A bastion of hereditarianism

The journal of Personality and Individual Differences remains a bastion of hereditarianism, which is perhaps not surprising given that Tony Vernon, who has co-authored a number of papers with Phillip Rushton, and Sybil Eysenck, widow of Hans Eysenck, are the Editors-in-Chief. Here are a few articles in press:

Allik, 2011. National differences in personality

Besides establishing national IQ levels, Richard Lynn also started and inspired studies attempting to find out regularities behind the national differences in personality. Recent large-scale collaborative projects involving hundreds of psychologists from about 50 countries allowed for determination of the aggregate national scores of personality for the most popular personality models, including the Big Five. These studies have already revealed several universal and geographically regular patterns in the global personality trait distributions. The area of the study of national differences in personality has arguably matured to a level where it can start to help solving fundamental problems such as the relationship between genes, culture, and personality.

Rindermann, 2011. Intellectual classes, technological progress and economic development: The rise of cognitive capitalism

Cognitive ability theory claims that peoples’ competences are decisive for economic wealth. For a large number of countries Lynn and Vanhanen (2002) have published data on mean intelligence levels and compared them to wealth and productivity indicators. The correlation between intelligence and wealth was supported by studies done by different authors using different countries and controls. Based on their pioneering research two research questions were developed: does intelligence lead to wealth or does wealth lead to intelligence or are other determinants involved? If a nation’s intelligence increases wealth, how does intelligence achieve this? To answer them we need longitudinal studies and theoretical attempts, investigating cognitive ability effects at the levels of individuals, institutions and societies and examining factors which lie between intelligence and growth. Two studies, using a cross-lagged panel design or latent variables and measuring economic liberty, shares of intellectual classes and indicators of scientific-technological accomplishment, show that cognitive ability leads to higher wealth and that for this process the achievement of high ability groups is important, stimulating growth through scientific-technological progress and by influencing the quality of economic institutions. In modernity, wealth depends on cognitive resources enabling the evolution of cognitive capitalism

Templer, 2011. Richard Lynn and the evolution of conscientiousness

The scientific style of Lynn is described and includes his tenacity combined with his creativity, his research intuition, and his ability to politely correct the scientifically incorrect. His empirical and theoretical contributions to conscientiousness as a function of intelligence, race, and psychopathic personality in an evolutionary context are described and discussed. This is related to his work on pigmentocracy and to recent research showing more aggression in dark animals and humans. Suggestions for measurement of psychopathic personalities are offered.

Meisenberg, 2011. National IQ and economic outcomes

One of the most consequential parts of Richard Lynn’s work is the establishment of a comprehensive data set of ‘‘national IQ’’ for nearly all countries in the world. The present contribution demonstrates the use of this database for the explanation of two economic outcomes: (1) economic growth and level of attained wealth at the country level; and (2) income distribution in countries as measured by the Gini index. The results show that high IQ is associated not only with high per-capita GDP and fast economic growth, but also with more equal income distribution. These outcomes are not mediated by educational exposure.

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5 Responses to A bastion of hereditarianism

  1. Drederick Tatum says:

    It continues to baffle me that Lynn has apparently never heard of Greg Cochran. He and his buddies keep attributing high Ashkenazi intelligence and conscientiousness to “the brightest surviving years of persecution”. It seems to me that the smartest way for a medieval Jew to avoid persecution would have been to convert to Christianity. And how exactly are the super-smart Jews supposed to dodge a pogrom in the first place? They see it coming weeks in advance and move on? Traditionally ethnic massacres haven’t been very well planned; they just sort of quickly erupt in response to crazy rumors.

    • Chuck says:

      A number of people offer theories for a Jewish genetic advantage (see: Glad, “Jewish Eugenics”; Entine, “Abraham’s Children Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People.”) I’m not sure what Lynn’s is. (Could you provide a link?) As it is, I don’t see anything implausible about the theories that I have come across, which basically come down to “high IQ Jews had more offspring; there was intense selection for high IQ among Jews.” What did you think of Steve Pinker’s discussion of Cochran et al’s paper?

  2. Kiwiguy says:

    That paper Templer refers to by Ducrest, Keller, and Roulin (2010) on darker animals sounds interesting. That said, I recall Razib made a comment on the old gnxp site a year or so ago on the Templer/Rushton paper on skin color, aggression & iq, pointing out some problems with it.

  3. Meng Hu says:

    Charles Murray on Jews’ IQ.

    In The Evolution of Man and Society (1969), the geneticist Cyril Darlington presented the thesis that Jews and Judaism were decisively shaped much earlier than the 1st century C.E., namely, by the Babylonian captivity that began with the fall of Jerusalem to the forces of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.E.

    Darlington’s analysis touches on many issues, but I will focus on just the intelligence question. The biblical account clearly states that only a select group of Jews were taken to Babylon. We read that Nebuchadnezzar “carried into exile all Jerusalem: all the officers and fighting men, and all the craftsmen and artisans. . . . Only the poorest people of the land were left” (2 Kings 24:10).

    In effect, the Babylonians took away the Jewish elites, selected in part for high intelligence, and left behind the poor and unskilled, selected in part for low intelligence. By the time the exiles returned, more than a century later, many of those remaining behind in Judah had been absorbed into other religions. Following Ezra’s command to “separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives” (Ezra 10:9), only those who renounced their foreign wives and children were permitted to stay within the group. The returned exiles, who formed the bulk of the reconstituted Jewish community, comprised mainly the descendants of the Jewish elites — plausibly a far more able population, on average, than the pre-captivity population.

    I offer the Babylonian captivity as a concrete mechanism whereby Jewish intelligence may have been elevated very early, but I am not wedded to it. Even without that mechanism, there is reason to think that selection for intelligence antedates the 1st century C.E.

    From its very outset, apparently going back to the time of Moses, Judaism was intertwined with intellectual complexity. Jews were commanded by God to heed the law, which meant they had to learn the law. The law was so extensive and complicated that this process of learning and reviewing was never complete. Moreover, Jewish males were not free to pretend that they had learned the law, for fathers were commanded to teach the law to their children. It became obvious to all when fathers failed in their duty. No other religion made so many intellectual demands upon the whole body of its believers. Long before Joshua ben Gamla and the destruction of the Second Temple, the requirements for being a good Jew had provided incentives for the less intelligent to fall away.

    […] Similarly, I suppose it is possible that the Jews’ high verbal skills were fostered, through secondary and tertiary effects, by the requirement that they be able to read and understand complicated texts after the 1st century C.E.; but I find it much more plausible that only people who already possessed high verbal skills would dream of installing such a demanding requirement.

  4. Unamused says:

    Thanks for the links. I have a new appreciation for Richard Lynn and his work.

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