Thursday, August 17, 2017

99 genetic loci related to IQ in a sample of 280k

Recent studies of the genetics of IQ have been AMAZING. The latest--posted just today--is a sample of 280,000 subjects, and it found 99 loci (and 9,714 SNPs) significant related to IQ. Many of these loci also predict information processing speed, general cognitive function and health variables. The picture emerging is that a well-functioning, healthy brain is a smart brain, and genes are responsible for much of it.  Intelligent people, for example, are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The importance of self-discipline

The Alt-Right makes a big deal about IQ, and rightly so, but I just ran across this meta-analysis of dozens of studies that shows that the supertrait of conscientiousness--basically self-discipline--is just about as predictive of academic performance as intelligence.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Race and gang membership

I ran across this self-report study of youths in seven cities. According to my calculations, Hispanics are 3.3 times as likely to be gang members as whites. For blacks, it's 3.1 times more likely. And these estimates include a lot of wannabe gangsters, so the racial/ethnic gaps are likely to be larger among serious gang members. Not surprisingly, the researchers find that members of gangs commit a lot more crime than people not in gangs. Gangs are not just social clubs. 

Friday, August 04, 2017

Another look at ancestry and IQ

It's been a few years since I looked at verbal IQ data listed by ethnicity. It's important to look at recent data since so many immigrant groups have such small samples sizes, estimates are not very reliable. Using GSS data, here is the ranking of scores to a 10-point vocabulary quiz--a quick measure of verbal IQ. I omitted people not born in the US since the quiz is biased against non-native speakers:

Vocabulary Ranking by Ancestry

Austria   7.27
Russia    7.12 
Lithuania   7.08
Romania   6.95
Denmark   6.85 
England/Wales   6.84
Hungary    6.78
Scotland   6.75
Yugoslavia   6.73
Sweden   6.71
China   6.70
Norway   6.68 
Switzerland   6.65
Arab   6.61
Finland   6.58 
Greece   6.53
Czech   6.56
Ireland   6.46 
Poland   6.46
Japan   6.47
Italy   6.42
France   6.34
French Canadian   6.30
Germany   6.29
Belgium   6.28
West Indies   6.19
Portugal   6.18
Netherlands   5.99
Philippines   5.84
Spain   5.83
India   5.53
American Indian   5.31
Africa   5.16
Mexico   5.00
Puerto Rico 4.99

The pattern hasn't changed much since the last time I looked. What jumps out at me: 1) Mex-Ams and Puerto Ricans are still at the bottom, even lowers than blacks; 2) recent data indicates that American Muslims might assimilate better than European Muslims--the data here indicates that US Arabs are pretty smart; 3) Asian Indians (n = 40) still have a low average despite their reputation for intelligence; 4) it looks like southern Europeans don't do as well as northern Europeans (but Romania and Yugoslavia are high); and 5) central and Eastern Europeans might get a boost toward the top of the list by the large numbers of Jews (with a mean of 7.56) among their ranks.

And if you're thinking, this is just all environment, you're wrong: According to this meta-analysis, vocabulary is 62% genetic among children, and it is certainly higher than that among adults.

Oh, and if you think the differences are no biggy, again you're wrong: The gap between the top and the bottom is huge: well over 1 standard deviation. 

Friday, September 09, 2016

Does ignorance or familiarity breed contempt?

Does ignorance or familiarity breed racism against blacks?

To answer this question, I correlated how cool a white person feels towards blacks with the percent of the population in their region that is black (General Social Survey data). The correlation across nine census divisions is .48--a strongly positive correlation.

In other words, whites who live in areas with more blacks--an indication that one has had more actual experience with blacks--tend to feel cooler toward them.

The data suggests that familiarity breeds contempt, not affection. 


Sunday, September 04, 2016

Conservatism does NOT predict hatred for blacks, but liberalism STRONGLY predicts hatred for conservatives

Using General Social Survey data, I calculated the correlation between conservatism and feeling cool toward blacks. It's practically non-existent--a trivial .07. Next, I correlated a correlation between liberalism and coolness toward conservatives. It's large--.45.

To put this in plain English, conservatism does NOT predict hatred for blacks, but liberalism STRONGLY predicts hatred for conservatives.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The polls suggest that most of the undecideds will go for Trump

Let's take another look at the Trump v. Hillary polls.

It looked to me like the polls that nudge people toward choosing one candidate or another--as opposed to giving some other answer like undecided, don't know, etc--tend to yield a smaller gap.

I calculated a correlation between the size of the gap and the percentage of people NOT saying Trump or Hillary for the 13 recent surveys listed on either RealClearPolitics or the Huffington Post. I threw them all in there, including the ones I considered to be not-so-great surveys.

The correlation is .38 which means of moderate magnitude. In other words, when techniques are used to get people to take a side, Hillary's lead decreases. When nudged, the uncommitted tend to go for Trump. To illustrate, 23% of Reuters participants fail to give either candidate as their answer, and this poll shows Trump behind by 7 points. With the UPI/CVOTER poll, which managed to get all but 4% to make a choice, Trump came out on top by one point.

So this seems like evidence that the undecideds are leaning Trump, and in the end, most will vote for him.