores. it's been increasing since then due to the celtic tiger boom and the benefits of ireland being an e.u. member. so, perhaps, some of the smartest have been staying in ireland over the past few decades and this contributed to the higher iq scores from the '90s and the current, respectable pisa scores.

Sean said...

Ron Unz, Lynn was far from the first person to say the Irish are of lower intelligence than comparable peoples like the Scots. The mass Irish immigration of the 19th century was from the poorest parts of Ireland like Kerry where the people are genetically VERY 'Irish' judging from their appearance. Recent immigrants from Ireland have a different profile.

Peter's criticism is that testing may not have included the difficult pupils, and that those claiming to be of Irish origin may be slightly Irish. Both are very damaging to your argument. People do not claim to be WASPs on the grounds that their grandfather was, but a grandparent is enough for many to claim to be Irish American. Many, if not most, in the US claiming Irish as their primary ancestry are only slightly more Irish than Ward Churchill is Native American. Those Americans who are genuinely (genetically) wholly of Irish ancestry tend to be working class as can be seen from the way the Irish kept neighbourhoods like South Boston solidly working class for generations. The Italians moved up and out. And consider that JFK had quite possibly the lowest IQ of any US president (119).

It is not true that currently the (native) Irish in Ireland have intellectual attainment close to that of similar areas of the British Isles such as Scotland.
Here "Govt urged to tackle educational disadvantageSenator Joanna Tuffy, Labour’s Seanad spokeswoman on education, said the results showed the Government had failed to make schooling a priority.

“Once again and despite our economic boom, Ireland has the dubious honour of having one of the highest quit rates in second level education in the first world.'

Here "There are serious problems. Up to a quarter of young males are functionally illiterate."

"American researcher Dr. E. Fuller Torrey discovered that southern Ireland has probably the highest incidence of the disease in the world -- four per cent of the population, compared to one per cent for the rest of the world. Torrey, executive director of the Stanley Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Md., says the highest rates were found among the country's poorest people. He ruled out inbreeding as a cause...
Emigration of the strongest, leaving behind the weakest, was another theory which also does not hold water, according to Torrey, since as early as 1850 a high rate of insanity was reported among the Irish in Massachusetts. Studies showed higher rates of schizophrenia among the Irish in the U.S. in 1913, 1920 and in the 1940s.There is also no indication that the rate of schizophrenia is decreasing. Recent figures show an eight-per-cent increase in first admissions for schizophrenia between 1965 and 1974."

Ron Unz said...

Unz on Race/IQ: Rejecting the Ostrich Response

Vradix said...

CC wrote:

After all, Mr. Hunter is pretty clear in his claim that the only kind of intelligence that permits people to accomplish remarkable things -- yet we know that there are musical idiot savants who can accomplish remarkable musical things.

I'll let you into a little secret about argument: it's not honest to use one word twice with two different meanings and then pretend it means the same thing both times. Beethoven, Mozart et al were high-g and accomplished "remarkable musical things". Idiot savants are low-g and also accomplish "remarkable musical things". But remarkable means different things in the two cases: for Beethoven, Mozart, et al, it refers to exceptional creativity, originality, and innovation. In short, it refers to genius. For idiot savants, it refers to exceptional performance despite an intellectual disability. In short, it doesn't refer to genius. So either you failed to grasp the point Hunter was making or you were being deliberately dishonest.

I've known two mothers whom I could clearly see were doing an excellent job and in fact their children have turned out great. I have also known three mothers whom I knew at the time were doing a lousy job, and sure enough, their kids turned out to be so-so.

It's "who", not "whom": the relative is the subject of "were doing", not the object of "I could see". The rules governing who/whom are relatively simple. It should make you reflect on how good you are at understanding the rather more complex rules governing HBD. And the world in general.

JayMan wrote:

The problems with Unz's piece are so egregious I have to wonder why he even bothered writing it.

I wonder too. But I won't reveal my conclusions. Not in Brave New Britain:

Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered
everywhere. The black-moustachio'd face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into
Winston's own. Down at street level another poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the single word INGSOC. In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again
with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered.

Sean said...

Eric Blair wasn't Irish. A very respectable number of great playwrights, novelists and orators have been Irish admittedly. The disappointing number of great scientists and technologists who were Irish is more or less what would be predicted by Lynn's estimate of their IQ. The British jettisoned Ireland because it didn't pay, their big estates were losing money in the late 19th century. The Irish republic is the worst performing economy in the whole of Europe, it always has been ever when Eastern Europe was under communism. Nothing has changed.

W.LindsayWheeler said...

On the Greeks and the Turks being "modern studies have found them to be genetically almost indistinguishable".

What many, many people and these scientists don't know is that these Turks which are NOT Indo-Europeans took Greek children and many women as slaves. The first born of a Greek family was taken and put in the Janissary Corps. There were huge amounts of rape, of abduction and so Greek European DNA was mingled with Turkish, non-European DNA.

Turks are not Greeks. 400 years of occupation and the Turks inbred with the Greeks---not that the Greeks were in favor of this!

There is NOTHING similar between the Greek and the Turk.

Sean said...

If the 18th century Irish had the same genetic potential for high IQ as today's Irish Americans then why did the Tay Sachs mutation spread so rapidly among them?

Many Irish made way into US via Quebec

The idea that the mid 19th century emigration from Ireland was of the cleverest is silly. These people were virtually destitute, they lacked even food and clothing. It was English landlords who paid for their Irish tenants' passage to America in many cases.

Peter Fros_ said...

Ron,

I followed the IQ debate a long time without being convinced one way or the other. What finally convinced me was the data from adoption studies and twin studies, especially the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study.

Most of the IQ data out there has been produced under much less controlled conditions. So -- surprise! surprise! -- there's an awful lot of noise in that data. The data compiled by Lynn is interesting but it should be treated with caution.

You mentioned differences in nutrition as a source of IQ variability. I suspect the main source is methodological. When I wrote an IQ test in high school, there was no preparation, and I probably would have done better with a bit of coaching.

There's also the absenteeism factor. In my class, absenteeism was only 5% or so. But in the 4-year stream, it was more like 15-20%. And in the 2-year stream it was almost 50%.

Who were those truants? Some had legitimate excuses, but most were problem students who were "playing hookey." So right there you have a serious source of bias. The more a school allows absenteeism, the higher its IQ scores will be.

This is the main reason why IQ scores were lower in East Germany than in West Germany. DDR youth were terrified of being sent to a juvenile detention center.

As for Irish American IQ, just what is an "Irish American"? Is Mariah Carey Irish? (She's one quarter Irish, like me). It all comes down to self-identification and interest in Irish culture, music, etc. That factor alone would bias your sample towards the better educated.

Anonymous said...

There is NOTHING similar between the Greek and the Turk.

Well there's the stench. Also hirsuteness - including the women.

Anonymous said...

"The Irish republic is the worst performing economy in the whole of Europe"

I think this is getting silly now.

There is (apparently) inbreeding depression in average IQ. hbdchick has shown that Ireland - like other countries around the periphery of Europe *and like most of the rest of the world until the last 50-100 years or so* seems to have inbred more and until much more recently than Britain.

There's a simple possible explanation right there depending on how long it takes inbreeding to lift when people move to the towns *and if it ever lifts among those that don't move to the towns*.

Kiwiguy said...

fyi. This blogger has broken down National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, TIMMS, PISA and GSS results for third generation Hispanics compared to third generation Whites.

"The differences ranges from 0.35 SD (GSS) to 0.77 SD (TIMSS grade 8 science). The average of the differences comes out to 0.61 SD or, when averaging PISA, TIMSS, and PIRLS tests scores per year, per grade (e.g., PISA 2009 MAth + Reading), 0.59 SD. This is not largely different from the general intelligence difference reported by Roth et al. (2001), which is notable given what was said about Spearman’s hypothesis. On re-analysis, Ron Unz’s claim concerning the difference in the GSS sample was upheld; this claim, though, was contradicted by all other samples."

In terms of the GSS he notes Murray (2007)

The decline in the B–W difference in the GSS vocabulary test for persons born since mid-century is entirely attributable to a decline in white performance,...

http://tinyurl.com/bqa3cx3

JL said...

Chris, I don't think it's useful to include all sorts of disparate things under the rubric of intelligence. Intelligence as measured by psychometric tests of course does not capture many important behavioral differences, but I don't see why it should. g is about understanding and manipulating complex information. The more complex the task, the higher it loads on g. The content of the task is not very relevant, only its complexity; the best, most complex verbal and non-verbal tests have equal g-loadings.

What you call social intelligence is better conceptualized as personality differences. The word intelligence also suggests unidimensionality, and while that makes sense in the case of g (because of the linear relationship between g and numerous different outcomes), it does not make any sense when talking about social skills because there are many different successful social strategies.

As to how to weight tests when estimating g scores, you use g loadings.

Chris Crawford said...

JL, you write:

g is about understanding and manipulating complex information.

Consider any of the questions presented in modern IQ tests; for most of them, there are already artificial intelligence programs capable of solving them. These computer programs manipulate, as you say, complex information.

Now consider this:

The husband comes home rather late one night; his explanation is that there was a group party after work. His wife listens to his story and knows that he's lying.

Write a computer program that can accept as input all the information that the wife has available to her, and then determine whether the husband is lying.

I'll tell you right now, it's flat impossible. I've been writing software to emulate human emotional behavior, and this problem lies far, far beyond anything I can do -- and anything that anybody else has done.

So, which task requires greater and more thorough manipulation of complex information: the IQ test problem, or the social reasoning problem?

Anonymous said...

Write a computer program that can accept as input all the information that the wife has available to her, and then determine whether the husband is lying.

The wife is probably relying on visual cues, odors, etc. that generate a certain feeling or sense that her husband is lying. Not just verbal information. The computer only processes verbal info input. You probably need a computer with a camera to detect subtle eye, facial movements, odors, etc.

Anonymous said...

Eye, facial movements and body language are usually the dead giveaways. A person can say the same exact statement, but it's how he says it, how he moves his face and body while saying (and before and after he says it) that suggests he's lying.

Chris Crawford said...

Assume that you have all that data in the form of high-resolution video of the entire scene. What algorithms would you use to process this data to determine whether the husband is lying?

Sean said...

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Irish economic performance has been the least impressive in western Europe, perhaps in all Europe in the 20th Century.[...] How has Ireland achieved and sustained this level of relative retardation? Ireland, 1912-1985: Politics and Society

'Irishness I define as the capacity of the Irish to accept and/or deliver standards which appal many of us" ibid

I've already cited an renowned world authority (Torrey) saying the Irish are not inbred. Darwin’s family tree was not untypical, his mother’s parents were third cousins. It was rather common for English to have such marriages.


Chris, the Imprinted brain Blog has lots of posts on deception and social reasoning It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Irish economic performance has been the least impressive in western Europe, perhaps in all Europe in the 20th Century.[...] How has Ireland achieved and sustained this level of relative retardation? ibid

I've already cited an renowned world authority (Torrey) saying the Irish are not inbred. Darwin’s family tree was not untypical, his mother’s parents were third cousins. It was rather common for English to have such marriages.

Sean said...

Re. marriage and untrustworthy husbands. I mentioned earlier about Irish women being reluctant to marry in their community because of the lack of good husbands. Just for anyone out there who still thinks I can't back up what I say: Erin's Daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century

"Yet even allowing for the excuses of employment, the Irish families of the United States from the middle to the last decades of the nineteenth century found themselves wracked by high levels of male desertion. Irish desertion of wives [...] many of the Irish women who listed themselves as "widows" may really have been abandoned wives too proud to admit it"

Anonymous said...

What algorithms would you use to process this data to determine whether the husband is lying?

I'm not a programmer, so I wouldn't know where to begin. But presumably there is or could be software that can distinguish between various facial expressions. It wouldn't be perfect - but people aren't perfect at identifying lies and there are good liars.

JayMan said...

What Chris is talking about is the difference between domain specific (such as social intelligence) and domain-general abilities (like g). There are things that the human brain is innately good at. g comes in handy for those things where we don't have dedicated cognitive modules. This is Statoshi Kanazawa's Savanna Hypothesis. That said, g is useful even for those things we have dedicated hardware for (partly because g itself doesn't arise from a single process).

That said, it's rather meaningless in this context to compare human intelligence to computer intelligence, for even the dumbest human posessess more processing power than the most sophisticated computers. What we're concerned here is with human *differences* in abililty, and the implication of those differences for society.

JL said...

Consider any of the questions presented in modern IQ tests; for most of them, there are already artificial intelligence programs capable of solving them. These computer programs manipulate, as you say, complex information.

You are confusing g with its measurement. Scores on an IQ test are just indicators of g, not g itself. The real-life manifestations of g are of unlimited diversity. Because just about all life outcomes are g-loaded at least to a small degree, it can be said that life is an intelligence test. IQ tests are a convenient way to measure g, but the real significance of g is, of course, not manifested in the ability to solve test items but in genuine intellectual accomplishments. For example, the Apollo program was largely about bringing together highly intelligent men to work together on a common problem. A computer algorithm may be able to solve IQ tests, but it cannot design a program to put a man on the moon.

So, which task requires greater and more thorough manipulation of complex information: the IQ test problem, or the social reasoning problem?

The correct question is: Is the Apollo program a more impressive intellectual achievement than a wife catching her husband lying to her?

Chris Crawford said...

What we're concerned here is with human *differences* in ability

And how can you measure those differences if you are measuring only part of capability? My point, which I have been hammering away at and as yet there is no satisfactory answer to, is that social intelligence is but one example of forms of intelligence that are not measured by IQ tests. If my claim be correct, then the IQ numbers we have do not provide us with a reliable means of assessing differences between populations.

the real significance of g is, of course, not manifested in the ability to solve test items but in genuine intellectual accomplishments.

I think that I have come up with a term to describe one of the deep flaws I find in the use of IQ tests: I call it the propellorhead error, and your statement here exemplifies that mistake:

The correct question is: Is the Apollo program a more impressive intellectual achievement than a wife catching her husband lying to her?

In terms of cognitive performance, the wife's achievement wins, hands down. Putting a man on the moon takes a huge number of simple decisions, whereas penetrating a lie requires a smaller number of immensely more sophisticated decisions.

It's just like the difference between a computer executing a program and person making a tricky judgement call. The computer just performs billions of very simple computations, adding numbers together, moving them, comparing them, and changing its flow if one number is greater than, equal to, or less than another number. The end result could be something like Siri "understanding" your oral statement and responding appropriately. Very impressive, but still just a bunch of tiny steps.

The wife's determination is simply beyond the ken of this approach: there is simply no way to write a program that could accomplish this. I concede that it is theoretically possible to write such a program, but I would argue that such a program would be several orders of magnitude more complex than all the software written in human history.

Yes, the decisions made to accomplish the Apollo project were vastly more complicated than the steps taken in the execution of a computer program, but the relationship between the wife's decision and the Apollo project is still of the same quality as the relationship between the wife's decision and the program execution.

How can I make this claim? Because it is possible to write a book explaining in as much detail as one desires the intellectual process that led to the landing on the moon. That process can be explained in such a way that anybody can understand each tiny step. But you can't write a book explaining the means by which the wife made her decision.

What the wife does is indubitably a manifestation of cognitive performance; it is unquestionably of evolutionary and personal significance; and it is undeniable that this cognitive talent is not measured by IQ tests.

Chris Crawford said...

I just had an epiphany that really nails this point. Let's talk about the single most important behavior in evolutionary success: raising successful offspring. I can't imagine any reason for questioning the overwhelming importance of this behavior.

Now, what does it take to accomplish this crucial task? If you're a male, it requires a number of skills, some of which are measured by an IQ test. But what if you're a female? The cognitive performance required of a female in this task includes a great many highly sophisticated decisions, most of which involve social reasoning -- which of course is not measured by an IQ test.

Here's a clear way of thinking about it: is there anything that an IQ test measures that is crucial to raising successful children? And if IQ can't measure that ability, don't you think it's missing a huge part of human mentation?

Anonymous said...

But what if you're a female? The cognitive performance required of a female in this task includes a great many highly sophisticated decisions, most of which involve social reasoning -- which of course is not measured by an IQ test.

How do you know it takes "a great many highly sophisticated decisions" instead of just sniffing pheromones or something?

Chris Crawford said...

How do you know it takes "a great many highly sophisticated decisions" instead of just sniffing pheromones or something?

You don't, and I'd guess that's because you're not female. Males have no clue about social reasoning and so all too frequently dismiss women as silly or unreasoning, when in fact female social reasoning is extremely sophisticated. It's often said that a woman knows what a man is feeling before he knows it -- and there's a lot of truth in that.

It took me decades to figure out that "female intuition" is not a myth and that it really works. Woman who can't do math aren't stupid -- they're very smart in a dimension that males are completely unaware of. It's rather like dogs who can hear high frequencies that we can't, or animals that can see ultraviolet light. The difference is that we don't deny the existence of high-frequency sounds or ultraviolet light, whereas many males are blind to female social reasoning.

When I was young, I used to logically "prove" to my wife that I was right and she was wrong. I was a propellorhead through and through; I honestly thought that logical thinking could solve any problem. It took a lot of patience on her part but she eventually got me to realize that there's more going on in the world than what you can see with logic.

The most common plaint from young guys is "What do women want, anyway?" which is an honest assessment of their cluelessness. And the most common plaint among young women is "Guys just don't get it!", which is also true: they don't!

Anonymous said...

"I've already cited an renowned world authority (Torrey) saying the Irish are not inbred."

I'm not saying they are (except maybe the most remotely rural ones). I'm saying maybe they *were*.

There are (or were) parts of UK cities like London, Birmingham and especially Liverpool with substantial Irish enclaves. Recent *rural* arrivals from southern Ireland were noticably distinct but people who'd been in the UK for 2 or 3 generations not so much if at all.

Now maybe the others were from different parts of Ireland or maybe they were the product of marrying English people but it makes me wonder.

Also i'm not saying there might not be average IQ differences between Britain and Ireland. If there was one latitudinal band with 105 IQ and the next southern band was 95 IQ and the northeners invaded south then the average of the composite might vary according to the percentage with a 50/50 population having a 100 average and an 70/30 population having a 103 average and a 30/70 population having a 97 average.

(Or something along those lines.)

With the inbreeding factor on top of the base level.

(So an inbred part of the 103 population might be 93 and an inbred part of the 97 population might be 87.)

(Or something along those lines.)

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

There's no reason to believe that women have any greater clue as to their "social reasoning" if it's based on things like sniffing pheromones. It's not even clear that it should be considered "reasoning" if it's based on things like sniffing pheromones.

Chris Crawford said...

There's no reason to believe that women have any greater clue as to their "social reasoning" if it's based on things like sniffing pheromones.

You're quite right. Of course, it's NOT based on things like sniffing pheromones. It's a cognitive skill.

Anonymous said...

Of course, it's NOT based on things like sniffing pheromones. It's a cognitive skill.

How do you know it's cognitive and not intuitive or unconscious?

Anonymous said...

I believe a lot of social reasoning and behavior is controlled by the limbic system, which is the oldest and most primitive part of the brain and not really where higher order cognitive activity takes place.

Ron Unz said...

FYI Unz on Race/IQ – The Rural/Urban Divide

Chris Crawford said...

How do you know it's cognitive and not intuitive or unconscious?

Um, perhaps you are defining "cognitive" to mean "whatever is measured by IQ tests". That would explain our difference. My definition is broader: I consider it to refer to anything resulting from cerebral activity. If you want to quibble about the definition, then we can use a different word that reflects the idea that social reasoning is a process that takes place primarily in the cerebrum. And "intuitive" processing and "unconscious" processing are both definitely cerebral processes.

I believe a lot of social reasoning and behavior is controlled by the limbic system

Then the limbic system must be trainable. After all, why do little girls spend so much time teaching themselves social reasoning by means of playing with dolls, social games, etc? And how is it that some males can develop their social reasoning skills? Social reasoning develops from both genetic and environmental influences.

Sean said...

Chris said "...is there anything that an IQ test measures that is crucial to raising successful children?
But do women who test higher than average for IQ do no better than average at raising succesful children? You have brought forward no evidence to show that is the case, and it is counter intuitive eg Mothers' reading style affects children's later understanding of other people's minds .
Using cognitive verbs when reading picture books to their children is not obviously unconnected with IQ. Even if, as Badcock says, "items showing large sex differences are always omitted from IQ tests such as the widely-used Wechsler. The result, of course, is that standard measures of IQ systematically obscure sex differences in intelligence"


The primary quality that a woman needs to raise successful offspring is the ability to attract and choose the right father for her children. Presumably men are selected to prefer women who make good mothers. I don't know of any evidence that the IQ of women is irrelevant is to being a good mother (unless you mean the tendency for high IQ women not to have many or any children, average IQ of the adopting parents in the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study was more than one standard deviation above the population mean). Men are selected for the winning of women, not for understanding them. If men have less social intelligence that is because women don't value those qualities over others when choosing a husband. Just like two nerds marrying is not a good idea, two highly empathetic people marrying could very well result in children who had what Badcock calls hypermentalism.

Chris Crawford said...

Sean, your comment boils down to the correct statement that I have not presented any evidence to support my claim that IQ has no relationship to success in child-rearing. Of course, your claim of the reverse is equally unsupported. The study you quote provides no significant relationship between IQ and child-rearing success.

The primary quality that a woman needs to raise successful offspring is the ability to attract and choose the right father for her children.

That's an important cognitive skill, but it's just one of many. Once the female has obtained the child-rearing services of a male, she has to enforce the implicit deal: she must prevent the man from giving his protein resources to another women. Of course, men are wont to do exactly that, so women have to have the ability to detect cheating. They must also have the social skills necessary to get the social support she needs to enforce the implicit contract. You don't expect her to beat up her cheating husband, do you? The only way she can make him toe the line is to make it clear that, if he cheats on her, she will bring down the condemnation of the entire hunter-gatherer group on him. And THAT takes a lot of social reasoning!

Presumably men are selected to prefer women who make good mothers.

You may presume as such, but in fact that is only a small factor. Men are selected to prefer anything with a hole that they can stick their penis into. The metabolic investment required to roll the dice on impregnating any female (human or otherwise) is so tiny that the male's best reproductive strategy is to fertilize everything possible -- which is pretty much what men do.

It *is* true that civilized males who are effectively constrained from impregnating every female they can do show preferences for higher nubility. For most of history, this boiled down to body fat: a woman with a lot of body fat would have no problem nurturing a fetus in the womb, whereas a skinny woman would have difficulty insuring that the fetus had all the nutrition it needed for healthy development. In wealthy societies where nutrition is no longer a significant factor, male preferences shift to secondary considerations, such as mammary gland size (the better to feed the newborn baby) and pelvis width (the better to survive the birthing process).

Men are selected for the winning of women, not for understanding them.

That's mostly true: a man needed power to obtain women. And that's why men are so blind to the value of social reasoning for women: since they don't have any social reasoning talent, they figure it must not be important. Meanwhile women have always been able to separate males from their wealth quite successfully. Who's the smarter gender? And where in the IQ tests is there any measure of a talent for inducing males to hand over much of their wealth?

If men have less social intelligence that is because women don't value those qualities over others when choosing a husband.

Not quite: it is because women don't value those qualities IN MEN over others.Large pectoral muscles and large biceps in a woman will not attract many men, but men still value those things in themselves. Women still enjoy large benefits from powerful social reasoning skills.

Chris Crawford said...

It seems that a number of people here are unaware of much of the work that has been carried out regarding sexual selection in humans. I can recommend two books for starters:

Why is Sex Fun? by Jared Diamond. This is a popular book that walks you through the basics of the evolution of human sexual behavior.

A more enlightening book is Sarah Blaffer Hrdy's magisterial Mother Nature, which presents an enormous amount of material on the development of mothering behavior in humans.

I think you'll come away from Hrdy's book, with a heightened appreciation of the cognitive talents required for successful mothering.

Anonymous said...

I consider it to refer to anything resulting from cerebral activity. If you want to quibble about the definition, then we can use a different word that reflects the idea that social reasoning is a process that takes place primarily in the cerebrum. And "intuitive" processing and "unconscious" processing are both definitely cerebral processes.

Intuitive and unconscious processing isn't necessarily cerebral. The fight or flight response, for example, takes place in the limbic system.

Chris Crawford said...

Anonymous, this is a semantic quibble. Use whatever words you want. The fact remains that the kind of cognitive skills I've been talking -- exemplified by social reasoning -- are most definitely important dimensions of intelligence. And they're not measured by IQ tests.

Sean said...

Saying IQ has no relationship to success in child-rearing is a very strong statement. There are mental qualities not measured by IQ but it's counter-intuitive that high IQ mothers won't be more effective at teaching social intelligence.
Rural Irish mothers. Here

Social reasoning in women is not there to enforce monogamy and provisioning, as the prevalence of polygyny in some cultures shows.

Chris Crawford said...

Sean, I agree that my claim is a strong statement; but yours is every bit as strong. Indeed, I believe I have Mr. Occam on my side in this.

But here's something to consider:

1. How do spatial reasoning skills enhance maternal performance?
2. How do verbal reasoning skills enhance maternal performance?
3. How does the ability to recognize similarities enhance maternal performance?
4. How do mathematical skills enhance maternal performance?

In the absence of reasonable answer to these questions, the question becomes what, if anything, do IQ tests measure that DOES enhance maternal performance?

BTW, your link was broken when I tried it.

Social reasoning in women is not there to enforce monogamy and provisioning, as the prevalence of polygyny in some cultures shows.

In terms of human evolution, the example you cite is piffling. We've got at least 2 million years of experience with hunter-gatherer groups, and that's what shaped the mind. In such small groups, "marriage" was a temporary affair lasting perhaps five years -- long enough to raise the kids. A successful male could change mates more quickly than a less successful male. It's certainly conceivable that some males were able to support several mates simultaneously -- but these were exceptions to a general rule. The important point remains that women could not rely on their own resources for protection; they needed the support of the group as a whole, or at least a strong faction within the group, to protect their interests.

Male infanticide (males killing babies) has always been a significant factor in mammalian evolution, and it continues to take place even today. How is a woman to prevent male infanticide without strong social support?

By the way, I just read an interesting paper by Steven Mithen on the rise of farming. He examines the speculation that farming arose from a misapplication of social reasoning. It's a fascinating idea because it gets us past the killer problem: the transition from the roving hunter-gather lifestyle to the sedentary farming lifestyle resulted in an immediate loss of caloric income.

Sean said...

Mothers and violent husbands

To get back on topic.
Steve Sailer.In the 2000 U.S. census, only 8.7 percent of Americans identify their ancestry as English, which is ranked fourth behind German, Irish, and African-American [...] In principle, what is the difference between highlighting the value of one's Irish ethnicity and one's Anglo-Saxon ethnicity?"

There is a difference and it has a practical effect, but Ron Unz won't acknowledge it.

Sean said...

[I]f she married an Irish man she ran a good chance of someday being abandoned.

Anonymous said...

"In the absence of reasonable answer to these questions, the question becomes what, if anything, do IQ tests measure that DOES enhance maternal performance?"

Medical, maternity and educational public goods, food surplus, child mortality etc etc etc

Compare

a woman with high whatever-Q in a low IQ country

with

a woman with low whatever-Q in a high IQ country.

.
(Also why would someone argue for the importance of whatever-Q if they didn't already believe there were significant differences in IQ but didn't like the consequences of believing it? Which is fair enough btw but ultimately wrong.)

Chris Crawford said...

Anonymous, would you explain exactly how IQ tests measure "medical, maternity and educational public goods, food surplus, child mortality etc etc etc"?

Also, could you explain the difference between "whatever-Q" and IQ?

Anonymous said...

@Chris Crawford

You already know why.

The inevitable consequence of your approach to that uncomfortable thought is equalizing down which will eventually take us back to the stone age. The truth provides the possibility of equalizing up.

It's like crime. I think part of the reason black violent crime is covered up is because some of the people in charge think it's a "black" thing as in somehow tied innately to blackness - and who knows maybe some of it is - but the bulk of it is simply the black population has a disproportionately high percentage of a particular kind of impulsively violent shithead (for i think straightforward evolutionary and historical reasons) and that percentage isn't particularly high, maybe 6-8%.

If the rule of law was applied equally over a long period of time then the percentage would come down closer to the average of other populations c1-2%.

A lot of well-meaning people won't accept reality and by so doing they prevent the cure.

Anonymous said...

Chris
" would you explain exactly how IQ tests measure "medical, maternity and educational public goods, food surplus, child mortality etc etc etc"

Anon's statement is actually not that difficult to interpret.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1959072

Chris Crawford said...

Anonymous, I would really appreciate it if you would write clear sentences that state your meaning clearly. I cannot understand whatever you're driving at.

Anonymous the Second, you cite a study that showed that some children who were seriously mistreated had some parents who had low IQs. This is rife with flaws:

1. The causality is dispersed among three different factors (emotional problems, IQ, and drug use), so we don't know the magnitude of the causality.

2. Only half of the seriously mistreated children had parents with such problems.

3. The number of seriously mistreated children is a tiny fraction of the overall population, so this tiny datum tells us little about maternal skill overall. The fact that a tiny number of stepfathers kill children in their care does not suggest that all males are incompetent as fathers.

Once again I challenge you to answer these four questions:


1. How do spatial reasoning skills enhance maternal performance?
2. How do verbal reasoning skills enhance maternal performance?
3. How does the ability to recognize similarities enhance maternal performance?
4. How do mathematical skills enhance maternal performance?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "equalizing down," I trust you saw this today:

http://dailycaller.com/2012/07/27/obama-backs-race-based-school-discipline-policies/

I worked in a public high school for over 3 decades. Over the last 15 or so years, the demographics changed, becoming more and more black and Hispanic.

There is simply no other way to state this: the majority of black teens we dealt with, both male and female, are vulgar, undisciplined, and lazy. They enjoy creating chaos. Many are violent.

The NAACP has been on a rampage in CA schools, trying to intimidate districts because so many black kids compile a great many days of suspension. Never do they dare to face the truth: black kids behave badly.

Obama is ....well, he's a damn waste in every damn way.

JL said...

In terms of cognitive performance, the wife's achievement wins, hands down. Putting a man on the moon takes a huge number of simple decisions, whereas penetrating a lie requires a smaller number of immensely more sophisticated decisions.

I disagree. A computer program that can reliably detect lying will become available much sooner than one that can engage in genuine scientific reasoning.

I also think that the cheating husband story is not a good example of "women's intuition". Is there actually evidence that women are better at detecting spousal cheating (or any kind of cheating or lying) than men? From an evolutionary perspective, a cheating spouse is obviously much more damaging to men than women. Polygyny has been and is widespread, because, as Mencken put it, the average woman is sensible enough to prefer half or a quarter or even a tenth of a first-rate man to the whole devotion of a third-rate man. You say that this was not the case in hunter-gatherer times, which may or may not be true, but in any case we are descendants of agriculturalists with their specific adaptations, not hunter-gatherers who were pushed to extinction in most of the world.

The woman who sees through her husband's lies is relying on her accumulated knowledge of his behavior and predilections. If you showed to men and women videos of strangers telling lies or truths, I doubt that women would be better at spotting liars. If there is a sex difference in tasks like this, it's one of degree rather than kind. In fact, you could perhaps make a computer program that would beat most people on this task.

The only way she can make him toe the line is to make it clear that, if he cheats on her, she will bring down the condemnation of the entire hunter-gatherer group on him. And THAT takes a lot of social reasoning!

Yet, in reality men have been vastly more successful at bringing down such condemnation on straying women than vice versa. That would suggest that men are much better at this sort of social reasoning, for obvious evolutionary reasons.

JL said...

IQ is definitely linked to better parenting behaviors. Let's use the IHDP study to illustrate this. It was a "randomized clinical trial study of the effects of intensive intervention on the intellectual development of preterm, low birthweight infants". Variables of interest to us in the study are maternal IQ and the HOME variable. The latter is an inventory of the quality and extent of stimulation available to a child in the home environment, measuring "(1) Responsivity: the extent of responsiveness of the parent to the child; (2) Acceptance: parental acceptance of suboptimal behavior and avoidance of restriction and punishment; (3) Organization: including regularity and predictability of the environment; (4) Learning Materials: provision of appropriate play and learning materials; (5) Involvement: extent of parental involvement; and (6) Variety in daily stimulation."

The correlation between maternal IQ and the HOME variable was .46. This means that higher-IQ mothers provide their children with more stimulating home environments. The correlation of .46 is an underestimate of the correlation in society at large, because the IQ range was restricted in the sample.

However, the most causally important association between IQ and raising successful children is that parents pass on their IQ genes to their children. Note that as adults adopted children are on average no more similar in IQ to their adoptive parents than to random people in the same population, whereas there's a sizable correlation between parents and their biological children.

Chris Crawford said...

A computer program that can reliably detect lying will become available much sooner than one that can engage in genuine scientific reasoning.

First, a qualifier: let's set aside the use of lie detector machines that measure skin conductivity and heart rate. While these sometimes work, they're not reliable enough to use in court. Instead, let's concentrate on the processing going on inside the wife's mind, which, as you note, is based on past history as well as the visual information she collects.

Do you have any idea how complex facial expressions are? Are you familiar with micro expressions, which take place so quickly that they can be missed by video recordings? The study of human facial emotions goes all the way back to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Expression_of_the_Emotions_in_Man_and_Animals>Darwin</a>and has been pursued extensively, generating a vast literature, yet we STILL cannot define exactly what goes on in the most subtle facial expressions.

You would do well to brush up on the evolutionary history of lying as a battle between the sexes. Again, there's a lot of research on this subject; being able to lie successfully is evolutionarily advantageous, and being able to detect lying is even more advantageous, hence these mental faculties have been honed to a very high level.

Your optimism that we'll soon have computer programs that can detect lying is no different from the optimism of computer scientists in the 1950s that computers would soon be translating languages. We STILL can't do that with any fidelity -- try Google translation sometime.

<i>Is there actually evidence that women are better at detecting spousal cheating (or any kind of cheating or lying) than men?</i>

I don't have any at hand but it is very strongly established that women are better at social reasoning than men.

<i>From an evolutionary perspective, a cheating spouse is obviously much more damaging to men than women.</i>

You're thinking in terms of modern life. This is crucial to understanding the human mind: it spent about 6 million years developing in a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in Africa. It has spent less than 10,000 years developing in a sedentary lifestyle. So 99.83% of our evolutionary history has been hunter-gatherer, and only 0.17% of our history has been sedentary.

In hunter-gatherer societies, female infidelity is significant only insofar as the male is tricked into feeding a child that is not his own. But male infidelity means loss of support for the female, leading to the likely starvation of her children. Thus, the damage inflicted by infidelity is somewhat greater for females than for males. And males have a strong enforcement mechanism unavailable to females: infanticide. Yes, they used it frequently.

Sedentary life permits the accumulation of possessions, which must be passed down to the next generation upon the death of the parent. The problem is that ancestry can only be verifiably determined matrilineally, whereas inheritance is usually determined patrilineally. This discrepancy is the source of the extreme punishments visited upon female adulterers. The damage from male adultery is limited to the wife, and can be minimized if the cheating male continues to provide adequately for the wife.

But the damage from female adultery is the discrediting of the inheritance line. When this involve large amounts of property, especially land, the entire society can be disrupted by the ensuing battles over the property.

Enough for now. More later.

Chris Crawford said...

Oh, crap, I screwed up the URL. Here it is:

Darwin

Sean said...

You're sidetracking the comments Chris. This isn't your blog.

Average Joe said...

I am even more skeptical of your recent data on "Irish Americans." There is no such population. There are simply a lot of people with varying amounts of Irish ancestry.

This is a very weak argument. As the American-born son of Irish immigrants I can tell you that Irish-Americans do exist. Also you seem to be saying that anyone with a high IQ who identifies as Irish must also have non-Irish ancestry. Why would a high-IQ non-Irish person marry a low-IQ Irish person? In my experience, people generally like to marry those with a similar level of intelligence to themselves. Therefore a high-IQ non-Irish person would be more likely to marry a high-IQ Irish person than a low-IQ Irish person. Therefore a high-IQ person with some Irish ancestry is more likely to be descended from a high-IQ Irish person than from a low-IQ one.

Average Joe said...

The ethnically Irish in the US have remained of low socio economic status.

Can you produce data to back this up?

Chris Crawford said...

Sean:

You're sidetracking the comments Chris. This isn't your blog.

This isn't your blog, either. It's Peter's prerogative to advise me if I have digressed too far, not yours.

JL, your lengthy discussion of the IHDP study and the HOME inventory is interesting but irrelevant. As you yourself observe, the primary factor at work here is genetic: mothers with high IQs tend to have children with high IQs. But this doesn't address my point, which is that IQ does not address maternal PERFORMANCE.

Once again, the challenge I put before you is to present any plausible mechanism under which a high IQ would improve maternal performance. How does talent at mentally rotating complex shapes in 3-space enhance maternal performance?

Anonymous said...

Chris,

You need to spend some time around dumb women with infants and toddlers. Go to any inner city where the mothers are likely to be on welfare. Sit on a stoop outside on a hot night and watch. Watch them not watching their kids and/or watch them watching their kids. It's best if you can actually be invited to talk with them as you'll be educated as to what they are or are not thinking as their babies do this or that.

Hopefully, you can go inside with them as well. You'll see that many of them, in an effort to keep away dangerous items from a crawling baby, fail to put the item(s) up high enough to elude the child's grasp. How many times I've heard, this response when baby gets the item that could be trouble: "Oh, I didn't think he could reach it there." (spatial problems, perhaps?)

You'll see them push wood or glass-topped coffee tables out of the center of the room where baby happens to be that_ very_ second, furniture that might crack his head should he fall as he tries to pull himself up or as he toddles, only to push the furniture against a nearby wall. Then, they feel they can leave the room, as if baby can't crawl or toddle over a few feet to that item. "Oh, I didn't think he could get there before I got back from the kitchen." (time/space relationships)

I do believe there are a great many more accidental injuries to very young children among the poor (and yes, most of the time poor correlates to the not very bright) compared to kids of the middle class. I do believe maternal IQ has a lot to do with the incidence of injuries.

I was a very young kid out of college with no maternal experience myself when I first witnessed this, and I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought, "What the hell?????" At the time, I didn't what I was seeing was the result of low intelligence; I told myself it was unawareness or it was lack of common sense, but.....hey, IQ is related to awareness and "common sense" is a term that connotes a modicum of intelligence.

I'm not in the sciences and I appreciate what you are asking but I do think a day or so spent around these women (and no, they aren't all young) might give you your answer.

Chris Crawford said...

Anonymous, you are providing personal evidence that is anecdotal in nature. I too have personal experiences observing mothers, and they are not consistent with your conclusions. But I would not offer my personal observations as evidence, because they are too likely to be biased by personal circumstances.

Do we have any evidence that relates IQ scores to maternal performance? Do we have any plausible mechanisms that could explain a causal relationship between the two? I believe that the answer in both cases is "No". So far, nobody has produced significant evidence to the contrary.

JL said...

Do you have any idea how complex facial expressions are? Are you familiar with micro expressions, which take place so quickly that they can be missed by video recordings?

Yes, I'm familiar with microexpressions. If they are missed by video recordings, you obviously must increase the frame rate.

Your optimism that we'll soon have computer programs that can detect lying is no different from the optimism of computer scientists in the 1950s that computers would soon be translating languages. We STILL can't do that with any fidelity -- try Google translation sometime.

I never claimed that we will soon have such programs. I said that we'll have them sooner than we'll have thinking machines. That much seems obvious.

Google Translate, incidentally, makes very understandable translations between at least some language pairs, and it's hardly even the best program on the market.

I don't have any at hand but it is very strongly established that women are better at social reasoning than men.

Your arguments would be more credible if you had evidence, any evidence for your claims.

In hunter-gatherer societies, female infidelity is significant only insofar as the male is tricked into feeding a child that is not his own.

How do you know that? Certainly one cannot make such far-ranging claims based on contemporary hunter-gatherers. Hunter-gatherers were displaced by agriculturalists in most of the world, and surviving hunter-gatherers generally live in marginal lands that agriculturalists were not able to utilize and to which the hunter-gatherers have since adapted, both culturally and biologically. Today's hunter-gatherers cannot be used as stand-ins for Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. Moreover, as I noted above, the Neolithic revolution most probably brought about new adaptations -- it was both a cultural and genetic revolution.

And males have a strong enforcement mechanism unavailable to females: infanticide. Yes, they used it frequently.

Infanticide is rarely used to enforce fidelity. It's used for birth or population control purposes, often by mothers.

JL said...

JL, your lengthy discussion of the IHDP study and the HOME inventory is interesting but irrelevant. As you yourself observe, the primary factor at work here is genetic: mothers with high IQs tend to have children with high IQs. But this doesn't address my point, which is that IQ does not address maternal PERFORMANCE.

I agree that cognitive stimulation in childhood is unlikely to have much lasting influence on IQ (the IHDP was another experiment that failed to raise the IQs of low-IQ children by providing them with intensive cognitive stimulation). However, I think that the things measured by the HOME inventory are relevant far beyond their effect or lack thereof on children's IQ. Your position seems to be that such things as how a mother reacts to bad behavior from her child, what sort of play and learning materials she purchases, or how much time she spends talking with the child have NOTHING to do with maternal performance. If so, what does good maternal behavior consist of, in your opinion?

Another study that demonstrates the importance of g in everyday life, including being a mother, is The National Adult Literacy Survey or the NALS, which "provides estimates of the proportion of adults who are able to perform everyday tasks of different complexity levels". The NALS is a highly g-loaded verbal ability test. Some of its findings are summarized in this article, a quote:

A total of about one third of White adults reach Level 3 (276-325), but no
higher, which includes capabilities for writing a brief letter explaining an error in
a credit card bill and using a flight schedule to plan travel arrangements. Level 2 proficiency (226-275) includes locating an intersection on a street map, entering background information on an application for a social security card, and determining the price difference between two show tickets. This level is reached but not exceeded by about 25% of Whites. Finally, one out of seven White adults functions routinely no higher than Level 1 (less than 225), which is limited to 80% proficiency in skills like locating an expiration date on a driver’s license and totaling a bank deposit.


It's quite obvious that women who have trouble carrying out simple everyday tasks like those mentioned above will have trouble making similarly simple decisions on behalf of their children. One further example mentioned in the article is that low-IQ people have trouble understanding routine medical instructions, such as those printed on drug packages -- which probably explains some of the poorer health outcomes of low-IQ people and their children. Another obvious benefit of higher maternal IQ for children is that higher IQ is linked to more stable family structures and higher incomes.

Sean said...

Chris, It's not the sidetracking or digression I really object to, it's iteration. I went to some trouble to digress with you in a way I hoped was interesting especially to you (re. plotting, theory of mind, and story telling) when you started talking about social intelligence. You've made clear you don't accept the relevance of problems in IQ tests to real life success, in particular maternal skills. OK, that is a reasonable view and you are far from alone in being an intelligent person who holds it.

We are just going round and round as you tell successive antagonists that you're not convinced by their (virtually identical) arguments.

The post is about Ron's arguments. Ron Unz accepts the relevance of IQ test results. He thinks that population IQ averages improve with more modern living conditions. Surely there is something for you to say about idea

JL said...

Peter, my last comment seems to have vanished. Can you recover it?

Sean said...

Average Joe. Once priests had managed to persuade them to stop rioting, schools did a good job for Irish in the US. Still, the ethnically Irish community in the US is notable for it's political machines and patronage (well paid municipal employees, like cops and firefighters). Not for transcending their working class origins. An rather high proportion of white convicts are Irish. The founding members of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang were Irish.

Chris Crawford said...

JL wrote, in reference to my claim that women have better social reasoning skills than men:

Your arguments would be more credible if you had evidence, any evidence for your claims.

Very well, here's a little evidence for you:

Explaining gender differences in crime and violence: The importance of social cognitive skills (abstract only):

"One of the reasons females have lower rates of offending is because they acquire social cognitive skills earlier in life than males do and because they have better prosocial skills. The superior social cognitive skills of females are influenced by many factors..."

I found a great paper, although it's rather old, that lays out the basics of gender differences as predicted by evolutionary psychology: David M. Buss. It's only four pages long and a quick read. I won't quote it because the link is to an image of the page, not the text of the paper. Note particularly the section on identifying men who are willing to invest.

Here's a cute little squib from Psychology Today outlining differences between men and women with respect to infidelity: here.

Here's a quote from the abstract of a paper on social and behavioral skills:

"Girls retain an advantage both because they begin school with more advanced social and behavioral skills, and because their skill advantage grows over time."

Here's an HTML version of a PowerPoint presentation on socialization in young girls and boys in India. It's pretty clear from the content that the girls do better at social activities than then boys.

You might also want to explore the Jungian notions of animus/anima. Although they are not empirically established, the basic concepts, especially regarding reversal of development in middle age, is broadly accepted among psychologists.

Anonymous said...

Chris Crawford, you said above:

"I've known two mothers whom I could clearly see were doing an excellent job and in fact their children have turned out great. I have also known three mothers whom I knew at the time were doing a lousy job, and sure enough, their kids turned out to be so-so. Yes, it's just anecdotal, but I'm sure everybody here has seen something roughly similar (if they've lived long enough to see their friends' children grow up)."

So, you think anecdotal evidence can be worthwhile, yet to my point about dull mothers and their parenting skills, you said,

"Anonymous, you are providing personal evidence that is anecdotal in nature. I too have personal experiences observing mothers, and they are not consistent with your conclusions. But I would not offer my personal observations as evidence, because they are too likely to be biased by personal circumstances."

I accept that your personal experiences are "not consistent" with my conclusions, as long as you have spent the time I have around such women; you don't make clear that you have. Perhaps you can set me straight about that because I find it hard to believe anyone spending much time around these women did NOT see this.

However, the larger point is that anecdotal evidence can offer us some instruction.

JL said...

Chris, sorry for the delay.

I'm familiar with ev-psych theories, so while I did look through your links, there was really nothing new for me in them (in fact, most of them did not even discuss sex differences in ev-psych terms). Aside from some obvious things like that men are much less selective about sexual partners, ev-psych theories are fatally underdetermined, i.e., there are many different plausible explanations and implications of the available evidence. Ev-psych generally relies on rather weak observational data which makes it difficult to draw strong causal inferences.

Other problems include the tendency of ev-psychologists to ignore evidence from other, methodologically more rigorous fields. For example, population genetic research indicates that H. sapiens has undergone much selection in the last 10,000 years, which compromises the "Stone-Age mind" theory, while psychometricians have established that general cognitive ability is of central importance in human affairs, which falsifies the massive modularity thesis. For these and other reasons, I simply don't find your extravagant claims about women and "social intelligence" to be persuasive.

Here's a quote from the abstract of a paper on social and behavioral skills:

Note that the authors refer to those those skills as non-cognitive skills. I agree with them.

Here's an HTML version of a PowerPoint presentation on socialization in young girls and boys in India. It's pretty clear from the content that the girls do better at social activities than then boys.

Actually, they found that overall boys exhibited more prosocial behaviors than girls, and also more unsociable behaviors. There are sex differences in social behavior, but whichever sex is "superior" in any specific situation varies. Moreover, there's much overlap between the sexes, so the differences are never categorical.

You might also want to explore the Jungian notions of animus/anima. Although they are not empirically established, the basic concepts, especially regarding reversal of development in middle age, is broadly accepted among psychologists.

Nope. Psychoanalysis is generally rejected in contemporary academic psychology.

JL said...

JL, your lengthy discussion of the IHDP study and the HOME inventory is interesting but irrelevant. As you yourself observe, the primary factor at work here is genetic: mothers with high IQs tend to have children with high IQs. But this doesn't address my point, which is that IQ does not address maternal PERFORMANCE.

I agree that cognitive stimulation is unlikely to have much lasting effect on IQ (the IHDP was another study that failed to increase the abilities of low-IQ children through intensive cognitive stimulation). However, I think the HOME inventory is relevant far beyond its effect or lack thereof on cognitive ability, because it measures such things as how the mother reacts to bad behavior from her children, what sort of learning materials she purchases, and how much time she spends talking with her children. You seem to think that such behaviors have nothing to do with maternal performance. If so, what then constitutes good maternal behavior, in your opinion? What kind of evidence would persuade you to accept that maternal IQ is not irrelevant?

Also relevant for maternal performance is the fact that IQ is important even for very mundane everyday tasks. Linda Gottfredson has written a lot about the importance of g in everyday life, see here and here. For example, data from the highly g-loaded NALS tests indicate many low-IQ individuals have trouble carrying out simple everyday tasks:

A total of about one third of White adults reach Level 3 (276-325), but no higher, which includes capabilities for writing a brief letter explaining an error in a credit card bill and using a flight schedule to plan travel arrangements. Level 2 proficiency (226-275) includes locating an intersection on a street map, entering background information on an application for a social security card, and determining the price difference between two show tickets. This level is reached but not exceeded by about 25% of Whites. Finally, one out of seven White adults functions routinely no higher than Level 1 (less than 225), which is limited to 80% proficiency in skills like locating an expiration date on a driver’s license and totaling a bank deposit.

It goes without saying that mothers who have trouble with these simple tasks will have trouble making decisions on behalf of their children. Another example mentioned by Gottfredson is that low-IQ people often do not understand medical instructions, such as those printed on drug packages, which probably explains some of the health disparities between the children of low- and high-IQ mothers.

Other obvious benefits that higher maternal IQ confers on children include higher income and more stable family structures.

To recap, I think there are specialized cognitive modules, but I have yet to encounter evidence of intellectual performance that is completely independent of g. Men and women may vary in social skills, but this a difference in degree, not in kind, and women do not possess superior skills in all domains of social life.

Anonymous said...

How do you test the IQ of a Nigerian primary school drop-out (too dumb!!) but who has managed to acquire wealth by conning(called 419) highly intelligent Europeans and Americans entrepeneurs out of millions of dollars? Not armed robbery, just the use of words in e mails and phone conversations? His kids are now students of top universities in England.