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From the New York Times:

We Are Leaving ‘Lost Einsteins’ Behind
July 21, 2021

By Thomas B. Edsall

Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C., on politics, demographics and inequality.

In the international competition to produce a work force equipped to cope with accelerating rates of technological innovation, the United States is leaving hundreds of thousands of highly capable people by the wayside, perhaps even millions.

“Current talent search procedures focus on the assessment of mathematical and verbal ability,” wrote David Lubinski of Vanderbilt and Harrison J. Kell, a senior researcher at the Educational Testing Service, in “Spatial Ability: A Neglected Talent in Educational and Occupational Settings.” Lubinski and Kell stress the failure of many of such searches to test for the cognitive skill known as spatial ability.

This omission, they continue, leads to a substantial missed opportunity. Many spatially talented adolescents may never approach their full potential due to a lack of opportunities to develop their skills. A great loss occurs at talent searches that identify intellectually precocious young adolescents.

What is spatial ability?

“Spatial ability, defined by a capacity for mentally generating, rotating, and transforming visual images, is one of the three specific cognitive abilities most important for developing expertise in learning and work settings,” wrote Gregory Park, an independent researcher, Lubinski and Camilla Benbow of Vanderbilt in Scientific American.

My impression is that 3-d cognitive skills are less highly correlated with the general factor of intelligence than most other cognitive skills. For example, my father was not an academic star, especially not in verbal subjects, making it only through junior college. But his 3-d ability enabled him to enjoy a productive 40+ year career as an aeronautical engineer.

They go on:

Two of these, quantitative and verbal ability, are quite familiar due to their high visibility in standardized tests like the Scholastic Aptitude Test. A spatial ability assessment may include items involving mentally rotating an abstract image or reasoning about an illustrated mechanical device.

“While those with verbal and quantitative strengths have opportunities to be identified by standardized tests or school performance,” Park, Lubinski and Benbow argue, “someone with particularly strong spatial abilities can go unrecognized through these traditional means.”

In his paper, “Spatial ability and STEM: A sleeping giant for talent identification and development,” Lubinski further explains that the failure to test for spatial ability has left a reservoir of potentially productive workers untapped, people who would not only thrive in the marketplace but who would also make significant contributions to the national economy:

“Spatial ability is a powerful systematic source of individual differences that has been neglected,” according to Lubinski. “It has also been neglected in modeling the development of expertise and creative accomplishments.”

In a separate 2020 paper, “Understanding educational, occupational, and creative outcomes requires assessing intraindividual differences in abilities and interests,” Lubinski writes:

There are several essential occupations that all modern societies require and for which outsourcing is not possible. Master carpenters, electricians, mechanics, and plumbers, among others, are needed to maintain and build complex infrastructures.

Spatial ability testing could, then, prove effective in identifying the “many (people) with talent in spatial/mechanical ability (who) possess ability/interest patterns that are ideally suited to these occupations.”

In “Spatial Ability for STEM Domains,” Jonathan Wai of the University of Arkansas, Lipinski and Benbow make three claims:

First, spatial ability is a salient psychological characteristic among adolescents who subsequently go on to achieve advanced educational and occupational credentials in STEM. Second, spatial ability plays a critical role in structuring educational and occupational outcomes in the general population as well as among intellectually talented individuals. Third, contemporary talent searches miss many intellectually talented students by restricting selection criteria to mathematical and verbal ability measures.

Interestingly, some studies link spatial ability with superior performance in sports. In “Relation between sport and spatial imagery: comparison of three groups of participants,” Sylvie Ozel and Corinne Molinaro, both of the University of Caen, and Jacques Larue of the Université d’Orléans found that when comparing the spatial skills of athletes with those of non-athletes, the athletes “obtained significantly shorter response times than those of the non-athletes. We suggest that the regular practice of spatial activities, such as sports, could be related to the spatial capacities of the participants.”

Excellent suggestion to look for students with strong spatial cognitive skills. Pencil and paper tests are good at finding the verbally proficient and those strong at equations, but finding those who can deal with 3-d reality in their mind’s eye would seem like a trickier challenge. Testing experts can weigh in on the question of whether most schoolchildren are currently tested enough for skills like being able to correctly mentally rotate a 3-D object.

There are other forces at work in academia and the workplace that result in a failure to recognize talent.

In “Lost Einsteins: How exposure to innovation influences who becomes an inventor,” Alex Bell, Raj Chetty, Xavier Jaravel, Neviana Petkova and John Van Reenen, economists at U.C.L.A., Harvard, the London School of Economics, the U.S. Treasury and M.I.T., argue:

Children at the top of their 3rd grade mathematics class are much more likely to become inventors, but only if they come from high-income families. High-scoring children from low-income or minority families are unlikely to become inventors. Put differently, becoming an inventor relies upon two things in America: excelling in mathematics and science and having a rich family.

Keep in mind, however, that a search for “Lost Einsteins” (why not “Lost Edisons?”) to be the inventors of the future is most likely to find fewer black girls and more white boys, due to the male advantage in average spatial reasoning ability (vs. the tendency toward a female advantage on the verbal side).

I analyzed Raj Chetty’s “Lost Einstein’s” paper in my 2017 Taki’s Magazine column “Lost Edisons.”

Indeed, Chetty’s own evidence suggests that a more effective strategy for boosting the innovativeness of our economy is for Americans to work harder to find overlooked young Edisons who aren’t all that different from the original Edison: white males from between the coasts.

As usual with Chetty, most of his specific findings based on his usually colossal sample sizes are illuminating, although the general message he emits is carefully crafted not to raise in casual readers many doubts about the conventional wisdom. Chetty’s reputation among the very highbrow masses is that his findings are Worthy but Boring, while I find his work Fascinating and Subversive.

One of Chetty’s more curious findings in “Lost Einsteins” is that blacks currently earn 30% the number of patents per capita as whites, which if true, would be most encouraging. But, I think, for once Chetty was using too small of a sample size: only 452 former NYC public school students.

By the way, my 2017 column “Lost Edisons” understated Einstein’s interest in inventing. Einstein was no Edison as an inventor, but he and Leo Szilard worked from 1926-34 to invent the Einstein refrigerator.

From 1926 until 1934 Einstein and Szilárd collaborated on ways to improve home refrigeration technology. The two were motivated by contemporary newspaper reports of a Berlin family who had been killed when a seal in their refrigerator failed and leaked toxic fumes into their home. Einstein and Szilárd proposed that a device without moving parts would eliminate the potential for seal failure, and explored practical applications for different refrigeration cycles. Einstein had worked in the Swiss Patent Office, and used his experience to apply for valid patents for their inventions in several countries. The two were eventually granted 45 patents in six countries for three different models.[2]

It has been suggested that most of the actual inventing was done by Szilárd, with Einstein merely acting as a consultant and helping with the patent-related paperwork,[2] but others assert that Einstein contributed design work to the project.[3]

The refrigerator was less efficient than existing appliances, although having no moving parts made it more reliable; the introduction of non-toxic Freon — later found to be responsible for serious depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer — to replace toxic refrigerant gases made it even less attractive commercially. …

So non-toxic freon provided a chemical solution for the big safety problem with refrigerators that the world’s greatest physicist had identified. (Reminds me of the assume-we-have-a-can-opener joke where a starving physicist, chemist, and economist shipwrecked on a desert island compete to come up with solutions drawn from their fields of expertise about how to open a can of beans they find on the beach.)

That happens a lot in R&D: you work for years to solve a problem one way and come up with a pretty good solutions, but then somebody blindsides you with a great solution.

But then sometimes your seemingly forgotten work proves useful in a new situation:

Although the refrigerator was not a commercial success, the Einstein-Szilard pump was later used for cooling breeder reactors, where its inherent reliability and safety were important.[2]

 
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  1. “Spatial ability–capacity for mentally generating, rotating, and transforming visual images—is one of the three specific cognitive abilities most important for developing expertise in learning and work settings.”

    I’ve always described myself as cognitively impaired in this area. For some strange reason, law boards, LSAT, devoted 1/3 to this in year I took it. Was eliminated next year. I would have surely been accepted at Cornell/Harvard Law otherwise. But things turned out fine for me in long run. I’m also a good small-plane pilot. Please don’t let my lack of spatial ability deter you from flying with me!

  2. mc23 says:

    Interesting, I saw somewhere that Tesla made his first and greatest discoveries by envisioning things in spatial/3D manner. They came to him at first intuitively in this manner before they were fleshed out.

  3. @Mark Finkelstein

    I have okay 2d skills, but bad 3d skills. I’ve never wanted to be a pilot.

    • Replies: @fish
    , @Inquiring Mind
  4. I seem to have a knack for telling if the contents of one vessel will fit in another, no matter how disparate their shape.
    Pisses the wife off.
    Any commercial use has so far eluded me.

  5. anon[106] • Disclaimer says:
    @mc23

    Interesting, I saw somewhere that Tesla made his first and greatest discoveries by envisioning things in spatial/3D manner. They came to him at first intuitively in this manner before they were fleshed out.

    He literally visualized, or “saw”, the basics of Alternating Current, including transformers to step up or step down voltage. Just out for a walk, or something, and a problem he’d been pondering. That’s the power of real deep intelligence and visualization.

    Not to go all Whiskey, but…all of this stuff from the NYT is moot, of course. The SAT was designed to find diamonds in the rough, ending it guarantees those diamonds shall remain unfound. We’ve gone from somehow missing future Einsteins / Edisons within the white flyover population to actively rejecting and hating them. Just the “girl power” initiatives alone cause some damage, but now with CRT fast becoming a new cult that all must subscribe to, that game is done.

    No White Males Need Apply For Anything, Anywhere, Anytime.

    The NYT’s reader base hates and fears the future Einsteins / Edisons, and supports suppressing them by any means necessary.

  6. Speaking of Chetty, I actually did my own analysis to determine the best and worst states for raising children. If you look at the chart below (“Index of Misery”), the lower-ranked states are better. The higher-ranked states are worse. So Minnesota is the best state, while West Virginia is the worst.

    View post on imgur.com

    I found that the Upper Midwest (Minnesota, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin) is a very good place to raise children. It’s also highly affordable to the common man. Move to the Upper Midwest if you are a family with kids.

    Here’s my methodology for creating the above chart.

    1. I inputed the rates of incarceration, overdose, teen births, death, and obesity for each state. However, I only utilized the data for the Non-Hispanic white populations of each INDIVIDUAL state.
    2. For America’s non-Hispanic white population, I also found the national medians on the rates of incarceration, overdose, teen births, death, and obesity.
    3. I divided each state’s incarceration, overdose, teen pregnancy, death, and obesity rates by the respective national medians. Only for Non-Hispanic Whites.
    4. By averaging together these divided modified rates, I computed an “Index of Misery” for each state. Higher the index, the WORSE off the population. Lower the index, BETTER off the state.

    [MORE]

    Best States:

    -Minnesota
    -New Jersey
    -Nebraska
    -New York
    -North Dakota
    -California
    -Iowa

    Worst States:
    -West Virginia
    -Kentucky
    -Oklahoma
    -Tennessee
    -Nevada
    -Arkansas
    -Ohio

  7. Charon says:

    The streets were full of undiscovered geniuses last summer. Where are they now?

  8. Anonymous[405] • Disclaimer says:

    I have okay 2d skills, but bad 3d skills. I’ve never wanted to be a pilot.

    From the local paper:

    Los Altos centenarian Dave Bridges reflects on ‘the high life’

    Los Altos resident Dave Bridges has had a lifelong fascination with airplanes, from building model planes in high school into retirement – including the radio-controlled variety – to becoming a flight instructor in the U.S. Army Air Corps, to a 37-year career flying for Pan American World Airways. Even now, at 100 years old, when he sees jets flying overhead, he muses, “Oh, I wish I could be up there and do it again.”

    …His path to becoming a Pan Am captain began shortly after high school. After graduating from Alameda High School – where he was on a championship crew team – he briefly attended San Francisco Junior College.

    “About a week after I started, I found out there was an aviation course being offered by the government,” he said. “The ground school was free – get yourself to the airport and all the instruction was free.”…

    He spent the next year and a half as a civilian flight instructor for the Army Air Corps in Santa Maria, then joined Pan Am.

    “The first two years with Pan Am, I flew the Boeing flying boats,” Bridges reminisced. “Twenty-four passengers, 11 crew. It took 17 hours to get from here to Honolulu.”

    He spent 37 years with Pan Am – 19 years as a relief co-pilot, flight navigator and first officer, and 18 years as a captain. He retired a captain of a 747 in 1981…

    https://www.losaltosonline.com/seniors/los-altos-centenarian-dave-bridges-reflects-on-the-high-life/article_9b442666-e9c6-11eb-bb20-079e910a80eb.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

    It was a different world for sure back then.

  9. This looks like a blatant case of sexual doxing. The Biden administration used their resources to investigate this senior Catholic official’s sex life – and then outed the Catholic leader to the public.
    This just shows you that your cell phone data is not private. If powerful people are angry at you, they can hack anything easily and dox you. When this happens, you will have ZERO recourse.

    This is literally like the Soviet Union. Except instead of snooping through your mail, govt agents OPENLY snoop through your cell phone….That’s really the scariest thing of all. They can OPENLY do this and get away with it.

    • Agree: Paul Jolliffe
    • Replies: @Old Prude
    , @El Dato
  10. https://www.google.com/search?q=spatial+ability+puzzles&source=lnms&tbm=isch

    There are 1000’s of ways to do this test / train this skill. The one I took is not on there. During a corporation layoff my (totally solid guy) boss paid for me to get a comprehensive aptitude test which was a day and a half to test; a quarter day for the guy to score; and then an hour+ to explain the score to me. The spatial aptitude was a set of 3D jigsaw puzzles which started off with around eight pieces and then moved up in six or seven steps to around 30 pieces and the tester just gave them to you on a tray and timed you with a stopwatch as you assembled them. The last one was really a bitch and I did not score in the top 1% on the test.

  11. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:

    That happens a lot in R&D: you work for years to solve a problem one way and come up with a pretty good solutions, but then somebody blindsides you with a great solution.

    If the Beatles could be partially described as a pop R&D group, your scenario is experienced and described by Paul McCartney…

    • Thanks: Paul Jolliffe
  12. I did a Ravens’ Matrice’s test and got an extreme result. This is not reflected in my sporting ability, though I am pretty good at knowing where I am in a city! I suspect I am not inordinary in spatial reasoning, but that the week before, spent playing a game to train you for the test on my phone, did most of the heavy lifting.

  13. Both. This has been going on for years right under conservative (sic) noses.

    Sending Edison to collitch is about the worst thing you could have done to him.

  14. Adding this skill to the testing matrix isn’t going to help blacks, isn’t going to help Jews. (The Jews good at will mostly just be smart–even better at math/verbal stuff.) It damn sure isn’t going to help women. (Well actual XX women.)

    This would just help a lot of flyover country white guys–i.e. Nazis. That ain’t gonna happen.

  15. fish says:
    @Steve Sailer

    That’s cool….you can be the guy who taxis out to the runway before takeoff and back after landing.

  16. Draftsmen

    Now called, drafters

  17. guest says:

    Finding “diamonds in the rough” is pretty much the only argument in favor of public education I take seriously. (Babysitting could be done elsewhere.) if they can’t even do that right, what good are they?

    But anyway, I find hard to believe that there’s some third category of intelligence that’s “falling between the stools” of verbal and mathematical intelligence. Because if you’re smart at manipulating imaginary 3-d space, you’re probably smart at words and numbers and logic in general too. Because, ya know, you’d be generally intelligent.

    I’d tend to believe this spatial manipulation stuff goes well with mathematical minds. Geometry at least.

    If I were to flatter myself, I’d say I was more of a verbal than mathematical thinker. Because I scored higher on one or the other. But I’m pretty sure amI could do better at math if I weren’t so lazy on the subject.

    The sort of thing school actually doesn’t test well for, I should think, is for people who have “genius in their fingers,” so to speak. I think of Mozart touring Europe as a six year-old virtuoso, for instance. Who really had no need to sit through 12 grades of babysitting.

    They have schools for performance art, of course. And maybe schools for bidding surgeons and mechanics. I have no idea. But I’d be willing yo bet these sort of minds are I’m not sorted as well as other sorts.

    • Replies: @res
  18. guest says:
    @mc23

    I weary of attempts at recreating the mental lives of dead people. But one thing stood out to me reading about Tesla long ago, and that was his idea for building a mental projector. Which could do what it sounds like, i.e. project mental images onto a screen in physical reality,

    This was fascinating to me perhaps only because I had the same idea. The idea coming to me by way of daydream.

    Tesla I read in one biography had an extreme sort of daydream problem (or ability, if you want to see it that way) or perhaps pathology of occasionally overlapping reality with an imaginary picture that he perceived like the real thing.

    Which could be a nightmare—or rather day-mare—and a clue as to how powerful his faculty for imagination was. Maybe.

  19. @mc23

    They mention it on his biography. I work in the trades and you can definitely tell the people who have the spatial ability to envison things that aren’t yet in place (a conduit run, column, how things should be wired), and those who’s eyes glaze over and need to be directed step by step of what needs to be done. Part of it comes with experience, and to an extent, the imagination required to see how everything needs to fall into place.

    A good example is people on the show “House Hunters” who pass on a possible house due to paint color on the walls or other minor, easily fixed issues.

    • Replies: @3g4me
    , @res
  20. ccr says:

    Einstein also designed a fix for one of the problems with the WW2 Mark 14 torpedo, but his fix wasn’t used by the navy.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  21. guest says:

    Not sure what “lost Einstein” even means in this context. Because far as I remember Einstein tested highly in the areas you’d expect him to test higher. Math and physics.

    The actual Einstein went to the University of Zurich, so he wasn’t “lost.” Why would we be worrying about losing phantom Einsteins if the real Einstein was distinguished as exceptional through quantitative measurement?

    “Carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers”

    None of which careers need any testing to distinguish, aside from whatever tests are applied in the fields themselves.

    If someone were to say a budding young plumber should be separated at 12 so that he could drop out of school and apprentice, I’d be open to the idea. However, this sounds like creating a class of university-approved Abstract Plumbers.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  22. ccr says:

    I have noticed that some people are very poor at navigating in their cars. They have no idea of north, south, etc. and get lost easily. Is this spacial ability or some, still different, ability?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @AndrewR
  23. That happens a lot in R&D: you work for years to solve a problem one way and come up with a pretty good solutions, but then somebody blindsides you with a great solution.

    In the case of Viagra, researchers were blindsided with a great problem. The angina patients in the study kept coming back for more. And more. And more…

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  24. As a physicist turned engineer, I can say that I have known physicists and engineers lacking in spatial ability.

    None were any damn good.

    I used to do consulting work with a colleague who lived a hundred miles away. We’d get on the phone trying to solve a problem and then one of us would say, “Okay get a pencil and paper and draw this picture.” The other guy would do so and then say, “Ah, now I see it!”

    Personally, I have trouble respecting a physicist or mathematician who cannot think in four dimensions. As a fifteen-year-old, I worked out the structure of the largest perfect polytope in four dimensions and found that it had six hundred tetrahedra. (This was already known, but I did not have access to any reference that gave the answer, so I had to figure it out from scratch.)

  25. JosephB says:

    Spatial ability does seem separate from cognitive. I remember reading over the Raven’s materials a few decades ago, and one of their analysis found a second factor in the test beyond “g”, which appeared to represent spatial ability.

    For testing, I think spatial rotations on a timed test would be one way to get there, at least as a first cut. It might not separate the top 10% or 20% very well, but could at least screen those folks out for extra testing.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  26. @Reg Cæsar

    Where did Apollo engineers come from?

    NASA Engineers and
    the Age of Apollo
    https://history.nasa.gov/SP-4104.pdf

    I recall reading decades ago that there was some NSF study that allegedly stated that engineers were bright boys from the lower classes.

    How many people here recall family members receiving Chemistry sets and Erector sets and later, Heathkits? All gone. How many people consider firearms interesting mechanical devices and yet don’t own any due to onerous and expensive laws of ownership? Look at the gun controllers doing everything to impede home workshop guns.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrIcSSe_tdo

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Reg Cæsar
  27. spatial reasoning is what avian cognition excels at

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @res
    , @Reg Cæsar
  28. guest007 says:

    For many years, the Army and Marine Corps made land navigation a must pass for ROTC students and newly commissioned officers. The military through experience and testing realized that about 20% of Americans cannot be taught to read a map and then navigate around an area. Anyone who has ever work or even driven with people who only know one way to get someone place or now depend 100% of the GPS system should understand that not everyone has the ability to apply 3-d thinking.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @3g4me
  29. Ralph L says:

    blacks currently earn 30% as many patents per capita as whites

    Do you mean they earn 30% more patents per capita? To me, “30% as many” means 0.30 times the number for whites.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
  30. Mike Tre says:

    It takes me an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.

  31. Eistein’s cognitive style was Spatial-Logical. About 3% of the population has it, and yes, rotating 3-D objects is trivial to one of them. Edison may have had a type of ADD that was less chaotic and more diverse (hate that word) in the solutions it would find. We tend to think of ADHD kids as hopeless cases, and about 2/3 of them have some form of brain damage, but 1/3 have enhanced reasoning ability in non-linear tasks.

    What do you get when you cross Spatial-Logical with Edison’s ADD gene?

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @anonymous
  32. Fox says:

    Spatial ability is a great skill for building 3-D-structures in one’s mind, perhaps a sculptor benefits from it, certainly a technical draftsman and an organic chemist concerned with optical isomers or.
    I have good spatial skills and was accordingly very good at technical drawing and projective geometry as a part of it in school. On the other hand, I have a friend who is highly skilled at mathematics, has an engineering and a chemistry degree who, according to his own words, had great trouble in technical drawing because he had to rely exclusively on the techniques of constructing the different views of an object in space, rather than foreseeing what it looks like from another point of view.

  33. Mike Tre says:

    OT – all quiet on the WW hair front? Young negress loses her wig (and consciousness) on a racist catapult ride.

    https://leakedreality.com/video/17676/dindunette-loses-her-wig

  34. Bannon says:

    Short version of problem: spatial reasoning has been curtailed as an evaluation criterion because boys outperform girls. No way it is coming back. This civilization would rather swallow a cyanide pill than even think impure thoughts about differences between the sexes or races.

    • Agree: res, EH
  35. Marty says:

    Gotta question the athletics-spatial ability thing. On the basketball court, guys would say, “how’d you see me?” But I can’t read a blueprint to save my life.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Stan d Mute
  36. the question of whether most schoolchildren are currently tested enough for skills like being able to correctly mentally rotate a 3-D object.

    I oppose the public education mania with testing, Testing, TESTING, i.e. more tax dollars for GOP controlled testing firms. I don’t care about “accountability” (the gov never is).

    Public schools are supposed to be limited to desperately poor kids. Test them to see whether they can read simple laws like “Thou Shalt Not Steal” and “One Way”, do simple calculations like “How much change do you get ..?”, and then send them on their way.

    [MORE]

    For non- abject poor kids, the cultural norm of 3m/yr, in the little red schoolhouse, paid for by their parents, and finished by 8th grade or so, was seen as adequate. (Of course that effective and economical system of mass private education was intolerable to the narcissistic, city slicker minoritarians — who were especially outraged that the Papists were successfully educating their own.)

    If JC-educated guys can design air/space craft, we can trust 10th graders to teach little kids how to read. Obviously $45/hr, credentialed teachers can’t do the the job. We don’t need to retain $200/hr psychometricians (testers) to tell us what we already know.

  37. Personally, I have trouble respecting a physicist or mathematician who cannot think in four dimensions. As a fifteen-year-old, I worked out the structure of the largest perfect polytope in four dimensions and found that it had six hundred tetrahedra. (This was already known, but I did not have access to any reference that gave the answer, so I had to figure it out from scratch.)

    Dave, please have a tolerance–if not respect–for us dimwitted 99%tile types. Yeah, we’re a bit thick, but … we try.

    BTW, hope you and your Asian bride have had 7 or 8 kids. (Not asking for full Duggar.) That’s probably the most useful thing you can do with your … ahem … spatial skills.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    , @Fox
  38. @AnotherDad

    Adding this skill to the testing matrix isn’t going to help blacks, isn’t going to help Jews.

    Yeah, but one of the few benefits of our deeply stupid era is that nobody will admit that there is no chance this will help Blacks. I’m fairly certain the whole ” some studies link spatial ability with superior performance in sports. etc.” was intended to tantalize the bien-pensants with the vision of “closing the gap”. Thus it can be pushed as a ‘closing the gap’ measure while benefiting flyover Whites bigly. I think there is some organization or other that has as its motto “By way of deception thou shalt do war”. We are at war,we should started acting like it.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  39. Anonymous[410] • Disclaimer says:

    “Current talent search procedures focus on the assessment of mathematical and verbal ability,” wrote David Lubinski of Vanderbilt and Harrison J. Kell, a senior researcher at the Educational Testing Service, in “Spatial Ability: A Neglected Talent in Educational and Occupational Settings.”

    You have to wonder whether the neglect of spatial ability has persisted because Europeans generally have better spatial ability than Jews.

    Europeans and Jews are about equally creative. But Europeans beat Jews decisively in spatial ability.

    Europeans beat East Asians decisively in the realm of creativity. Europeans and Asians are about equal in spatial ability.

    It is interesting that spatial ability and creativity—both important to intelligence, performance, and productive societies—are neglected in mainstream measures of ability. They would favor Europeans over Jews and East Asians. Is the situation in part the result of lack of interest in (or even opposition to) measurement on the part of ethnic lobbies?

    In these and other things, Europeans once again show that they are the people that can do it all. Even if they are not the absolute best at everything. (Although they are the absolute best in the traits of creativity and cooperation.)

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  40. Anonymous[410] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mark Finkelstein

    I’ve always described myself as cognitively impaired in this area. For some strange reason, law boards, LSAT, devoted 1/3 to this in year I took it. Was eliminated next year.

    That is interesting it was introduced and quickly eliminated. Maybe there was a lack of enthusiasm for it among people with influence in the field of law

  41. @AnotherDad

    AnotherDad wrote to me:

    Dave, please have a tolerance–if not respect–for us dimwitted 99%tile types. Yeah, we’re a bit thick, but … we try.

    Note that I only said physicists and mathematicians should be able to think in 4-D. I did not specify engineers.

    I have known some really great engineers, guys I consider better than me, who were not able to think in 4-D. ‘Tis an esoteric skill indeed. But if a physicist or mathematician does not have some esoteric skills, I mean, what good is he? It’s not like you go to a physicist or mathematician to fix the leaking plumbing!

    A solid engineer who can build something that actually works — worth his weight in gold. Even if he cannot think in 4-D.

  42. > Why not lost Edisons?

    If it’s about 3-D spatial visualization abilities, why not lost Eschers?
    (sorry, not sure how to paste or link to an image)

    • Replies: @Dissident
  43. Anon[954] • Disclaimer says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Personally, I have trouble respecting a physicist or mathematician who cannot think in four dimensions.

    What does it even mean to think in four dimensions? Did you mean three dimensions?

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  44. Anonymous[247] • Disclaimer says:
    @PhysicistDave

    By “fourth dimension” do you mean time? Being able to visualize moving objects in your head would be some genius-level skill.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  45. Russ says:

    Put differently, becoming an inventor relies upon two things in America: excelling in mathematics and science and having a rich family.

    Becoming an inventor relies upon working for a large corporation with patent disclosure goals, IP departments overflowing with lawyers, and incentives for engineers sufficiently shielded from actual production support so as to indulge their whimsy on disclosure submittal forms.

  46. @AnotherDad

    Sssssh! Don’t let them know!

  47. 1) intelligence tests were steadily stripped of their spatial questions over the decades by the test designers, as boys and men were much better at them than women (like 8 points better or more on some of the questions), in order to norm the test so that the average male and average female performed about the same. this fudging hasn’t been able to change the results at the high end, where there are still many more males than females among the most capable test takers, but it produces very similar results in the normal spectrum of test takers.

    in the past i have called this nerfing the test, and indeed, wechsler and SAT and many other tests are nerfed in this manner. the military gives recruits an entire separate test for mechanical ability which is largely a test of these abilities. really BIG differences in these capabilities is largely why men are so much more mechanical than women and why men have such better hand eye coordination in sports than women. which doesn’t show up on intelligence tests, BECAUSE the tests are deliberately nerfed. in the real world, men are definitely smarter than women. real life is not a fudged pencil and paper test.

    the nerfing of the tests had lead curious thinkers to speculate, not without reason, that men’s bigger brains actually do nothing extra, or that women’s smaller brains are more efficient, and are just as capable at a smaller size. well that’s not correct. men’s bigger brains actually are doing more stuff, the way a bigger video card on a computer does more spatial processing.

    • Thanks: Stan d Mute
  48. Lost Einsteins or Lost Edisons?

    Eisensteins are rotting in the film schools. Or something like that…

    • LOL: Yancey Ward
  49. @prime noticer

    “men’s bigger brains actually are doing more stuff, the way a bigger video card on a computer does more spatial processing.”

    That seems plausible.

    The whole question of the g factor vs. spatial reasoning being more separate is highly reminiscent of personal computers. Typically, you choose how powerful a CPU (the g factor) and then you separately choose how powerful a Graphics Processing Unit you want. Amusingly, the people who will pay extra for a bigger GPU for gaming are highly skewed toward males.

  50. 2) high spatial mechanical ability people are not lost or undiscovered or undetected. US academic systems based on British systems are generally not geared towards identifying and developing them, but these people mostly end up doing technical blue collar work for decent pay, even without college degrees.

    the academic elite class in America is VERY detached from the nuts and bolts of how modern machine tech works – their entire existence is about deliberately about avoiding all that and trying to get an air conditioned office job where they work on a computer – so they have no idea at all about what most of the blue collar mechanical skilled workforce is doing.

    i know a 35 year old guy without a college degree who runs a body shop and paint shop and makes 1 million dollars a year – a job that almost none of the academic elite class people could do. that’s not 1 million a year in revenue for the shop – that’s his take home pay for the year.

    there are thousands of these people working in all the Tesla factories and on the Space X spacecraft. they used to work at NASA by the thousands. less so now. still plenty working for the military and defense contractors, keeping all the subs and ships and tanks and helicopters and jets running.

    in Germany there is more sorting for type of ability. the good academic test takers are sent to Gymnasium, whereas the mechanical people are specifically identified and sent to Realschule.

    • Agree: Stan d Mute
    • Thanks: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @AndrewR
    , @Jack D
  51. Fox says:
    @AnotherDad

    The question is what it means to be able to think in four dimensions. I think no one can do that in a way analogous to three dimensions. This is a basic constituent of our world, while the fourth or fifth or n-th dimension is just a mathematical analogy to extended from the Cartesian three-dimensional coordinate system which can be conveniently represented by vectors. This then poses no problem to write vectors with 4 or more perpendicular coordinates. However, no one can picture it, while it is quite possible to purely formally have spaces with any number of dimensions.

  52. Somsel says:

    Motivation is important.

    I once was on a team checking the routing of pipes in a nuclear power plant we were designing in Taiwan. The process used what are called “isomeric drawings” – 2D computer-drawn representations of the 3D twists and turns of pipes in the plant, including were to put vent and drain valves.

    My older colleagues, 50s to early 60s, all complained about how difficult is was to read and interpret the drawings.

    I pointed out the scientific correlation between the ability to reason in 3D and testosterone levels.

    Our team performance improved after that and not one of the gentlemen complained again.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Anonymous
  53. It has to be combined with some other kinds of smarts, I am sorry to say, to be an Edison, an Einstein, or PhysicistDave. A kid who quickly masters catching flyballs has very good spatial abilities- most never do, but the ones who do seem to be mostly regular intelligence from my not insignificant experience.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  54. @Anonymous

    Spatial ability and creativity: sounds like 15th Century Florence.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Stan d Mute
  55. 3) the Industrial Revolution seemed to be more about mechanical ability than really high intelligence. this appears to be one of the biggest misconceptions in psychology, and in history in general. of course high intelligence helps, but tons of the Industrial Revolution was just guys without a college degree building new contraptions with their hands. a lot of those guys building the first locomotives had no college education at all.

    any time you actually go into a factory, you’ll be struck by the insane mechanical genius of the machines at work, a symphony of engineering, automatically performing all the functions that unskilled laborers used to be employed doing. these factories are largely the underpinning of our modern society.

    it is a great irony of the British academic system not being geared towards identifying the kinds of guys who can do this stuff, yet the IR took off in Britain first anyway.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  56. @Steve Sailer

    Spatial ability and creativity: sounds like 15th Century Florence.

    • Replies: @Dissident
  57. @Marty

    I could imagine that Dennis Rodman had some kind of weird cognitive genius for guessing where the rebound would carom to soon after the ball left the shooter’s fingertips. Bill Simmons says Rodman, Kevin Love, and Moses Malone were the best at that mental knack that he’s ever seen. Simmons also says that you can’t really judge it from TV but in person you could notice how great these guys were at anticipating where a shot would end up.

  58. Dissident says:
    @Random Anonymous

    Error in establishing HTTPS connection appears to be what is preventing your image from displaying. See screen shot below. [1]
    ~ ~ ~
    Albert and son

    [MORE]

    [1]

    • Replies: @Random Anonymous
  59. @Steve Sailer

    Interesting, as the three of them are IQ-wise pretty diverse. Love is a bright guy , Malone is box of rocks dumb and Rodman is kind of too weird to tell one way or the other.

  60. @Anon

    Anon[954] wrote to me:

    What does it even mean to think in four dimensions? Did you mean three dimensions?

    No, I actually can think in four spatial dimensions. Not as well as I think in three dimensions of course. But then I do not think as well in three dimensions as in two dimensions. It’s all relative.

    I’ve tried, in dealing with some interesting math problems, to think in five dimensions. I can barely do it at all. Six dimensions is pretty much beyond me.

    The way I do four dimensions is sort of think of the fourth dimension as if it is sort of a graying out of the image. It’s hard to describe.

    Try this: Imagine a square. Now imagine a second square not on top of the first square. Now imagine that the whole second square is offset in the third dimension. Now connect corresponding corners of the two squares. If you are decent at spatial reasoning, you will see that you have built a cube. In fact, this is a good way to draw a cube on paper. You will see that four of the sides look like parallelograms, but of course you know they are really just squares, distorted by perspective.

    Now do the same thing with two cubes:

    Imagine a cube. Now imagine a second cube not on top of the first cube. Now imagine that the whole second cube is also offset in the fourth dimension. Now connect corresponding corners of the two cubes. You have now built a “tesseract” (remember A Wrinkle in Time?). In fact, this is a good way to draw a tesseract on paper. You will see that six of the eight cubes that make up the tesseract look like parallelepipeds, but of course you know they are really just cubes, distorted by perspective.

    Try to do this yourself, but if you can’t, read the Wikipedia article.

    A similar process lets you build up the perfect simplices in any dimension:

    2 points bound a line segment in 1 dimension
    3 line segments bound a triangle in 2 dimensions
    4 triangles bound a tetrahedron in 3 dimensions
    5 tetrahedra bound a pentahedroid in 4 dimensions

    I assume you see how to continue the pattern.

    The hyperculbe has an obvious “dual” in every dimension (e.g., the octahedron in three dimensions).

    And that’s it beyond four dimensions.

    But in three dimensions there are two others that everyone knows: the dodecahedron and the icosahedron.

    And in four dimensions… I had read that there were three other ones, but the book I was reading did not tell me what they were.

    So, I just worked them out for myself by teaching myself to think in four dimensions. There is one made out of 24 octahedra, one made out of 120 dodecahedra, and the biggie made out of 600 tetrahedra.

    4-D math — much better way to expanding your mind than drugs!

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  61. @Fox

    Fox wrote:

    This then poses no problem to write vectors with 4 or more perpendicular coordinates. However, no one can picture it, while it is quite possible to purely formally have spaces with any number of dimensions.

    Well, yeah, except as I explained above, I and a lot of mathematicians and some physicists can indeed think in at least the fourth dimension.

    • Replies: @Fox
  62. @Anonymous

    It’s not that difficult. But, if you factor in music and a light show …

  63. @PhysicistDave

    You’re thinking in 3 dimensions and applying logic to figure out how the 3-d image is a projection of the fourth-d object.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  64. @Steve Sailer

    Good hockey players have a saying: “Don’t look at where the puck is; look at where the puck WILL be.”

  65. @AnotherDad

    I once thoroughly unsettled my travel companions by embarking upon a journey in a major foreign capital with a language none of us could fluently speak and without a map. I’m sure a better route could have been found, but we reached our destination (and returned) without incident.

    Then again, I have been an off-road enthusiast forever and topo maps are as useful to me as road maps.

  66. @AnotherDad

    AnotherDad wrote:

    Adding this skill to the testing matrix isn’t going to help blacks, isn’t going to help Jews.

    In the aggregate.

    But it will find those Blacks and Jews who can excel at STEM, and that is a good thing.

    Two classic examples of Jews who excelled at spatial thinking — Feynman and, of course, Einstein. Most non-STEM people have no idea of the spatial skills they themselves are lacking and of what a boost it is to succeeding in STEM.

    Personally, I think strong verbal skills without spatial skills largely pay off in “Machiavellian” type jobs — where the goal is to manipulate and defraud other human beings.

    Of course, the g factor is real: on average, people with higher verbal skills will be better at spatial thinking, at music, at pretty much everything.

    By the way, one of the top ballerinas at the Royal Ballet is leaving dance and going to Stanford with an interest in: math, computer science, linguistics, and philosophy! The mere fact that she sees the subjects as related (as they indeed are) tells me that this is a very bright young lady.

  67. @Marty

    Gotta question the athletics-spatial ability thing. On the basketball court, guys would say, “how’d you see me?” But I can’t read a blueprint to save my life.

    You can, but it’s not been important for you to do so. It’s all ‘situational awareness’ by another name. Some people have so much of it that it paralyzes them, lost in permutations and possibilities for addressing what they perceive.

    • Replies: @Muse
  68. @Steve Sailer

    Spatial ability and creativity: sounds like 15th Century Florence.

    Peak Whitey?

  69. mikemikev says:

    Pencil and paper tests are good at finding the verbally proficient and those strong at equations, but finding those who can deal with 3-d reality in their mind’s eye would seem like a trickier challenge.

    How about mental rotation tests like this?

  70. @Ralph L

    Do you mean they earn 30% more patents per capita? To me, “30% as many” means 0.30 times the number for whites.

    Steve’s not confused. He’s saying blacks being at 0.3x whites in patents is pretty encouraging. He would have guessed much lower. I would have guessed it was at something like 5% of the white rate.

  71. @mikemikev

    I’ve flunked already.

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
  72. @PhysicistDave

    The mere fact that she sees the subjects as related (as they indeed are) tells me that this is a very bright young lady.

    A verbalist might object: we don’t know that she sees that, maybe a guy she was dating told her that?

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  73. Anon[546] • Disclaimer says:

    If you’re giving legitimate IQ or IQ-proxy tests, you’re not going to miss Einstein-level spacial kids. That requires a high g, and g is 0.5-0.6 shared (a common factor) among all the cognitive abilities. So a verbal and math test where you do well means your spatial will be pretty good. In theory you could have high g, really, really low non-g verbal and non-g math ability, and really high non-g spatial, but I don’t think in practice this ever happens. If you verbal and math were so damaged, your spatial ain’t gonna be that great either. It implies a weirdly specific kind of brain damage.

    The Florida gifted program legislation was mentioned:

    Florida legislation — unchanged by the screening program — “dictates that college students should obtain a minimal of 130 factors on a typical IQ check to qualify for presented standing. English language learners and free or-reduced value lunch members are topic to a decrease 116 level threshold, often called ‘Plan B’ eligibility,” Card and Giuliano wrote.

    The screening course of, which recognized by testing all excessive scorers, considerably modified the demographic profile of the district’s gifted college students from the 2004-5 faculty 12 months to the 2006-7 faculty 12 months, the authors write: The share of non-Hispanic African Americans rose from 12 to 17 p.c, of Hispanics from 16 to 27 p.c, whereas the white share fell from 61 to 43 p.c.

    These numbers do not make sense. Gifted at 130 is a standard value. That should mean that 2.5 percent get in (0.15 percent of blacks). IQ test are not biased against the poor, and there are tests for non-native speakers (see Warne’s book). But let’s say you want to affirmative-action-up minority talented (115-129) to gifted classes. That means for blacks about 1 or 2 people, not percent, per 1,000. How did they get 12 percent blacks at the 130 level, and 17 percent at 116? Similarly with Hispanics. The number at 116 vs. 130 should be exponential. For whites, 16 percent are 115 and above, and 2.5 are 130 and above. Florida used to use legit IQ tests, mainly WISC. Maybe they are using some goofy internet tests now, and the teachers prep the kids for them? So 12 percent of Florida blacks have 130 IQs and 17 percent have IQ higher than 116? That’s the same as for whites at the 116 level, and four or five times whites at the 130 level.

  74. @prime noticer

    James Watt did not attend college, but he worked for a college and picked up an advanced knowledge of physics along the way, which was essential to his epochal improvements in the steam engine. He was friends with major highbrows like Adam Smith, Joseph Priestley, and Erasmus Darwin.

    Many of the leaders of the industrial revolution were “dissenting” Protestants ineligible to attend Oxford or Cambridge, which were only for Church of England members. Dissenting academies tended to be better at teaching science and engineering, although Cambridge at least had had Newton.

  75. @Yancey Ward

    Who was the best outfielder in recent decades at going immediately and directly to where the ball was going to come down? Maybe Andruw Jones, who didn’t seem all that high g…

    Quarterbacks need the cognitive knack of paying attention to 5 receivers and recognizing which one is going to get open by the time the pass arrives. That seems to correlate with an above average IQ.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  76. @guest007

    I hope the Army still requires officers to be able to read a map.

  77. @Raven Lunatic

    That sounds likely. Landing on a tree branch without clipping your wing on another branch sounds like a challenge.

  78. @JosephB

    With interactive computerized tests, somebody who is hopeless at spatial thinking could be spared anymore such questions after they get, say, their first 3 wrong, while somebody who gets all 3 right could be fed even harder questions.

  79. A little tale about spatial reasoning….

    I was sitting at dinner one night with a bunch of friends, one of whom is a world-class visual design genius. For some reason I found myself telling a story about my eccentric freshman-year Art teacher in high school, himself a very good Pointillist painter.

    The guy’s first assignment to our class: Design and build an object which is simultaneously: a chair, a wall, a toy, a weapon, and a means of transportation. We were given two weeks to do it, which was barely enough time.

    By the time I had finished the story, my friend showed me a sketch he had made on a napkin: “You mean like this?”

  80. @ccr

    I think of road navigation as 2-d rather than 3-d.

    When I was a Boy Scout I loved topographic maps, which represent 3-d surfaces in 2-d. I think I could deal fairly well with those.

    I think have what you might call decent sequential 3-D thinking. For example, I can remember the ups and downs of the fairway of a golf hole because it’s one thing after another: “This par-4 hole starts from an elevated tee sharply downward to a level fairway which then goes up about 20 feet just short of the green.” But asking me to describe the topography of a complex green which you could putt across in any direction, well, I’m not good at that.

    So I think I was good at translating a topo map into an image of the hike in my head because the going up and down of a trail is sequential. I can picture the general shape of, say, 11,500′ Mt. San Gorgonio in my head, which I lasted visited in 1982, but it’s a pretty crude picture.

    • Replies: @guest007
  81. @prime noticer

    1) intelligence tests were steadily stripped of their spatial questions over the decades by the test designers, as boys and men were much better at them than women (like 8 points better or more on some of the questions), in order to norm the test so that the average male and average female performed about the same.

    Absolutely agree on this.

    However, while spatial should be in tests, i really do think there’s merit in having it as a separate appraisal.

    A woman who can’t wrap her head around basic math is … stupid. A woman who struggles with spatial isn’t necessarily stupid she’s just … a woman and can still make good use of education. (Women aren’t designed to hunt or fight, they are designed to nurture.)

    ~~

    The other thing that’s going on relative to men and women is that most of testing we have is school based. In the US the highest age, reasonably broad test set we have is the SATs, taken at 16. But a 16 year old girl, while often silly and stupid, is a woman–fully baked, ready for reproduction. Nothing much more is going to happen there physically. A 16 year old boy–while sexual capable is … a boy. More comparable to say a 14 year old girl. Most boys won’t be “fully baked” physically until they are more like 19 or so. I did very well on my SATs but i just had a whole lot more intellectual power when i was ripping into mathematical physics at 19.

    This interval is when a young man would be progressing from a mere “boy” first expected to go hunting, fighting with the men, to a “man” fully capable–or expected to be be capable–of adult input/decision making or even independent action on strategy for a hunt or battle.

    In the before time, society–both men and women–seemed to have a clearer understanding that men were on average just smarter, when it came to the material world and matters of strategy, reasoning and judgment. But that women had their sphere in inter-personal relationships/judgment–providing romantic attraction wasn’t in the picture. Now we have this idiocy of pretending we’re all missing out on the great insights, innovation, judgment and leadership of women. (Which so far does not seem to be leading to a golden era for the West.)

    • Replies: @anonymous
  82. [curse you, Reg Caesar, for beating me once again to some low-hanging fruit, but will post anyway]

    Yeah, I recall sucking at something like that in a test possibly administered in middle school. Mr. Sailer should gain (non-lethal) skills (and confidence!) by beginning at an elementary level with this classic:
    https://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/stepbystepdrawinglessons/2016/11/draw-3-prongs-optical-illusion-easy-step-step-drawing-tutorial-trick-kids/

    And then kick back, listen to some Bach and for the sake of completeness throw in some Goedel while soaking in the exuberance of a vibrant work (which a good citizenist should admire) inspired by Escher:

    https://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-Escher-Inspired-Epicenter/1383631/8009055/view

  83. @Fox

    Some can, but they’re in the minority.

    https://researchblog.duke.edu/2017/04/26/visualizing-the-fourth-dimension/

    http://www.dimensions-math.org/Dim_E.htm

    And the title is a bit off: Einstein, when he came to the US, was basically a spent force (his only contribution when in the US was, I think, EPR); Edison was more of a businessman than inventor, and as an inventor, he was old-fashioned (he never learned Maxwell equations) & would now, as inventor, have been completely useless.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    , @anon
    , @Jack D
  84. AndrewR says:
    @ccr

    It’s called being a woman

  85. Jack D says:

    Although the Einstein refrigerator design was not a commercial success, similar designs still exist. It seems counterintuitive but they make cold by using heat (usually from a propane flame) and have no moving parts. These are used in “off grid” situations where electric power is not available or (or desired – the Amish). Mechanical refrigeration is much more efficient – a small chest freezer uses literally pennies a day worth of electricity and is cheaper to built as well so absorption type refrigerators are only competitive where electric power is not a viable alternative.

  86. Dissident says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Orson Welles played a lighter, more sympathetic version of the conman Harry Lime in The Lives of Harry Lime, a 1951-1952 radio series that was created as a prequel to the 1949 film The Third Man.

    [MORE]

    It’s great fun, full of witty and funny lines and shrewd double-crossing. The tables repeatedly turned on him, Lime’s schemes invariably ultimately fail– at least in being lucrative. But he always manages to escape the worst, and live to go on to try the next scheme.

    Below I paraphrase from memory one of the memorable dialogues I recall from a scene in one of the episodes in which Lime is with a femme fatale who has just revealed the stash of contraband that was the real purpose for her having deceitfully led him to their present location, where the police have just entered…

    WOMAN, greatly agitated: But what about the heroin?!
    LIME: There’s no heroine in this story; only a hero.
    {Woman is not at all calmed. Lime continues:}
    That was a joke. But don’t laugh at it now, there’s no time, we have to get out of here!

    Incidentally, Welles could be quite the Goodwhite scold in a number of his radio productions.

  87. @James Speaks

    James Speaks wrote to me:

    You’re thinking in 3 dimensions and applying logic to figure out how the 3-d image is a projection of the fourth-d object.

    I do not have binocular vision, due to a vision disability. So, you could say the same of my 3-D spatial perception.

    And yet I score much, much higher on 3-D spatial perception than the vast majority of people.

    If you are right, then my skill at “applying logic” is impressive indeed.

    Or maybe I can see things that you can’t.

    By the way, while I am better at logic than most people, my logical skills are nowhere near my spatial perception skills. In fact, I tend to “see” logical arguments spatially. Similarly for temporal relationships: I can “see” out for a week or so but not for several weeks. All this is very, very visual for me, not logical.

    You might want to read Feynman’s description of how he could “see” electric and magnetic fields.

    Or you might want to read up on Stephen Kosslyn, the Harvard psychologist who spent years convincing his fellow psychologists that many human beings really do think in images. (I suspect that many psychologists can’t.)

    I imagine you can’t either, at least not very well.

    It just happens to be the case that some of us think much more using our spatial capabilities than our verbal or symbolic capabilities. And guys like you have trouble believing that.

    The proof of course is that we are much better at solving certain problems than you are by using our abilities.

    Sorry, but I can do things that you can’t.

    That’s okay: you are almost certainly better at softball than I am.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
    , @Anon
    , @Lurker
  88. AndrewR says:
    @prime noticer

    I don’t believe you, but I do believe that he makes way more than he should be making. Body shops definitely run a racket.

  89. @PhysicistDave

    My spatial reasoning skils are pretty good. Preferred way of thinking, too. Once tried to solve a problem with Euler ngles and the rotation of a cube. Tried to do it spatially. Felt the other guys in class who just manipulated matrices to have cheated. Just a data point.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  90. anonymous[146] • Disclaimer says:
    @James Speaks

    Eistein’s cognitive style was Spatial-Logical.

    Einstein’s cognitive style was Abstract-Mathematical. Jews excel at that particular ability.

  91. El Dato says:
    @Somsel

    An evident typo: “isometric”

    An example liberated from passuite.com:

    • Replies: @Somsel
  92. @anonymous

    I believe Einstein was very good at seeing things in his head.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Thanks: James Speaks
  93. @kaganovitch

    kaganovitch wrote to me:

    [Dave] The mere fact that she sees the subjects as related (as they indeed are) tells me that this is a very bright young lady.

    [kag] A verbalist might object: we don’t know that she sees that, maybe a guy she was dating told her that?

    Well, how many pretty little airheads would even remember the four subjects, much less believe that there really was a connection? Or care?

    I will admit that I have a personal theory that intelligence is, to a very substantial degree, simply a matter of interest, of wanting to know things.

    Not completely, of course: I had a friend from grade school through high school who truly wanted to be smart, but just was not born with all that much potential.

    On the other hand, if you simply have no desire to know stuff… well, you may have a great memory for trivia, but your level of understanding is not likely to be high.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @kaganovitch
    , @anon
  94. @anonymous

    anonymous[146] wrote:

    Einstein’s cognitive style was Abstract-Mathematical. Jews excel at that particular ability.

    I am working on a monograph on an alternate method for working through General Relativity, and I have therefore had reason to look in detail into how Einstein thought about things.

    He very, very clearly was a visual thinker.

    • Thanks: James Speaks
  95. Pericles says:
    @AnotherDad

    Adding this skill to the testing matrix isn’t going to help blacks, isn’t going to help Jews.

    Aren’t jews famously bad at spatial stuff? Odd, naive paintings, etc. [Though, I hasten to say, praised by critics.]

    We had an IQ test in the Swedish military, which did include a spatial section. In retrospect, I’d say the problems were much like 3D-versions of Raven matrices.

  96. El Dato says:

    Edison would have be in trouble without mentally challenged genius-cum-showman Tesla.

    Meanwhile, advances in the Langlands program somewhat explained at Quanta Magazine as Peter Scholze & Laurent Fargues casually drop a 350-page paper:

    New Shape Opens ‘Wormhole’ Between Numbers and Geometry

    The grandest project in mathematics has received a rare gift, in the form of a mammoth 350-page paper posted in February that will change the way researchers around the world investigate some of the field’s deepest questions. The work fashions a new geometric object that fulfills a bold, once fanciful dream about the relationship between geometry and numbers.

    “This truly opens up a tremendous amount of possibilities. Their methods and constructions are so new they’re just waiting to be explored,” said Tasho Kaletha of the University of Michigan.

    The work is a collaboration between Laurent Fargues of the Institute of Mathematics of Jussieu in Paris and Peter Scholze of the University of Bonn. It opens a new front in the long-running “Langlands program,” which seeks to link disparate branches of mathematics — like calculus and geometry — to answer some of the most fundamental questions about numbers.

    At the center of Fargues and Scholze’s work is a revitalized geometric object called the Fargues-Fontaine curve. It was first developed around 2010 by Fargues and Jean-Marc Fontaine, who was a professor at Paris-Sud University until he died of cancer in 2019. After a decade, the curve is only now achieving its highest form.

  97. El Dato says:
    @PhysicistDave

    I will admit that I have a personal theory that intelligence is, to a very substantial degree, simply a matter of interest, of wanting to know things.

    In a nice feedback effect, interest in a subject matter comes from knowing things concerning that subject matter.

    Of course, you may end knowing ever detail of Pokemon monsters and their fight matrix, which isn’t necessarily extremely useful in a general setting.

  98. Some Guy says:
    @AnotherDad

    Most of all this would help East Asian males.

  99. Another wrong premise is that they want creative slaves with brains.

    It doesn’t work that way.

    Scientists, on average, may be a conformist bunch, but the best among them, generally, are not. In the case of the US it would mean: I’ll give you loads of money, some kind of fame & prestige, but keep your mouth shut about socially Verboten issues.

    And then, some Grigory Rasputin Perelman will answer: I won’t put up with that shit.

  100. Somsel says:
    @El Dato

    Yep – my misspelling of “isometric.”

    The paper drawings we had to review was nothing like your graphic of a modern computer rendering – this was over 20 years ago. They were much more challenging to interpret and had much more engineering information like slope and hanger type as well as walls, holes in walls, and equipment.

    Screw up on the design and the field-discovered fix would come out of our company’s pocket.

    My point remains, give a reason to try harder at 3D reasoning (like male vanity) and people will make an effort to improve and can do so.

  101. @James Speaks

    James Speaks wrote to me:

    Once tried to solve a problem with Euler ngles and the rotation of a cube. Tried to do it spatially. Felt the other guys in class who just manipulated matrices to have cheated. Just a data point.

    Okay, then you too can probably learn to think in 4-D!

    It does take a lot of work though. Try first to figure out what the 24-cell is (without looking at the answer). As I recall, I figured it out hanging upside down from my pull-up bar out in our backyard when I was fifteen (maybe the extra blood flow to the brain helped!).

    By the way, a few weeks ago I repeated my work finding the 600 cell. I had to spread it over several days. Took only one afternoon when I was a teenager. Either I was smarter then or I just tire more easily now, or both.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  102. @Bardon Kaldian

    Bardon Kaldian wrote:

    Edison was more of a businessman than inventor, and as an inventor, he was old-fashioned (he never learned Maxwell equations) & would now, as inventor, have been completely useless.

    I clicked “AGREE” on your comment, but I’m not quite sure you are right about Edison.

    I once worked on a project with myself and another Ph.D. and some other bright engineers: it involved fairly high-powered math (Galois-field theory). One day, we were still unable to get the prototype working, and we were developing various complicated hypotheses about where we might have messed up the math.

    The project manager walked in and said, “Check the cables.” He did not really understand the high-level technical stuff, and so we patiently explained to him that a a loose or disconnected cable would cause the system not to function at all. It must be a subtle error.

    He repeated, fairly politely, that he really wanted us to check the cables.

    It was a loose cable.

    From which I learned:

    A) Being a good manager is a real skill.
    B) Being technically smart isn’t everything.
    C( Green Berets get things done (the project manager had been a Green Beret).

    So perhaps Tom Edison would be of value even today.

  103. @Steve Sailer

    The Navy recently went back to teaching how to navigate with just hand tools, in case the GPS goes down.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @Reg Cæsar
  104. @Steve Sailer

    Quarterbacks need cognitive knack of paying attention to 5 receivers and recognizing which one is going to get open by the time the pass arrives. That seems to correlate with an above average IQ.

    I gotta say Dan Marino was pretty good at that but seems like a dim bulb otherwise.

  105. @PhysicistDave

    I will admit that I have a personal theory that intelligence is, to a very substantial degree, simply a matter of interest, of wanting to know things.

    I agree with that but I would characterize it as a necessary but insufficient condition, as in your example of your grade school friend.

  106. Voltarde says:

    In a very familiar setting, I’m surprised by my short-range spatial navigation ability in complete darkness (prior to adaptation to low light). Get up in the middle of the night, work at my desk for a few hours, turn off the light and then in what seems to my eyes (at that moment) to be complete darkness can get around complex three-dimensional obstacles easily, reach for a glass of water at my night table, etc. basically without any visual cues at all.

    In an unfamiliar setting, “ouch”, just walked into something, or “oh sh*t”, just knocked something over.

  107. El Dato says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Were on that italian neutrino experiment?

  108. El Dato says:
    @ccr

    He did???

    This one? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_14_torpedo

    Afaik his only attempt at attempting to interface with the real world was trying to measure the residual charge on a capacitor.

    I have also hear he got bad burns in the lab trying to recreate the Michelson-Morely experiment (how? did he have a secret meth lab in there?), but I have only one uncertain source on this.

  109. El Dato says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Green Berets get things done (the project manager had been a Green Beret).

    You don’t really need to be a Green Beret to get things done or not done depending on what is best. Just don’t be a management-tier asshole, is all.

    • Replies: @anon
  110. @Mark Finkelstein

    I have taken many IQ type tests and I always wondered about the section requiring the test taker to rotate complicated shapes. Now I know. I can report that I could do the easy rotations but not the really hard ones. I aced the verbal sections and now at a very elevated age (87) I find I can write expository prose like a sumabitch. OTOH, I once undertook to become an auto mechanic at which I failed. not because I could not see how R & R-ing an alternator required how it must be rotated to be removed, but because I didn’t have the female skill of recognizing socket sizes at a glance.

    • Replies: @Jack D
  111. Anonymous[441] • Disclaimer says:
    @prime noticer

    1) intelligence tests were steadily stripped of their spatial questions over the decades by the test designers

    Do you have a citation for this?

  112. Anonymous[441] • Disclaimer says:
    @Somsel

    the scientific correlation between the ability to reason in 3D and testosterone levels.

    Scientific? Can you point us to the literature on this?

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  113. Mr Mox says:

    I’m a tool & die maker – gradually turned designer/draftsman over a period of forty years. Having been onboard all the way, from standing at a drawing board to sitting in front of a screen, it is difficult to emphasize how profoundly working with interactive 3-D design has changed my way of constructing stuff. But still, I often start with a plain hand sketch, just to get an overview and get the brain in gear.

    Imagine the skill (and time) it must have taken a 2-D draftsman to ink out something like this:

    • Replies: @J1234
  114. anon[266] • Disclaimer says:
    @PhysicistDave

    By the way, one of the top ballerinas at the Royal Ballet is leaving dance and going to Stanford

    Interesting! What race is she?

  115. anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad

    But that women had their sphere in inter-personal relationships/judgment–providing romantic attraction wasn’t in the picture.

    What is the caveat about romantic attraction supposed to mean?

  116. Anon[314] • Disclaimer says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Similarly for temporal relationships: I can “see” out for a week or so but not for several weeks.

    Could you give an example? Are you referring here to interpersonal relationships?

    It just happens to be the case that some of us think much more using our spatial capabilities than our verbal or symbolic capabilities.

    Is symbolic thinking not spatial thinking?

  117. Being a quant myself, I see spatial visualization ability as being a necessary but not sufficient skill to excel in selected STEM fields. A person skilled in quant/logical reasoning alone can be a very good STEM employee. Tossing in exceptional spatial visualization skills and he/she could be an exceptional innovator/inventor. The opposite is probably not true. I.e., a person with exceptional spatial visualization skills but mediocre in quant/logical reasoning would probably be limited to being a good carpenter or designer/drafts-person.

    Also note that a strong quant person with limited spatial visualization ability is now supported by powerful visualization software to mitigate that deficiency and increase the quant’s scope of understanding a problem and its solution space. In other words, the visualization platform provides the image rather than his/her mind’s eye.

    Of course turn-key quant computer models are now also available. But they are limited to exploring an existing solution space, rather than enabling the creation of entirely new solutions.

  118. @PhysicistDave

    B) Being technically smart isn’t everything.

    How poignant that you bring this up in the context of Évariste Galois, who was killed at age 20 in a duel over a girl (for all young men reading this, another cautionary tale on the consequences of simpin’)

    In what engineering project did you need to know how to prove that there are no general solutions for 5th degree polynomials?

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  119. Dr Pierce says:

    I’ve been a dentist for over twenty years and one of the key components, one third, of the aptitude test to get into dental school was a spatial ability. I had to rotate several different three dimensional objects in my brain to determine which object was the same as the example object. I did very well on the test but looking back , I can see why it’s important for me. I look at the mirror image of every tooth I’m working on. My colleagues and I always joke that we’re always getting our lefts and rights mixed up.

    As a student in the nineties I started seeing this PC stuff coming up. I had a classmate with a learning disability, I think dyslexia. He had unlimited time to do his exams. While I’m sympathetic to his plight, might there be a more appropriate career for this person than working on patients?

    • Thanks: res
  120. @PhysicistDave

    Noun inflection in Indo-European and Uralic languages is akin to an algebraic structure. German with her 4 cases, 3 genders, 2 numbers:

    View post on imgur.com


    Not surprisingly a native German speaker, Wittgenstein, invented the truth table leading to modern computer science.

    Latin has 6 cases, so its Et tu, Brute, in the vocative case, not Brutus. Finnish holds the record for 14 cases.

    English, French and Chinese, OTOH, have no grammatical cases other than in personal pronouns. English however, has the most complex verb system. There’s no distinction in French and German for the following 2 sentences:

    I have seen (active voice, indicative mood, present tense, perfect aspect)

    I have been seeing (active voice, indicative mood, present tense, perfect continuous aspect)

  121. @PhysicistDave

    This can be somewhat counterintuitive, the area of low-dimensional topology, one of the most prestigious areas of pure math, is in four dimensions and lower.

    In case of the Millennium Prize Problem, proof of Poincaré conjecture,

    The solution by Stephen Smale, in 1961, of the Poincaré conjecture in higher dimensions made dimensions three and four seem the hardest; and indeed they required new methods, while the freedom of higher dimensions meant that questions could be reduced to computational methods

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-dimensional_topology#History

  122. @Steve Sailer

    You are not one of those hate-crime hoaxers who draws a swastika the wrong way?

    If you are, it might not be a deficiency in 3D reasoning — it might be dyslexia?

  123. 3g4me says:
    @Sick 'n Tired

    @19 Sick ‘n Tired: “A good example is people on the show “House Hunters” who pass on a possible house due to paint color on the walls or other minor, easily fixed issues.”

    I don’t hold a candle to my older son re spatial ability (he was constructing massive Lego sets just by looking at the pictures when he was 3-5 years old) but this exact issue came up recently with my husband. We were looking at buying land in another state, and I could picture how I wanted the acreage used and could even imagine some utility for some of the structures until we could build our own home, but he couldn’t see past the dirt, disorder, etc. Fwiw, I’m better at packing than he is, too.

  124. 3g4me says:
    @guest007

    @28 guest007: Excellent point. For whatever reason I had zero understanding of where I was in relation to anywhere else growing up in the DC burbs (North or South? Inside the Beltway or outside? Who knows?) . Now, at least locally in the DFW area, I generally have a good mental picture of which direction a given town or suburb is in relation to any other and navigate a lot better.

    My older son has always excelled at this and his military training merely confirmed this. He earned his Pathfinder badge at 19 while in the National Guard, while a lot of active-duty SF guys in his class failed. It was the spatial skills combined with the math, because he had not taken advanced math classes having graduated from school a few years early.

    • Replies: @anon
  125. Somewhat similarly to Mr. Sailer’s remark about his father, mine worked as an accountant at a small firm that manufactured small metal objects, like hinges, springs etc. The owner didn’t have much education or business sense but had a true gift for designing machinery and adapting it to the purpose of his business.

  126. Muse says:
    @Stan d Mute

    I think a knowledge of early childhood development can provide insight regarding some of these issues.

    There are kids who lack awareness of the physical world around them. There are kids that lack awareness of their own bodies. It is an issue of situational awareness versus self awareness. They are separate , and they appear to be processed separately in the brain. In some awareness impaired individuals, the impairment can be more global and impact both self and situational awareness, or it can impact only one.

    If you don’t know where your own body is in space, and/or don’t know what is out in the world beyond your body, it is kinda tough to be a good athlete even if you have adequate large motor skills.

    Additionally, static awareness is one thing. Awareness and performance in a dynamic situation such as being an NFL quarterback requires everything to be working at a high level.

    There are other situations that require extreme situational sensitivity and focus, and the dynamics can be bit slower. A naturalist like E.O. Wilson comes to mind. He seemed to be interested in knowing exactly what was in front of him, and what were these ants doing: what patterns was he seeing. From there he could try to imagine what was going on, theorize about the dynamics of the system, then test his ideas. His genius would be impossible if he lacked his powers of observation (even thought he was blind in one eye). Lewontin seemed to me, to function too abstractly (in his head) and was metaphorically blind to reality. I can’t say if his blindness might have roots in ideology, tribalism or lack of situational awareness, but this was why his understanding of the world was wrong.

    • Replies: @Stan d Mute
  127. In what way does all this help explain the relation (in)capacity of women to parallel park, make U-turns etc.?

  128. Fox says:
    @PhysicistDave

    I don’t think that it is possible in the way I said. In order to imagine a fourth dimension you have to imagine (=picture) the dimension you are adding at a right angle to the three other already existing dimensions. And that is impossible other than by analogy. The construction of the ‘tesseract’ does not establish the fourth-dimension right angle but only connects corners in a way analogous to the first three steps in arriving at a cube from a point. I encountered this the first time in a book by Arthur C.Clarke, that’s also where I acquired the word ‘tesseract’ and the image you give in your explanation, the cube within a cube with corners connected. I thought quite a lot about it then, was fascinated by this concept of the 4th dimension, but eventually could not see more in it that playfully extending a concept into the purely abstract that could not be made part of the daily, real, proven reality we live in. A.C.Clarke said in this book something to the effect “unless someone can convert an image to its mirror image without breaking a connection, the fourth dimension has no reality”.
    You have obviously a highly-developed ability of mentally constructing and sensing images and manipulating them at the same time by imagination; how else could you do an operation analogous to the cube with the other Platonic bodies. An outstandingly good memory and great clarity of thinking are necessary for that.
    However, you can only think of the fourth dimension “as if”, unlike the first three which one can think “as are”.
    This altogether is a mode of thinking. An equation is not reality, it can only represent it to some degree; abstract thinking is not reality, it is merely highly formalized thinking in concepts and representations.
    How do you imagine a 4our-dimensional sphere to look like? What does a two-dimensional tetrahedron or more complicated, a two-dimensional icosahedron look like?
    Anyway, I find this topic truly interesting and I am amazed that you can think through a more generalized problem of constructing a 4-D-cube.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  129. Coemgen says:

    Anecdotally, people with better than average spatial skills will read things such as the isteve blog and will understand what is being discussed.

    People with poor spatial skills are horrified at the existence of things such as the isteve blog – especially people who speak corporatese.

  130. Old Prude says:
    @mc23

    The other day, a fellow showing off to me his “manure conveyor” he concocted out of PCV pipe and a garage-door opener explained: “I have really vivid dreams. I dream of things, then I go out and build it with the plans already complete in my head.”

  131. Old Prude says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    There is a lot to hate about Biden. Pimping his Catholicism is just one of the many scuzzy things he does. Denying that hypocritical scoundrel scumbag the sacrament of communion was probably one of the best things that gay priest has ever done. Its certainly worth a plenary indulgence.

  132. Ralph L says:
    @mikemikev

    I’m seeing 2 correct figures for each one.

  133. Jack D says:
    @prime noticer

    i know a 35 year old guy without a college degree who runs a body shop and paint shop and makes 1 million dollars a year – a job that almost none of the academic elite class people could do. that’s not 1 million a year in revenue for the shop – that’s his take home pay for the year.

    The reason that he is making $1 million per year is not because he is “good with his hands” (even if he started out that way) but because he is capable of running (and is in fact owns and runs) a large complex business with many employees, a considerable amount of invested capital, etc. If you own ANY sufficiently large volume business with decent profit margins, you are going to make $1M per year (or more). It’s just a matter of math that if you do $10M of volume and your net profit margin is 10% after paying all expenses then there’s going to be $1M left as profit. But achieving $10M in sales and maintaining a 10% profit margin is no easy thing. It requires a lot of skills and not the kind of skills which involve a dent hammer. In Marxist terms, he is making $1M because he is profiting from the labor of others – there’s no way that he personally could make $1M no matter how many hours he spent applying Bondo. There are tons of very skilled body repairmen who make $50k- 70k/year or less because they are working for someone else (your friend) and don’t run their own business (and are not capable of running their own business). You friend pays these guys $50K and charges his customers $150K and keeps the difference (after paying shop rent, the banks, taxes etc.) and if he does this for enough guys he makes $1M. And probably auto body shops with $1M or more of net profit are in the top 10% of body shops and most are much less profitable.

    • Agree: kaganovitch
  134. @PhysicistDave

    He could now be a manager, but not an inventor. Tesla wrote in the Edison’s necrologue, aiming at Edison’s famous “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration” that Edison could have saved himself much unnecessary work had he learned basic math & phys.

  135. res says:
    @guest

    I find hard to believe that there’s some third category of intelligence that’s “falling between the stools” of verbal and mathematical intelligence. Because if you’re smart at manipulating imaginary 3-d space, you’re probably smart at words and numbers and logic in general too. Because, ya know, you’d be generally intelligent.

    That’s why Lubinski’s research is so interesting. Because despite being hard to believe it does appear to be the case. He has an extensive body of research on this topic. For example, this 2020 paper mentioned above.
    Understanding educational, occupational, and creative outcomes requires assessing intraindividual differences in abilities and interests
    https://www.pnas.org/content/117/29/16720

    For example, see Figure 1.

    Fig. 1 presents longitudinal data from the ∼400,000 high school students in Project TALENT (6)—a stratified random sample of US high school students assessed in 1960 and followed up 11 y later. This pattern has been subsequently replicated over several decades (7⇓⇓–10).

    Caption.

    Trivariate (mathematical/verbal/spatial ability) z-score means for individuals with (A) terminal bachelor’s degrees, (B) terminal master’s degrees, (C) doctorates, and (D) occupations 11 y following high school graduation. Ns are in parentheses. Mathematical ability is on the x axis, verbal ability is on the y axis, and spatial ability is scaled on a third dimension represented by arrows. For a benchmark, because all of the plotted means in the four panels are based on individuals with at least a 4-y degree (and z-scores were standardized within each panel), the general ability level of all of the above groups is >0.5 SDs above the normative population mean. Dashed rectangles indicate STEM disciplines. Reproduced with permission from ref. 6.


    The performance of EdDs is shocking to me (but note that z scores are standardized within each panel so they are being compared only to people with doctorates). The negative stereotype of EdDs is real. I wonder what all the people who insist on saying “Dr. Jill Biden” would say about that ; )

    Reference 6 in that paper has much more if anyone is interested.
    Spatial Ability for STEM Domains: Aligning Over 50 Years of Cumulative Psychological Knowledge Solidifies Its Importance
    https://my.vanderbilt.edu/smpy/files/2013/02/Wai2009SpatialAbility.pdf

    For example, Figure B1 elaborates on “the general ability level of all of the above groups is >0.5 SDs above the normative population mean” in a way I found extremely informative. It gives bachelors/masters/doctorate breakdowns on an absolute scale for all three skills and also gives overall general ability levels for each group. The GA level ranges from about 0.5 for education to between 1.2 and 1.3 for Math/CS, Physical Science, and Engineering.

    Caption.

    Average z-scores of participants on spatial, math, and verbal ability for bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and PhDs are plotted by field. The groups are plotted in rank order of their normative standing on g (S + M + V) along the x-axis and the line with the arrows from each field pointing to it indicates on the continuous scale where they are in general mental ability. This figure is standardized in relation to all participants with complete ability data at the time of initial testing. Respective N’s for each group (Males + Females) were (for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorates respectively): engineering (1143, 339, and 71), physical science (633, 182, and 202), math/computer science (877, 266, and 57), biological science (740, 182, and 79), humanities (3226, 695, and 82), social science (2609, 484, and 158), arts (615, M = 171), business (2386, M + D = 191), and education (3403, M + D = 1505). * For education and business, masters and doctorates were combined because the doctorate samples for these groups were too small to obtain stability (N < 30). From Wai et al. (2009).

    The one thing they left out (at least I was unable to find it) was computing average GA for bachelors/masters/doctorate to help with interpreting the first plot.

    P.S. Keep in mind that this was for people in high school in 1960. I suspect things look significantly different now (e.g. are the EdDs even worse now?!).

  136. res says:
    @Sick 'n Tired

    I work in the trades and you can definitely tell the people who have the spatial ability to envison things that aren’t yet in place (a conduit run, column, how things should be wired), and those who’s eyes glaze over and need to be directed step by step of what needs to be done.

    Thanks. In your experience, how much does that impact overall work performance? What would you suggest as other relevant factors (e.g. attention to detail?)?

  137. res says:
    @Raven Lunatic

    Thanks. For example.
    Avian cognition: examples of sophisticated capabilities in space and song
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcs.1346

  138. anon[130] • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Stalin

    I recall reading decades ago that there was some NSF study that allegedly stated that engineers were bright boys from the lower classes.

    There is a good documentary on the Apollo 13 near-disaster that interviews many of the ground personnel. I don’t have the URL handy, but even now it should show up on a search. Includes ample film from the mission along with first-person “and then…” interviewing.

    One thing that stuck out was how many of the critical guys in the mission control center didn’t even go to college. The were “diamonds in the rough” who somehow were found, and proved their worth in training. Maybe they passed an IQ test, since this was pre Griggs?

    A hillbilly sits with a headset at a monitor, and he knows everything about a slice of the Apollo command module, such that he can anticipate problems. A lot like the guys who still serve a 6 year hitch in the Navy on nuclear subs, come to think of it. They know their stuff, and get the job done.

    These are the white Americans that liberals love to hate. Especially the entire NYT hierarchy, from top editor to part time reader.

  139. guest007 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Road navigation stops being 2-d when it comes to elevated highways, tunnels, etc. There is also weird habits that people pick up from where they learn to drive to currently live. People from small towns know where every stop light is so they do not develop the habit of always looking out for stop lights, especially in cities that use a variety of traffic life set ups. People who learn to drive in small towns not near highways ever learn that one goes right to make a left turn at an exist. Also, look up judge handles, Michigan left, Texas turnaround, Boston rotary, etc.

  140. Lurker says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Or maybe I can see things that you can’t

    If you have seen further it is because you stood on the shoulders of those wearing spectacles.

  141. @PhysicistDave

    Perhaps I *could* but would I want to? When I learned about the cognitive styles and that I was a rare spatial-logical (along with a stunning blonde), I also learned that we tend to take a concrete view of the world, i.e. why think about 4-D when the world is clearly 3-D? (Though I think, like Feynman said, that something very strange happens in a nucleous)

    This was trivial:

    • Replies: @James Speaks
    , @res
  142. anon[130] • Disclaimer says:
    @PhysicistDave

    I will admit that I have a personal theory that intelligence is, to a very substantial degree, simply a matter of interest, of wanting to know things.

    Solipsism plus projection. We all tend to assume that everyone else is “just like me”, even when that is demonstrably not true. Not everyone is a polymath, or suffering from ‘satiable curiousness. Some people are just niche thinkers. Deep knowledge in their area of interest, and nothing outside of that. C’mon, physics PhD guy, are you sure you’ve never met anyone like that?

    Not completely, of course: I had a friend from grade school through high school who truly wanted to be smart, but just was not born with all that much potential.

    I know a heavy equipment operator who does ok on 3-d visualization when he’s running a back hoe. This matters because things like water lines, gas lines and power lines are often found underground. You would probably look down on him, but he’s still alive when others are not – unintentionally digging up a 4,000 volt power line that is hot can be a real hazard.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  143. El Dato says:
    @JohnnyWalker123

    That thread is really bizarre.

    Apparently a member of the LBTQ+ community is fair game when he denies the Lumpenführer communion?

    Nobody seems to get that the next one at the end of a deep mobile inspection might be them.

  144. anon[258] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Edison was more of a businessman than inventor, and as an inventor, he was old-fashioned (he never learned Maxwell equations) & would now, as inventor, have been completely useless.

    He was both inventor and businessman. As an inventor he was famously persistent (“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work”) and had wide-ranging interests; the incandescent light bulb doesn’t have much directly to do with the phonograph and neither really tie into the movie camera. He invented all of them.

    As a businessman, Edison knew how to manage a laboratory and defend patents. These are nontrivial skills – most PhD’s are lousy managers and have no clue about lawfare. They expect others to “just handle it” for them. But, yeah, those PhD’s know Maxwell’s equations.

    Edison did not need to learn Maxwell’s equations, he was an experimentalist. One way to view progress: the experimentalist demonstrates something, then theoreticians rush in to explain what just happened. See Marconi and the ionosphere for an example.

    Even now, in the Age of the Expert, experimentalists still actually make advances.

    • Agree: PhysicistDave
    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  145. anon[258] • Disclaimer says:
    @El Dato

    Just don’t be a management-tier asshole, is all.

    Lol! Roger that.

    Gen-Kill is such a classic.

  146. El Dato says:
    @guest

    The actual Einstein went to the University of Zurich

    Actually the ETH (Polytechnic, literally the Helvetian Technical High School), which is only a few blocks away (but now split into several campuses over Zürich)

    https://library.ethz.ch/en/locations-and-media/platforms/short-portraits/einstein–albert--1879-1955-.html

    IIRC he didn’t bother to show up at courses but sent Besso take notes.

  147. CCR says:

    Here’s a link to the Mark 14 / Einstein connection.

    https://mathscinotes.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/torpedoesandeinstein.pdf

    • Replies: @anon
  148. J1234 says:
    @AnotherDad

    This would just help a lot of flyover country white guys–i.e. Nazis. That ain’t gonna happen.

    This skill sounds a lot like what Henry Ford (who grew up on a farm in rural Michigan) was endowed with. He apparently didn’t like blueprints or drawings of new parts from his engineers. He often made engineers sculpt a model of the newly designed part out of wood so he could hold it in his hand. He could then tell whether the part was going to work or not, or so the story goes.

    Later, when he started his museum of mechanical antiquities, he would acquire old components from 19th century farm implements or steam engines, then put them on a table as an exhibit, often without any label or explanation of what they were. He thought it should be obvious to anyone looking at these parts as to what they were and how they functioned. This shows how he understood things much better than he understood people. Having said that, he understood the market for automobiles far better than anyone else at that time. People’s tycoon.

  149. BobX says:

    Steve

    So I am 30+ years in the product design & manufacture world, but if out at garage/estate sales and we need to figure if an object is going to fit in the vehicle the wife beats me hands down. Yet how stuff gets made would bore her to tears. How all that spatial skill translates into her RN world I have not a clue.

  150. @anon

    True, but this was basically pre-modern.

    Nowadays, you cannot invent anything really significant if you’re not scientifically educated.

  151. @James Speaks

    This was supposed to be a jpg of the Warp-30 puzzle. 3 of 4 are truly trivial. One takes a bit of time; you have to work through every combination until you find the one that works, and it requires some out of the box thinking. Get it? “out of the box” thinking ha ha ha

    I solved it by lying on my back for a week as I visualized every combination.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  152. Jack D says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Tesla (who had his own problems) was very critical of Edison’s brute force approach to invention (e.g. if you want to find the best material for a lightbulb filament, try out 5,000 different materials) which was made necessary by Edison’s complete lack of mathematical and scientific grounding. A materials scientist could have probably ruled out 95% of Edison’s test filament materials based on their chemical or physical properties and saved a lot of time and money.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  153. @Jack D

    A materials scientist could have probably ruled out 95% of Edison’s test filament materials based on their chemical or physical properties and saved a lot of time and money.

    On the other hand, materials science was not terribly advanced in 1878 when Edison first experimented with filaments containing carbon. He later found that bamboo was an excellent material. Would materials scientists have known that?

    Edison advanced scientific knowledge that materials scientists later used.

    https://www.amusingplanet.com/2019/05/how-japanese-bamboo-helped-edison-make.html

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  154. anon[419] • Disclaimer says:
    @3g4me

    Pathfinder badge

    Those things are not easy to get. Congrats to him.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathfinder_Badge_(United_States)

  155. @Anonymous

    Scientific? Can you point us to the literature on this?

    He could poiint at it but without 3D skillz you’d never find it.

  156. anon[309] • Disclaimer says:
    @CCR

    Einstein’s solution for the contact detonator in the Mark 14 is not a solution. Nice try, but no solution. He could not know that the Mark 14 already had magnetic detonation, because it was a Navy secret.

    Magnetic detonation wasn’t new. German naval mines in WW I had it. The Mark 14 was equipped with a detonator that included magnetic sensing, however it had never been tested in live fire. It was over-sensitive, and for a time not useable outside of a band of latitude, due to the influence of the magnetic field of the Earth. The US sub fleet was plagued with premature detonations of torpedoes that were the result of the magnetic detonator. Several Imperial Japanese aircraft carriers were fired upon by US subs, only to survive because the torpedoes detonated too far away from the ships to cause damage.

    The story is complicated, and Einstein wasn’t a factor. But it is understandable he wished to contribute. There were 3 problems interacting: the magnetic detonator, the contact detonator, and the torpedo run control. At least one US sub was sunk off the coast of China by its own torpedo that ran in a circle.

    https://infogalactic.com/info/Mark_14_torpedo

    There is an old movie, Operation Pacific that dramatizes some of the problems with the Mark 14, including the “runs 3 meters deeper than set” and the “drop a torpedo nose first 45 feet onto concrete to see what happens” testing that settled the contact detonator problem once and for all.

    The Mark 14 was fixed by engineers and men of the sea. Einstein was not an engineer.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  157. @Joe Stalin

    Look at the gun controllers doing everything to impede home workshop guns.

    If they can’t stop Africans, they can’t stop us.

  158. @Raven Lunatic

    Raven Lunatic

    We already have one Corvinus, thank you.

    spatial reasoning is what avian cognition excels at

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  159. In “Lost Einsteins: How exposure to innovation influences who becomes an inventor,” Alex Bell, Raj Chetty, Xavier Jaravel, Neviana Petkova and John Van Reenen, economists at U.C.L.A., Harvard, the London School of Economics, the U.S. Treasury and M.I.T., argue:

    Children at the top of their 3rd grade mathematics class are much more likely to become inventors, but only if they come from high-income families. High-scoring children from low-income or minority families are unlikely to become inventors. Put differently, becoming an inventor relies upon two things in America: excelling in mathematics and science and having a rich family.

    As Sailor pointed out, Einstein only had his name on one patent so he was not what we would call an inventor, he was an expert in plagiarism however and basking in fake glory.

    Children do not take Mathematics in 3rd grade unless they are highly gifted and put in a special class. High income or low income has little to do with whether people become inventors, most of the great inventors in the past came from humble beginnings and had basic education. Edison had been mostly home-schooled by his mother. Today, anyone can invent something, but getting it to market takes money. Even if your invention is good, the chances of a company (even one that’s looking for inventions) accepting and marketing it are very slim, it’s like anyone can write a book and put on Amazon, but getting to the point of more than a few people buying it is extremely low. A reasonably high IQ is needed to create something, but even if you’re rich, the chances of being successful at selling a product is a shot at the roulette wheel.

  160. @anon

    It’s a fun fact that Einstein tried to help, though.

    It’s kind of cool that during the time when he was the world’s most famous scientist that he’d hear about some engineering problem or another and try to come up with a fix.

  161. Look at an old engineering textbook, one from the 1920’s. There’s a picture of a bridge truss and a whole bunch of lines all over the page. The lines are the graphical solution to the calculations of loads and stresses the bridge is being designed to withstand. What the heh????

    Well, moments, for example, are Force times the distance about which the member pivots and so, as a product, they are an area. And the sum of any one Force generating a moment can be depicted as a triangle drawn from the apex, which is the maximum moment out at the very end, down to zero at the point of rotation. The sum is then the area of the triangle and the center of effort is the intersection of the bisectors of each side drawn through the apex of the opposing angle.

    Now all this was drawn to scale, the Forces, I mean. So, to “compute” any vector times a scalar, one need only, as I said above, find the area. If this couldn’t be done by calculation and simple linear measurement, it was done with a planimeter. The drawing showed exactly how much force and where it was acting.

    So all these problems had graphical solutions. This all changed with the adoption of analytical geometry. Here, all Forces are depicted as equations in a matrix. Each equation is composed of a series of variables with associated coefficients. With the widespread adoption of computers, it is a simple thing to vary the dimension of a beam and then let the computer plow through the matrices. Had one done this using graphical solutions, the entire thing would have had to have been redrawn. A Royal Pain in the rear.

    So, clearly, adoption of matrices and computers has sped up the design process. A clear win, right?

    Well, not necessarily. Since engineering (and other design skills) is such a visual/spatial skill, then the modern curricula weeds out those who are strong in this and selects for those who are adept at the analytic skill of using matrix algebra and such. To be an engineer today, one need have no spatial reasoning powers at all. And the designs being churned out by today’s engineers and architects show it. Many of them utterly lack any sense of ordered space or of space ordered by a comprehending mind. Plugging numbers into equations and letting a computer grind out the product doesn’t engage the same part of the brain as did the old way of drafting and computing products by graphical solutions. It’s no surprise that our world has gotten uglier.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  162. anonymous[424] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad

    Would it (spatial ability testing) be good for the Jews?

  163. @James Speaks

    James Speaks wrote to me:

    This was supposed to be a jpg of the Warp-30 puzzle.
    ….
    I solved it by lying on my back for a week as I visualized every combination.

    Hmmm… And you think my teenage obsession with 4-D perfect polytopes was eccentric?

    Seriously, while I of course never gained anything from rediscovering the work Schläfli did in the late nineteenth century, it did sharpen my multi-dimensional visualization skills. And, in fact, more than three dimensions is the norm nowadays in math, often occurs in physics, and does sometimes occur in engineering.

    You actually alluded to an example yourself above: the space of possible orientations of a rigid object in ordinary space is itself a 3-D space that is not simply 3-D Euclidean space. It is best viewed as a a subspace of 4-D Euclidean space. (And, yes, everyone, I know about the double covering of SO(3) by SU(2) and all that.)

    And of course, a “block-universe” view of relativity turns it into a 4-D space also (“pseudo-Euclidean” in a technical sense — for those in the know, the metric is not positive definite).

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  164. @Reg Cæsar

    “Bird Brain” is nothing to laugh at.

  165. Jack D says:
    @kaganovitch

    For the benefit of the thick-headed, Kaganovitch means Mossad.

    Just the other day here, some commenter here said that the US was terribly unsporting to have blown the courageous warrior Soleimani to bits with a drone. Some pimply shmuck sat in a control room in Missouri sipping Arizona Ice Tea and took the life of this brave fighter with the push of a button with as much risk to his life as playing a video game (I guess you could choke to death on the gummy bears). Afterward they had to scrape Soleimani’s DNA up off the tarmac to be sure it was really him. Corporal Button Pusher should have come out in the open and allowed Soleimani to at least take one clear shot at him first – that would have been the fair thing to do. Presumably he would say the same of Mossad taking out Iranian nuclear scientists and terrorists with remote control machine guns, bombs in the headrest of their cars, etc.

    So no, it’s just not right to tell a lie. White people are going to lose that way but they will lose NOBLY and that’s what really counts.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    , @Johann Ricke
  166. @anon

    anon[130] wrote to me:

    Not everyone is a polymath, or suffering from ‘satiable curiousness. Some people are just niche thinkers. Deep knowledge in their area of interest, and nothing outside of that. C’mon, physics PhD guy, are you sure you’ve never met anyone like that?

    I’ve known some very competent people like that. But the really super-bright people I’ve known — and I’ve known several Nobel laureates — tended to have very wide-ranging curiosities.

    anon also wrote:

    I know a heavy equipment operator who does ok on 3-d visualization when he’s running a back hoe. This matters because things like water lines, gas lines and power lines are often found underground. You would probably look down on him…

    Why would I look down on him? I respect honest, decent people who are committed to doing their job well and to living up to their responsibilities. Perhaps he is a better man than Einstein — who really did not live up to his familial responsibilities.

    But that does not prevent me from admiring Einstein for his contributions to physics.

  167. Jack D says:
    @Anonymouse

    but because I didn’t have the female skill of recognizing socket sizes at a glance.

    A few bottles of nail polish could have saved your career:

    On modern Japanese cars, 90% of the fasteners are 10mm. This saves a lot of time switching sockets vs. the GM approach of using a million different fastener sizes. OTOH, 10mms sockets are like socks – they just mysteriously disappear into another dimension.

    • Agree: JMcG
    • LOL: Old Prude, El Dato
  168. @Jack D

    I remember reading an article about an ambush attack on Communist forces in South Vietnam. They were going to attack the enemy forces in a small village. The American guy told one of soldiers that when they were ready, they would open fire to wake up the enemy before starting to kill them. The soldier asked: “How come we have to wake them first?”

    The guy in command said: “How would you like to die in your fucking sleep?!”

    I’ve read that the IRA has killed people in their sleep.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @JMcG
  169. @James Speaks

    Edison eventually settled on Japanese bamboo for his light bulb, which contributes to the Japanese taste for “Edisonian science” where rather than try to predict what will work from theory, they just try everything. For example, the great drug ivermectin, which cures the horrifying and common tropical disease river blindness, was discovered by a Japanese scientist who collected hundreds of different molds off the ground. He found ivermectin alongside the fairway of a golf course.

    Edisonian science is out of fashion in American pharmaceutical firms, who prefer to dream up a synthetic molecule from first principles.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    , @James Speaks
  170. Jack D says:
    @Joe Stalin

    Patton said that no dumb bastard ever won a war by going out and dying for his country. He won it by making some OTHER dumb bastard die for HIS country.

    The guy in command was an idiot. If any of his soldiers were killed because of his idiotic tactics, I hope that the survivors fragged him before he got any more of them killed with his stupidity.

  171. @Dissident

    Thanks for pointing that out. Let me try this one, just to check that it works, somewhat smaller but probably relatively more reliable and permanent.

  172. Jack D says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Your story is ALMOST right. Ivermectin comes from a bacteria, not a mold. Every creature has its nemesis – bacteria are infect by viruses and worms are infected by certain bacteria. This particular bacteria produces (to this day Ivermectin is made by growing this bacteria in culture) a compound that interferes with an important metabolic channel in the invertebrate nervous and muscular system, resulting in the paralysis and death of the the worm. It has no effect on mammals because mammals don’t use this particular channel in their metabolism except in the brain and Ivermectin cannot pass thru the blood-brain barrier.

  173. @Jack D

    Just the other day here, some commenter here said that the US was terribly unsporting to have blown the courageous warrior Soleimani to bits with a drone.

    But of course. Sporting would be black powder pistols at 10 paces. Meanwhile, instead of having champions engage in single combat to decide battle outcomes, the Persians tended to overwhelm their adversaries with sheer numbers.

    But we’re supposed to indulge them by negating their weaknesses? Where was their sense of fair play when they blew hundreds of Marine peacekeepers up using a suicide bomber?

  174. @Steve Sailer

    Another thing Japanese did that is very smart was to listen to W. Edwards Deming when he visited after WWII. His efforts helped the US out-manufacture her enemies during the war, but afterwards he was ignored by industry. MacArthur asked for his help with a Japanese census. “While in Japan, his expertise in quality-control techniques … ” and the rest is history.

  175. res says:
    @James Speaks

    Let’s see if this one works.

    • Thanks: James Speaks
  176. @PhysicistDave

    Damn! Now I have to start smoking a pipe, again. So I can do physics.

    Seriously, you make working on 4-D stuff sound interesting. Thanks, or not.

    Hmmm… And you think my teenage obsession with 4-D perfect polytopes was eccentric?

    No, I don’t. OTOH, the most common complaint about me that I hear is, “Why do you have to make everything so complicated!” It’s an indictment, not a question. If there were to be a question, the answer would be, “Because nature is and the only decision is how refined an approximation to use?”

    I never tried 4-D stuff b/c to me, no purpose. I will now, though. At 70-ish, my brain is still plastic enough, I think. Can still remember where I placed a hand tool yesterday. Alzheimer’s does not have me, yet.

    BTW, I initially studied physics to be a better sci-fi novelist. Ha!

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  177. Anonymous[414] • Disclaimer says:
    @ThreeCranes

    Well, not necessarily. Since engineering (and other design skills) is such a visual/spatial skill, then the modern curricula weeds out those who are strong in this and selects for those who are adept at the analytic skill of using matrix algebra and such. To be an engineer today, one need have no spatial reasoning powers at all.

    What about surgeons?

    • Replies: @res
  178. J1234 says:
    @Mr Mox

    That’s a classic engine – the early one with the separate enclosure for the transmission – and a nicely executed diagram. The layout requires a good deal of thought. Most old shop manuals were filled with such illustrations.

    There was that fellow back in the ’70’s or ’80’s who did those amazing see-through cover illustrations for Motor Trend or Popular Mechanics (or it may have been some other magazine.) They were airbrushed for color and incorporated perspective…and were done with no digital assistance. He was a genius, but I can’t remember his name. There may have been more than one person who did that kind of stuff, but one guy was the master and started the trend. His subject matter was usually automotive; sports cars and such.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  179. @Steve Sailer

    I hope the Army still requires officers to be able to read a map.

    That’s so pigheadedly male. Just ask a local for directions!

  180. @Redneck farmer

    The Navy recently went back to teaching how to navigate with just hand tools, in case the GPS goes down.

    “Driver’s Ed recently went back to teaching how to drive a manual transmission, in case there is a shortage of transmission fluid, or rental cars.”

    Quartermasters ought to know how to navigate by the stars. You couldn’t rise to QM2 in the Coast Guard 40 years ago until you had that down. Imagine how much more important that is to the Navy, often a thousand miles or more from any landmark.

    We also had to know how to swim. Because, well, we were to be on water. Yes, we had boats under us. But everything built by man is known to fail.

  181. CCR says:

    I didn’t read the link to Einstein that I posted (until now). It says he was called in twice to work on two different problems. But neither is the problem I remember him being called in for which was that the Navy moved the location of the pressure sensor without recalibrating. They wound up just moving it back close to the original location instead of using Einstein’s proposed fix.

  182. JMcG says:
    @Joe Stalin

    The IRA has killed people in their baby carriages. I refer, of course, to the execrable post-1968 IRÁ.

  183. JMcG says:
    @J1234

    I’ve just been reading The Secret Horsepower War by Calum Douglas. It’s a history of aero engine development prior to and during the Second World War. It’s fascinating. The Germans actually used some of the engine cutaway drawings that were published in Flight magazine during the war. They blanked out the magazine title, but left the artist’s signature in place.

  184. res says:
    @Anonymous

    Wai et al. 2009 (linked in an earlier comment) looked at surgeons in particular. Here is the relevant portion of Appendix B.

    It is important to note the importance of spatial ability for those securing degrees in math/computer science, physical science, and engineering. Hegarty and Waller (2005, p. 155) discussed the importance of spatial ability in the performance of surgeons. Bingham (1937) anticipated this topic, noting that, for surgeons and dentists,

    quite as indispensable is aptitude for visualizing vividly in three dimensions; for it is necessary to see in their true positions and to manipulate the forms observed in a dentist’s little mirror or in a laryngoscope; also to picture correctly the highly complicated unseen structures beneath the body surface—arteries, nerves, muscles, tendons, joints, glands, vital organs—perhaps at the end of a probe. (p. 172)

    We conducted an analysis using the surgeons and other MDs that can be found here and in Appendix A (MD surgeon, n = 58; MD all others, n = 460). The difference between the surgeons (avg. z = 1.17) and the remainder (avg. z = 1.12) on spatial ability was 0.05. The highest in spatial ability were the MD medical researchers (avg. z = 1.27) in comparison to all other subgroups. Spatial ability is evidently important not only for surgeons but all the medical fields examined in Project TALENT, and in particular for medical research.

    I find that 0.05 difference surprisingly small. My guess would be the spatial ability advantage of medical researchers is more g-based than spatial specific. Here are the categories (and M/F numbers) they used for MDs.

    MD general practitioner (34, 0)
    MD surgeon (56, 2)
    MD psychiatrist (38, 11)
    MD medical researcher (12, 6)
    MD other and unspecified (338, 21)

    Notice how many were other and unspecified. Not sure how that might impact the group comparisons.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  185. Anonymous[142] • Disclaimer says:
    @res

    I find that 0.05 difference surprisingly small. My guess would be the spatial ability advantage of medical researchers is more g-based than spatial specific.

    Thank you. That data (and the spread in particular) do not necessarily tell us how important spatial ability is for surgery.

    People who end up in medical school got to where they are by passing through four principal filters: the filter of high school classes; the filter of the SAT; the filter of college classes; and the filter of the MCAT.

    To what degree does performance in/on any of those reflect spatial ability? Disproportionately little, I would guess. The point is that the population from which we are drafting surgeons is the med school population, and they have mostly gotten a free pass on spatial ability.

    (In this thread, we have been referring to spatial ability as a cognitive trait. However, we might also include physical coordination as a second “spatial” ability relevant to surgery.)

    Are we using the appropriately criteria to the appropriate extent in our selection process for the all-important medical profession? Surgery comes first to mind, but other MD fields conceivably depend greatly on cognitive, non-physical spatial ability.

    It is fitting on this blog to conclude this comment with a few HBD-oriented remarks. Jews excel at the abilities primarily tested for by the four filters. There is, however, a stereotype that Jews are not as strong in cognitive spatial ability. According to another stereotype, Jews are not generally as strong in physical coordination spatial ability either. (“They don’t have it in the hands,” one stereotype had it.)

    The immigrant subcon population also excels at the four filters. But subcons have a notoriously poor track record in athletics. How do their cognitive and physical spatial abilities stack up?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  186. @Anonymous

    I believe the Dental Aptitude Test for dental school admissions has a physical dexterity component: Dentistry is basically tooth surgery.

  187. @Muse

    But you address only the freaks on the margins, no? I’m less interested in the tails than in the peaks.

    I will admit that this is a quirk of my personality since I really am fascinated by the right-tail freaks who have booted us, unceremoniously, forward as a species.

    It’s always in the means. Except for when it’s in the right tail..

  188. @China Japan and Korea Bromance of Three Kingdoms

    CJK asked me:

    In what engineering project did you need to know how to prove that there are no general solutions for 5th degree polynomials?

    You’re confusing different discoveries by Galois. What you are referring to is Galois’ invention of group theory to explore the symmetries of roots of equations to show whether or not they can be “solved in radicals.”

    But Galois also discovered some new mathematical structures known as “Galois fields.”

    You know how to do arithmetic modulo an integer (so-called clock arithmetic)? Well you can show that such arithmetic modulo any prime number has algebraic properties just like the rational numbers, but of course there are only a finite number of elements in such a structure.

    Now, you know how to go from the real numbers to the complex numbers? You take an equation that cannot be solved over the reals, x*x+1=0, and you just pretend you have a new solution to that equation (usually denoted “i”).

    Galois showed that you can do this for integral arithmetic modulo a prime number and create an infinite number of new arithmetic systems. These are “Galois fields.”

    By the way, the complex numbers are “algebraically complete”: you cannot do the trick again once you have the complex numbers. But no finite Galois field is complete: you can always expand it to get a new field.

    Because each of these fields only has a finite number of elements, they are especially useful for certain application to digital communications and storage: specifically, what is known as “error detection and correction.” That is what I worked on and earned patents on.

  189. @James Speaks

    James Speaks says:

    BTW, I initially studied physics to be a better sci-fi novelist. Ha!

    Not an unworthy goal. I taught myself special relativity in junior high school largely so that I could figure out how long it would take to get to Alpha Centauri at a given constant acceleration. I worked out the answer at some point in high school (it was already known, of course, but I did not have access to any reference that gave the answer).

    Had my career made me the next Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, or Poul Anderson, I would have thought I had a worthwhile career.

    My daughter, who is an engineering student at UCLA, has actually written several sf thrillers that she eventually hopes to publish.

    By the way, given your age, I assume you read some of Bob Heinlein’s novels when you were a kid?

    I had the chance to chat with Heinlein back in the early ’70s when I was a student at Caltech. I suggested to him that his ethical views seemed similar to Ayn Rand’s. He firmly, though very courteously, argued that I was mistaken: he explained that he had a “women and children first” philosophy that focused on survival of the society (and ultimately the species).

    By getting Robert A. Heinlein into a serious discussion, I really increased my standing with one of the older physics students: just about everyone at Caltech had read Heinlein.

    • Thanks: Johann Ricke
  190. @Fox

    Fix wrote to me:

    I don’t think that it is possible in the way I said. In order to imagine a fourth dimension you have to imagine (=picture) the dimension you are adding at a right angle to the three other already existing dimensions.

    Well, the picture on your retina is only two-dimensional, so you are already adding a dimension at a right angle in your imagination.

    You might argue that binocular vision lets you do that automatically. But I lack binocular vision, and I do better at 3-D spatial perception tests than most people do.

    Fox also asked:

    How do you imagine a 4our-dimensional sphere to look like?

    Okay.

    Stand above the north pole of a globe and look down at it with one eye closed (to kill binocular vision).

    The image on your retina is just a disk: the projection of (most of) the northern hemisphere.

    You cannot see the globe as a whole.

    But you know the southern hemisphere is there, and you are capable of imagining the south pole as being in the same 2-D position as the north pole, but displaced in the (impereceptible) third dimension.

    This is just a warm-up. I am not arguing by analogy: the 4-D ball is just as real mathematically as the 3-D ball. (And we physicists think that, if superstring theory is true, then the universe has much more than 3 spatial dimensions, so there really may be an actual physical fourth dimension and more.)

    Now for the 4-D ball.

    Imagine a solid 3-D ball. Consider the center of that 3-D ball to be the north pole of your new 4-D ball: the whole 3-D ball is just the upper hemisphere of your 4-D ball. Now imagine another solid 3-D ball , the center of which will be the south pole of your new 4-D ball. The two 3-D balls are displaced in the fourth dimension in opposite directions, except on their surfaces where they coincide.

    It’s not really any more mysterious than your ability to “see” a 3-D ball when, after all, the image on your retina is just a 2-D disk. To go from the 2-D disk to the 3-D ball is all done in your mind: you cannot literally “see” the 3-D ball.

    Envisioning the 4-D ball is only marginally harder, once you get the hang of it.

    Your retina “sees” far less than you think it does. Almost all perception is post-processing in the mind.

    Which is why computer vision is so monstrously hard: digital cameras give you very high resolution, but to get them to “see” is extremely difficult.

    • Replies: @Fox
  191. Dr. Doom says:

    The real Einstein was a complete and total fraud.
    Man of the Century? Hardly. Contributed nothing.

    Not on The Manhattan Project even.
    We can afford to lose all the Einsteins.

    One Edison or Tesla could change the world.
    These are what this Failed State discriminates against.

    White Pale Males with spatial skills and sticktoitiveness.
    Western Civilization was built by these such men.

    Now they are dumbing everything down so s0me “aspiring rapper” can graduate.
    Valedictorians with functional illiteracy and no future as a real skilled worker.

    This “Brave New World” looks bleak to me. I see no space travel with black women.
    Math and Science are now racist or something. Systemically discriminating.

    They don’t do IQ tests anymore. The facts are damning.
    You cannot test these tokens when they are hired.

    Avoid these tokens for your own well being.
    Their background is probably a 1.0 grade point average and zero actual skill.

  192. MEH 0910 says:

    ******

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
    , @MEH 0910
  193. Fox says:
    @PhysicistDave

    Thanks. Just saw this reply last night and was today thinking through your suggestion of perceiving a 4-D sphere. It appears that I can’t perceive a fourth dimension other than as vector with four rows and hence cannot form an image in my mind of a space that has more dimensions than the one we live in and from which we form all of our reality concepts. I like to add that we need two eyes to perceive a third dimension, i.e., space. Whether someone who has always been blind or only had one eye can perceive space is not known to me.

    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
  194. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

  195. @Fox

    Fox wrote to me:

    I like to add that we need two eyes to perceive a third dimension, i.e., space. Whether someone who has always been blind or only had one eye can perceive space is not known to me.

    That is what I was trying to tell you: I myself cannot see out of both eyes to get binocular vision.

    Neither eye is blind, but due to a congenital vision problem, my brain cannot combine both eyes to give me binocular vision.

    I only discovered this when I took the vision test at age fifteen to get a learner’s permit at the DMV.

    They had me look into a stereoscope to test my depth perception, and they asked me which objects were further and which were nearer. I told them they all seemed to be the same distance.

    I lack depth perception.

    I later found out that this condition is normal for people with my vision disability: each eye works separately, but they cannot work together to give binocular vision.

    And yet I do much, much better thinking in 3-D than the vast majority of you folks who have binocular vision.

    If you knew anything about how the human visual system works, this would not surprise you: most of “seeing” is in the mind.

    Fox also wrote:

    It appears that I can’t perceive a fourth dimension other than as vector with four rows and hence cannot form an image in my mind of a space that has more dimensions than the one we live in and from which we form all of our reality concepts

    I suspect you are just too lazy to try very hard. I know a fair amount about how we acquire our concepts of 3-D space because I myself had to do it without having binocular vision. So, I have a substantial conscious awareness and memory of how I became much better than most people, probably better than you, at 3-D thinking. It just takes work.

    And the same for 4-D thinking.

    • Replies: @res
  196. res says:
    @PhysicistDave

    I later found out that this condition is normal for people with my vision disability: each eye works separately, but they cannot work together to give binocular vision.

    And yet I do much, much better thinking in 3-D than the vast majority of you folks who have binocular vision.

    That is fascinating. I wonder if part of that could be another part of your brain overdeveloping to compensate for the disability. What do you think? Has anyone done research on this?

  197. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

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