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Bronze vessel in the form of a snail shell, 9th century, Igbo-Ukwu. The Igbo developed metallurgy much earlier than the rest of West Africa. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
There has been much talk here about Chanda Chisala's article "The IQ gap is no longer a black and white issue." Much of the article focuses on the Igbo (known also as Ibo), a people who live in the Niger Delta and "are well known to be high academic achievers within Nigeria." In the United... Read More
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Great at reading or recognizing faces? You might not do so well on an IQ test.
The English psychologist Charles Spearman was the first to argue that a single factor, called "g," explains most of the variability in human intelligence. When observing the performance of children at school, he noticed that a child who did well in math would also do well in geography or Latin. There seemed to be a... Read More
My weekly posts are now appearing on The Unz Review( By accepting Ron's invitation, I hope to reach a bigger audience and bring myself closer to other writers in the area of human biodiversity. When people work together, or simply alongside each other, minor differences can be ironed out and major differences narrowed or at... Read More
A steady increase in reaction time seems to begin circa 1980 in Sweden, Great Britain, and the United States (h/t to hbd* chick) Has reaction time been steadily increasing from generation to generation? This was the finding of a paper last year, which argued that mean IQ had fallen in Britain by 13 points since... Read More
Allele dominance (source). A single copy of a dominant allele is as effective as two copies of a recessive allele. The current thinking is that intellectual capacity has increased in humans through new alleles that cause small positive effects at a large number of gene loci. It now seems that some of these new alleles... Read More
World distribution of the recent Microcephalin allele. The prevalence is indicated in black and the letter 'D' refers to the 'derived' or recent allele(Evans et al., 2005) Almost a decade ago, there was much interest in a finding that a gene involved in brain growth, Microcephalin, continued to evolve after modern humans had begun to... Read More
PISA test documents at a German school (source: Theo Müller). PISA and IQ tests are informing us about differences in intellectual capacity by country. Meanwhile, genetic studies are informing us about genomic differences by country. Davide Piffer has been tapping into these two pools of data to explore the links between genes and intellectual capacity.... Read More
IQ, height, and homicide rate in Japan (red = lowest value, light blue = highest value) (Kura, 2013). The longer and harsher the winter, the greater the need for cognition and male solidarity? The Japanese are descended from the intermixture 2900 to 1500 years ago of indigenous hunter-gatherers, the Jomon people, with incoming farmers from... Read More
Bandit with traditional tattoos (source). In premodern China, who enjoyed the most reproductive success? The thrifty hardworking farmer? Or the local bandit/warlord? In my last post, I asked how well the Clark-Unz model of selection applied to Japan and Korea (Unz, 2013). Let me now ask a more obvious question. How well did it apply... Read More
Syngman Rhee in 1905 and later South Korea’s first president (1948-1960). Though born into a rural family of modest means, he was of yangban and even royal lineage (source). Why is mean IQ higher in East Asia than elsewhere? Ron Unz (2013) sees the key cause in a scarcity of land and women that continually... Read More
“‘How could any man in our village claim that his family had been poor for three generations? If a man is poor, then his son can’t afford to marry; and if his son can’t marry, there can’t be a third generation” China’s poor were continually removed from the gene pool, their places taken by downwardly... Read More
Labrador retriever running an obstacle course. Can dog intelligence shed light on human intelligence? (source) My last post described a Chinese project to identify the many genes that contribute to normal variation in human intelligence. If successful, it will simply demonstrate what we already know, i.e., genes are largely responsible for the differences in intelligence... Read More
Robert Plomin on the genetics of various mental traits (source) A Chinese research team is looking for genes that explain why IQ is higher in some people and lower in others: The head of the team, Zhao Bowen, believes this question has not be
Was the scientific revolution (1540-1700) due to an increase in trade and the discovery of the New World? Or were there just more people around who could understand and appreciate new ideas? (source) The past year has seen the deaths of two scholars who tackled the thorny issue of IQ and race, first Philippe Rushton... Read More
Just horsing around? Or is there also a political message? It’s year’s end, and to date I’ve written nothing on the three themes I promised to blog about back in January. One reason was the need to comment on certain unforeseen events, like Phil Rushton’s death and the confirmation that Europeans became white-skinned long after... Read More
Recent research, such as by historical economist Gregory Clark, suggests that differences in mental and behavioral traits cannot always be ascribed to different reproductive strategies, as Philippe Rushton suggested. There probably will never be a unified theory of human biodiversity … other than the theory of evolution by natural selection. Last March, I was asked... Read More
Do older fathers have dumber children? For the past millennium, paternal age has been relatively high in Europe west of the Hajnal line. Yet, if anything, mean IQ is higher there than elsewhere. H/T to JayMan (source) Greg Cochran has been running a series of posts on paternal age and IQ (here, here, and here).... Read More
Unemployment rates in the West and East of Germany (source) Did East German conscripts become smarter because East Germans were becoming smarter? Or were smarter individuals increasingly seeing the army as an alternative to unemployment? In a recent study of conscripts entering the German army, Roivainen (2012) has found that the mean IQ of East... Read More
Sign for an inn, late 17th century, New France. Many merchants began as innkeepers who provided not only accommodation but also other services. (source) I have just published an article in the journal Advances in Anthropology: Tay-Sachs and French Canadians: A Case of Gene-Culture Co-Evolution? Comments are welcome. Abstract Tay-Sachs, an inherited neurological disorder, is... Read More
You want to publish a book about HBD? You’ll have to find a wealthy patron. Debate is continuing over Ron Unz’s article on Race, IQ, and Wealth. In a favorable review at Living Anthropologically, the following comment caught my eye: Raised eyebrows ... And those people aren’t the only ones. Ron’s 2009 tax return mentions... Read More
Does higher IQ correlate with colder temperatures? Not among people belonging to the same cultural system, such as the Chinese. (source) Big brains are costly, not only because of their high energy consumption but also because many genes have to interact to create neural tissue. The bigger and more complex the brain, the more it... Read More
Cover page of American Conservative, a megaphone for dubious science? (source) My comments on Ron Unz’s article “Race, IQ, and Wealth” have led to further exchanges between myself and Ron. There seem to be two sticking points: Ron is more like a military strategist than an academic. In other words, the goal is already decided... Read More
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.... Read More
Red-winged blackbird (source). Is dark coloration directly linked to male aggressiveness? For the past thirty years, psychologist Philippe Rushton has been using life history theory to explain human differences in many areas: IQ, sexual development, parental investment, mating system, time orientation, etc. Initially, he saw skin color as being incidental. In recent years, however, he... Read More
Pupils studying for the Chinese civil service exam. One conundrum of human biodiversity is the high mean IQ of East Asians, specifically Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese. On average, they outclass all other human populations on IQ tests, which were originally designed by and for Europeans. This intellectual success is matched by the economic success not... Read More
The latest issue of Evolution and Human Behavior has an article on paternal investment and IQ. Using a longitudinal dataset of children born in Britain in 1958, Nettle (2008) found a significant positive correlation between a child’s IQ at age 11 and the father’s degree of family involvement. The less a father cared for his... Read More
The October issue of Scientific American has an article on the search for genes that influence intelligence. Twin studies suggest that such genes exist, yet efforts to date have been disappointing for Robert Plomin, a behavioral geneticist at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. That means that there must be hundreds—perhaps thousands—of genes that together... Read More
The New York Times has run an article on genetic research by Dr. David Goldstein of Duke University. His main finding is that most human diseases with a genetic basis are not due to common alleles. They are apparently due to rare alleles that have not been eliminated by natural selection. This seems to argue... Read More
G is general intelligence, a common property we see in the similar test scores that people show for different cognitive tasks. But just what is this common property that makes some people generally smarter than others? There have been attempts to identify g with a specific brain characteristic. Unfortunately, as Anderson (1995) notes: Whatever g... Read More
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