International general factor of personality? yes, but…

I merged the dataset from Schmitt et al (2007)’s paper about OCEAN traits in 56 countries with the rest of the megadataset. Then i extracted the first factor of the OCEAN means and SDs. These two are nearly uncorrelated (.07). As for factor strength, they are not too bad:

Call: omega(m = DF.OCEAN.mean)
Alpha:                 0.73 
G.6:                   0.74 
Omega Hierarchical:    0.54 
Omega H asymptotic:    0.64 
Omega Total            0.84 

Schmid Leiman Factor loadings greater than  0.2 
                                        g   F1*   F2*   F3*   h2   u2   p2
ExtraversionMeanSchmittEtAl2007      0.44        0.66       0.64 0.36 0.30
AgreeablenessMeanSchmittEtAl2007     0.58  0.56             0.66 0.34 0.51
ConscientiousnessMeanSchmittEtAl2007 0.62  0.52             0.66 0.34 0.58
NeuroticismMeanSchmittEtAl2007      -0.66  0.28  0.36 -0.36 0.76 0.24 0.56
OpennessMeanSchmittEtAl2007          0.23        0.21  0.51 0.38 0.62 0.14

With eigenvalues of:
   g  F1*  F2*  F3* 
1.40 0.69 0.62 0.40 

general/max  2.04   max/min =   1.7
mean percent general =  0.42    with sd =  0.19 and cv of  0.46 
Explained Common Variance of the general factor =  0.45



Call: omega(m = DF.OCEAN.SD)
Alpha:                 0.79 
G.6:                   0.78 
Omega Hierarchical:    0.72 
Omega H asymptotic:    0.86 
Omega Total            0.84 

Schmid Leiman Factor loadings greater than  0.2 
                                      g   F1*   F2*   F3*   h2   u2   p2
ExtraversionSDSchmittEtAl2007      0.80                   0.64 0.36 0.99
AgreeablenessSDSchmittEtAl2007     0.57        0.47       0.55 0.45 0.59
ConscientiousnessSDSchmittEtAl2007 0.57  0.35             0.48 0.52 0.68
NeuroticismSDSchmittEtAl2007       0.78  0.52             0.87 0.13 0.69
OpennessSDSchmittEtAl2007          0.43        0.24       0.25 0.75 0.74

With eigenvalues of:
   g  F1*  F2*  F3* 
2.08 0.41 0.31 0.00 

general/max  5.09   max/min =   136.11
mean percent general =  0.74    with sd =  0.15 and cv of  0.2 
Explained Common Variance of the general factor =  0.74


Compare with values in Table 5 in my just published paper. GFP-mean is clearly weaker than g factor at individual level, GFP-SD is about the same.

Var% MR
Var% MR SL Omega h. Omega h. a. ECV R2
NO Complete cases 0.68 0.65 0.87 0.91 0.78 0.98
NO Impute 1 0.66 0.62 0.86 0.9 0.74 0.96
NO Impute 2 0.64 0.6 0.85 0.89 0.75 0.95
NO Impute 3 0.63 0.59 0.82 0.87 0.73 0.99
DK complete cases 0.57 0.51 0.83 0.85 0.68 0.99
DK impute 4 0.55 0.51 0.86 0.88 0.73 0.99
Int. S. Factor 0.43 0.35 0.76 0.77 0.51 0.81
Cognitive data 0.33 0.74 0.79 0.57 0.78
Personality data 0.16 0.37 0.48 0.34 0.41

Then i correlated these with national IQ, S factor and local S factors in Norway and Denmark.

> round(cor(DF.OCEAN.general.scores,use="pairwise.complete.obs"),2)
             GFP.mean GFP.SD Islam S.Int    IQ
GFP.mean         1.00   0.07        0.09        -0.25  0.17 -0.21 -0.58
GFP.SD           0.07   1.00        0.39         0.26 -0.14  0.36  0.24      0.09   0.39        1.00         0.78 -0.72  0.73  0.60    -0.25   0.26        0.78         1.00 -0.71  0.54  0.54
Islam            0.17  -0.14       -0.72        -0.71  1.00 -0.33 -0.27
S.Int           -0.21   0.36        0.73         0.54 -0.33  1.00  0.86
IQ              -0.58   0.24        0.60         0.54 -0.27  0.86  1.00

So strangely, the correlation of GFP-mean x national IQ is very negative. It correlates weakly with S factors. Let’s try partialing out national IQ:

> = partial.r(DF.OCEAN.general.scores,c(1:6),7)
partial correlations 
             GFP.mean GFP.SD Islam S.Int
GFP.mean         1.00   0.26        0.68         0.09  0.02  0.72
GFP.SD           0.26   1.00        0.31         0.16 -0.08  0.32      0.68   0.31        1.00         0.67 -0.73  0.53     0.09   0.16        0.67         1.00 -0.70  0.19
Islam            0.02  -0.08       -0.73        -0.70  1.00 -0.21
S.Int            0.72   0.32        0.53         0.19 -0.21  1.00

Even more strange. GFP-mean strongly correlates with 2 S factors, but not the one in Denmark. The Danish data are very good (25 variables) and so are the international data (42-54 variables). And all the S factors correlate strongly before partialing (.78, .73, .54) but mixed after removing IQ (.67, .53, .19). Again Denmark is odd. For GFP-SD, it is similar, but weaker (before: .39, .26, .36; after: .31, .16, .32).

What to make of this? So i emailed some colleagues:

Dear [NAMES]

Do you know if someone have looked at an international general factor of personality? Because I did it just now using a dataset of OCEAN trait scores (big five) from Schmitt et al 2007. There is indeed an international GFP in the data. It correlates negatively with national IQs (-.58). Strangely, partialing out national IQs, it correlates highly with general socioeconomic factors in Norway (.68) and internationally (.72), but not in Denmark (.09). Strange? Thoughts? I can send you the data+code if you like.


One of them had insider info:


There is a paper about to appear in Intelligence in which an international GFP has been computed and analyzed.


So i publish this here quickly so i establish priority and independence.

What about OCEAN traits themselves?

(sorry, tables apparently not easy to make smaller)
All correlations:
E mean E SD A mean A SD C mean C SD N mean N SD O mean O SD Mean SD S.NO S.DK Islam Int.S IQ
E mean 1 0.14 0.2 0.22 0.25 0.23 -0.49 0.17 0.27 0.09 0.23 0.06 -0.19 -0.02 0.09 -0.02
E sd 0.14 1 -0.08 0.47 -0.07 0.48 0.13 0.66 0.3 0.34 0.81 0.45 0.35 -0.35 0.53 0.39
A mean 0.2 -0.08 1 0.15 0.65 0.21 -0.48 0.21 0.26 -0.13 0.11 0.08 -0.26 0.26 -0.25 -0.53
A SD 0.22 0.47 0.15 1 0.23 0.43 0 0.45 0.22 0.35 0.71 0.18 0.23 -0.18 0.12 -0.04
C mean 0.25 -0.07 0.65 0.23 1 0.1 -0.57 0.07 0.2 -0.03 0.07 0.04 -0.19 0.14 -0.19 -0.6
C SD 0.23 0.48 0.21 0.43 0.1 1 0.11 0.62 0.41 0.25 0.78 0.34 -0.03 0.04 0.19 0.04
N mean -0.49 0.13 -0.48 0 -0.57 0.11 1 0.22 -0.09 0.25 0.19 -0.1 0.13 -0.06 0.12 0.38
N SD 0.17 0.66 0.21 0.45 0.07 0.62 0.22 1 0.41 0.28 0.83 0.23 0.19 0 0.24 0.18
O mean 0.27 0.3 0.26 0.22 0.2 0.41 -0.09 0.41 1 0.07 0.4 -0.01 -0.07 0.04 -0.02 -0.06
O sd 0.09 0.34 -0.13 0.35 -0.03 0.25 0.25 0.28 0.07 1 0.56 0.22 0.14 -0.07 0.25 0.37
Mean SD 0.23 0.81 0.11 0.71 0.07 0.78 0.19 0.83 0.4 0.56 1 0.41 0.25 -0.15 0.36 0.25 0.06 0.45 0.08 0.18 0.04 0.34 -0.1 0.23 -0.01 0.22 0.41 1 0.78 -0.72 0.73 0.6 -0.19 0.35 -0.26 0.23 -0.19 -0.03 0.13 0.19 -0.07 0.14 0.25 0.78 1 -0.71 0.54 0.54
IslamPewResearch2010 -0.02 -0.35 0.26 -0.18 0.14 0.04 -0.06 0 0.04 -0.07 -0.15 -0.72 -0.71 1 -0.33 -0.27
International.S.Factor 0.09 0.53 -0.25 0.12 -0.19 0.19 0.12 0.24 -0.02 0.25 0.36 0.73 0.54 -0.33 1 0.86
LV2012estimatedIQ -0.02 0.39 -0.53 -0.04 -0.6 0.04 0.38 0.18 -0.06 0.37 0.25 0.6 0.54 -0.27 0.86 1
With IQ partialed out:
E mean E sd A mean A SD C mean C SD N mean N SD O mean O SD Mean SD S.NO S.DK Islam Int.S
E mean 1 0.17 0.22 0.22 0.3 0.23 -0.52 0.18 0.27 0.1 0.24 0.09 -0.21 -0.02 0.21
E sd 0.17 1 0.16 0.53 0.22 0.51 -0.02 0.65 0.35 0.23 0.8 0.29 0.18 -0.28 0.42
A mean 0.22 0.16 1 0.15 0.49 0.28 -0.36 0.36 0.27 0.07 0.29 0.58 0.03 0.15 0.48
A SD 0.22 0.53 0.15 1 0.25 0.43 0.02 0.47 0.21 0.4 0.74 0.26 0.3 -0.2 0.3
C mean 0.3 0.22 0.49 0.25 1 0.15 -0.46 0.23 0.21 0.25 0.29 0.63 0.2 -0.02 0.82
C SD 0.23 0.51 0.28 0.43 0.15 1 0.1 0.62 0.41 0.26 0.79 0.39 -0.05 0.06 0.31
N mean -0.52 -0.02 -0.36 0.02 -0.46 0.1 1 0.17 -0.07 0.13 0.11 -0.45 -0.1 0.05 -0.44
N SD 0.18 0.65 0.36 0.47 0.23 0.62 0.17 1 0.43 0.23 0.83 0.16 0.11 0.05 0.18
O mean 0.27 0.35 0.27 0.21 0.21 0.41 -0.07 0.43 1 0.1 0.42 0.03 -0.04 0.03 0.06
O sd 0.1 0.23 0.07 0.4 0.25 0.26 0.13 0.23 0.1 1 0.52 0.01 -0.07 0.03 -0.14
Mean SD 0.24 0.8 0.29 0.74 0.29 0.79 0.11 0.83 0.42 0.52 1 0.33 0.15 -0.09 0.3 0.09 0.29 0.58 0.26 0.63 0.39 -0.45 0.16 0.03 0.01 0.33 1 0.67 -0.73 0.53 -0.21 0.18 0.03 0.3 0.2 -0.05 -0.1 0.11 -0.04 -0.07 0.15 0.67 1 -0.7 0.19
IslamPewResearch2010 -0.02 -0.28 0.15 -0.2 -0.02 0.06 0.05 0.05 0.03 0.03 -0.09 -0.73 -0.7 1 -0.21
International.S.Factor 0.21 0.42 0.48 0.3 0.82 0.31 -0.44 0.18 0.06 -0.14 0.3 0.53 0.19 -0.21 1
R code (load in the megadataset as DF.mega3 first):
DF.interest = cbind(DF.mega3[2:12],
DF.interest.cor = rcorr(as.matrix(DF.interest))

#remove IQ
DF.interest.cor.without.IQ = partial.r(DF.interest, c(1:15),16)
write.csv(round(DF.interest.cor.without.IQ,2), file="OCEANCors_no_g.csv")

DF.OCEAN.full = cbind(DF.mega3[2:12]) = omega(DF.OCEAN.full) = fa(DF.OCEAN.full)

DF.OCEAN.mean = cbind(DF.mega3[c(2,4,6,8,10)]) = omega(DF.OCEAN.mean) = fa(DF.OCEAN.mean)

DF.OCEAN.SD = cbind(DF.mega3[c(3,5,7,9,11)]) = omega(DF.OCEAN.SD) = fa(DF.OCEAN.SD)

DF.OCEAN.general.scores = cbind($scores,$scores,
colnames(DF.OCEAN.general.scores) = c("GFP.mean","GFP.SD","","","Islam","S.Int","IQ")
round(cor(DF.OCEAN.general.scores,use="pairwise.complete.obs"),2) = partial.r(DF.OCEAN.general.scores,c(1:6),7)

Megadataset is in the OSF repository, version 1.6b.

New paper out: Crime, income, educational attainment and employment among immigrant groups in Norway and Finland


I present new predictive analyses for crime, income, educational attainment and employment among immigrant groups in Norway and crime in Finland. Furthermore I show that the Norwegian data contains a strong general socioeconomic factor (S) which is highly predictable from country-level variables (National IQ .59, Islam prevalence -.71, international general socioeconomic factor .72, GDP .55), and correlates highly (.78) with the analogous factor among immigrant groups in Denmark. Analyses of the prediction vectors show very high correlations (generally ±.9) between predictors which means that the same variables are relatively well or weakly predicted no matter which predictor is used. Using the method of correlated vectors shows that it is the underlying S factor that drives the associations between predictors and socioeconomic traits, not the remaining variance (all correlations near unity).

All data and source files are at the OSF repository:

Review: Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) (Christian Rudder)

This good is based on the popular but discontinued OKTrends blog, but now apparently active again becus of the book release. There is some more info in the book than can be found on the blog, but overall there is much more on the blog. The book is short (300 pp) and written in non-academic style with no statistical jargon. Read it if u think big data about humans is interesting. The author is generally negative about it, so if u are skeptical about it, u may like this book.

New paper out: The international general socioeconomic factor: Factor analyzing international rankings

Many studies have examined the correlations between national IQs and various country-level indexes of well-being. The analyses have been unsystematic and not gathered in one single analysis or dataset. In this paper I gather a large sample of country-level indexes and show that there is a strong general socioeconomic factor (S factor) which is highly correlated (.86-.87) with national cognitive ability using either Lynn and Vanhanen’s dataset or Altinok’s. Furthermore, the method of correlated vectors shows that the correlations between variable loadings on the S factor and cognitive measurements are .99 in both datasets using both cognitive measurements, indicating that it is the S factor that drives the relationship with national cognitive measurements, not the remaining variance.

This one took a while to do. Had to learn a lot of programming (R), do lots of analyses, 50 days in peer review. Perhaps my most important paper so far.


Comment on CPGGrey’s new video on the future of automatization

Posted on reddit.


This is your best film yet, and that says something.

For automatization for clinical decisions, it has been known for decades that simple algorithms are better than humans. This has so far not been put to much practice, but it will eventually. See review article: Grove, W. M., Zald, D. H., Lebow, B. S., Snitz, B. E., & Nelson, C. (2000). Clinical versus mechanical prediction: a meta-analysis.[1] Psychological assessment, 12(1), 19.

There is only one temporary solution for this problem. It is to make humans smarter. I say temporary because these new smarter humans will quickly make robots even smarter and so they can replace even the new smarter humans.

How to make humans more intelligent? The only effective way to do that is to use applied human genetics aka. eugenics. This is because general intelligence (g-factor) is about 80% heritable in adults (and pretty much everything else is also moderately to highly heritable). There are two things we must do: 1) Find the genes for g. This effort is underway and we have found a few SNPs so far.[1-2] It is estimated that there are about 1k-10k genes for g. 2) Find out how to apply this genetic knowledge in practice to make both existing humans and the new ones smarter. The first effective technology for this is embryo selection[2] . Perhaps CRISPR[3] can work for existing humans.

  1. Rietveld, C.A., Medland, S.E., Derringer, J., Yang, K., Esko, T., et al. (2013). GWAS of 126,559 individuals identifies genetic variants associated with educational attainment. Science 340: 1467-1471.
  2. Ward, M.E., McMahon, G., St Pourcain, B., Evans, D.M., Rietveld, C.A., et al. (2014) Genetic Variation Associated with Differential Educational Attainment in Adults Has Anticipated Associations with School Performance in Children. PLoS ONE 9(7): e100248. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100248

A troublesome inheritance (Nicholas Wade)

This book is very popsci and can be read in 1 day for any reasonably fast reader. It doesnt contain much new information to anyone who has read a few books on the topic. As can be seen below, it has a lot of nonsense/errors since clearly the author is not used to this area of science. It is not recommended except as a light introduction to people with political problems with these facts.


But  a  drawback  o f  the  system  is  its  occasional  drift  toward
extreme  conservatism.  Researchers  get  attached  to  the  view  of their
field  they  grew  up  with  and,  as  they  grow  older,  they  may  gain  the
influence  to thwart change.  For  50  years  after it was  first proposed,
leading geophysicists  strenuously resisted the idea that the continents
have  drifted  across  the  face  of  the  globe.  “Knowledge  advances,
funeral  by funeral,”  the economist Paul  Samuelson  once  observed.


Wrong quote origin.

>A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.


Academics, who are obsessed with intelligence, fear the discovery
of  a  gene  that  will  prove  one  major  race  is  more  intelligent  than
another.  But  that  is  unlikely  to  happen  anytime  soon.  Although
intelligence has a genetic basis, no genetic variants that enhance intel­
ligence  have  yet  been  found.  The  reason,  almost  certainly,  is  that
there  are  a  great  many  such  genes,  each  of  which  has  too  small  an
effect  to  be  detectable  with  present  methods.8  If  researchers  should
one  day  find  a  gene  that  enhances  intelligence  in  East  Asians,  say,
they can  hardly argue on that  basis that East Asians are more  intelli­
gent than other races, because hundreds of similar genes remain to be
discovered  in  Europeans  and  Africans.
Even  if  all  the  intelligence-enhancing  variants  in  each  race  had
been identified, no one would try to compute intelligence on the basis
of genetic  information:  it would  be  far easier  just to  apply  an  intelli­
gence test.  But IQ  tests already  exist, for what  they may  be  worth.


We have found a number of SNPs already. And we have already begun counting them in racial groups. See e.g.:



It s social behavior that is of relevance for understanding pivotal—
and otherwise imperfectly explained— events in history and econom­
ics.  Although  the  emotional  and  intellectual  differences  between  the
world’s peoples  as  individuals are slight enough,  even a  small  shift in
social  behavior  can  generate  a  very  different  kind  of society.  Tribal
societies, for instance, are organized on the basis of kinship and differ
from  modern  states  chiefly  in  that  people’s  radius  of trust  does  not
extend too far beyond the family and tribe.  But in this small variation
is  rooted  the  vast  difference  in  political  and  economic  structures
between tribal and modern societies. Variations in another genetically
based behavior, the readiness to punish those who violate social rules,
may explain why  some societies  are  more conformist than others.





The  lure  of  Galton’s  eugenics  was  his  belief  that  society  would
be  better  off  if  the  intellectually  eminent  could  be  encouraged  to
have  more  children.  W hat  scholar  could  disagree  with  that?  More
of  a  good  thing  must  surely  be  better.  In  fact  it  is  far  from  certain
that  this  would  be  a  desirable  outcome.  Intellectuals  as  a  class  are
notoriously  prone  to  fine-sounding  theoretical  schemes  that  lead
to  catastrophe,  such  as  Social  Darwinism,  Marxism  or  indeed
By  analogy  with  animal  breeding,  people  could  no  doubt  be
bred,  if it were ethically acceptable, so  as to  enhance  specific desired
traits.  But  it  is  impossible  to  know  what  traits would  benefit  society
as a whole. The eugenics program, however reasonable it might seem,
was  basically incoherent.


Obviously wrong.



The  principal  organizer  of  the  new  eugenics  movement  was
Charles  Davenport.  He  earned  a  doctorate  in  biology  from  Harvard
and  taught  zoology  at  Harvard,  the  University  of  Chicago,  and  the
Brooklyn  Institute  of  Arts  and  Sciences  Biological  Laboratory  at
Cold  Spring  Harbor  on  Long  Island.  Davenport’s  views  on  eugenics
were  motivated  by  disdain  for  races  other  than  his  own:  “Can  we
build a  wall high  enough around this country so as to keep  out these
cheaper  races,  or will  it  be  a  feeble  dam  .  .  .  leaving it to  our  descen­
dants to abandon  the country to the  blacks,  browns  and  yellows and
seek  an  asylum in New  Zealand?”  he wrote.9


Well, about that… In this century europeans will be <50% in the US. I wonder if the sociologists will then stop talking about minority, as if that somehow makes a difference.



One  of  the  most  dramatic  experiments  on  the  genetic  control  of
aggression was performed by the Soviet scientist Dmitriy Belyaev. From
the same population of Siberian gray rats he developed two strains, one
highly sociable  and  the  other  brimming with  aggression.  For  the tame
rats, the parents of each generation were chosen simply by the criterion
of how well they tolerated  human presence.  For the  ferocious  rats, the
criterion  was  how adversely they reacted  to people.  After many gener­
ations of breeding,  the  first strain was  now so tame that when visitors
entered  the  room  where  the  rats  were  caged,  the  animals  would  press
their  snouts  through  the  bars to  be  petted.  The  other  strain  could  not
have  been  more  different.  The  rats  would  hurl  themselves  screaming
toward  the  intruder,  thudding  ferociously  against  the  bars  of  their


Didnt know this one. The ref is:

N icholas  Wade,  “N ice  R a ts,  N asty  R a ts:  Maybe  I t ’s  All  in  the  G en es,”
N ew  York  Tim es, Ju ly  2 5 ,  2 0 0 6 ,
25 ra ts.h tm l?p a g ew a n ted = a ll& _ r=0  (accessed  Sept.  2 5 ,  2 0 1 3 )



Rodents and humans use many of the same genes and  brain regions
to control  aggression.  Experiments with  mice  have  shown that a  large
number of genes are involved in the trait, and the same is certainly true
of  people.  Comparisons  of  identical  twins  raised  together  and  sepa­
rately  show  that  aggression  is  heritable.  Genes  account  for  between
3 7%  and 72%  of the heritability, the variation  of the trait in a  popula­
tion, according to various studies.  But very few of the genes that under­
lie  aggression  have  yet  been  identified,  in  part  because  when  many
genes control  a  behavior,  each  has  so  small  an  effect  that  it  is  hard  to
detect.  Most  research  has  focused  on  genes  that  promote  aggression
rather than those at the other end of the  behavioral  spectrum.


This sentence is nonsensical.



Standing  in  sharp  contrast  to  the  economists’  working  assumption
that  people  the  world  over  are  interchangeable  units  is  the  idea  that
national  disparities  in  wealth  arise  from  differences  in  intelligence.
The possibility should  not be  dismissed  out of hand:  where  individu­
als are concerned,  IQ  scores do correlate,  on average,  with economic
success, so  it is not unreasonable to inquire if the same  might  be true
of countries.


Marked sentence is nonsensical.



Turning to economic indicators, they find that national  IQ scores
have an extremely high correlation  (83%)  with economic growth  per
capita  and  also  associate  strongly  with  the  rate  of economic  growth
between  1950  and  1 9 9 0  (64%  correlation).44


More conceptual confusion.



And  indeed  with  Lynn  and  Vanhanen’s correlations,  it  is  hard to
know  which  way  the  arrow  of  causality  may  be  pointing,  whether
higher  IQ  makes  a  nation  wealthier  or  whether  a  wealthier  nation
enables  its  citizens  to  do  better  on  IQ  tests.  The  writer  Roy  Unz  has
pointed out from  Lynn and Vanhanen’s own data examples  in  which
IQ  scores  increase  10  or more points  in  a generation  when  a  popula­
tion  becomes  richer,  showing  clearly  that  wealth  can  raise  IQ
scores  significantly.  East  German  children  averaged  90  in  1 9 6 7  but
99  in  1984.  In  West  Germany,  which  has  essentially the  same  popu­
lation,  averages  range  from  99  to  107.  This  17  point  range  in  the
German  population,  from  90  to  107,  was  evidently  caused  by  the
alleviation  of poverty,  not genetics.


Ron Unz, the cherry picker.



East  Asia  is  a  vast counterexample to the  Lynn/Vanhanen  thesis.
The  populations  of China, Japan  and Korea  have consistently  higher
IQs  than  those  of Europe  and  the  United  States,  but  their  societies,
despite  their  many  virtues,  are  not  obviously  more  successful  than
those of Europe and  its outposts. Intelligence can’t hurt, but it doesn’t
seem  a  clear  arbiter  of  a  population’s  economic  success.  W hat  is  it
then  that determines  the  wealth  or poverty of nations?


No. But it does disprove the claim that IQs are just GDPs. The oil states have low IQs and had that both before and after they got rich on oil, and will have in the future when they run out of oil again. Money cannot buy u intelligence (yet).



From  about  9 0 0  a d   to  1700  a d ,  Ashkenazim  were  concentrated
in  a  few  professions,  notably  moneylending  and  later  ta x  farming
(give  the prince  his  money  up  front,  then  extract the  taxes  due  from
his  subjects).  Because  of  the  strong  heritability  of  intelligence,  the
Utah team calculates that 20 generations, a mere 5 0 0 years, would be
sufficient for Ashkenazim to have developed an  extra  16 points of IQ
above that of Europeans. The Utah team assumes that the heritability
of  intelligence  is  0 .8 ,  meaning  that  8 0 %  of the  variance,  the  spread
between high and low values in a population, is due to genetics. If the
parents of each generation have an  IQ of just  1  point above the mean,
then  average  IQ  increases  by  0 .8 %  per  generation.  If  the  average
human  generation  time  in  the  Middle Ages was  2 5  years,  then  in  20
human  generations,  or  5 0 0  years,  Ashkenazi  IQ  would  increase  by
2 0  x  0.8  =  16  IQ  points.


More conceptual confusion. One cannot use % on IQs becus IQs are not ratio scale and hence division makes no sense.

New paper out: Educational attainment, income, use of social benefits, crime rate and the general socioeconomic factor among 71 immigrant groups in Denmark

Educational attainment, income, use of social benefits, crime rate and the general socioeconomic factor among 71 immigrant groups in Denmark

The IQ Controversy, the Media and Public Policy (1988, Snyderman, Rothman)

The I. Q. Controversy The Media and Public Policy Stanley Rothman 323p_0887381510


I read this becus i want to do a follow-up study like this. Both analyzing media output and doing another expert survey.



I had been thinking about using PCA on political questions to see any obvious underlying structure. Basically, I want to do OKC questions style. Gather lots of questions, have lots of ppl answer them. Do PCA, see what results are.

Political perspective was assessed in two ways. First, respondents stated their agreement or disagreement with a series of six political statements. The statements dealing with U.S. economic exploitation, the fairness of the private enterprise system, affirmative action, the desirability of socialism, alienation caused by the structure of society, and the propriety of extramarital sexual relations. Responses to these statements were discovered, in a previous investigation incorporating many more such statements, to load highly on a factor representing overall political perspective.6o Agreement was assessed on a 4- point scale, where I was “Strongly agree” and 4 was “Strongly disagree.” For four of the six statements, the mean response is approximately at indifference. Respondents are somewhat more likely to disagree that “The United States would be better off if it moved toward socialism” and that “The structure of our society causes most people to feel alienated.” The second measure of political perspective asked experts to indicate their global political perspective on a 7-point scale, where I was “Very liberal” and 7 was “Very conservative.” Mean self-assessment on this scale is 3.19 (s.d.: 1.28, r.r.:95.6%), putting this expert population slightly to the left of center.

Factor analysis of responses to the six statements and the global rating reveal that all questions, with the exception of the statement about extramarital affairs, load highly on a single factor (i.e., are highly correlated). The five statements and the global rating were therefore normalized and combined to form a political perspective supervariable. It is this variable that is used as a measure of overall political perspective. Note that the liberal position on the five included statements (e.9., belief in socialism, affirmative action, economic exploitation) can all be characterized as placing a higher value on equality of outcome than on economic efficiency.

This tactic has been used before, even if only on a limited set of political opinions.


While few would argue that intelligence and aptitude test scores do nor affect self-esteem and motivation, the magnitude of this influence is difficult to measure. There have been many reports of significant positive correlations between test scores and self-concept, motivation, or expectancy, but causality remains rhe evidence seems to indicate, however, that the influence of test scores on these affective variables is probably not large. (Causation in the opposite direction may not be very significant either, as the correlation may reflect the influence of a third variable, students’actual level ofability and success in school.) Brim and his associates found that high school students tended to greatly overestimate their own intelligence, as measured by test scores. This was particularly true of students with low scores. Fifty percent of students thought their scores were too low relative to their actual level of ability, while 45 percent thought their scores were accurate. only 7 percent ofthe students reported lowering their self-estimates of intelligence as a result of their test scores, while 24 percent raised their estimates.16

Dunning Kruger, but much earlier.

Reference 16 is: Orville G. Brim, Jr., ‘American Attitudes Towards Intelligence Tests,” American Psychologrsl 20 (1965):125-130; Brim et al. 17. Goslin, p. 133

Review: Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government Is Smarter (Ilya Somin)

This book is a quick read and covers the area decently well. The major drawback is that it doesnt discuss deliberative democracy or liquid democracy. IMO this book is not as good as Caplans recent book on the same topic which i also read. Maybe cuz i read his first.


many people conflate political ignorance with sheer “ stupidity.” 2

But often, ignorance is actually smart. Even highly intelligent voters

can rationally choose to devote little or no effort to acquiring political

knowledge. Indeed, political knowledge levels have stagnated over the

past several decades, despite the fact that IQ scores have risen enormously

during the same period.3


This error with the FLR effect is one that Somin continously makes thruout the book, so I will just address it once here.


The FLR effect is not g-loaded. It is like training effects. Training increases the IQ, but not g. Training does not make u smarter. It is a form of error introduced to the measurement.





However, it turns out that the decision to vote is rational so long as the

voter perceives a significant difference between candidates and cares even

slightly about the welfare of fellow citizens, as well as his or her own.15

A simple calculation suggests why this is true.16

Assume that Uv equals the expected utility of voting, Cv equals

the cost of voting, and D equals the expected difference in welfare per

person if the voter’s preferred candidate defeats her opponent. Let us

further assume that this is a presidential election in a nation with three

hundred million people, that the voter’s ballot has only a one in one

hundred million chance of being decisive, and that the voter values the

welfare of his fellow citizens an average of a thousand times less than

his ow n.17

The figure of one in one hundred million is used for ease of exposition.

Adopting the slightly more accurate figure of one in sixty million— the

average odds of decisiveness in the 2008 presidential election— would

not significantly alter the result.18

Thus, we get the following equation:


The Utility o f Voting

D*(300 million/1000) / (100 million) – Cv = Uv


Ive seen this argument before. It is surely wrong. The difference between the various political options is very small. Especially in the US. A decisive vote will change very, very little in these countries. Might change nothing.


This is one of those, works in theory under perfect conditions but not in real politics-arguments.



M ore realistically, the average citizen probably lacks the time and

expertise to study either the Gelman model or the alternatives. Unless

he or she finds the reading interesting or has an extensive background in

statistics, the costs o f doing the reading and analyzing the models would

be far greater than the expected benefits.2 Thus the rational citizen could

reasonably base his or her decisions on voting and acquiring political

information on a rough intuitive sense that the chance of decisiveness is

extremely low, but still higher than zero. And that is exactly what most

people actually seem to do.


No. If one actually asks a lot of people why they vote, and i did this, they dont give answers like that. Their answers come in two categories basically:


1) The Kantian Voting argument

2) The lost right to complain arguments


The first one goes simply: if everybody thought like that (about not voting), something very bad wud happen (i.e. democracy wud crash, or somesuch).


A moment’s reflection will show that this is not good reasoning. Just swap ”voting” with ”become a firefighter”. In reality this is a matter of game theory. To the rational person, the fewer other ppl who vote, the more reason to vote, cuz his power is higher then. Ofc, if everybody was perfectly rational, they wud never admit to not voting if they wanted to vote. Why? The more people ppl believe that u vote, the less their own vote is worth, and hence it will make them less likely to vote, which increases the worth of ur vote. And so on.


2) I will let Carlin handle this one:


Also, ppl sometimes claim that one has a duty to vote. I think duty ethics is garbage, but some countries do have compulsory laws:



Belief in many other political conspiracy theories is common as well,

including claims that the government is hiding evidence of visitation by

alien civilizations, claims that the AID S virus was deliberately manu­

factured to target African Americans, and assertions that government

agencies planned the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and

other prominent political leaders.84


This reminds me of Gordon’s very interesting paper: Gordon, Robert A. “Everyday life as an intelligence test: Effects of intelligence and intelligence context.” Intelligence 24.1 (1997): 203-320.



He shows clearly that belief in conspirary theories correlates perfectly with group mean IQ.



Rational irrationality also deserves some of the blame. It is prob­

ably no accident that Republicans are disproportionately susceptible to

birtherism, while Democrats are far more likely to endorse 9 /11 conspir­

acy theories. It is no secret that partisan Republicans tend to be hostile

to Obama, while most partisan Democrats felt similarly about Bush.

These predispositions make partisans more willing to believe any claim

that reflects poorly on their political enemies— often without carefully

considering whether the claim is true or even plausible.


Such bias seems irrational if the partisans’ only goal is to get at the

truth, to determine whether the allegations against Bush or Obama are

accurate. But it is perfectly rational if their objective is at least partly to

enjoy the emotional satisfaction of being confirmed in their preexisting

views. After all, the partisan voter who mistakenly embraces birtherism

or 9 /11 conspiracy theories suffers no personal harm as a result, while

deriving at least some psychological benefit.


This kind of rational irrationality does not work. It implies the false thesis of voluntarism, namely that one can choose to believe things without evidence. This is not how beliefs work. One cannot just will oneself into believing something absurd. Rational irrationalism can work in that one can rationally decide that analyzing certain things properly and thoroly is not worth the time and hence relying on shortcuts instead, which are more error prone.





The ability of voters to punish large and obvious policy failures by

incumbents is one of the major advantages of democracy over dictator­

ship. It probably helps explain the remarkable fact that no mass famine

has ever occurred in a modern democracy, no matter how poor.72 By

contrast, famines deliberately engineered by the government have often

occurred in dictatorships.73

Even generally ignorant and irrational voters can recognize a mass

famine when they see one, and are likely to hold political incumbents

responsible for it. Similar factors may explain the fact that democratic

governments rarely if ever engage in mass murder against their own

citizens, while many authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorships do so



Somin has made these claims before. As for the famine one, it checks out. See Wiki:


The sources for 73-74 are:


73. Joseph S talin ’s com m unist governm ent deliberately engineered a fam ine th at

killed millions in the early 1930s U.S.S.R. See R ob ert Conquest, The H a rvest o f S o rro w

(New York: Oxford University Press, 1986). An even larger governm ent-created fam ine

occurred in M aoist China, tak in g an estim ated th irty m illion lives. See Jasper Becker,

H u n g ry G hosts: M a o ’s Secret F am ine (New York: H o lt, 1996).


74. Rudolph Rum m el, P o w er K ills : D em o cra cy as a M eth o d o f N o n v io le n ce (New

Brunswick: Transaction, 1997); Rudolph Rummel, Death by Governm ent(New Brunswick:

T ran sactio n, 1994)-



If the connection between two or more matters of public policy is

not obvious or is ignored by politicians and the media for their own rea­

sons, voters may fail to pick it up. Social Security reform, for instance,

is almost never defined as a racial issue, yet the lower life expectancy

of blacks combined with the fact that they pay Social Security payroll

taxes at the same rate as whites turned Social Security into a major hid­

den redistribution from black workers to white retirees.89 The subtlety

of the connection leads the relevant black issue public to ignore it. Such

problems might often prevent an issue public from ever forming to begin

with. Thanks in part to political ignorance, some potential issue publics

are likely to be numbered among Mancur Olson’s “ forgotten groups who

suffer in silence.” 90


This wud be true if africans and europeans contributed equally. They dont. Europeans earn much more money and thus pay much higher taxes.



In addition to alleviating knowledge problems by transferring decision­

making power to foot voters, reductions in the size and complexity of

government might also reduce information problems with respect to

issues that still remain subject to the ballot box. The debate over voter

ignorance has focused on how much voters know but rarely on the ques­

tion of how much government there is for them to know about. Yet it is

clear that the greater the size and scope of government, the more voters

have to know to control its policies through the ballot. As James Madison

put in Federalist62, “ [i]t w ill be of little avail to the people that the laws

are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that

they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” 94


Indeed. Also great quote.



Unfortunately, the lack of systematic survey evidence of political

knowledge in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries makes it very

difficult to directly compare knowledge levels then to those that prevail

today. Yet we can get some idea through analysis of the sophistication of

political rhetoric directed at voters by politicians. Candidates and politi­

cal office-holders have strong incentives to accurately gauge the level of

sophistication of their audience so as to make more effective campaign



Linguistic researchers at the website used the

Flesch-Kincaid scale to gauge the grade level of the language and phras­

ing used in every presidential inaugural address from 1789 to 20 0 1.11

They found that every inaugural address prior to 1900 reached what

would today be considered a izth-grade level, except for one that scored

at 1 1 .5 .103 By contrast, inaugural addresses over the past fifty years have

been around a 7th- to 9th-grade level.104


Political scientist Elvin Lim documents a similar pattern in the evo­

lution of presidential speeches over the past sixty years, concluding that

they have become increasingly simplistic.10’’ The same pattern emerges

from linguist Paul J J Payack’s content analysis of political debates. In

the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858, D ouglas’s speeches rated an 1 1 .9

grade level, and Lincoln’s an 1 1 . z.106 Recent presidential debates tended

to fall somewhere between the 6th- and 9th grade-levels.107 The differ­

ence is all the more striking in light of the much higher education levels

of modern voters compared to those of the nineteenth century.


Obviously, linguistic sophistication is not the same thing as substan­

tive sophistication. It is theoretically possible that modern politicians are

simply making complex arguments using simple words. Nonetheless, lin­

guistic complexity and substantive complexity do tend to be correlated.

To the extent that is true, it would seem that politicians are directing

much less sophisticated arguments at voters than did their predecessors

o f a century ago.


Very interesting!


The source is this one:


The obvious hypothesis seems to be true: mass media made presidents lower the level, so as to target more ppl. Starting with radio and become worse with TV. At least, it cant get worse now, but we are also at rock bottom.



Empirical studies almost uniformly show that education and political

knowledge are highly correlated, even when controlling for other variables.7

Not surprisingly, those people with the highest education levels also tend

to have greater political knowledge. Unfortunately, however, there is a

major fly in the education-increases-knowledge ointment: massive rises in

education over the past fifty years have not led to significant increases in

political knowledge.8 From 1972 to 1994, average educational attainment

for Americans over the age of thirty grew from eleven years of schooling to

thirteen, while measured political knowledge remained roughly constant.9

On an education-adjusted basis, political knowledge may actually have

declined, with 1990s college graduates having knowledge levels comparable

to those of high school graduates in the 1940s.10 It is also noteworthy that

rising education levels have failed to increase political knowledge despite

the fact that measured intelligence has been rising, with IQ scores increas­

ing substantially over the past century.11


The stagnation of political knowledge levels in the face of greatly

augmented educational attainment suggests that further raising of edu­

cation levels cannot be counted on to increase political knowledge in the



The decline is surely due to opening up of education. High school in 1940 was more g selective than college is today in the US.


HS or more was about 24% in 1940, and college is about 32% now. Add to that all the lower g immigrants, it means that the college level is quite low now compared to HS in 1940.

Back then ”high school” actually meant just that.



An alternative but not mutually exclusive explanation is that edu­

cation correlates with political knowledge in large part because it is a

proxy for intelligence. When IQ is controlled for, the correlation between

education and economic knowledge is sharply reduced, and intelligence

turns out to have the greater effect of the tw o .11 Political knowledge may

function similarly. Yet rising IQ scores over the last several decades have

also seemingly failed to increase political knowledge.


I was going to cite this study, but he did it himself. :)

its this one, by Caplan, his libertarian brother in arms.


Caplan, Bryan, and Stephen C. Miller. “Intelligence makes people think like economists: Evidence from the General Social Survey.” Intelligence 38.6 (2010): 636-647.



Nonetheless, future technological breakthroughs might still signifi­

cantly increase political learning through the media. This is particularly

likely if future technologies make it possible for people to assimilate

new information with less time and effort than is possible at present.

Rationally ignorant voters may continue to limit the resources they are

willing to devote to learning about politics. But more advanced informa­

tion technology might make it possible for them to learn more without

devoting any more effort to the task than at present.74


Genetic engineering, gogogo! :)



Eugenics and the Welfare State: Sterilization Policy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland (1996)

Interesting small book that casts light on the use of sterilizations in nordic countries. It shows quite clearly that eugenics has it origin in collectivist and socialist thinking and was supported by most parties in the 20-40s. Clearly not just something the nazis did (and did wrong).


In Sweden, however, th e au th o rities advocated p ersu asio n , n o t force. The

Swedish sterilization p rogram contained several procedures by which involun­

tary sterilization was carried out. The legally incompetent, to begin with, could

be subjected to sterilization without their consent according to the 1934 and

1941 laws. How was this category defined? According to instructions circulated

by the Board of Health in 1947, a person should be able to understand “the

meaning and the consequences” of the operation to be declared legally compe­

tent. But: “Such an understanding is n o t at hand only because he knows that he

cannot have a child after a sterilization; it must furtherm ore be required that

he to some extent comprehends the importance o f sterilization for himself and

for society.” As to the mentally retarded, legal incompetence was said to prevail

if he or she could be com pared intellectually with a person twelve years old or



Mental age of 12 seems to accord nicely with modern deviation based definitions. 12/16=.75 or 12/18=.67. Normalt siger man at <70 IQ er retarderet. Det samme gælder i Danmark, jf.



Mjoen condemned this lenient attitude toward alcohol as an irresponsible

handling o f scientific results by a “spectacle-wise” academic. M ohr was guilty

o f neglecting the risk involved by the uncertainty o f the results, argued Mjoen.

He admitted that no effects on the hereditary material had been proven. But

the lack o f scientific p ro o f in no way justified the lack o f action. “We have every

reason to believe that alcohol is a much more serious enemy for the family, the

people and the race than one has so far considered it to be!”42


The arg u m en t o f u nacceptable risk was often used by M joen to justify

eugenic measures. The risk incurred by not acting was so serious that it was

morally irresponsible n o t to take immediate action even on the basis o f quite

u n certain knowledge. He also justified steps against race crossing w ith the

same kind o f argument. He admitted uncertainty about the detrimental effects

and agreed that more knowledge must be sought, but in such a situation it was

safest to say, “ Until we have acquired sufficient knowledge be careful/”43


apparently another example of the irrational precautionary principle: