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Race/IQ: Super-Flynn Effects in Germans, Jews, and Hispanics
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Although the vast majority of the angry responses greeting my Race/IQ article focused on a few of the ethnicities I had examined—Irish, Mexicans, Italians—my coverage had actually been quite broad, and I presented a large number of IQ gaps whose existence seemed inexplicible from a strictly genetic perspective.

Indeed, the first example I cited was the case of Germany, which showed a consistent IQ gap of 5-10 points between East and West, despite the two populations being genetically indistinguishable. Since Communist East Germany was dreary but hardly suffered from Third World levels of malnutrition or physical deprivation, I argued that a biological cause was unlikely, and that the difference was therefore almost certainly due to socio-economic or cultural factors. Naturally, my critics either ignored or ridiculed my analysis. The central argument of my piece had been that although GDP and IQ were highly correlated, the direction of causality might well be from the former to the latter, and this attracted much derision.

Fortunately, scientific research moves forward, and INTELLIGENCE, a leading academic journal, has just now published an article establishing that exact result. The study examined the IQ scores of hundreds of thousands of German army conscripts from the eastern and western portions of the newly unified country, as well as the regional scores on the international PISA academic exam. Over a period of just a few years, the eastern Germans showed dramatic IQ gains, bringing them into complete convergence with their western German cousins, far too rapidly for any biological or genetic factors to have operated. The journal article itself is behind a paywall, but is accurately summarized by the Abstract:

Economic, Educational, and IQ Gains in Eastern Germany 1990-2006, Eka Roivainen, Intelligence, Nov/Dec 2012

Abstract: Lynn and Vanhanen (2012) have convincingly established that national IQs correlate positively with GDP, education, and many other social and economic factors. The direction of causality remains debatable. The present study re-examines data from military psychological assessments of the German federal army that show strong IQ gains of 0.5 IQ point per annum for East German conscripts in the 1990s, after the reunification of the country. An analysis of IQ, GDP, and educational gains in 16 German federal states between 1990 and 1998 shows that IQ gains had a .89 correlation with GDP gains and a .78 correlation with educational gains. The short time frame excludes significant effects of biological or genetic factors on IQ gains. These observations suggest a causal direction from GDP and education to IQ

Allow me to repeat the concluding sentence of the Abstract of this peer-reviewed academic article: “These observations suggest a causal direction from GDP and education to IQ.”


On another matter, the vast quantity of Richard Lynn’s IQ scholarship had rather overwhelmed me, and during the preparation of my own Race/IQ article I had merely read two of his major IQ books, plus a few other writings. Then, during the back-and-forth disputes which followed, I examined three more of his IQ books. But only now have I finally gotten around to reading his 2011 book The Chosen People, dealing with Jewish IQ issues. In doing so, I immediately discovered a very interesting result.

On pp. 273-279, Lynn performed an exhaustive literature search for all Jewish IQ studies in America, and presented the 32 examples he found, ranging in date from 1920 to the present day. He then noted the intriguing fact that Jewish IQs had substantially risen relative to white gentile scores during the course of the 20th century. Jewish IQ had averaged 101.5 in the first 14 studies from 1920-1937, then 107 in the nine studies from 1944-1960, and finally 111 in the last nine studies from 1970-2008. All these results had been separately normed against a fixed IQ of 100 for the average white population.

A relative rise of 10 IQ points over just eighty-odd years in America seems unlikely to have any biological or genetic explanation, so it must be cultural or socio-economic in origin, hence an example of what I call the “Super-Flynn Effect.” Presumably, the underlying factors are somewhat similar to those which produced Ireland’s rise of 13 IQ points in the three decades after 1972, or the 15-20 point relative rise in the very low 1920s IQs of Greek, Italian, and Slav immigrants to America, or the recent rise in Mexican-American IQs.


Finally, although my critics have repeatedly disputed my claims for a rapid recent rise in the IQs of American Hispanics, I’ve now discovered an additional bit of evidence to support my case. A few months ago, I’d read The Price of Admission by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Daniel Golden. He documents the totally dishonest and unfair admissions practices of America’s elite universities, which seem to allocate their spots through an unsavory mixture of “ethnic diversity” and financial corruption, and his outstanding book was almost universally praised all across the ideological spectrum. According to Golden, about the only American college which seems to admit students strictly based on academic merit is Caltech, the California Institute of Technology.

Now according to incoming student test scores and National Merit Scholar percentages over the last few years, four American universities stand right at the top in student ability—Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Caltech, with Caltech probably being first among equals. HYP selects their students based on Diversity+Corruption, while Caltech relies upon academic merit, but when I examined their undergraduate ethnic distribution, the Hispanic percentage at Caltech was 8%, exactly the same as Harvard and Princeton, and only a touch below Yale. Furthermore, the Hispanic percentage at Caltech had been rising quite rapidly over the last decade, at a faster pace than at HYP. All these figures only include American Hispanics rather than foreign students, and can be easily obtained from The National Center for Educational Statistics.

In addition, MIT probably ranks #5 in student scores, and also skews much more toward the meritocratic/non-corrupt side of the spectrum. And although it’s located in one of the least Hispanic regions of the country, MIT has almost twice the percentage of Hispanic undergraduates as HYP. (Stanford’s Hispanic enrollment is similar to that of MIT, but since Stanford follows the HYP admissions system, its evidence is less strong.)

If Hispanics today still had the low IQ scores my critics allege, I believe these Caltech and MIT enrollment figures would be wildly implausible.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: IQ, Race/IQ 
The Race/IQ Series
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  1. Nick K. says:

    Why does Mr. Unz rule out the possibility that Caltech and MIT are also just adopting the HYP diversity-at-all-costs admissions model and taking in Hispanic students for the sake of diversity? To use this Caltech “evidence” the way Mr. Unz wants to, one would need to actually track the achievement of these eight-percenters and determine if their academic performance is on par with that of White, Ashkenazic, and NE Asian students.

  2. FN says:

    Re: East German IQ – although I tend to agree with your conclusion, I would not rule out a contributing biological factor: pollution. East Germany was heavily polluted, which was one of the factors behind the lower life expectancy compared to WG, and which might also have had an impact on IQ. The environmental situation improved quickly in the 1990s.

  3. Clint says:

    Show Me Da Money !

    “A number of studies have found that subjects who are promised monetary rewards for doing well on IQ and other cognitive tests score significantly higher.”

  4. Oval says:

    Might all the jews from europe who arrived after ww2 have anything to do with the increase in jewish iq.

    • Replies: @TAS
  5. Clint says:

    A number of studies have found that subjects who are promised monetary rewards for doing well on IQ and other cognitive tests score significantly higher.

    New work, led by Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and reported online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explores the effect of motivation on how well people perform on IQ tests.

  6. Kevin Foy says:

    Your sort of losing your whole ‘clear headed rationale, scientific, dorky number crunching stick’ by mentioning Caltech.

    You don’t know what their admissions policy is, one journalist as a source is not enough. How many Graduate? future career progressions? what impact does the higher percentage of Hispanics in California affect applications to college? these questions need to be answered before Caltech has any revelence.

  7. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If CalTech is the most meritocratic, then its extremly low relative percentage of jewish students suggests that Ivy League levels of thrity percent are due to networking/discrimination. Alternatively, IQ is a poor measure of any general intelligence that weighs quantitative and spatial reasoning, said differently a Harvard Law Review graudate most likely could not finish a CalTech program, even while the CalTech engineer most certainly could finish the same law program.

    One implication is that high IQ societies may flourish as paper pushing post modern societies, but would likely fail in being competitive manufactuers of real goods.

    Endogeneity then becomes suspect, high IQ elites transform societies into highly regulated, large firm size economies, because they excel in administrative tasks and monopoly acrues rents to the administartive class. But small firm size , technically savvy , truly free market economies may produce greater real goods and welfare for the population as a while, rather than the cognitive parastici paper pushing administrative class. .

    • Replies: @gar manarnar
  8. CalTech is in California. Its applicants are disproportionately from California and nearby states. Those states are disproportionately Hispanic.

  9. The three periods discussed for Jewish IQ correspond to different waves of Jewish immigration, with the latter two being post-WWII (as mentioned above) and the release of the Jews trapped in the Soviet Union.

  10. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    @Weighty Commentary:

    While CalTech is located in Pasadena, and definitely a part of greater Los Angeles, it’s a school with a long-established international reputation, like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

    Thus it draws its applicants from a much wider (worldwide, in fact–fully 25% of its students are international) geographical pool than would a public university of that state, like UCLA.

    That applicant pool slightly overrepresents California in comparison to the other fifty states, but largely by virtue of California’s population, which is the largest of all fifty states. The pool doesn’t overrepresent Western states in comparison to other regions of the country.

    Remember that CalTech has less than 1,000 undergraduate students, so they can afford to be, and thus are, extremely highly selective.

    They are also a fully private institution, thus their accountability is not to California taxpayers in any meaningful way.

  11. Barry says:

    FN: “Re: East German IQ – although I tend to agree with your conclusion, I would not rule out a contributing biological factor: pollution. East Germany was heavily polluted, which was one of the factors behind the lower life expectancy compared to WG, and which might also have had an impact on IQ. The environmental situation improved quickly in the 1990s.”

    People should note that poor neighborhoods (especially in cities) are often heavily polluted.

  12. TAS says:

    Yes, Definitively.

  13. @Anonymous

    If CalTech is the most meritocratic, then its extremely low relative percentage of jewish students suggests . .

    What percentage of Jewish students apply to Caltech compared to, say, MIT, Harvard, Princeton?

    Alternatively, IQ is a poor measure of any general intelligence that weighs quantitative and spatial reasoning . .

    Admission is determined by grades, SAT scores, etc., not IQ scores.

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