As lesson on Causal Models

Gottfredson, L. S. (in press). Intelligence and social inequality: Why the biological link?

(Inheriting a low biological disposition for intelligence disposes individuals to problematic social behaviors and low achievement, which results in low SES)

Nettle, D. (2010). Dying young and living fast: Variation in life history across English neighbourhoods. Behavioral Ecology

(Having a low SES, prevents individuals from high achievement, which leads to problematic social behavior, given human biological dispositions.)

Both agree on the connection between Intelligence, SES, and social behavior. Both work from an evolutionary framework. The latter, in this case, works from the universalist model of evolutionary psychology, while the former works from the selection model of evolutionary psychology. They, of course, look at things from a different direction.

This is just like the debate between the Functional tools theory and Social Privilege Theory of Inequality. To quote Gottfredson:

Social privilege theory postulates that: (a) differences in shared family resources (top box in left-most column of Figure 1) create differences in all personal traits and circumstances (second column), including g; (b) these two sets of privileges—pre-existing family and newly generated personal ones—provide the social credentials necessary for surmounting the many class barriers to advancement that gatekeepers erect for directing only the higher classes to higher rungs on the social ladder (outcomes in upper right); (c) differences in task performance (lower right) matter primarily to the extent that gatekeepers use them to reinforce or legitimate social privilege, not because good performance has any inherent value; and (d) g therefore matters to the extent that it transmits socioeconomic advantages from one generation to the next.

Functional theory emphasizes a different flow of influence across Figure 1: (a) shared environmental influences have no lasting impact on g, so child’s g transmits only the genetic advantages of parents into adulthood; (b) differences in g generate differences in performance on tasks having practical utility (lower right of Figure 1); (c) their functional utility encourages gatekeepers to sort and advance individuals somewhat on the basis of g-correlated traits and credentials; which (d) discourages their sole reliance on mere whim or social prejudice. In short, privilege theory minimizes the importance of genes and task performance, but functional theory emphasizes them — Gottfredson, Intelligence and social inequality: Why the biological link?

Nettle just adds a biological twist to the Social Privileged Theory.

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