You may remember that in 2011 Heiner Rindermann and I worked on the concept of cognitive capitalism, developed that over the next few years, and in 2018 Rindermann published a major book on the topic.
Here is a brief interview in which he answers a few questions which generally come up regarding intelligence. Usually, media want to talk to starters of crazes: those who claim to have a new approach which turns over the idea of testable general intelligence and finds a new multiple, emotional, practical, rational tests. Less commonly, as in this instance, they interview those who are extending previous work in new directions.
The Human Capital Hub (IPC) | 2020-01-23 15:00:00
IQ & National Development
In this article Memory Nguwi interviews Heiner Rindermann a top German Psychologist who has done a lot of research on IQ and national development.
1. In your studies what relationship did you find between average national IQ and national development, e.g. economic development? In the same answer can you define IQ for us?
Rindermann: Cognitive ability has a positive impact on innovation, production, institutional efficiency and norm obeying behavior. Therefore, economic growth, productivity, income, wealth and wellbeing are increased.
2. How confident are you with these findings given the controversy surrounding the definition of IQ?
Rindermann: My definitions: Cognitive ability comprises the ability to think (intelligence), knowledge (the store of true and relevant knowledge) and the intelligent use of this knowledge. Intelligence is the ability to think. In more detail: to solve new problems by thinking, to infer (to conclude and reason), to think abstractly and to understand. IQ is a scale usable to show intelligence and cognitive ability levels. Cognitive ability can be measured by psychometric intelligence tests (frequently less relying on knowledge), by student assessment tests (frequently with a stronger knowledge aspect), by Piagetian tasks, by analyzing behavior in everyday life and by analyzing products of such behavior.
3. You talk of cognitive capitalism; what is it and how is it important?
Rindermann: Cognitive capitalism means that in modernity (compared to traditional societies based on agriculture, stock farming, hunting and collecting) cognitive challenges become larger. Cognitive ability becomes more relevant for economic, social, institutional and cultural well-being and progress.
4. Is there something that can be done for those countries showing low average IQs especially those in Sub Saharan Africa?
Rindermann: Individual and national (average) cognitive ability levels can be enhanced by: Better nutrition (e.g. high-quality free school lunch including meat); health programs (e.g. parasite control, clean water, toilets); family education (e.g. education for parents, reading to the child, more books); preschool education (crèche and kindergarten); school education (e.g.better educated teachers, discipline education, efficient direct instruction, central and objective tests and exams, tracking based on ability); linking advancement to ability (e.g. selection of university students based on ability tests); linking advancement in jobs to achievement; healthy lifestyle (e.g. no smoking, few alcohol); cognitive training (e.g. Klauer’s inductive reasoning training).
5. How important is IQ given than some people are now arguing that EQ is more important than IQ? Is this assertion correct from your studies?
Rindermann: Cognitive ability is more important for success in domains of achievement. Emotional competence is important for dealing with stress, to stay healthy, to deal with psychological and social challenges.
6. IQ is determined by partly genetics and childhood experiences; does this mean that there is nothing we can do to improve IQ once people reach adulthood?
Rindermann: Individual differences in cognitive ability are largely explained by genetic factors (which one we do not know). However, individual development can be improved by environmental means (as described above). Those interventions can be very successful, but they hardly alter differences between persons. One example, using glasses myopic and long-sighted persons can see much better than before; nevertheless, defective vision is largely (not totally) determined by genes and age.
7. What lessons can we learn from your experience in Germany in terms of utilising findings from your research?
Rindermann: It is difficult to implement research results into practice. Political decisions depend on more factors than scientific results. However, in the last decades central exams became common in nearly all German states.
8. Robert J. Sternberg in one of his addresses to the APA conference said there are “smart fools”. How can it be that someone is smart and a fool at the same time?
Rindermann: Culture, zeitgeist, ideology, social environment, habits and wishful thinking are further important factors for thinking and behavior. And of course, everybody makes mistakes. We need to learn from our mistakes. Nevertheless, less smart persons make more mistakes and smarter persons more frequently come to the right, less biased decisions.
9. Most African governments invest in post 5 year education especially higher education. If we are to get maximum value is it not important to invest in early childhood education?
Rindermann: Yes, definitely. Research done in different paradigms (by economists, psychologists and educational researchers) has shown enduring effects of early education having an impact on cognitive development, on school achievement, on personality and success in adult age.
Cognitive capitalism: Human capital and the wellbeing of nations. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. www.cambridge.org/9781107651081.
Prof. Dr. Heiner Rindermann.
Professor for Educational and Developmental Psychology.
Department of Psychology, Chemnitz University of Technology.
why do pro-capitalist conflate wealth with intelligence? wealth is a measure of deal making(not necessarily fair deals) and having wealthy ancestors.
capitalism is a system that promises nothing. therefore it has no cognitive requirements or ethical requirements of the population to function. communism on the other hand requires intelligence and empathy to avoid collapse.
let’s recognize what they are. capitalism is the condition of self perpetuating predatory conflict which serves itself and its masters while communism is an advanced stage of human relations for when humans become better(education? labor camps? extermination of those with low intelligence and empathy?) Marx said that communism necessarily eliminate the Jew. while capitalism doesn’t and seems to turn everyone into a Jew(nepotistic self interest and self supremacy in a world that is hostile to survival as a group)
He forgot the most powerful tool of all for IQ improvement:
You may as well presuppose any other ideology for what communism is worth. Real communism apparently has never occurred. Maybe a genetically engineered cohort of high intelligence, high strength clones could achieve it, but could they compete with a similar group that was organized via militaristic capitalism without ongoing modification of their biochemistry in a self-contained system? It’s hard to say. Bio-communism would be the only plausible way to do it. Biologically agnostic Marxism is massively handicapped by definition since it is dependent on the output of historically inferior classes. If capitalism is a runaway effect, the corollary is that Marxism produces a rundown effect.
I have two “snappier” questions for James and his commenters:
What’s the specified measured object, the object of measurement and the measurement it for IQ? What’s the theory and definition off “intelligence”? If you can’t answer these questions, then you can’t say IQ tests “measure intelligence.”
Un-snappy answer: put intelligence into my search bar.
Intelligence can be arbitrarily defined. The tests measure how well participants do compared to each other, and these results are then compared with other indices. The most interesting result is that you can’t really improve yourself in relation to others with regard to these tests. It’s not a matter of willpower or “hard work.” The logical conclusion is to attribute this to genetics, but as “intelligent” observers may find, there are other predefined qualities about individual existences that may incur.
Öhh – a minor quibble: I can’t really see a difference between thinking and making intelligent use of knowledge. – – Could I think of a way of thinking which would work without making use of knowledge? – Not that clearly, I’d like to admit.
Try again. You didn’t answer my questions.
Thinking (cognizing) is what one does when they are attempting to retrieve knowledge. Thompson doesn’t even realize that what he said shows thinking has no physical basis (eg Ross’s Immaterial Aspects of Thought).
Thank you for reformatting (and posting) that interview. Your version is MUCH easier to read.
Any background on how this interview came about? If I understand correctly, this is the interviewer.
I didn’t intend to. The phenomenon exists however you want to define the terminology relating to whatever “it” is.
IQ-ists need to answer the questions, though. What “phenomenon exists”?
If you’d set down your prejudices and actually read my comment you would’ve realized that I’m not an “IQist.” The phenomenon exists at the level of individual inputs in a deterministic system which can be made to approximate a normal distribution. I skimmed the babble on your site, but it didn’t amount to anything useful. Yes, psychologists and other people who purport to do science are political and biased, that’s no great revelation. Not much else follows from that observation.
In the case of myopia, the relative importance of genetics vs. the environment is … blurry. In many parts of the world, especially in Asia, there have been very large increases in the general incidence of myopia (i.e., controlling for age) over a relatively insignificant generational time scale. These data are consistent with a strong environmental component to disease incidence, though the exposures and consequences may vary among ethnic groups. Mass migration from rural areas to cities; increased time spent indoors; modern television, computer and smartphone use and exposure; all of these social phenomena have happened relatively recently in human evolution.
I’ll ask again—what “phenomenon exists”?
Can you read or do mathematics? Do you understand the derivation of the normal distribution? Read about the phenomenon of “accident proneness” if “intelligence” somehow bothers you to no end.
I know that the normal distribution is created through test construction.
Ill assume that you can’t answer my questions.
I know that the normal distribution is created through test construction.
Sigh. You know nothing about it at all. Literally nothing.
“Individual and national (average) cognitive ability levels can be enhanced by: Better nutrition (e.g. high-quality free school lunch including meat); health programs (e.g. parasite control, clean water, toilets); family education ”
Um, NO. The US spent 40 years trying to make this work and got COMPLETE, unmitigated failure. See ANYTHING by Charles Murray. It’s the same as accepting that Kenyans make GREAT long distance runners.
And now we have a publicly announced Urban Contemporary Lifestyle based on: dropping out of high school without graduating, producing children without the benefit of marriage, refusing work when it is offered, and committing crimes to supplement your welfare income.
I thought early education (full day kindergarten, preschool) had no effect in the U.S.. Is he talking about elementary school as a whole?
The US failure is no more significant than its failure to contain the Coronavirus. It doesn’t mean that other, high-IQ countries (cough, cough) cannot succeed.
The next major assessment of Chinese IQs will almost certainly show that the current anti-poverty campaign moves the national needle from 105 to 106–on the way to an eventual 108.
Doc, years after everyone else I’ve just been reading Gregory Clark’s The Son Also Rises. Like his A Farewell To Alms it’s a case of an economic historian writing about a topic that should be of great interest to psychologists. In particular, he talks about the genetic-like inheritance of what he calls “social competence”.
Are there any unpaywalled discussions of these books that you can direct me to in the psychology literature? For instance, good book reviews.
Apologies if this is too off-topic.
Multiple Intelligences replaced the nature nurture debate back in the 90s. Sociologists revealed Intelligence Testing and Psychometrics to have origin in the Eugenics Movement which has been repudiated by Experimental Psychologists and Sociologists since the late 80s.
Rehashing old worn and tired defunct principles of a now discredited Eugenics Movement is merely racism disguised as scientific research when it is nothing of the sort.
I doubt he forgot it, exactly: he’s German, so he’s been conditioned to have a gigantic hole in his cognitive worldview where ‘Eugenics’ would normally reside.
US pre-WWII “Eugenics” by itself did terrible damage to the brand, and the 1930s-40s German variant is now the poster child that equates Eugenics with Mengelean (not Mendelian) Genetics.
Also: anyone who gives the matter 10 seconds’ sober reflection, should stridently oppose government policies that claim to be about Eugenic advancement.
Anything controlled by government is designed, at bottom, to benefit politicians and their cronies – and will eventually always fail to deliver (especially if the policy is evaluated on a cost-benefit analysis).
Assortative mating exists; it’s part of human nature. Birds of a feather, and all that.
Government forcing is guaranteed to produce inferior results. Government starts doing shit before it properly understands the problem – which makes it unlikely that the solutions used will be both efficient and effective; secondly… once in place, a government social policy invests an army of bureaucrats with corn-pone opinions about whether the policy is working.
LBNL: fat lot of good US Eugenics programs did – it resulted in objectively the dumbest White people in the Anglophone West.
 the scare-quotes around the US version are there to point out that the US version was a fuckwitted ascientific hodgepodge the doesn’t deserve the name. It would have yielded better bang for the buck if it had solely relied on eradicating hookworm in the rural South, rather than simply assuming that white poor people there were inherently ‘feeble minded’.
 I prefer Twain’s formulation
LOL… an entire field which has the same collective scientific basis as Cotton Mather’s “research” into the prevalence of witchcraft in 1690’s Massachusetts.
Psychocharlatanry (and its retarded touchy-feely bastard child, sociology) in all its forms, is the most opinion-driven horse-shit in all of academia: it’s worse than Gender Studies because it (psychocharlatanry) pretends to be objective and quantitative rather than just restricting itself to essay-writing and gesticulating.
That’s not remotely difficult to imagine.
It is possible to try to explain things using beliefs, which are not knowledge (logical consistency requires that people know that they believe a proposition: it doesn’t require that the proposition is actually true).
Thinking is the capacity to reason, directed at furthering an objective.
Using belief instead of knowledge is just a retarded way of doing that: belief is the stunted retarded backwoods third-cousin of knowledge, because belief in a thing does not imply that the thing is true.
There are good reasons why primitive human rationality was/is set up for an over-reliance on beliefs – and that’s why non-primitive rationalists try very hard to ensure that they’re working solely with knowledge (except when trying to work out an opponent’s response in game-theoretic contexts, where estimating the adversary‘s beliefs is useful: that’s understanding the doxastic typespace of the problem).
The old ‘tiger in the bushes’ story makes it intuitively plausible that evolutionary pressure works in favour of over-estimating risk (i.e., it generates a belief that the world is riskier than it actually is).
In a world where some small proportion of rustling bushes are tigers, people who think that every rustling bush is a tiger have a survival advantage over people who rationally refuse to flee because the odds of a tiger are low.
If the ‘scaredy cats’ are wrong, they might get a reputation as a coward – provided that their wrongness can be verified.
If the ‘rationalists’ are wrong, only those capable of fending off a tiger will survive: if they survive, those guys get all the pussy in the tribe … but most people can’t fend off a tiger by themselves.
In large samples, the ‘correct’ number of rationalists will survive – i.e., those who were right, and those who are wrong but can fend off a tiger. The ones who are wrong and can’t fend off a tiger, don’t get to reproduce anymore.
By contrast, all the scaredy-cats get to survive (and most likely, to reproduce).
Thus irrationally-high risk aversion has a reproductive advantage, and has been bred into the human species (and into all species). Humans are wired to believe that they are rationally mitigating risk, when they’re not…
TL;DR:the inherent tendency of humans to over-estimate risk, causes very large numbers of people to think in ways that rely almost exclusively on beliefs (not knowledge).
Religion is the obvious example. Pascal had a hamfisted, retarded go at explaining that in his famous ‘wager’.
OK, sure intelligence is important. It might well be the case that, if the national average IQ is below a certain level, even though statistics say there should still be plenty of smart people, perhaps there just won’t be enough to shoulder the load. If nothing else, looking at sub-Saharan Africa, there is currently no evidence to the contrary.
However. Genetic IQ is not everything. Consider: ethnic Chinese likely have a genetic 4 IQ point bonus over white europeans. Sounds impressive. But in the 19th and most of the 20th century when the Chinese were breeding like rodents and were all crushed into miserable poverty, their nation was weak and pathetic and corrupt. Meanwhile, white Americans, having moderate numbers of children, were able to slowly develop great wealth and become the greatest technological and industrial power the world had ever seen.
And let’s check out the Japanese, also a genetically high IQ race. Before WWII they had a massively fast pace of industrialization, certainly that was impressive – but with the average Japanese having six kids each, it was all burned up by the population explosion and by the eve of WWII Japan was starving and on the brink of collapse. The Japanese didn’t start the war because they were stupid, but because they were desperate. Now, with lower fertility rates, Japan is about the safest, most peaceful and most uniformly prosperous nation in the history of civilization (though the bankers hate that – where are the easy profits from cheap labor and massive debt??).
So yeah, national IQ is important. But it’s not the only thing. Not by a lot.
I mean, if white Americans are so damned smart, how come they are losing???
Oh – thank you. – This is a way to approach this problem, that makes sense.
Except for those, who think, that thinking is not necessarily about facts – and can be reasonable even though
– You know: The 20th Century Foxes (- just how did I get to Jim Morrison and The Doors now – oh – they are offspring of Aldous Huxley’s thinking (his doors of perception, not least) – and they sure had no problems to reproduce, even though they were wildly into dangerous territory and not throughout rational either.
To progress in extremely wide steps: As Emile Durkheim showed (some say, he founded sociology) religious cults help to overcome uncertainties which otherwise could be turned into quite mighty centrifugal forces. So –
– Religion – according to Durkheim – was the central power, which enabled culture (and therewith differentiation, cooperation, scripture, and – thinking).
That is the main point of the late Jürgen Habermas’ two volume tome This Too a History of Philosophy, in which he shows in lots of ( – lots and lots of) – detail that rationality and reason and religion co-evolved – and are, as Thomas Rentsch pointed out in his books Heidegger & Wittgenstein and – – – – God – springing from the same well, meaning that they are of the same origin = gleichursprünglich – and thus can quite easily be looked upon as – Brothers & Sisters (The Allma(e)n Brothers Band).
There is a writer here on Unz, who appreciates one of those Christian monks who started to elaborate on this stuff – in stunning detail – in the Middle Ages and refers to him regularly. I’m talking of Steve Sailer & William of Occam.
The parallels between Descartes’ and Occam’s thinking are quite strong.
Yes, but I can’t track them down because I didn’t save the links. I am a big fan of his work, and have had excellent discussions with him. A very likable guy, open to discussion and happy to talk about work in progress.
Not being quite certain what concrete measures may eugenics encompass, I would propose that doubling or tripling the tuition fees at the universities will make the more intelligent part of the US population to stay away from these shameful institutions. As a consequence of this avoidance, the absentees will have more time and money fooling around and thus a greater opportunity of producing more clever children.
I would posit that poor Africans have better nutrition than us. We have obesity, diabetes, arthosclerosis from our too rich diet of hamburgers, oil fried foods, and lots of sugar.
Thank you. And if you will indulge me for another O/T remark, please do enjoy this priceless story from the morning’s Telegraph:
Growing up near green space makes city children more intelligent and better-behaved
Researchers found that living within 3,000m of a park or playing field boosted a child’s IQ
by Olivia Rudgard US technology reporter
Researchers in Belgium found that living near parks, sports fields or community gardens raised city-dwelling children’s IQ levels and that they also exhibited less difficult behaviour.
The paper, published in the journal Plos Medicine, found that an 3.3 per cent increase in green space within 3,000 metres of a child’s home was associated with a 2.6 point rise in overall IQ.
“A higher percentage of residential green space is associated with higher intelligence and lower behavioural problems in 7–15-year-old children living in urban areas,” the authors, led by Esmée Bijnens of Belgium’s Hasselt University, concluded. …
Children living in less green areas were more likely to have IQs in the lowest cohort, below 80, and particularly unlikely to have IQs in the highest cohort, above 125.
The researchers also found that exposure to green space while still in a mother’s womb was linked to higher IQ.
The study followed 310 pairs of twins born between 1980 and 1991 and living in East Flanders, including its capital Ghent.
Researchers tested the children’s IQ and asked their parents to assess their behaviour. Satellite imagery was used to assess the levels of greenery close to their homes.
Something that bothers me, only me, undoubtedly. Say an increment of average measured IQ happens. What would be the consequence? Indirectly, the further reaching tale on the right of the bell curve, having more extreme IQ cases, the increments proportionally bigger to the average IQ, and thus affecting the whole of the civilization? Or is directly the incremental IQ rise on average responsible of a slightly incremented societal phenotype responsible for any modulation in polities? How can this be measured. Is this ever researched?
What is responsible for a brighter future. Average IQ of a population, the existence and empowerment of a slight minority that derives from a rise of average IQ over the population sampled? Both? To what degree of importance. Is this the reason, one of, that “democracy” does or not “work”? What constitutes progress, the rise of a brighter sub-group within society, ultimately a consequence of a general rise in IQ on average? Or when achieved based on the rise in IQ in a minority sub-group of the population, would that be sufficient? Would such a phenomenon be an important determinator for progress? Would high IQ persons ever get into a position of power to thus affect any changes?
Where sample our elites (the Western world) on the scale of cognitive ability, the ones in the public domain? Why is it taboo to graphically represent our public figures in media, politics, academics on the graph of IQ over population. Would that learn us anything about the IQ, not of physical persons, but of organizations, power circles, departments, universities.
Why is acquisition of knowledge hampered intentionally by monopolies as universities, social lock-outs, poisoned data?
To context my doubts, and uncertainties. How is China different in above? To me it seems that it partly answers the different profile of China´s power structures. Smarter people, lesser egos, more substance and what they perform in regard of conceptualizing societal future. It would be great reading to reverse-engineer who, and what they thinker with, the high IQ people within Western societies, as they seem to be hidden into a cluster of average IQ actors, much structured and role-modeled as Hollywood actors.
Thank you for this post. It’s very enlightening.
I have the understanding that there are capable people in various African countries who are working on the micronutrient factor, among other things. There are many opportunists simply climbing the greasy pole, but also diligent and capable people working to identify problems and solve them.
There have been great successes in African education. For what it’s worth, many of my Nigerian colleagues think it plausible that after the University of Ibadan was first founded in 1948, the graduates there may have achieved a higher standard of education than achieved on average from the parent school, which was UC London.
Over-expansion of universities and poor administration generally have resulted in a more uneven system there now. Less elitist, more uneven.
An interesting pattern: for a long time Nigeria had ten educated southerners for ever equally educated northerner. For a long time it was a fairly durable pattern.
The 10 to 1 factor is an interesting little fact because it’s hard to argue that Southerners are that much smarter intrinsically–therefore historical and cultural factors (as well as greater wealth, nutrition, and perhaps a different disease environment (more sleeping sickness and eye diseases in the north? ) would seem to play a role)
Thank you again for your blog here.
I majored in Experimental Psychology for my B.A. Honours degree. Moreover, I have read all the arguments against Social Science since I started out in Experimental Psych majoring in Personality Theory.
Psychologists are extremely annoying people, I agree, but much of the discipline is still very worthy of investigation by scholars even though much of what is published in the field is pure unadulterated bunk from a scientific standpoint.
Psychology is often characterized as being Physics envy.
It’s what you do with your intelligent people that makes the biggest difference. Confucius said, “Make them run the country” and, miraculously, they did. Now we can see the result.
Yes, tweeted that the effect is probably that brighter people earn more and can afford more desirable houses near parks. If greenery boost IQ then rural children will be the brightest.
Even if one considers eugenics to be impracticable for one reason or the other, it is really a glaring ommission, a stone guest.
I don’t know enough about Nigeria to explain these observations. I assume the North South difference might be due to religion and/or tribe. You probably can judge this from the few papers on intelligence testing in Nigeria, so I would be interested in your comments. You might want to assist David Becker with finding other relevant research papers.
Hur, Y.-M., & Lynn, R. (2013). Twin-singleton differences in cognitive abilities in a sample of Africans in Nigeria. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 16, 1-8.
Iloh, K. K., Ubesie, A. C., & Iloh, O. N. (2017). Do Socio-demographic characteristics influence the performance of children on Raven Progressive Matrices in Enugu, Nigeria? International Neuropsychiatric Disease Journal, 9, 1-6.
Rindermann, H., Falkenhayn, L., & Baumeister, A. E. E. (2014b). Cognitive ability and epistemic rationality: A study in Nigeria and Germany. Intelligence, 47, 23-33.
Ani, C. C., & Grantham-McGregor, S. (1998). Family and personal characteristics of aggressive Nigerian boys. Journal of Adolescent Health, 23, 311-317.
Hur, Y.-M., te Nijenhuis, J., & Jeong, H. U. (2017). Testing Lynn’s theory of sex differences in intelligence in a large sample of Nigerian school-aged children and adolescents (N > 11,000) using Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices Plus. Mankind Quarterly, 57, 428-437.
Ijarotimi, O. S., & Ijadunola, K. T. (2007). Nutritional status and intelligence quotient of primary school children in Akure community of Ondo State, Nigeria. Tanzania Health Research Bulletin, 9, 69-76.
Ijarotimi, O. S., & Ijadunola, K. T. (2007). Nutritional status and intelligence quotient of primary school children in Akure community of Ondo State, Nigeria. Tanzania Health Research Bulletin, 9, 69-76.
Jegede, R. O., & Bamgboye, A. (1981). Self-concepts of young Nigerian adolescents. Psychological Reports, 49, 451-454.
Maqsud, M. (1980). Personality and academic attainment of primary school children. Psychological Reports, 46, 1271-1275.
Thanks. I am filing that one away for future use.
This seems to me something where genetic scores might be helpful. A direct detection of such confounding by showing genetics actually explains (much of?) the difference.
Your rural children point is a good one. Can you think of any other ways to detect the confounding you posit?
There are a number of possible reasons. In addition to those two, poverty and number of universities come to mind.
This PDF has some detailed information about regional demographics. Unfortunately, from 2003.
This paper has 2010-2013 data.
Status of Living Standards in Nigeria between 2010 and 2013
I suspect differing rural/urban proportions also play a role. See 2000 population density map after the MORE.
Cannot judge China, have neither empirical experience, nor first hand sources. As for the West, it seems to flaunt what is digestible to the crowds, that´s what we got. The most original and better IQ people, at Washington and copy-cats are in jail, ignored, or hiding anything that might offset them from the politically correct. Accordingly, putting the brightest in charge, harness and reward originality, long-term prospects …suffers.
Heh, Psychocharlatanry has a nice ring to it.
It’s amazing what people can believe, probably because they simply don’t have the IQ required to think about these things.
I hear that eating rice also tends to raise the IQ of children 🙂
Just anecdotally, higher average IQ seems to mean that there are more people who are able to figure out how to exploit existing systems to their own benefit.
Being aware that you and your fellow travelers have a higher average IQ seems to mean that you not only have the ability but also the mandate to exploit others.
Those with a higher average IQ will ultimately always impose some kind of learned and enforced legal, ethical, and/or moral foundation (anything from theocracy to some kind of “rights-based” myth) that everyone else must adhere to, and that they themselves and their offspring are smart enough to exploit and find loopholes around.
The only really just and successful society appears temporarily between this point and the point at which their hypocrisies become egregious enough to be obvious even to the lower-IQ population.
From this time onward, revolution of might and/or majority will deprecate intelligence on both sides until a stable lower-intelligence system is put in place, at which point the higher average IQs will figure out how to exploit it. Rinse and repeat.
You seem to have forgotten that there are low-trust groups and high-trust groups.
Members of a low-trust ethnic group would do exactly as you suggest.
Members of high-trust groups (like Northern Europeans) do not tend to try to exploit their fellow citizens.
The only graph you need to tell you all about IQ. The dreamworld IQ vs. Results graph and the realworld IQ vs. Results graph.
Such pride in a plot that is unsourced and lacks both labels of what the axes are and numbers on the axes. Well, at least I can agree that the left graph is scientific and the right is not because of that.
The twitter threads for that and nntaleb’s original tweet are both entertaining. Lots of inane commentary and the lone voice asking for the source of the right chart is ignored.
Entertaining when people out themselves as idiots so easily.
Looking at the paper, what I find notable is how much income data is missing or not available (see Table 2). I wish Table 2 had 10 IQ point buckets above 90 as well.
FWIW, I think Figure 1 is more interesting.
Fig. 1. Probability of unsuccessful educational and occupational achievement according to IQ.
P.S. Note that IQ data is missing for 27.6% of people. They use BPP (group IQ test correlates 0.82 with WAIS) as a proxy for the rest, but it is bucketed into five groups which seems rather unsatisfying.
As regards dreamworlds, the following links might be pertinent in assessing Taleb’s contribution to intelligence research:
Tracking addresses and occupations for three generations would be a way of detecting how much plain geography contributes. But this link is a brilliant exposition of what is going on: bright people move to the places where they are most likely to meet other bright people, and then they do business together.
Take it all back. Am reading the paper now!
I think the historical role of Christianity and education coming from the south and the coast was obviously crucial. Anyone who knows the history of the area knows the historical dynamics, including the role of returned slaves from Freetown evangelizing the Yoruba, and then later (20th century) the Igbo noticing that the Yoruba were ahead of them educationally, and launching a drive to become educated as well.
I’m not really active in academia at the moment. I provided the example simply as an interesting case of a very obvious “gradient” or disproportion in educational achievement within one country. We can see it and measure it and document it–but (1) why it’s there, and (2) what to do about it, and (3) how to provide greater quality of opportunity for education throughout the country is a harder nut to crack.
My guess is that there has been greater *demand* for western education in southern Nigeria for decades at a time. The greater number of universities in the south and parts of the “middle belt” of the country represents not just an institutional *supply* of educational opportunity in some areas, but a greater *demand* for western education at the level of the community, the household, and the individual.
A final note: professional africanists hate the word “tribe”–it’s a word that is almost taboo in scholarship in many disciplines. The polite and preferred term now is “ethnic group,” though African people (especially in East Africa) may still use the term tribe in colloquial speech and writing.
I have long argued that the “ethnic groups” of a country like Nigeria can be usefully compared to the “nationalities” of old Austria-Hungary. This is simply a little hobby-horse of mine–the Austro-Hungarian analogy. It goes over most peoples’ heads, for whatever reason.
But generally speaking the term “tribe” is viewed as a misnomer, something that is imprecise, misleading, inaccurate, and condescending all at the same time. I just mention this to be polite. Thank you for reading.
Thanks! Interesting paper. Full text can be read at
Here is the abstract.
Not only is EA affected, it is the largest effect they observed.
Here is their description of Moran’s I.
A bit more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moran%27s_I
This looks like the preprint. Note the title change from Consequences to Correlates in the published version.
I think Figure 2 in the current paper makes a good summary, but can’t find a good version online. Figure 3 in the preprint is similar, but removes the phenotypic information and adds panel B showing the p-values graphically. This highlights how much of an outlier the EA effect is.
The list of referencing tweets is also interesting. Emil, Hbd chick, and Jayman were all on the preprint. Did any of them write about it?
It gets a brief mention in this from Emil:
but I am not seeing anything else.
This 2018 blog post gives some idea of the controversy around the preprint.
It looks like the most controversial passages have been toned down. For example, from the preprint:
Contrast to the published version.
I’ll bet the peer review process was fun.
P.S. Perhaps worth a post? I am very interested in hearing your take on this.
Thank you. That religious history is an interesting piece of the puzzle.
Agreed. This is an area where I think PGS can help identify part of the cause as described in the paper Dr. Thompson linked in his comment.
Agreed. My further guess is this is part of a virtuous cycle with genetic intelligence. Coupled with individuals sorting into the different areas based on their abilities and desires.
Thanks for outlining the status of “tribe” and “ethnic group” in scholarship.
Your Austro-Hungarian analogy is interesting. Especially so since dealing with their different nationalities was a significant problem for them. And eventually resulted in dissolution/fragmentation, along with a war or two.
I have trouble seeing this. Especially given the use of “tribe” by the Africans themselves. Could you give a brief description of how you see “ethnic group” being less imprecise, misleading, and inaccurate (I can understand condescending, even though I disagree) than “tribe”?
Taleb is smarter than you and knows more about statistics than you. For instance, statistics without probability is useless. You don’t know that. He does.
Admit it. You’re just simply prejudiced against blacks like some bubba sheriff out of the movies, and you camouflage it with a lot of persiflage graphs and charts.
Taleb says results are what counts. You think simply on the basis of your intuition (i.e., prejudice), that high IQ=high results. But the counterintuitive (which is actually intuitive–if you have a well-informed-from-actual-real-life-experience-style intuition) truth is that results are scattered all over the graph, revealing that results show no correlation whatsoever to IQ. I should think interviewing a few CEOs for a few minutes ought to establish that for you.
I actually wasted my time reading your “refutations.” They don’t refute anything. Take a class in rhetoric after you take a class in probability.
No. Learn some statistics yourself. Even Taleb’s terrible graph has a regression line (I assume, though the lack of labeling makes it hard to be sure) making clear there is a correlation.
I’m afraid I saw it rather simply as confirmation of something already known: everyone does well if they go to St Louis. (Mark Twain).
I’m unconvinced. But perhaps I’ve just experienced more of the exceptions than the rule?
If you feel you have wasted your time, why do you continue to waste it?
stop wasting your time with this commenter
“Terrible” because you don’t like what it proves.
“Regression line.” Translation. “Snowjob smokescreen jargon bullshit.”
See. I can use technical terminology, too! Only I don’t use it to try to prove the opposite of the truth like you do.
Two wastes of time moaning about time-wasting. Typical. It’s like those who think the virus is both a hoax and biowarfare. Both. Brilliantly cross-eyed. Illogical gives it too much credit.
. For instance, statistics without probability is useless.
What is that even supposed to mean?
Yes, an amusing lack of basic understanding!
I conclude that “obwandiyag” is probably a white supremacist posting utter tripe in an attempt t0 persuade us that all black men are stupid and malevolent. Shame on him!
I actually wasted my time going back and looking at the second graph. The so-called “regression line” on the second graph, which you think refers to the second graph, the second graph which proves no correlation between IQ and outcome, is only there because it is copied from the first graph. It is there for comparison, to show you how much the dreamworld of the IQ nuts differs from the actual spread. You don’t have to be a statistician to see this. The points are obviously and clearly scattered in a consistent random pattern all over the graph. A child could see this.
A statement like that about Northern Europeans not exploiting others proves you certifiably insane.
Taleb says that if the writer piles on the graphs and charts like a house afire, he’s pulling a snowjob. You can’t stop with the graphs and charts. You are like the dictionary picture next to the definition of “Taleb’s definition of a snowjobber.” If one simple clear graph can’t do it, then you have no case. Or you’re trying to hide something.
Much of your so-called “science” is rhetoric. And from rhetoric I know, pal. In spades. And you don’t. Making you the one lacking basic understanding.
“Regression line.” Translation. “Snowjob smokescreen jargon bullshit.”
Nah, it’s something that bright high school students and average college freshmen learn.
Does it baffle and frustrate you? Try harder next time! Persevere and don’t give up so quickly!
This discussion thread has done *way* downhill. As frequently happens.
Some Africans are not bothered by the term “tribe” and some are. It’s tough to generalize. It may be more current in East Africa than in West Africa.
In the Arab world “tribe” tends to mean something different. There, a “tribe” is an endogamous descent group that often performs functions related to protecting the individuals in the group from predatory outsiders. It does not denote a distinct ethnolinguistic community, which is how it tends to be used (casually) in Africa.
In the U.S., the well established historic ethnic groups tend toward fading out over time as immigrants “melt” into a melting pot or tossed salad or whatever we have here. Thus, you could say that one of the ethnic groups well represented in Rochester NY is Italians, by which I mean Italian Americans, most of whom can’t speak Italian (except a few phrases) and who have never been to Italy and at this point are often half-Irish by descent. They are the descendants of an immigrant wave mostly from the Mezzogiorno that mostly arrived in the U.S. by roughly 1920. They are not territorially rooted, nor are they ethnolinguistically distinct.
If you pardon the sophism from a sassy ethnonationalist from a native community in the New World (I can’t find it offhand), “We are a nation. Ethnic groups run restaurants.”
Getting back to Africa…
How then can we call the Yoruba of West Africa an ethnic group, or a tribe? There are 20 million plus of them. The Yoruba speakers are a large group, and they outnumber the Swedish nation or the Danish or Finnnish nation.
I agonized over such issues when writing up my Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Iowa which finally was completed in 2006.
Abbott, Charles Wilson. Hometown Associations and Ethnic Unions in Twentieth Century Nigeria : A Geographical and Historical Interpretation / by Charles Wilson Abbott., 2006.
Just in case anyone is reading, so than who are the Yoruba?
Anthony Smith would say they are an *ethnie*. Maybe they are a nation. I don’t think it’s for me to say. Rarely are they united, just as Greeks and Italians have rarely been united. Nation is a funny word in modern history–it often connotes some telos or destiny. Most Americans tend to use the term nation when they mean “sovereign state” or country, half the time.
Obviously the Yoruba city states resemble the Italian regions. Italy had the Venetians and the Milanese and small communes…
The Yoruba have the Oyo and Ijebu and the Egba, finally brought to peace by the Pax Britannica. For now. We thank God.
A crucial cultural event was the publication of the Yoruba Bible in the 1830s and 40s. It was a literary event, just as Martin Luther’s Bible in German was a literary event.
= – = – = – =
I’m about talked out, and probably am happy to see this discussion thread die out. Thanks to Ron Unz for making Unz.com possible, and thanks to James Thompson for the trouble to educate us on his understanding of things.
It seems you are still wasting your time.
I notice, as usual, you can’t refute me. Because of course I stated the simple, obvious, self-evident truth.
Germany euthanasing Idiots and Imbeciles wasn’t Eugenics, it was Economics.
O.W. Holmes okaying sterilisation, commenting: 3 generations of Imbeciles is enough
The Rockefeller Foundation pushing Abortion on poor people, that’s Genocide, not Eugenics.
Eugenics is improvement in Animal Breeding and Plant Breeding the last 250 years.
There’s no good reason why the State can’t encourage Eugenics among it’s citizens.
I loved this answer:
“Rindermann: Individual and national (average) cognitive ability levels can be enhanced by: Better nutrition (e.g. high-quality free school lunch including meat); health programs (e.g. parasite control, clean water, toilets); family education (e.g. education for parents, reading to the child, more books); preschool education (crèche and kindergarten); school education (e.g.better educated teachers, discipline education, efficient direct instruction, central and objective tests and exams, tracking based on ability); linking advancement to ability (e.g. selection of university students based on ability tests); linking advancement in jobs to achievement; healthy lifestyle (e.g. no smoking, few alcohol); cognitive training (e.g. Klauer’s inductive reasoning training).”
Wouldn’t population replacement be easier?
If the populations of, say Haiti and Iceland swapped homelands, Which would be a functioning western society in 25 years?
Lets test the Magic Dirt theory once and for all.
There could be a better eugenic strategy than pairing off the most intelligent (highly educated men) with the most barren (highly educated women).
There could be a better eugenic strategy than pairing off the most intelligent (highly educated men) with the most barren (highly educated women).
Eh, that’s just the modern version. The mapping from “intelligent” to “has credentials” is not as 1 to 1 as you might think, either.
Another version: pairing the most intelligent men with the prettiest women. Or pairing the most masculine men who are also above average intelligence with the prettiest and most socially competent women. Say, has anyone here ever read the novel Emma? Jane Austen was a pretty good observer.
Anyway, U, I’m sure you have an even better idea, could you please articulate it?
Let me reply to you. The intelligence phenomenon, or IQ measurement. Let’s say we don’t call that IQ test. Or intelligence test. The word is too heavy. It automatically calls everyone who doesn’t perform well on the test as “stupid” So, let’s call the IQ test different name. Let’s call it :”ABC test”. Let’s say you do an ABC test. And then you ask the researcher(s) conducting test: OK, what does the test result tell you?
And here is the point of our little ABC test: the ABC test has very, very strong correlations. Here are the correlations:
1. People who do well on ABC test live (on average) longer than people who do badly on the ABC test
2. People who do poorly on the ABC test tend to be (on average) more aggressive / have criminal record more often compared to the people who do well on the ABC test.
3. People who do well on the ABC test tend to (on average) make more money compared to people who do poorly on the ABC test
4. People who do well on the ABC test (usually) are higher in the social hierarchy compared to people who do poorly on the ABC test.
Important point: the test works cross-culturally. It will work fine in Japan. And in Poland. And in Mexico. And in the USA. And in Saudi Arabia. And the Republic of Congo.
That’s all. Forget about the name.
Side note: This is the oldest psycho-metric test in usage. Most proven. You throw it away by the window due to ideological or other stupid reasons — you need to say Psychology is a pseudo-science and BS. Because if metrics and research for IQ tests are shit, than even more so rest of Psychology that isn’t back as solidly as IQ tests.
Leftists distrusting science. New Normal, huh?
What the stats reveal is that girls having children lowers the IQ about 15%, cousins, or worse, having children lowers the IQ about 15%, doing either/both for generations when it’s not a necessity entrenches both/either outcomes, on average, so neither is conducive to an increasingly civilised state. Though girls having children will produce an enthusiastic Dunning-Kruger army and even earlier ‘maturing’ females.
Thats to say it’s nothing to do with genetics or environment and all to do with ‘cultural’ choices.
An idea occured that could test my opinion, after WW1 many women were left without suitable partners [UK] and had to wait for younger men to mature into the marraige market. If it were possible to isolate the children of the female offspring of this cohort then i would anticipate a significant uplift in their average ‘IQ’ at least that’s what my take on the overall stats suggests would happen.
What the stats reveal is that girls having children lowers the IQ about 15%, cousins, or worse, having children lowers the IQ about 15%, doing either/both for generations when it’s not a necessity entrenches both/either outcomes, on average, so neither is conducive to an increasingly civilised state.
Could you rewrite this in more standard English with links to your stats? Thanks.
An idea occured that could test my opinion, after WW1 many women were left without suitable partners [UK] and had to wait for younger men to mature into the marraige market.
Dude, more likely they just did not get married and therefore most didn’t reproduce at all. Pretty sure that the popular culture / literature of the 1920’s and 1930’s showed that.
The stats are available in the run of J.Thompsons articles and threads, but specifically look at the relationship between child marraige and IQ and consanguinity and IQ in the world stats. Isolated or insular communities seem to come off badly probably due to both issues, consanguinity leads to loss of fertility too and thus increases social pressure on the very young to ‘produce’, being forced by circumstances to do this for generations crashes IQ to it’s lower limits. The above average nos. for ‘black’ Americans with white mothers whilst having a white father has no significant impact suggests that in some way it has to be related to the mothers genes, since all of her eggs were created whilst in the womb then it follows that there’s some effect that comes from her mothers life or experience, the very simplest possibility being the ‘maturity’ of her eggs selected for procreation.
Some of those women remained unwed true, so another way to falsify my idea would be to take any sample and split them by IQ into say those above and below the mean and find out at what age their grandmothers gave birth to their mothers. My guess would be the more intelligent would have grandmothers giving birth at 23+ and the least intelligent nearer 16.
“Rindermann: Yes, definitely. Research done in different paradigms (by economists, psychologists and educational researchers) has shown enduring effects of early education having an impact on cognitive development, on school achievement, on personality and success in adult age.”
None of that seems to be borne out in longitudinal studies of Head Start, Smart Start, More at Four, free breakfast and lunch programs and all the other trendy interventions in K-5 US public schools.
Eugenics has not been discredited by anyone, least of all that sorry congregation of blank slaters who subscribe to the preposterous doctrines of Franz Boas.
Seems to me an obvious explanation for the “smart fools” question (#8) is lack of common sense, which is different from intelligence, albeit highly correlated.
Dear Dr. Thompson, I am very happy to have completed my psychometrics course. I learned a great deal and now have a better understanding of some of the mind traps that I was falling into. It will, though, be frustrating to read comments from posters to this blog (and elsewhere) who will no doubt repeat ad nauseam many of these same mis-perceptions. An eternity of the same psychometric mis-statement without a glimmer of a chance of a neuron seeing the light? Wisdom is a great burden to bear. What canto of Dante’s inferno? The tenth?
I am now investigating social inequality. The possibility of using factor analysis to explore this question has me quite excited. Could a factor analysis of national social variables be done with the factors clearly identified? This would be magical! Social science currently is almost a hopeless voyage into a void. None of the terms are operationally defined, and so ideas just metaphorically float around without any anchoring reality. If factor analysis could clarify this by exactly defining the factors involved, then this could be a pivotal step forward.
g (or G) is a factor that describes much of social reality. What about the others? What other factor can provide us with insight into our social reality? Emil has done quite a substantial amount of research into investigating a grab bag of national indicators with an S factor emerging (along with G). (Yet, I am not entirely clear about how well characterized S (s) is at the individual level. g has been researched at the individual for over a century and is now essentially beyond dispute.)
There are other highly plausible additional factors. It is difficult to ignore the negative forces that exist in the universe. A D factor (which investigates this aspect of social life) is accumulating a substantial amount of psychometric credibility. Also a p(P) factor for psychological problems is emerging.
I am very interested to know whether this idea makes sense to you. Could it really be possible that social problems could be factorally described with mathematical precision? Might the complexity of human reality be possibly dimensionally reduced to perhaps a handful of factors? Could all of the fairly hazy conjecture about the nature of social life be resolvable? Is this realistic?
Without such a reduction, there is a near endless confusion when trying to describe the social issues that we confront: Is it a problem of intelligence? and/or Is it a problem of inequality? and/or Is it a problem of morality? A solution with strong psychometric validity could help entirely reshape the conversation.