Intra-National IQ differences

Flynn has a paper in press which makes, once again, the Flynn effect to the rescue case:

Table 5c gives Raven’s trends from the developing world. Kenya and Dominica appear to have embarked on a period of explosive gains. Sudan has made gains on the WAIS: large fluid gains (on the Performance Scale) were accompanied by a small loss for crystallized intelligence (Daley, Whaley, Sigman, Espinosa, & Neumann, 2003; Khaleefa, Sulman, & Lynn, 2009; Meisenberg, Lawless, Lambert, & Newton, 2005). Flynn (2009c) speculates that the developing world in general may soon experience the Scandinavian decline. If that occurs, and if developing nations are entering a long period of peak gains, the 21st century will see the IQ gap between those two worlds close. (Flynn and Rossi-Casé, 2012. IQ gains in Argentina between 1964 and 1998.)

What’s uncanny, from this perspective, is the decade to decade constancy of the international differences in FSIQ. The table below, for example, lists all the studies published to date with respect to North Africa (Al-Shahomee (2012), excepting). Over the last 50 years, there has been little change in the UK/Europe-North African gap. Similar results are found for the UK/Europe-African gap and others. Flynn’s argument is that the secular increase will slow in developed countries and speed up in developing countries, leading to a complete convergence. By this same logic, one might have expected a large divergence between developed and developing countries over the last century. The quality of life/education, etc., gaps, after all, have not remained constant. For example, in the case of Sudan, in the last half of the last century, the WAIS IQs increased at 2.05 points per decade as compared to the 3 points per decade in the US, while, over the same period, Per capita income has increased almost 200% more in the US. Were per capita income behind the secular rise, we would expect a large divergence between US and Sudan scores.

Al-Shahomee, 2012. A standardisation of the Standard Progressive Matrices for adults in Libya

Whatever the case, Flynn’s argument seems plausible. Which is why intra-national IQ differences — or the possible lack thereof – are the important ones when it comes to determining the plausibility of a genetic hypothesis.

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4 Responses to Intra-National IQ differences

  1. Kiwiguy says:

    I think Wicherts has speculated this might happen too.

  2. Steve Sailer says:

    Has he found any other examples less than a half decade old? For instance, that Kenyan village where IQs surged: life got a lot better there in a lot of ways pretty fast. It seems odd that there aren’t more such examples readily at hand.

  3. Kiwiguy says:

    Jones & Schneider seem skeptical based on trends in East Asia & the Middle East.

    If most of the IQ-productivity relationship were reverse causality, then we would expect to see the East Asian economies starting off with low IQ’s in the middle of the 20th century, IQ’s
    that would rapidly rise in later decades, perhaps even converging to European IQ levels.
    In short, one would expect to see Solow-type convergence in national average IQ.
    However, this is not the case. Lynn and Vanhanen’s (2006) country-level IQ data
    shows that average East Asian IQ’s were never estimated below 100 before the 1980’s
    (Figure 4). These IQ scores come from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and an
    East Asian offshoot, Singapore. In all cases, IQ scores are above 100—even in a poor
    country like China. Thus, East Asians both started and ended the period with high IQ

    Another place to look for massive IQ increases would be in a region of the world
    that experienced a dramatic increase in the price of its exports: The oil-rich countries of
    the Middle East. But a glance at that data, likewise, shows little evidence that being
    richer, per se, increases IQ within ten or twenty years:..”

  4. Steve Sailer says:

    I’ve always thought this seemed plausible, but the evidence for it happening on a large scale is strikingly paltry. I graphed Lynn’s data a half decade ago and the only relative trend I could see were East Asians getting a little smarter.

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