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Jason Malloy's Evolving Epic on National Average IQs

Over the last half year at Human Varieties, Jason Malloy has been posting his exhaustive meta-analyses of IQ studies from different countries as part of his Human Varieties Global IQ project. If you are familiar with Lynn and Vanhanen’s IQ and the Wealth of Nations book from a dozen years ago, then in terms of number of studies and careful effort, Jason’s emerging encyclopedia is roughly an order of magnitude larger.

And that may underestimate what he’s undertaking. For example, Malloy’s meta-analysis of Thailand (where he has lived, by the way) includes “almost 50 studies of intelligence and scholastic achievement.” His Puerto Rican survey includes over 70 academic papers published between 1925 and 2007.

In launching his project on January 19, 2013 Jason mentioned the difficulties of finding and accurately interpreting obscure psychometric technical documents in multiple languages, but went on to rightly note:

I have, however, been tracking down world IQ studies for about 10 years now, and it’s probably safe to say that I have immediate hard drive access to more global intelligence test studies than any other person on earth. And with this website I now have a more transparent way of recording this data and a more immediate way of sharing it.

So far, he’s focused upon two regions: New World Islands and Southeast Asia. In chronological order, the 15 countries he has reviewed so far are:

New World Islands

Haiti

Cuba

Cayman Islands

Jamaica

The Bahamas

Dominican Republic

Bermuda

Puerto Rico

Virgin Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands

Guadeloupe

Southeast Asia:

Burma

Cambodia

Vietnam

Thailand

Following a decade of data collecting, he’s now publishing at a rate of about ten countries per year, which would put his completion date out in the 2020s or 2030s.

This is one of the heroic works of independent scholarship of our time.

 
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  1. I’ll tell you now what he’ll discover. People differ. Since they differ in height, build, beauty and whatnot, they’ll differ in intelligence too. All other animals do; why not us?

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  2. Malloy is doing valuable work, the nearest thing to objectivity in this field yet. Lynn’s studies always seemed ideologically driven and unreliable.

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  3. Steve,

    Malloy actually launched his website over eighteen months ago (January 19th, 2013). So you’ll need to adjust your estimates of his completion by a factor of three.

    It’s still a remarkable achievement of amateur scholarship, and with any luck it will eventually replace Lynn’s less comprehensive and injudicious work.

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  4. Thank you for that strong recommendation.

    “he’s now publishing at a rate of about ten countries per year, which would put his completion date out in the 2020s or 2030s.”

    Sad but probably true. Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines will all be huge reviews, but it’s likely that I will complete all of them over the next 3-5 months.

    China, India, and Mexico (especially if that includes Mex-Ams) could easily be year-long projects.

    If any isteve followers can read Chinese, and would like to collaborate on China, please send me an email. If there are any readers in India with access to a University library, please contact me.

    jmalloyATgmx.com

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  5. Is there a link to a handy estimate of IQs of all countries on earth, and maybe an indication of how good the data is? And is there some sort of global heat map of the subject?

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  6. Why not just focus on countries where there is some doubt about the real IQ, like India and Cuba? Like China will probably be the same as all East Asians.

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  7. Jason M’s project is a very valuable resource.

    But I personally find it harder and harder to know what to make of *precise* comparisons between IQ measures across time and space

    - given the Flynn effect in IQ score inflation with time on the one hand;

    but on the other hand the recent stuff on simple reactions times I have done with Michael A Woodley’s group – http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=reaction+times which strongly implies that (true, underlying) ‘g’ is reducing with time.

    It seems likely that – in practice, and given the limitations of information – as well as the already known limitations of sampling (all IQ studies are to a greater or lesser extent unrepresentative, in the sense that all actual surveys short of a complete simultaneous census are unrepresentative) – we will have to regard all average group IQ measures as ‘ballpark figures’ – and not get too focused upon issues of numerical exactitude.

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  8. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Not so OT:

    http://nypost.com/2014/07/19/why-nycs-push-to-change-school-admissions-will-punish-poor-asians/

    Nothing new for you or your readers BUT:

    SHSAT – the test for NYC’s eight ‘specialized high schools’, which are:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specialized_high_schools_in_New_York_City

    (Even Brooklyn Latin has the most Asians – and also the most blacks. I suspect the latter are children mostly of W. Indian/Haitian/African immigrants. Thank goodness for them, otherwise we’d have to import them.

    http://insideschools.org/high/browse/school/1375)

    I did learn one thing, which is interesting: in addition to specialized high schools, which rely solely on SHSAT, admission to NYC high schools depends upon a calibrated & convoluted screening system:

    http://blog.press.princeton.edu/2012/09/27/in-the-news-the-messy-matter-of-%E2%80%9Cscreened%E2%80%9D-high-schools-in-new-york-city/

    This is what keeps the peace. Until now. The NAACP has been complaining about SHSAT since at least 2012, to no avail. But now De Blasio’s in charge, and that will change.

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  9. Jason Malloy — and the rest of the crew over at Human Varieties — have indeed been working hard to produce indispensable insight. This is much-deserved recognition.

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  10. prosa123 [AKA "Peter"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment

    @ Cookies:
    A legal peculiarity might yet save the test-based admissions system for NYC’s specialized high schools. State law requires use of the current system even though the schools are strictly local. It’s not certain if the legislators in Albany would support a change to De Blasio’s holistic admissions.

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    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    @Peter,

    That's interesting. But Silver is apparently on board:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election/speaker-silver-backs-de-blasio-plan-reform-admissions-article-1.1482511

    Of course this could be double talk, and there is now yet another ethics scandal in the NY State Leg.,

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/23/nyregion/governor-andrew-cuomo-and-the-short-life-of-the-moreland-commission.html?_r=0

    which could bury things. My own cynical belief is that it's all a fix. If the powers that be want it, it happens, whatever the "it" is.

    (NY State is really so phenomenally corrupt, it makes New Jersey look like Denmark. Cuomo is that wonderful guy who brought the Empire State gay marriage by hedge fund fiat.)
  11. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @prosa123
    @ Cookies:
    A legal peculiarity might yet save the test-based admissions system for NYC's specialized high schools. State law requires use of the current system even though the schools are strictly local. It's not certain if the legislators in Albany would support a change to De Blasio's holistic admissions.

    @Peter,

    That’s interesting. But Silver is apparently on board:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election/speaker-silver-backs-de-blasio-plan-reform-admissions-article-1.1482511

    Of course this could be double talk, and there is now yet another ethics scandal in the NY State Leg.,

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/23/nyregion/governor-andrew-cuomo-and-the-short-life-of-the-moreland-commission.html?_r=0

    which could bury things. My own cynical belief is that it’s all a fix. If the powers that be want it, it happens, whatever the “it” is.

    (NY State is really so phenomenally corrupt, it makes New Jersey look like Denmark. Cuomo is that wonderful guy who brought the Empire State gay marriage by hedge fund fiat.)

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  12. Malloy’s meta-analysis of Thailand (where he has lived, by the way)

    What’s with the “by the way”? Why not just leave it at, “where he has lived”? What’s the subtext here with the “by the way”? It seems like you’re winking at or nudging your readers.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It means he knows a lot more about Thailand, one of the most culturally distant countries on earth, than you would expect. He seems to have spent a large part of his free time during his year working in Thailand in university library research rooms studying local social science journals.
  13. @Bill M

    Malloy’s meta-analysis of Thailand (where he has lived, by the way)
     
    What's with the "by the way"? Why not just leave it at, "where he has lived"? What's the subtext here with the "by the way"? It seems like you're winking at or nudging your readers.

    It means he knows a lot more about Thailand, one of the most culturally distant countries on earth, than you would expect. He seems to have spent a large part of his free time during his year working in Thailand in university library research rooms studying local social science journals.

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  14. Does it sound plausible that Vietnam’s IQ could be so high?

    If that’s the case, how’d the Chinese come to economically dominate the country?

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    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    This comment is one of the reasons I despair of the so-called "HBD movement." You guys think that IQ = all. It's only part of the equation.
  15. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @JohnnyWalker123
    Does it sound plausible that Vietnam's IQ could be so high?

    If that's the case, how'd the Chinese come to economically dominate the country?

    This comment is one of the reasons I despair of the so-called “HBD movement.” You guys think that IQ = all. It’s only part of the equation.

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    • Replies: @Southfarthing
    On the individual level, yes, IQ is only part of the equation.

    But on the group level, selection that increased IQ tended to be selection for complex societies in general.

    So IQ was part of a suite of selected behaviors, like having a cooperative nature.

    But I'm sure we do have unconscious dogmas in the HBD sphere.
  16. This comment is one of the reasons I despair of the so-called “HBD movement.” You guys think that IQ = all. It’s only part of the equation.

    It’s much easier to point to mean IQ and say “all” than it is to admit that groups team up to exploit other groups. That way be dragons.

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    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    "That way be dragons."

    Yep, I agree, not my point at all.

    Actually, another reason I despair of progress is people like you.

  17. WhatEvvs [AKA "cookies"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Svigor
    This comment is one of the reasons I despair of the so-called “HBD movement.” You guys think that IQ = all. It’s only part of the equation.

    It's much easier to point to mean IQ and say "all" than it is to admit that groups team up to exploit other groups. That way be dragons.

    “That way be dragons.”

    Yep, I agree, not my point at all.

    Actually, another reason I despair of progress is people like you.

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  18. “Does it sound plausible that Vietnam’s IQ could be so high?”

    Vietnamese last names like Nguyen and Vu are overrepresented in universities here in California compared to their share of the general population.

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  19. @WhatEvvs
    This comment is one of the reasons I despair of the so-called "HBD movement." You guys think that IQ = all. It's only part of the equation.

    On the individual level, yes, IQ is only part of the equation.

    But on the group level, selection that increased IQ tended to be selection for complex societies in general.

    So IQ was part of a suite of selected behaviors, like having a cooperative nature.

    But I’m sure we do have unconscious dogmas in the HBD sphere.

    Read More
  20. This comment is one of the reasons I despair of the so-called “HBD movement.” You guys think that IQ = all. It’s only part of the equation.

    It’s not that IQ is all. It’s that IQ is very important and that there is little international data on any other individual differences variable.

    Read More
  21. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    As a Vietnamese American (second-generation), allow me to share a few thoughts. Jason’s comparison of the Chinese-Vietnamese refugees and the Vietnamese refugees is consistent with my experience and from what I’ve heard from my parents – that the Chinese tended to lean toward commerce as a road for advancement, whereas the Vietnamese had more interest in higher education. Many of the Chinese refugees are quite wealthy from owning small businesses and restaurants, but their children don’t seem to be doing better academically than those from Vietnamese refugees. I was actually surprised to see Caplan’s research (referenced in Jason’s study) agree so well with my parents’ anecdote.

    Growing up in California, I found Vietnamese students doing well in school. They made up a large portion of the AP/Honors classes, and many went on to good colleges en-route to middle/upper-middle class jobs. I grew up thinking Vietnamese were part of the whole ‘model minority’. Our representation in the upper echelons of academia is low though, but the Chinese-Vietnamese do not seem to be doing any better there.

    @Jay

    So, while the Chinese minority did dominate economically in Vietnam in the past, it may not be because of some large IQ gap between them and the native Vietnamese. As others have pointed out, other factors such as group collusion and overvaluing economic success play a role too. Throughout Vietnam’s history, interest in civics, law, and other ways to reform society were largely undertaken by native Vietnamese, not the Chinese minority.

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  22. Jay “Does it sound plausible that Vietnam’s IQ could be so high?”

    It’s possible for Southeast Asian IQ to be higher in reality… but then the problem of East Asia generally performing poorly relative to IQ, which is a problem for the IQ-Wealth / Nobels / low crime (Vietnamese street gangs) correlations we all like, starts to balloon.

    The “If they’re so smart, why do they suck?” gets bigger, and the neat little idea that we can count on progress and stability simply by getting high IQ migrants, starts to get weak. Which would be bad news for us.

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  23. Actually, another reason I despair of progress is people like you.

    Israel must drive you completely bonkers then.

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  24. […] that’s definitely worth checking out for controversy material. Jason Malloy’s mega-project. Where next for the genetics of intelligence? The trend to assortative mating is going to be hard […]

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