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Smart groups are (simply) groups of smart people.
Few things attract more attention in the business world than new ways of making groups work well. As any fool knows, groups are a pain. They argue, dither, drift off course, waste time and resources, and produce loads of rubbish. Worse, all those participants draw salaries, so treasure is wasted. Surely, bosses think, any technique... Read More
Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which is more probable? 1. Linda is a bank teller. 2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the... Read More
Add fertilizer and yields are boosted, up to a plateau; ignore the quality of the seed and yields slowly decline.
Everyone knows about the Flynn Effect, but very few about the Woodley Effect. When Woodley was working on his paper in 2013 “Were the Victorians cleverer than us? The decline in general intelligence estimated from a meta-analysis of the slowing of simple reaction time” I wrote to Charles Murray about his findings, and in his... Read More
Throughout my American Nations series (based on the books American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard and Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer) I've talked about how North America is divided into distinct ethnocultural regions based on historic settlement patterns. These... Read More
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It is good that people are discussing IQ. Fred Reed’s post has drawn many comments, too many for me to answer individually. Here I outline the main heads of his argument as I see them, and some of the relevant research. My summary of Reed’s post is: Intelligence is important; intelligence research is important and... Read More
No story about the brain is simple; no one study is definitive; and it takes many years to sort out conflicting and inconsistent findings and establish a weight of evidence. It is a fundamental truth that any researcher who can put a person in a scanner can publish a paper. Any researcher able to talk... Read More
In my earlier entry (Clannishness – The Series: How It Happened), we saw that the thing that made the difference between WEIRD Northwestern Europeans and their more clannish neighbors was the selective pressures that each underwent during their histories – particularly since the fall of Rome until the present. This era in time established the... Read More
  I have never played Scrabble. I may have tried once, but certainly gave up very quickly, before even finishing the game. I like words, but I don’t particularly like games. I can’t see the point of Scrabble, and would prefer to read a book, in which the words are assembled to convey meaning. Unscrabble.... Read More
Intelligence is worth talking about because both the reality of intelligence and perceptions regarding intelligence set limits on the possible and influence policy. For example, if the population of India on average really is below borderline retardation, the country can never amount to anything. If Latino immigrants really are as stupid as white nationalists hope,... Read More
What is the use of Psychology? Surely knowing some psychology should confer an advantage? I mean a real advantage, over and above being able to give complicated post-event commentaries? How about this? If survival means avoiding premature death, then living is perpetual problem solving, and the better the solutions to problems, the better the standard... Read More
Flynn Effect background explanations.
    The Flynn Effect is important to understand; it is better understood now than ever before, but there is more to research; and it is probably more limited in its real-world consequences than people imagine, though the long-term consequences are still being debated. Say you take any test of ability, and as an example... Read More
  The Flynn Effect was originally noted by Rundquist (1936) and Lynn (1982) and then Flynn (1984). Credit should probably go to Runquist, but a happy compromise is to call it the FLynn effect, in honour of the two major researchers. The history has been described by Lynn, in part of a Special Issue on... Read More
My earlier entry (Clannishness – the Series: Zigzag Lightning in the Brain) established that there are deep distinctions between Northwestern European peoples and most of the rest of the world, and that these differences have a huge impact on the world, including on levels of human development, the strength of democracy and democratic institutions, scientific... Read More
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I am still settling in at unz.com so please forgive me if I forget my lines and bump into the furniture, because the stage is much larger than my former small theatre. Not only that, but the cast is enormous, and the commentating audience ten times larger than usual, and rowdier. No country for an... Read More
Things move fast. A published paper comes to the attention of Steve Sailer and suddenly a section of a puzzle gets completed. http://www.unz.com/isteve/school-test-scores-in-africa/ Better still, the boundaries of ignorance get pushed backwards, which is always a good idea, and a fine Christmas present. From the isolation of my study, and from the depths of my... Read More
Thank you to the 5018 readers who looked in on “Psychological Comments” yesterday. Why? Not complaining, just curious. For the previous highest daily total see: http://www.unz.com/jthompson/der-tag-2/
One of the delights of being a member of a community of researchers in the modern age is the speed with which colleagues can come together to answer a question and scope out a solution to a problem. Steve Sailer has looked at the most recent PISA results, which he has been discussing generically for... Read More
If you are of sensitive disposition, and certainly if you are over 60 years of age, look away now. Age is not good news for the thinking person. The results can be summarised in one word: decline. If you protest that I have been too brief, I can triple the word count: decline and fall.... Read More
In my day, intelligence and personality required completely different lectures. Indeed, the subject areas did not overlap at all and each had a very different tone: intelligence involved intelligence tests, in which it was possible to do badly, which was certainly a disappointment to many in the class, and a source of much anti-IQ resentment.... Read More
A blogger is a harmless drudge, a filter paper between a sack of coffee beans and a small expresso. On the positive side, there is a sack of information to be read in the torrent of publications on intelligence. On the negative side, there is an even greater Sargasso Sea of mangled misunderstanding about human... Read More
Writing a blog can be fun. Post something up one day, get someone writing in with a good tip about another subject for the next day. The notion that immigrants are criminal has been described as a stereotype. As you know, a stereotype is a preliminary insight, the first step in noticing differences and encapsulating... Read More
Are immigrants more likely to claim benefits, or is this a stereotype? A stereotype is a preliminary insight. A stereotype can be true, the first step in noticing differences. For conceptual economy, stereotypes encapsulate the characteristics most people have noticed. Not all heuristics are false. Here is a relevant paper from Denmark. Emil O. W.... Read More
A few hours ago I posted up a commentary on a paper: Brad Verhulst, Lindon J. Eaves, Peter K. Hatemi. Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies. Am J Pol Sci. 2012; 56(1): 34–51. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809096/ Somewhat warily I added: I have scrabbled around for some guidance on this (personality and political... Read More
Losing an election is no fun. Hopes are dashed, and at least 4 years must pass (5 in the UK) before electors get a chance to vote the other lot out. Deferred gratification is a test of character. It is natural for the losing side to feel incredulous when their side is defeated, particularly if... Read More
Last night I went to bed expecting a Clinton victory, because although opinion polls can be wrong, the margin of Democrat advantage exceeded the apparent margin of polling error. To further confirm my ineptitude at forecasting, I had also thought Remain would win over Leave in the Brexit referendum, for the same reason. Today I... Read More
Whilst the US election is still being decided, I have jumped the gun over all other commentators, and got my wise post-election explanations in first. After every election commentators aver that “the country is split” and then explain how a massive fault line runs between the winners and the losers. This is interesting, but it... Read More
Some people think it is not worth voting because their individual vote is insignificant when compared to the total electorate. For example, the total US electorate is estimated to be 226 million, against which most individuals would consider themselves to be insignificant. The basis of that particular argument is what I call the metric shift... Read More
As you know, I don’t do policy, but I am aware that there is an election happening in the US, and it is a particular feature of this election that each side is accusing the other side of being very stupid. You may feel that one side does it more than another, but that is... Read More
Baba Sy breaking world record for simultaneous draughts play.
The first logical way the American-invented cognitive game of Scrabble settles the score against radical hereditarians in the racial (Black-White) IQ gap debate is through a two step process: how do white female players compare to white male players in top-level elite Scrabble? Since many mainstream cognitive psychologists tell us that white women (like white... Read More
I am slowly learning the perverse art of headline writing, but retain an inherent allegiance to telling the truth: I am sure that there are the usual sex differences in Romanian men and women, as indicated in the traditional costumes above, but apparently no consistent differences in intelligence. A null result is as important as... Read More
Despite having spent much of my professional life dealing with post-traumatic reactions, I rarely blog about it. One interpretation is that it arouses painful memories, but in fact most of my memories are positive ones of patients recovering, even if for some they were only partial recoveries. Mostly I speak about it less because others... Read More
If you have anything to do with a university, you are probably above such childish things as university rankings. Just to explain to my esteemed readers what other less refined people get up to: university rankings attempt to assess universities according to the quality of their research and, if desperate, by the quality of their... Read More
Sex differences fascinate, but would be easier to understand if only they would stand still for a moment! Reported sex differences vary in magnitude, 3 to 1, or 4 to 1, or 7 to 1. As usual, it depends on the representativeness of samples, the abilities being measured, and also how far out on the... Read More
In a wish to show I am capable of building up dramatic tension, here is one slide from a talk by Prof Heiner Rindermann which shows the correlations between cognitive ability, institutions and the wealth of nations, arranged in a Structural Equation Model. The loadings have been removed just to make the picture clearer, but... Read More
Cultural lag is the polite term for habits and hypotheses that never die. They become immune to refutation by virtue of constant repetition. One such meme, due to Lewontin (1972), asserts that there is more genetic variation within genetic groups than between them, and therefore that…… er, ….there is no difference between the groups/there is... Read More
That is the striking headline in The Telegraph, with all the makings of a modern horror story. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/10/widow-of-scientist-stabbed-to-death-by-mentally-ill-illegal-immi/ The Daily Mail likewise: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3830357/Widow-Islington-stab-victim-Dr-Jeroen-Ensink-speak-sentencing-Femi-Nandap.html The Guardian is more circumspect, but equally informative
Intelligence is the ability to perform well across a wide range of tasks. Intuition is inexpressible implicit knowledge. Creativity is synthesizing knowledge to produce novel ideas. One day my daughter came back from school, very excited. Nothing particular in that: she enjoyed education. But this time it was more than a class discussion, a maths... Read More
Whereas there are many very well funded projects which study national and international scholastic ability without mentioning intelligence, there is one database for the national intelligence of the countries of the world, and that was put together by one person, unfunded, working in his study. Prof Richard Lynn gathered together the very disparate studies which... Read More
One flight to Edinburgh and I could get an education:   R programming: so I could crunch data again without SPSS. It might drive me mad, but I am told that thereafter all is serene and pure, like Chapman’s Homer. Cognitive Genetics: so I could read results with more insight, and spot any errors or... Read More
The received wisdom about lonely hearts ads is that men advertise their status and wealth, women their looks. It is a simple trade. More nuanced approaches suggest that successful relationships will depend on similarities of character, interests and ambitions. More prosaically, that men and women will stay together when they do things together, because they... Read More
Traditionally, British Sundays were a day of repose, dedicated to the minority who wished to go to church, on whose behalf the godless majority forswore pleasure, and dedicated themselves to uplifting literature and improving healthy walks. Mostly, it rained, and Monday was a relief. For your proper entertainment, here is Emil himself, in full flow.... Read More
Journalists, being fed news of some dreadful event, are prone to ask their studio guests: “Can I have a quick reaction?” Almost always the Talking Head comes up with an off-the-cuff reaction, also known as an opinion, as to whether the event is the end of: a dictator/a government/a country/low cost oil/Western civilization/the planet. I... Read More
Here are the contact details for Julius E-mail: juliusdb.science@gmail.com Twitter: @Julius_d_b Here is the link to his lecture slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1fgiUu3puQILhLw7FoLswz-y-3yQ4AC1Q9rYTgZHVebE/edit?usp=sharing For the complete lecture, see the previous post.
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Why the Future is Looking Bright for Dullards
David H. Freedman’s “The War on Stupid People” (The Atlantic) provides a compelling argument that we collectively assign great weight to the trappings of intelligence. Academic credentials, standardized test scores, a professed interest in technology, and even the right kind of physical appearance (glasses, not too athletic) all serve as easily recognizable markers of intelligence,... Read More
Here is an intelligence test which takes about 15 minutes, and is free. The link to the original project and 16 item test is given here. https://icar-project.com/ This talk is about the testing of the 5 item instrument with Danish schoolchildren, and it contains many interesting findings, out of which I will select one: one... Read More
I find this a useful picture. Can anyone let me know who put it together, so I can acknowledge it properly?
Judgments about the wisdom of the German government giving effective citizenship to over a million Syrians (more correctly people from the Muslim world who say that they are Syrians) should be informed by looking at the achievements of Turks in Germany. They began immigrating to Germany in October 1961, by invitation, to join the labour... Read More
Recently I posted some findings about sex differences in the public understanding of science. I criticized the Pew quiz for having items which were far too easy, and proposed a few harder items, on vaccinations and the expanding universe. http://www.unz.com/?p=75065 Before I could refine questions on those two subjects, a reader reminded me of a... Read More
Some people refer to intelligent persons as “big brains”. They imagine those with bigger brains are more intelligent, a simple idea which is very probably right. School children, who are able to observe how the entire class deal with the same problems they are set, soon work out which children are “brainy”. The general principle... Read More
In terms of information theory, communication is the reduction of uncertainty. Transmitter, channel and receiver are part of a system communicating Shannon bits: in-guessable knowledge. Equi-probable coin tosses are the most informative, because they are hard to guess. The more predictable dross is more easily guessable and therefore less informative. So communications to you should... Read More