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193,518 Twins Across 16 Countries: Contra Herrnstein, Heritability of Educational Attainment Declined in 2nd Half of 20th Century
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Richard Herrnstein hypothesized that heritability of IQ and/or educational attainment had been increasing over the course of the 20th Century due to more ambitious education testing leading to more assortative mating. But is that true?

From Scientific Reports:

Genetic and environmental variation in educational attainment: an individual-based analysis of 28 twin cohorts

By Karri Silventoinen and a cast of thousands

Abstract
We investigated the heritability of educational attainment and how it differed between birth cohorts and cultural–geographic regions. A classical twin design was applied to pooled data from 28 cohorts representing 16 countries and including 193,518 twins with information on educational attainment at 25 years of age or older. Genetic factors explained the major part of individual differences in educational attainment (heritability: a2 = 0.43; 0.41–0.44), but also environmental variation shared by co-twins was substantial (c2 = 0.31; 0.30–0.33). The proportions of educational variation explained by genetic and shared environmental factors did not differ between Europe, North America and Australia, and East Asia. When restricted to twins 30 years or older to confirm finalized education, the heritability was higher in the older cohorts born in 1900–1949 (a2 = 0.44; 0.41–0.46) than in the later cohorts born in 1950–1989 (a2 = 0.38; 0.36–0.40), with a corresponding lower influence of common environmental factors (c2 = 0.31; 0.29–0.33 and c2 = 0.34; 0.32–0.36, respectively). In conclusion, both genetic and environmental factors shared by co-twins have an important influence on individual differences in educational attainment. The effect of genetic factors on educational attainment has decreased from the cohorts born before to those born after the 1950s.

Some of this might be due to more emphasis on getting everybody through high school (and, later, college) over the course of the 20th Century.

Another possibility is that assortative mating was always pretty high in the West. My impression is that in Victorian times, unmarried young men and women did much of their courting via letters. For example, poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett exchanged 573 letters in the 20 months before their 1846 marriage. Perhaps letters tend to lead to assortative mating of levels of prose style?

In the 20th Century, telephone calls became more important in courting.

In the 21st Century, text messages matter. Perhaps people fall in love with how your beloved always bothers to respond to your jokes by putting on caplocks to text “LOL” rather than just “lol.”

 
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  1. Possibly another factor; more testing for learning disabilities? Though it gets abused now, a lot of people used to be classified as stupid who had an LD.

    • Replies: @Anon
  2. Welshman says:

    In the utterly contemporary 21st Century, even text messages have ceased to function – even language per se has ceased to have any place – in this courtship role; replaced, now, by “swiping right” or “swiping left” purely on the visual basis of (flatteringly (and sometimes deceitfully) chosen) photographs alone.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    , @Wilkey
  3. utu says:

    “assortative mating” – How people mate should have no impact on determination of heritability in twin studies. MZ twins are genetically identical regardless of how parents are similar or dissimilar. Otoh one could speculate that DZ twins while on average share 50% genes might have larger variance if father-mother genetic differences are larger. Then one could speculate that correlation r_DZ between DZ twins would be smaller if parents were paired from very different genetic pools. Then the heritability determined from Falconer’s formula: H2=2(r_MZ – r_DZ). would be smaller when there is strong assortative mating. But this is just a measurement artifact that should average out in large samples.

  4. Sean says:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-imprinted-brain/201004/why-genes-matter-more-ever
    In 1930, Ivy League graduates had IQs just over 1 standard deviation (SD) above the population mean. By 1990 it was almost 2.7 SDs above, and as Herrnstein and Murray pointed out, “when a society makes good on the ideal of letting every youngster have equal access to the things that allow cognitive ability to develop, it is in effect driving the environmental component of IQ variation closer and closer to nil.” […] Far from canceling out genetic influence as they are usually regarded as doing, freedom of choice, equal opportunities, and increased survival and longevity all in fact do the exact opposite and make genes rather than the environment the dominant developmental force in modern society.

    • Replies: @Hangnail Hans
    , @2BR
    , @barnabus
    , @res
  5. “Perhaps people fall in love with how your beloved always bothers to respond to your jokes by putting on caplocks to text “LOL” rather than just “lol.”

    LMAO and ROTFL

    Seriously, I think you hit on it Steve. That’s exactly what’s going on in the new century.

    • Replies: @dearieme
    , @Curle
  6. If assortative mating is really changing the gene pool and distribution of intelligence, wouldn’t that show up in a larger standard deviation of test scores for the native-born U.S. population? Isn’t that a testable proposition?

  7. Is it possible that “educational attainment” as a proxy for intelligence has been diluted not only by the larger number of people entering college, but also by the lower standards required to acquire advanced degrees (in increasingly useless disciplines)?

    • Agree: SimpleSong, S. Anonyia, res
    • Replies: @SteveKS4HE
  8. dearieme says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    When I was new to the internet I thought “lol” meant ‘lots of love’. How sweet these internet beings are, I thought.

    • LOL: Inselaffen
  9. @Henry Canaday

    Depends on the degree (and position) to which sorting results in non-mating, or at least non-reproduction.

  10. The effect of genetic factors on educational attainment has decreased from the cohorts born before to those born after the 1950s.

    Some of this might be due to more emphasis on getting everybody through high school (and, later, college) over the course of the 20th Century.

    This seems most likely. It is not that that assortive mating or genetic influence has stopped; it is that educational attainment as a metric has been fraying. Venal admissions, affirmative action, credential inflation, crowding the unqualified ever upward, the fact that most colleges don’t actually teach anything, the hostility of the academy toward real scholarship, etc. have all combined to make educational yardstick less of a yardstick.

    • Agree: Technite78
    • Replies: @Dmon
    , @Abe
  11. Anon[305] • Disclaimer says:
    @Redneck farmer

    a lot of people used to be classified as stupid who had an LD.

    I don’t think there is much of a difference between “being stupid” and “having a learning disability.” It’s akin to the march of euphemisms. It’s true that some few LDs are like bad eyesight, with the equivalent of eyeglasses to counteract them. These include types of dyslexia; there is more than a single condition labelled dyslexia, and a lot of them or just synonyms for stupid, but with more granular detail of the particular cognitive weakness behind the stupid. In the end, a chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and the chain of cognitive ability means you are only as non-stupid as your least stupid link.

  12. Texting can be A LOT of fun. One advantage is the conversation can’t be overheard.

  13. Anon[123] • Disclaimer says:

    OT

    From a year ago, but related to the 2013 FBI Crime Report, Expanded Homicide Data, from Reuters:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-fact-check-bar-graph-black-white-homi-idUSKBN23M2SX

    Fact check: Misleading bar graph presents distorted interpretation of black and white murder rates

    Shared on Facebook and Instagram, posts include a bar graph showing “murder of blacks and whites in the US, 2013” broken down by the races of the perpetrators. While the graph itself is accurate, the way it is presented is misleading….

    According to this FBI data, of the 2,491 murders of black people reported in the U.S. in 2013, 2,245 perpetrators (90%) were black and 189 perpetrators (7.6%) were white. Of 3,005 murders of white people, 2,509 perpetrators (83.5%) were white while 409 perpetrators (13.6%) were black….

    Reuters contacted two statisticians, Regina L. Nuzzo, Ph.D., and Lucas Mentch, Ph.D., from the American Statistical Association to ask whether this bar graph accurately represents the FBI data from which it originated….

    Mentch told Reuters that a “more sensible way to look at the data is to compare apples to apples and then oranges to oranges.” In other words, he and Nuzzo suggested to look at per capita murder rates, then look at the likelihood of being killed by someone of the same race or someone of a different race….

    For a Reuters article there is quite a lot of math. Steve, it’s probably be worth your time to take a look at it.

    • Replies: @res
  14. @Welshman

    Appearances–augmented or otherwise–matter more than ever. Not so long ago you could have a popular music career without being beautiful. Now it’s rare. 150 years ago hardly anyone knew what famous people even looked like.

    Funny to think that we don’t even discuss the almost infinite privilege that attends beauty, yet more than most things it’s something you’re born with–or not.

    Instead we try to redefine beauty, and from all appearances the project isn’t meeting with much success.

    • Replies: @mc23
  15. @Sean

    In 1930, Ivy League graduates had IQs just over 1 standard deviation (SD) above the population mean. By 1990 it was almost 2.7 SDs above

    Well that’s certainly something they’re driving into hard reverse. Look how quickly we went from “SAT required” to “SAT not required” to “SAT not permitted.”

    It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.

  16. OT but straight up Steve’s street – the UK Sports Councils, who disburse money to sports at English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish and UK levels, have chickened out/backed away from taking a decision on transgender participation and told the various sports governing bodies “it’s up to you”. But … they have explicitly stated that there’s a tension between the ideals of “inclusion” and “fairness”, while leaving it up to sports bodies which of the two they prioritise.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/sep/29/new-guidelines-for-transgender-participation-unveiled-by-uk-sports-councils

    Trans women retain physique, stamina and strength advantages when competing in female sport, even when they reduce their testosterone levels, new guidelines for transgender participation in national and grassroots sport published by the UK sports councils will say on Thursday.

    The long-awaited report argues there is no magic solution which balances the inclusion of trans women in female sport while guaranteeing competitive fairness and safety. And, for the first time, it tells sports across Britain that they will have to choose which to prioritise.

    Stressing that finding new ways to encourage greater inclusion is also hugely important, the report urges national governing bodies to find “innovative and creative ways to ensure nobody is left out” – including coming up with new formats, such as non-contact versions of team sports, that can be played safely and fairly by everyone.

    “Sport must be a place where everyone can be themselves, where everyone can take part and where everyone is treated with kindness, dignity and respect,” the guidelines state.

    As things stand, most sports follow the guidelines set by the International Olympic Committee in 2015, which permit trans women to compete in female sport if they suppress their testosterone levels below 10nmol per litre.

    However, in August the IOC admitted these rules were “not fit for purpose” and would be revised in the next few months. The five sports councils across the UK go further still by stating that suppressing testosterone for 12 months “cannot guarantee fairness”.

    “Rather, there appears to be a retention of physical capacity in transgender people who suppress testosterone from male levels,” it states. “Such physical differences will also impact on safety parameters in sports which are combat, collision or contact in nature.”

    The guidelines state that because males and females do not often play competitive sports against each other, many people do not appreciate the differences, particularly in team sports.

    “However, an understanding of the gap between the two sexes can be recognised by results of practice matches between national senior women’s football teams against underage boys’ teams in recent years,” it says. “The national teams from Australia, USA and Brazil were beaten comprehensively (7-0, 5-2, 6-0 respectively) by club teams of 14- and 15-year-old boys.”

    In reviewing the latest science, the guidelines say adult male athletes have on average a 10-12% performance advantage over female competitors in swimming and running events, and that increases to a 20% advantage in jumping events, and 35% greater performance in strength-based sports such as weightlifting for similar-sized athletes.

    “The difference in performance, even at the lower range of 10-12%, is not small in terms of competitive outcomes,” they add. “It would result in Adam Peaty being beaten by half the pool length in a short-course 100m breaststroke competition, Dina Asher-Smith by more than 20m in the 200m track sprint, and Sir Mo Farah being lapped twice in the 10,000m track race.

    “As a result of what the review found, the guidance concludes that the inclusion of transgender people into female sport cannot be balanced regarding transgender inclusion, fairness and safety in gender-affected sport where there is meaningful competition.”

    A lot of waffle about creative ways to square the circle, but the sports bodies are being offered a choice which can really only go one way. Who’s going to say they prioritise transgender inclusion over fairness to women?

    And the stuff about the women’s football teams is “reality leakage” on a big scale – how many Guardian readers will know about that?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Hypnotoad666
  17. Dmon says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Yes, that is the exact reason. I’ve worked with lots of very smart people who have Bachelors and Masters degrees in various technical disciplines, but if you go by “educational attainment”, they are blown past by the likes of Ibram X. Kendi and Christine Blasey Ford.

  18. or maybe, educational attainment has dropped across the board because our system of education has declined or maybe the stats reflect the testing of previous ignored twin sets — demographics heretofore ignored are now counted.

    ——

    it’s like the Ferguson effect is real until you examine across the greater metropolitan communities beyond those chosen to create your model.

    ——-
    ‘and increased survival and longevity all in fact do the exact opposite and make genes rather than the environment the dominant developmental force in modern society.’

    or genetic analytical models are upside down to begin with and adding more numbers is revealing as much.

    ————–

    but then there’s a lot of hay being made out of population sample that that is 0.485 percent of twins on the planet

    ———

    my take all genetics is the story of heritable biological markers — its hard to deny the obvious.

  19. 2BR says:
    @Sean

    The Ivies and other similar mechanisms, are ensuring high IQ mating with high IQ, only to have very few children (replacement at best), who then inherit Ivy spots, to go on to have similarly few children. Our assortative mating is breeding our High IQs out. The Ashkenazi and British assortative mating over 1000 years had the most intelligent having the most surviving children. I doubt the Ivies produce this.

  20. I think you will find that Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were both Pro writers, and that might possibly have something to do with them carrying out a courtship by means of writing letters.

    I don’t think that was a standard method of courtship, although some early forms of the novel such as Pamela are in the format of an exchange of letters.

    But what do you have to remember is that you had this immense technological breakthrough in 1840 in the form of the one penny stamp and the national postal service which utilized routes on the newly developing railroad network to deliver mail with a speed and accuracy hitherto unforeseen.

    This technology has largely been replaced with text messages and WhatsApp today, which enabled suitors to pay court in a variety of media including the written word, recorded voice messages, photographs, videos, plus voice and video calls, even when the prospective partner is in a different continent.

    It is said that it is even possible to have sex using such media, although I don’t see how pregnancy can occur.

    As far as the heritability of IQ, this is just another way of saying that upper class children are more likely to get socialized into the sophisticated use of language, and be exposed to intellect-developing experiences and to the scientific method of thought then the average Haitian whose parents and grandparents did not attend school past the age of 11 or the average ghetto or reservation American, or the average Australian Aboriginal who grew up in an atmosphere where the main adult recreations were alcohol and drug use and sex with minors.

    The challenge for modern education systems is how to advance children from a Stone Age mentality to a modern mentality within a generation or two. This is much more important than worrying about fractions of standard deviations in IQ scores.

    When I first came to the United States in the early 90s, after having spent a decade in Bermuda, the thing that amazed me was that how many whites there were in Florida who were basically living at the same level as indigent blacks, even after two or three or four or five generations in the United States. Why had they never managed to get their foot on the next step of the ladder?

    The founding of the Daily Mail in 1896 was a response to almost universal literacy of the working population in England. Why is it that we have not really advanced beyond that point of 125 years ago?

  21. Ralph L says:

    unmarried young men and women did much of their courting via letters.

    Trollope and their fathers would not agree for proper young ladies who weren’t engaged. Their reputations could be ruined later if they broke up or married someone else. But it happened enough to make good plots and cautionary tales: the blackmailer shot in front of Sherlock Holmes and Lady Dedlock’s letters in Bleak House. It was all but an admission they were boinking. The Brownings were artists and probably were.

  22. Hahahh… a year or two ago, I was in a bar. Nice, cozy place. I ordered a tea and woman I was with whispered in my ear: Just look at them!

    I looked around and saw a couple, a young guy, perhaps 18 to 20, with his girlfriend. They sat close to each other without speaking, kissing, whatever… Just, as if hypnotized, glued to their smartphones’ screens….

  23. Ralph L says:

    The challenge for modern education systems is how to advance children from a Stone Age mentality to a modern mentality within a generation or two.

    The Scottish Reformation made a huge difference in their literacy rate in a very short time. Alas, Harry Potter ain’t Jesus.

  24. Wokechoke says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    Very clever people have fewer children. Once you stick a clever woman in college she’s 50/50 childless and if she does have a kid she’s 39 when she does. That’s five or six kids over two generations who won’t exist.

  25. All the worst ideas — bad, destructive, and obviously false ideas — are not only hatched exclusively by people who have “earned” a degree from a college, even from an “elite” college, but also adopted by them, spread by them, and believed in by them, often with the unthinking, blind passion of the True Believer.

    If colleges were to disappear from the face of the earth, it would constitute One Giant Leap for Mankind.

  26. res says:

    I’d recommend being careful about taking those top line results at face value. If you look at Tables 1 and 2 there are some important trends/issues which I think could be driving those results.

    In Table 1 there is a clear trend of increasing mean years of education and decreasing standard deviation over time (especially if you separate the cohorts at 1950, as they did). I suspect that reduction of range over time is the primary cause of their top line results. Or at least a strong confounder.

    Also, the East Asian N is fairly small, but given their 1950 breakpoint it seems odd to include a group which only has data from 1950-1989. Especially given how they point out in the text: “In East Asia, the heritability point estimate was lower but did not differ statistically significantly from the other cultural–geographic regions either.”

    I am curious about the demographics of the North America and Australia groups which average over 13 years of education in 1900-1929. It is hard to find EA stats for that period, but this document
    https://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93442.pdf
    gives school enrollment rates for whites of under 70% in that period for the US (Table 2 on page 14).

    Table 2 of the paper gives ACE (additive genetics, shared environment, unique environment) for each 10 year cohort. The results are all over the place (e.g. in 1900-1909 for women a^2 was 0.05). The most dramatic difference I see is between the 1970-1979 and 1980-1989 groups. For all in 1970-1979 a^2 was 0.34 and in 1980-1989 a^2 was 0.60 (next highest was 0.47 in 1940-1949!). Some of that might be small sample noise, but the 95% CIs don’t even overlap.

    Given those results for the most recent group it is heard for me to take their conclusion at face value.

    The effect of genetic factors on educational attainment has decreased from the cohorts born before to those born after the 1950s.

    Supplementary Table 1 shows that most of the groups used educational categories (typically 5-8) rather than years. Not sure how much that might affect the results.

    Supplementary Tables 2, 3, and 4 break down the ACE results for all, men, and women by region. The results are all over the place.

    Supplementary Tables 5, 6, and 7 break down the ACE results for all. men, and women by twin register. The results are all over the place.

    • Thanks: kaganovitch
  27. In answer to your twitter question as to whether any MSM outlets noted the black committing-murder rate, I can only say not the Guardian.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/27/us-murder-rate-increase-2020

    But the single-year jump in murders, the largest since current record keeping began in 1960, has fueled debate about the broader social effects of the coronavirus pandemic. National statistics show that no other crime category surged to the same extent that murder did: the nation’s overall violent crime rate increased just 5%, according to the data.

    While homicides have continued to rise in big cities through the first half of 2021, the rate of increase has slowed, according to the criminologist Richard Rosenfeld, who has been tracking changes in crime throughout the pandemic. A study looking at a subset of 29 US cities through the end of June showed homicide up 16% this year, he said.

    Experts who study violence point to multiple factors that might have played a role in the murder increase, from the emotional trauma and economic instability of the pandemic, which fell hardest on communities that were already struggling, to an increase in gun-carrying in public…

    Conversations about American crime and violence often focus on victims of color in big cities, but “the FBI data is showing an increase everywhere”, said Shani Buggs, an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, who studies community violence prevention.

    “It’s urban. It’s rural. It’s Democratic. It’s Republican.”

    The Guardian did however note the black being-murdered rate.

    Some advocates said it was important to focus on the fact that 2020’s murder spike was building on a level of violence across the country that was already far from normal.

    “It took one pandemic to unveil another pandemic, a more silent pandemic,” said Malik Russell, the director of communications for the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention. “It’s important that the nation as a whole doesn’t miss the forest for the trees, the fact that every year, thousands and thousands of people, disproportionately Black and brown, are being killed on the streets.”

    Stark racial disparities in who is most at risk of being murdered continued into 2020: Black Americans, who make up about 14% of the population, represented more than half of the 2020 victims whose race was known. But the number of murders also increased sharply across racial groups. Compared with 2019, the number of white males murdered rose 27%, while the number of Black males murdered rose 31%, according to data on the victims whose race was recorded.

    Of the nearly 5,000 additional murder victims in 2020, at least 1,200 were white, while at least 2,400 were Black.

    Rosenfeld, the criminologist, said that while murder was the most serious crime, it was also the rarest, which made the continuing decline in US property crimes last year an “important story” that should not be overlooked.

    Robbery, burglary, and theft from cars dropped in the UK during lockdown because few people were out on the streets at night to be robbed, people were at home to deter burglars, and most cars were on their owners drives.

  28. Abe says:
    @Almost Missouri

    This seems most likely. It is not that that assortive mating or genetic influence has stopped; it is that educational attainment as a metric has been fraying. Venal admissions, affirmative action, credential inflation, crowding the unqualified ever upward

    I think you’re on to something. Or, in other words, a rising (YELLOW) tide does not lift all boats (if they’re not junks). America has been Tiger Mother’d the [email protected] out over the last 20 years (my middle schooler spent his summer unfortunately vegg’ing out in front of the XBOX; a Chinese family we are friendly with told us their son ‘enjoyed’ his summer break competing in an impromptu math competition organized by the other Chinese moms for their kids). Even if assortative mating has improved the fundamental genetic stock of many American kids- i.e its absolute quality- their relative quality (and SAT scores, class rankings, math and science competition awards are all relative metrics) may have still and at the same time declined.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  29. Isn’t the difficulty that while assortative mating may lead to the elite coupling, they don’t reproduce?

    You won’t get more Einsteins if you pen the prospective parents together but pregnancies don’t result.

    We may well be putting the 130 IQ males together with 130 IQ females — but at the same time, we encourage the 130 IQ females to have a career rather than reproduce. If anything, it’s going to worsen matters, not improve them.

  30. @Jonathan Mason

    This technology has largely been replaced with text messages and WhatsApp today, which enabled suitors to pay court in a variety of media including the written word, recorded voice messages, photographs, videos, plus voice and video calls, even when the prospective partner is in a different continent.

    Yes, indeed. I have enjoyed great success using videos to showcase my dashing good looks, my keen natural intelligence, my razor-sharp wit, and my sheer joie de vivre to snare nubile females all across the world.

    [MORE]

    I project absolute confidence:

    It is said that it is even possible to have sex using such media, although I don’t see how pregnancy can occur.

    I made another video documenting this phenomenon, but it’s probably too intense for this site. You can find it on my channel:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1JUz3Srm9LdVDqP2HpjxLA

    (I have one subscriber, but I suspect that I’ll have zero after he watches the video.)

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  31. @res

    Thanks.

    there is a clear trend of increasing mean years of education and decreasing standard deviation over time (especially if you separate the cohorts at 1950, as they did). I suspect that reduction of range over time is the primary cause of their top line results. Or at least a strong confounder.

    That tends to confirm my surmise that “crowding the unqualified ever upward” has clouded the metric.

    P.S. I was scrolling from bottom to top of the page reading these comments, and as soon as I saw a comment whose final paragraphs all started with “Supplementary Table…”, I thought, “Oh, here comes res!” and scrolling up a bit further, sure enough…

  32. @Abe

    Thanks.

    Might vegging and video games have some unquantified virtue? I don’t know but I’m open to arguments.

    Even if assortative mating has improved the fundamental genetic stock of many American kids- i.e its absolute quality- their relative quality (and SAT scores, class rankings, math and science competition awards are all relative metrics) may have still and at the same time declined.

    Another aspect of this (or maybe this is what you are already getting at) is that assortive mating may actually be net detrimental to genetic stock. How? By funneling the highest IQ people into the least fecund demographics. When a lawyer marries his secretary, or a doctor marries a nurse, or a school principal marries a schoolteacher, a high-achieving man is paired with woman in a more traditionally nurturing role who is more likely to bear and conscientiously raise children. When lawyers marry lawyers, surgeons marry surgeons, or education executives marry each other, though, you are taking two high-IQ people and largely removing them from the gene pool as such pairings don’t reproduce much or do so only at the edge of the fertility window.

    • Agree: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @Abe
  33. SafeNow says:

    I have read articles in which a professional matchmaker will report that clients say: “I live in Manhattan. Don’t bother fixing me up with a date in Brooklyn – – it’s too far.” Or, an LA. spouse-hunter will decide that the traffic is so bad, he will not fight it. Air travel these days is of course out of the question; it’s hard for a young man to decide what he wants in a spouse, but he knows he doesn’t want to deal with that. I can’t prove it, but I think travel has unraveled to the point where it has become a huge sorting factor. Time-consuming, unpleasant, dangerous. The heck with it.

  34. barnabus says:

    Educational achievement is a fairly iffy measure. For example, Jill Biden holds the title of Ed D. If one goes by competitive educational achievements, like becoming a medical doctor or a math PhD with cited publications – yes. Otherwise, one ends with a very foggy parameter.

  35. barnabus says:
    @Sean

    The increase in SD gap from 1930 to 1990 was due to increase in meritocratic competition for places. Today, Prince Charles would probably not be admitted to Oxbridge.

    • Replies: @Sean
  36. Anon[203] • Disclaimer says:

    An important factor for US twins is that the cost of college has become extremely high. It’s likely that a larger number of the last 1 or 2 generations of twins have chosen not to go to college. Unless this economic factor is taken into account–a factor that decreases the economic opportunity to go to college at all–this data is dubious.

    2 kids who are EXACTLY the same age are a massive economic burden when it comes to education. If college tuition is 50K, that’s 100K for the first year for both of them. Not even the upper-middle class can afford that. What’s more, private high schools are also too expensive.

  37. anon[307] • Disclaimer says:

    the across 16 countries is the thing steve.

    stop having a GMAT less than 770 already!

  38. anon[307] • Disclaimer says:

    My impression is that in Victorian times, unmarried young men and women did much of their courting via letters. For example, I HAVE AUTISM.

    you can’t hide it steve. is your wife a mongo?

    sad.

    • Replies: @Jack Armstrong
  39. Mr. Blank says:

    Weird 21st century thing: I have friends on social media who I’ve never actually met in person nor exchanged more than a handful of words with. We communicate entirely in memes; we can carry on entire conversations with just memes, emoticons and LOL-type abbreviations. They’re not all just ephemeral acquaintances, either. Some of these folks I’ve come to really care about. Yes, I know how nutty that sounds.

    I’m sure this points to something interesting about language or communication, but I’m not sure what it might be. Maybe something about people’s increasing ability to deal comfortably with abstraction?

  40. Abe says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Might vegging and video games have some unquantified virtue? I don’t know but I’m open to arguments.

    Yes it has, thank you. While he does play shooter games with his friends, his main go-to is SID MEIR’S CIVILIZATION, the venerable historical strategy game. With no exaggeration, thanks to CIV this pre-teen now knows more history and world culture than the average State U college senior/Ivy freshman.

    As an aside, since so much of video game development is now done in Eastern Europe, this version of CIVILIZATION is much more pan-European/less Hajnal Line-centric in its proclivities. Thanks to watching him play I learned of winged hussars (i.e. Polish battle angels). Where have these things been all my freakin’ life! Medievalism is as popular as ever in our popular culture (GAME OF THRONES dominated TV for the last 10 years, and just today I saw an ad for some new Ridley Scott knights & castles movie) but it is always Plantagenet-ic in feel.

    The increasing impact of Eastern Europe (Poland, Czechoslovakia, Serbia and Croatia with their world-beating athletes) on US culture is sorely unappreciated by Steve. For example, THE WITCHER video game franchise is now a pretty big thing, selling lots of books and having a hit NETFLIX series. It’s not all goulash and polka music and Bella Lugosi anymore, baby!

  41. OFWHAP says:
    @Abe

    One must follow Second City Bureaucrat for Eastern European culture in the U.S.

    • Agree: J.Ross
  42. @res

    Great comment res.

    I looked at the tables and your comment:

    Table 2 of the paper gives ACE (additive genetics, shared environment, unique environment) for each 10 year cohort. The results are all over the place

    Captures the gist of it. The data hops around decade by decade much more than any secular “trend”. And the top birth decade for genetic factors … the last one 1980-89! As they note:

    The highest heritability was found in the latest birth cohort born in 1980–1989 (a2 = 0.60; 95% CI 0.50–0.71).

    So … uh … educational achievement is actually more genetically driven now!

    And as you note, the years of education is not representative early, at least for the US. (Great catch.)

    In addition the database is not remotely flat. US/AUS is well represented across decades. Europe has more people but comes in with a giant tranche born 40-49, much thinner earlier. I don’t know–haven’t read the analysis section thoroughly–how they handled that.

    The one consistent finding is as you’d expect: heritability much stronger in men than in women. I.e. men’s educational achievement/completion has a lot more to do with their individual endowment, less to do with family expectations/background/resources.

    • Replies: @utu
  43. Wilkey says:
    @Welshman

    40-something recently divorced colleague to me not too long ago: “I can’t do Tinder anymore. I can’t bring myself to believe that all the single people my age are really that ugly.” He showed me what he meant. It was pretty gruesome.

  44. S Johnson says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    The Brownings are an extreme example but when the main variety of communication was by letter pretty much all the middle and upper classes were much more facile at letter-writing. My impression is that while the lower classes tended to marry within their locales and the rich had their pick of mates it could be more difficult for the middle to find suitable matches (as shown in Austen’s novels), so they were often arranged more remotely, and thus letter-writing was important. I’ve heard of at least one case of courtship by telegram. The New Zealand-born cartoonist David Low’s skill took him first to Australia aged only 20 and not long afterwards to London. On a three-day visit back to Auckland while still in Australia he met a girl, Madeline, and three years later sent her a telegram from London saying just “Will you marry me?” and paying for a one-word response.

    His autobiography doesn’t mention whether they’d stayed in touch by letter in between, but shipping from London to New Zealand still takes more than a month.

  45. @Abe

    Might vegging and video games have some unquantified virtue? I don’t know but I’m open to arguments.

    Yes it has, thank you. While he does play shooter games with his friends, his main go-to is SID MEIR’S CIVILIZATION, the venerable historical strategy game.

    Never a TV-watching household, we watch a hell of a lot of YouTube, on Roku, primarily short explanatory pieces. Many are an odd hybrid of serious content and goofy presentation, the epitome of which is Map Men.

    These are mostly insulated from the political corruption of YouTube, but you can see the creators are wary. History shorts will replace the swastika on (drawings of) flags with the iron cross, and be explicit about why they are doing so. (Demonetization would destroy them.)

    In other words, our kids are learning more than they think!

    • Thanks: Abe
    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  46. utu says:
    @AnotherDad

    “The data hops around decade by decade much more than any secular “trend”. ”

    The true purpose of the article was not the detection of the secular trend but cementing the belief that heritability determination based on twin studies is solid. So while we all talk about the trend and what it possibly could mean and how it could be explained we all unwittingly accept the validity of the heritability determination. That’s where the dog is buried.

    Keep in mind that the authors come from the Stalinist Schools of Twin Studies in Minnesota who try to fight the bad news for them coming form GWAS that heritability could be actually much lower than 40%.

    • Replies: @gcochran
  47. @anon

    Good point. And then there’s this … more street racing mayhem … in South Carolina …

    A Rock Hill teen has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty in what prosecutors say was a street racing incident in February that left a York County chiropractor and his wife dead.

    Justin Rafael Valdez, 19, was sentenced to six years in the S.C. Department of Corrections Thursday by visiting South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Brian Gibbons. Valdez pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless homicide in the deaths of Donald and Teresa Hewetson.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/rock-hill-teen-was-street-racing-when-chiropractor-wife-died-in-crash-prosecutor-says/ar-AAP0ML6

  48. OT, Marc Lasry resigns as Ozy Media chairman.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10047149/Ozy-Media-Chairman-Marc-Lasry-resigns-report-founder-impersonated-YouTube-exec.html

    Ozy Media Chairman Marc Lasry resigned on Thursday, days after a report found that the company’s co-founder Samir Rao allegedly impersonated a YouTube executive on a call with potential investors.

    Hedge fund manager Lasry made the announcement four days after a New York Times report found chief operating officer and co-founder Rao posed as head of unscripted content at YouTube Alex Piper, to talk Ozy up to Goldman Sachs bankers on a conference call to try and close a \$40 million investment deal.

    Carlos Watson, Ozy’s chief executive, blamed the incident on Rao’s mental health.

    The FBI has opened an investigation into Ozy Media and Rao over the call.

  49. @YetAnotherAnon

    OT but straight up Steve’s street

    Are the streets in Studio City straight? The ones in nearby Laurel Canyon are awfully wiggly.

  50. mc23 says:
    @Hangnail Hans

    Give it time, we now have obese manikins.

    Unfortunately you get more of what you don’t discourage.

  51. • Replies: @kaganovitch
  52. I think assortative mating is overblown. In 1950 the boss marries his secretary. In 2020 the boss marries a lady boss, but the lady boss isn’t any smarter than the 1950 secretary. She just has an MBA from Directional State and counts as smarter.

    • Replies: @S Johnson
  53. @Stan Adams

    I bet that all serial killers tell people that they are not serial killers. They can be tricky like that.

    • Replies: @S Johnson
    , @Stan Adams
  54. @utu

    “assortative mating” – How people mate should have no impact on determination of heritability in twin studies.

    Exactly. The heritability of IQ should have nothing to do with who is doing the mating. So I’m not sure what Herrenstein was getting at with his hypothesis .

    As far as I know, no one has shown that heritability of IQ itself has been decreasing over time (For example, IIRC, the Flynn Effect is just lifting all boats equally at every IQ level and not changing the heritability factor).

    So if this study shows that the heritability of “educational attainment” has decreased while heritability of IQ has remained the same, I guess the inference to be drawn is that the correlation between IQ and educational attainment has declined for cultural reasons — presumably because mass credentialism, financial aid, affirmative action, grade inflation, etc. have made degrees more commonplace among those with lower IQs.

    (I suppose there could also be inherited genetic propensities for enjoying or seeking out educational attainment that are independent of IQ. If so, that would be yet another confound in attempting to use educational attainment as a proxy for IQ.)

  55. Travis says:

    getting into college became more random with test scores having less impact than extracurricular activities, sports, demographics race and luck.

  56. @YetAnotherAnon

    “Sport must be a place where everyone can be themselves, where everyone can take part and where everyone is treated with kindness, dignity and respect,” the guidelines state.

    Obviously, kindness is the essence of any worthwhile sports competition.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  57. S Johnson says:
    @Faraday's Bobcat

    That’s assortative in that secretary to the boss/lady boss are both competitive positions which come with a likelihood of good marriage prospects.

  58. S Johnson says:
    @Jonathan Mason

    The U.K. police officer and accused rapist/murderer who was known to his colleagues as…“The Rapist” would seem to undermine Norm Macdonald’s observation (re: Bill Cosby) that most rapists are, in his experience, hypocrites.

    https://www.gbnews.uk/news/wayne-couzens-was-known-as-the-rapist-by-other-officers-says-chief-inspector/134562

  59. Anon[198] • Disclaimer says:

    “Assortative dating” is the right expression for the higher IQ US, not assortative mating. No kids. But when Harvard man has sex with Columbia woman – who knows what interesting discussions might follow? Did Hernstein look into it? I bet the level of post sex pillow talk has gone way up. Maybe some Drumf jokes, followed by a denunciation of a MAGA deplorable. Art too. Deep stuff.

  60. @Henry Canaday

    Thinking about it just briefly, it’s possible, in the raw scores. What you might see there is the ‘tails’ of the distribution growing fatter, and the ‘peak’ in the middle of the distribution peaking at a lower level.

    But the normalisation of the scores to an average of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 would remove these effects.

    The tendency of the lower IQ couples to have more children than the higher IQ couples would be seen in the left-hand tail growing ‘fatter’ more quickly than the right-hand tail, in the raw data. After normalisation, this would likely be reflected in the average score moving lower over time.

    With luck a statistician will come along to correct my errors.

  61. @Abe

    The increasing impact of Eastern Europe (Poland, Czechoslovakia, Serbia and Croatia with their world-beating athletes) on US culture is sorely unappreciated by Steve. For example, THE WITCHER video game franchise is now a pretty big thing, selling lots of books and a hit NETFLIX series.

    Perhaps Frankowski’s 1980’s Conrad Stargard series will enjoy a revival?

  62. @JohnnyWalker123

    Eh, Ron should give him a column.

  63. @Jonathan Mason

    Well, like they say, it takes one to know one.

    [MORE]

    Here is my Hollywood audition video, showing my range as an actor. The popsicle gives me a sugar rush:

  64. gcochran says:
    @utu

    There is no such news.

  65. @Hypnotoad666

    “everyone is treated with kindness, dignity and respect”

    https://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/jpr-williams-wales-rugby-picture-15357671

    There was a famous picture of rugby league legend Shaun Edwards playing on in the 1990 Challenge Cup Final with a fractured eye socket and cheekbone, but it seems to have been removed from the web.

    UPDATE – the usual suspects aren’t happy with the new guidelines.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/sep/30/mixed-reception-for-new-guidelines-on-transgender-inclusion-in-sport

    Robbie de Santos, the director of communications at Stonewall, also condemned the report. “It is extremely harmful for this guidance to suggest that there is an inherent conflict between inclusion, fairness and safety, when in reality, the three go hand in hand,” he said.

    “The truth is that trans women are already participating in sports, without any evidence that they are disproportionately succeeding in competitive sport or posing safety risks – which this guidance fails to properly reflect in its use of data.

    “The beauty of sport is that it is for everyone, and this guidance moves us away from that core principle, by creating confusing, unnecessary distinctions for sporting bodies to navigate.”

    Yes, it’s going to really be confusing having a rule like “don’t have biological men in women’s sport”.

  66. Sean says:
    @barnabus

    JBS Haldane in the Thirties:-

    Any political movements which diminish the importance of inherited wealth are, I think, eugenically desirable. So long as such wealth determines our social status it will continue to have two effects. First it will be an incentive to family limitation amongst those who have anything to leave. And secondly, it will cause members of small families to come into better social positions than people with many brothers and sisters.

    • Replies: @res
    , @barnabus
  67. Measured heritability of educational attainment might have decreased but this doesn’t mean that the same trend would be observed for IQ. A larger fraction of the population now goes to university, many acquiring degrees which are intellectually not very demanding (and sometimes with limited market value). Educational achievement measured just by the type of degree acquired is likely less correlated to IQ than 50 years ago. In the US, 60% of recent university graduates are now female, which would not be the case if US universities graduated the top 30% smart fraction of the population (as shown by M to F breakdown of SAT scores).

  68. @utu

    “Then the heritability determined from Falconer’s formula: H2=2(r_MZ – r_DZ). would be smaller when there is strong assortative mating. But this is just a measurement artifact that should average out in large samples.”

    If there is substantial assortative mating throughout the population, then that “measurement artifact” does not average out in large samples.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @barnabus
  69. Curle says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    I’ve come to assume that most LOLs are an pleasantry and that the writers aren’t really LOLing. But I’ve got a suspicious mind as Elvis would say.

  70. @Reg Cæsar

    What a perfect opportunity for me to insert yet another shameless plug for yet another useless YouTube clip.

    [MORE]

    Today’s episode of The Stan Adams Show is “How to Look Thinner without Losing Weight”:

    Stan Adams’ Hoarder Hovel is situated on the shores of Lake Watdaphuk, where the men are chubby, the women are tubby, and the boys are soy.

  71. @Technite78

    Exactly! If everyone goes to college a college degree becomes less valuable, especially if the standards to attain it has been lowered to accommodate people that are not prepared academically for college. The colleges lower the standards to keep unqualified people enrolled so the tuition dollars continue to roll in. Students go into debt paying for a degree that is less and less valuable.

  72. res says:
    @Anon

    Their bottom line take is a sensible alternative way of looking at the data.

    If you’re a white person in 2013, Nuzzo explained, your chances of being murdered by another white person are approximately 11 in a million, and your chances of being murdered by a black person are two in a million. Meanwhile, if you’re a black person in 2013, your chances of being murdered by another black person are 56 in a million, and your chances of being murdered by a white person are five in a million.

    The bottom line take of the article is IMO a lie.

    Misleading. The numbers presented in this graph are misleading and do not accurately represent the FBI data from which they originated.

    They are talking about different ways of looking at the data. Both of which are defensible. And both of which accurately represent the FBI data.

    One looks at the chance of a white being murdered by an individual black vs. an individual white (bar graph mentioned). The other looks at the aggregate chance of a white being murdered by another white vs. being murdered by a black (Nuzzo and Mentch). There being roughly 5x the number of whites as blacks in the US makes those numbers look very different.

    I would say the most relevant take is the chance of being murdered per individual encountered, but that is unknowable since we don’t know how frequently whites encounter other whites vs. blacks. Not to mention the relative criminality of the whites and blacks they do encounter.

    A more sensible way to look at these numbers would involve separating out non/stranger murders and comparing those separately.

    • Replies: @Peter Johnson
  73. res says:
    @Sean

    This page has the relevant figures from The Bell Curve.
    https://www.i3mindware.com/cognitive-elites-iq-cognitive-capital

    I am a bit skeptical of the 140 figure. Even for 1990. One reason being the selection effect of using the SAT both for admissions and for the IQ estimate.

    This 2005 paper looked at a sample of Harvard students (not random).
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234822027_Reliability_Validity_and_Factor_Structure_of_the_Creative_Achievement_Questionnaire

    The mean IQ score for the total sample was 129.40 (SD = 10.93),

  74. res says:
    @Sean

    The emphasis on inherited wealth works better (for those metrics) when you have.

    1. Primogeniture.
    2. Alternate meritocratic routes for later sons to acquire wealth (and non-wealth based status).

  75. utu says:
    @Peter Johnson

    If there is substantial assortative mating throughout the population, then that “measurement artifact” does not average out in large samples.

    Then Falconer’s formula does not apply. Because it is valid when DZ twins are alike 50% genetically on average. When assortative mating is prevalent DZ twins are more than 50% genetically alike. So the measurement of heritability with Falconer formulas produces an artifact when assortative mating is not accounted for. This does not change the fate that assortative mating should not have effect on heritability.

  76. @res

    Also note that those murder chances are per annum not per lifetime. Multiply them by 80 to make them per-lifetime measures. And also note that the chances are much higher during certain stages of life (late teens and twenties) and much lower in other stages. It would be interesting to find the chances of murder for (say) an 18 year old male during his years ages 18-25. Could it be 100 times higher than these “chances of murder for any person any age during a given year”? Removing females, children, and older people from the covered population cuts the population size drastically but only cuts the number of murders a little bit, and so the implied probability jumps massively.

  77. barnabus says:
    @Sean

    Yep, Haldane was a Marxist idiot – except when he was persuing his genius in physiology.

    • Replies: @Sean
  78. barnabus says:
    @Peter Johnson

    I think you need to put r^2 instead of r for the formula. That is H2=2(r^2_MZ – r^2_DZ).

    • Replies: @Peter Johnson
  79. Sean says:
    @barnabus

    According to Bertrand Russell: “There can be no doubt that … civilization … has this singular characteristic, that in proportion as men and women absorb it, they become sterile. The most civilized are the most sterile, the least civilized are the most fertile, and between the two there is a continuous gradation. At the present, the most intelligent sections of the Western nations are dying out.”

    Good genes are the real inherited wealth. The Left are wanting to take money and education, but those are inimical to the accumulation of the highest value anyway.

  80. @barnabus

    I just paste-quoted an earlier post by utu, but I think he has the formula correct. It is two times the difference in the correlations not the squared correlations.

  81. barnabus says:

    Correlations are derived from variances (squares of deviations), which are the basic building blocks in correlative statistics. Squared correlation is simply the ratio of “linear genetic” variance divided by “linear genetic” PLUS residual variance. When you consider correlations of dizygotic twins, the unshared genetic component belongs to the residual variance.

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