Sunday, December 14, 2014

Japanese north–south gradient in IQ predicts differences in stature, skin color, income, and homicide rate

By Kenya Kura 

A fascinating academic journal article from Japan below.  The Japanese and Chinese are less politically correct in talking about race than Americans are -- if only because they mostly believe that THEY are a superior race.  And in average IQ terms, they are.

And the finding below, that high IQ people in Japan are taller, richer and less prone to crime and divorce, agrees well with American findings going back as far as the 1920s.

Not mentioned in the Abstract below but mentioned in the body of the article, is that the Koreans and Chinese score a touch higher on IQ than the Japanese do  -- only by about one or two points but that is in the opposite direction to what one would expect.  The Japanese are more Westernized than the Chinese are  -- though that difference is diminishing rapidly -- so if there were any "Western" bias in the tests (which Leftists often assert there is), one would have expected the Japanese to be slightly ahead.  Clearly, any "bias" in the tests is not detectable in the far East  -- being detectable only by American Ivy League "wisdom".

But there is one point inferable from the findings below that seems at first completely regular  -- the finding that the closer you get to the equator, the browner and dumber you get.  The Japanese archipelago does cover a very considerable North/South range so there is plenty of room for that to emerge. So the really smart Japanese are in the Northern Prefectures of Honshu while the dumbest are in Okinawa.

And in South-East Asia we find the same phenomenon.  Filipinos and Malaysian Bumiputras are notably browner and less bright than North-East Asians.

But that is not as regular as one might think.  There are a number of exceptions to the rule.  South Africa has a climate similar to Europe (if you have experienced a Bloemfontein winter you will know what I mean) yet the Bantu (South African negroes) are no brighter than any other Africans as far as we can tell.  But that is only a superficial puzzle.  The Bantu are recent immigrants originating in central Africa.  The whites in fact arrived in South Africa before the Bantu did.

The Bushmen (original inhabitants) of South Africa are a little more of a puzzle as they are very primitive indeed.  They are short of stature and live these days in extremely arid regions.  Perhaps they always did live in arid regions to escape the many fierce predators in the rest of Africa.

And Tasmanian Aborigines were also at an extremely low civilizational level (they did not even use fire) before white-man diseases killed them all off.  Yet Tasmania has a climate quite similar to England.  Tasmania is however a rather small island that was cut off from the rest of Australia for many millennia -- and isolated populations are often backward.  It appears that lots of invasions are needed to perk up average IQ  -- which is why Eurasia is home to all the high IQ populations.  Invaders can very easily sweep for long distances across Eurasia -- as Genghis Khan showed.

So the "exceptions" I have noted so far are all explicable by special factors.  But there is one exception that absolutely breaks the rule:  South India.  South Indians can be very dark in skin color indeed.  Yet they are far and away the brightest populations in India. The computer programmers, scientists and technologists in India come overwhelmingly from the South.  The recent amazing Indian Mars shot was almost entirely the work of Southerners.  It is no coincidence that Bangalore, India's science and technology hub, is in the South. 

So what went on in the South to push them up the IQ scale is hard to say.  The nearest I can come to an explanation is to note that they all hate one-another.  The various regions have different languages and were often at war with one-another over the centuries.  So perhaps invasions did the trick there too. But then West Africans are are always fighting one-another as well ... 

So perhaps we have to draw into the discussion that some evolutionarily recent DNA mutations affecting brain complexity did not spread to Africa.  Evolution can of course work either via natural selection or via mutations -- or both

A final note about the correlations reported below.  They seem unusually high.  That is common in "ecological" correlations (correlations between groups rather than individuals). It was Prefecture averages that formed the raw data below.  Individual correlations between similar variables can normally be expected to be much lower -- JR



Regional differences in IQ are estimated for 47 prefectures of Japan. IQ scores obtained from official achievement tests show a gradient from north to south. Latitudes correlate with height, IQ, and skin color at r = 0.70, 0.44, 0.47, respectively. IQ also correlates with height (0.52), skin color (0.42), income (0.51) after correction, less homicide rate (− 0.60), and less divorce (− 0.69) but not with fertility infant mortality. The lower IQ in southern Japanese islands could be attributable to warmer climates with less cognitive demand for more than fifteen hundred years.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Genetic determination of social class

Using twin studies, Charles Murray showed 2 decades ago that IQ is mainly genetically inherited and that IQ underlies social class.  The rich are brighter;  the poor are dumber.  The findings below reinforce that. The researchers were able to identify the actual DNA behind that relationship.  High IQ people and high status people had different DNA to low status and low IQ people. 

The research also showed something else that people find hard to digest: That family environment matters hardly at all.  That repeatedly emerges in the twin studies but flies in the face of what people have believed for millennia: That your kid's upbringing matters.  It may matter in some ways (value acquisition?) but it has no influence on how bright the kid will be.  So now we have confirmation from a DNA study which shows that both IQ and social status are genetically determined.  Home environment has nothing to do with it.  The genes which give you a high IQ are the same ones that lead to high social status. 

People can perhaps accept the genetic determination of IQ but accepting the genetic determination of social status will be more jarring.  The wise men all tell us that a good upbringing will make you more likely to get rich.  It won't.  What you have inherited in your genes (principally IQ) is what will make you rich or poor

To specify exactly what was found:  In a representative sample of the UK population, children from high status homes were found to be genetically different from children from low status homes -- and the DNA differences concerned were also determinant of IQ

Genetic influence on family socioeconomic status and children's intelligence

Maciej Trzaskowskia et al.


Environmental measures used widely in the behavioral sciences show nearly as much genetic influence as behavioral measures, a critical finding for interpreting associations between environmental factors and children's development. This research depends on the twin method that compares monozygotic and dizygotic twins, but key aspects of children's environment such as socioeconomic status (SES) cannot be investigated in twin studies because they are the same for children growing up together in a family. Here, using a new technique applied to DNA from 3000 unrelated children, we show significant genetic influence on family SES, and on its association with children's IQ at ages 7 and 12. In addition to demonstrating the ability to investigate genetic influence on between-family environmental measures, our results emphasize the need to consider genetics in research and policy on family SES and its association with children's IQ.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

MEGA-PESKY for the Left!  Republicans found to be brighter than Democrats

Leftists never give up asserting that they are the brightest but the research results below are well founded and are clearly against them.  The findings even held among whites only.  And the ardent Democrats were dumbest of all!  The author is a bit apologetic about measuring mainly verbal ability but verbal ability is the best proxy for IQ as a whole so that need not detain us. 

The final comment below about different types of Republicans is just a speculation.  It was not examined in the research. 

The differences found were slight, however so are not something for anyone to hang their hat on.  The findings are primarily useful for shooting back at Leftist claims of superiority -- claims which are in fact intrinsic to Leftism.  They claim to "know best"

For my previous discussions of  IQ and politics see here and here and here and here

Cognitive ability and party identity in the United States

Noah Carl


Carl (2014) analysed data from the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS), and found that individuals who identify as Republican have slightly higher verbal intelligence than those who identify as Democrat. An important qualification was that the measure of verbal intelligence used was relatively crude, namely a 10-word vocabulary test. This study examines three other measures of cognitive ability from the GSS: a test of probability knowledge, a test of verbal reasoning, and an assessment by the interviewer of how well the respondent understood the survey questions. In all three cases, individuals who identify as Republican score slightly higher than those who identify as Democrat; the unadjusted differences are 1–3 IQ points, 2–4 IQ points and 2–3 IQ points, respectively. Path analyses indicate that the associations between cognitive ability and party identity are largely but not totally accounted for by socio-economic position: individuals with higher cognitive ability tend to have better socio-economic positions, and individuals with better socio-economic positions are more likely to identify as Republican. These results are consistent with Carl's (2014) hypothesis that higher intelligence among classically liberal Republicans compensates for lower intelligence among socially conservative Republicans.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Church-goers are NOT dumber

That people are religious because they are stupid has been a  frequent assertion, particularly from the Left.  Some recent high-quality research (below), however, refutes that.  They found no association between church-going and IQ but did find a weak association between non-committed religiosity and IQ.  And religious people are also NOT more likely to go ga-ga as they get older.  See also here and here

Religiosity is negatively associated with later-life intelligence, but not with age-related cognitive decline


A well-replicated finding in the psychological literature is the negative correlation between religiosity and intelligence. However, several studies also conclude that one form of religiosity, church attendance, is protective against later-life cognitive decline.

No effects of religious belief per se on cognitive decline have been found, potentially due to the restricted measures of belief used in previous studies. Here, we examined the associations between religiosity, intelligence, and cognitive change in a cohort of individuals (initial n = 550) with high-quality measures of religious belief taken at age 83 and multiple cognitive measures taken in childhood and at four waves between age 79 and 90.

We found that religious belief, but not attendance, was negatively related to intelligence. The effect size was smaller than in previous studies of younger participants. Longitudinal analyses showed no effect of either religious belief or attendance on cognitive change either from childhood to old age, or across the ninth decade of life.

We discuss differences between our cohort and those in previous studies – including in age and location – that may have led to our non-replication of the association between religious attendance and cognitive decline.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Kids from affluent families start out smarter than the poor and the gap between them and the poor widens further as they grow up

It has long been known that the rich are smarter.  Charles Murray got heavy flak when he showed that two decades ago but it's logical that people who are in general smart should also be smart with money.  But the gorgeous Sophie von Stumm has amplified that in the research below.  My previous comments about some of her research were rather derogatory but I find no fault with the work below.

Explaining the finding is the challenge.  An obvious comment is that measuring the IQ of young children is difficult  -- but not impossible -- and that the widening gap simply reflected more accurate measurements in later life. 

I would reject the explanation that the better home life in a rich family helped improve the child's IQ -- because all the twin studies show that the family environment is a negligible contributor to IQ -- counter-intuitive though that might be. 

The present findings do however tie in well with previous findings that the genetic influence on IQ gets greater as people get older.  People shed some environmental influences as they get older and become more and more what their genetics would dictate

Sophie von Stumm

Poverty affects the intelligence of children as young as two, a study has found - and its impact increases as the child ages.  Deprived young children were found to have IQ scores six points lower, on average, than children from wealthier families.

And the gap got wider throughout childhood, with the early difference tripling by the time the children reached adolescence.

Scientists from Goldsmiths, University of London compared data on almost 15,000 children and their parents as part of the Twins Early Development Study (Teds).  The study is an on-going investigation socio-economic and genetic links to intelligence.

Children were assessed nine times between the ages of two and 16, using a mixture of parent-administered, web and telephone-based tests.

The results, published in the journal Intelligence, revealed that children from wealthier backgrounds with more opportunities scored higher in IQ tests at the age of two, and experienced greater IQ gains over time.

Dr Sophie von Stumm, from Goldsmiths, University of London, who led the study, said: 'We’ve known for some time that children from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds perform on average worse on intelligence tests than children from higher SES backgrounds, but the developmental relationship between intelligence and SES had not been previously shown.  'Our research establishes that relationship, highlighting the link between SES and IQ.


Socioeconomic status and the growth of intelligence from infancy through adolescence

By Sophie von Stumm &  Robert Plomin


Low socioeconomic status (SES) children perform on average worse on intelligence tests than children from higher SES backgrounds, but the developmental relationship between intelligence and SES has not been adequately investigated. Here, we use latent growth curve (LGC) models to assess associations between SES and individual differences in the intelligence starting point (intercept) and in the rate and direction of change in scores (slope and quadratic term) from infancy through adolescence in 14,853 children from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), assessed 9 times on IQ between the ages of 2 and 16 years. SES was significantly associated with intelligence growth factors: higher SES was related both to a higher starting point in infancy and to greater gains in intelligence over time. Specifically, children from low SES families scored on average 6 IQ points lower at age 2 than children from high SES backgrounds; by age 16, this difference had almost tripled. Although these key results did not vary across girls and boys, we observed gender differences in the development of intelligence in early childhood. Overall, SES was shown to be associated with individual differences in intercepts as well as slopes of intelligence. However, this finding does not warrant causal interpretations of the relationship between SES and the development of intelligence.


Monday, December 1, 2014

There is NO American Dream?

Gregory Clark is very good at both social history and economic history.  His latest work, however, leans on what I see as a very weak reed.  He finds surnames that are associated with wealth and tracks those surnames down the generations.  And he finds that in later generations those surnames continue to be associated with wealth. 

That is all well and good but he is using only a very small sampling of the population so can tell us nothing about the society at large.  The well-known effect of a man making a lot of money only for his grandchildren to blow the lot is not captured by his methods. 

So if the American dream consists of raising up a whole new lineage of wealth, we can agree that such a raising up is rare, though not unknown.  But if we see the American Dream as just one man "making it" (regardless of what his descendants do) Clark has nothing to tell us about it.  And I think that latter version of the dream is the usual one.

But his findings that SOME lineages stay wealthy is an interesting one.  And he explains it well.  He says (to simplify a little) that what is inherited is not wealth but IQ.  As Charles Murray showed some years back, smarter people tend to be richer and tend to marry other smart people.  So their descendant stay smart and smart people are mostly smart about money too.

And note that although IQ is about two thirds genetically inherited, genetic inheritance can throw up surprises at times.  I once for instance knew two brown-haired parents who had three red-headed kids.  The hair was still genetically inherited (there would have been redheads among their ancestors), but just WHICH genes you get out of the parental pool when you are conceived seems to be random.  So you do get the phenomenon of two ordinary people having a very bright child.  And that child can do very well in various ways -- monetary and otherwise.  I was such a child.


It has powered the hopes and dreams of U.S. citizens for generations.  But the American Dream does not actually exist, according to one economics professor.

Gregory Clark, who works at the University of California, Davis, claims the national ethos is simply an illusion and that social mobility in the country is no higher than in the rest of the world.

'America has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England or pre-industrial Sweden,' he said. 'That’s the most difficult part of talking about social mobility - it's shattering people's dreams.'

After studying figures from the past 100 years and applying a formula to them, Mr Clark concluded that disadvantaged Americans will not be granted more opportunities if they are hard-working.

Instead, they will be stuck in their social status for the rest of their lives - and their position will, in turn, affect the statuses of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he said.

'The United States is not exceptional in its rates of social mobility,' the professor wrote in an essay published by the Council on Foreign Relations.  'It can perform no special alchemy on the disadvantaged populations of any society in order to transform their life opportunities.'

Speaking to CBS Sacramento, he added: 'The status of your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren will be quite closely related to your average status now.'

However, not all of Mr Clark's students agree with his findings, with some pointing out that although parents' wealth has an effect on a child's life, 'it is not the ultimate deciding factor'.