Thai national IQ 98?

This post originally discussed a large 2011 study by the Thai Department of Mental Health which suggested that the Thai national IQ was 98. National IQ expert, Jason Malloy, has since thoroughly investigated the issue. Readers are referred to his exhaustive, dissertation length Human Varieties post: HVGIQ: Thailand. Jason determined that the best estimated Thailand IQ was 93.9 and that the median Thailand AQ, based on international tests, was 90.5. But there were a number of caveats — so read the HVGIQ post! Taking into account Richard Lynn’s quality weighting method, as discussed in Intelligence: A Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences, based on these numbers the Final National IQ, which combines IQ and AQ test results, would come out to 92.6. ((93.9 (IQ) x 25 (maximum sample quality for IQ tests) + 90.5 (AQ) x 16 (maximum sample quality for achievement tests*))/(16+25) = 92.6.) For reference, Lynn and Vanhanen (2012) assigned Thailand a Final National IQ of 88.9.

*Lynn and Vanhanen (2012) capped the AQ quality at 16. They assigned two points for each post-2000 PISA and TIMSS study that the given nation participated in. Thailand had participated in all 8 post-2000 studies and was thus given an AQ quality of 16. Since the time of their writing, Thailand participated in TIMSS (2011) and PISA (2012). As more data is now available, the maximum AQ quality should arguably be raised to 20. Raising it from 16 to 20, thus increasing the weight of the Thai AQ scores, would decrease the Thailand Final IQ to 92.4.

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31 Responses to Thai national IQ 98?

  1. Nyk says:

    This wouldn’t be such a big deal as you make it out to be (assuming no confirmation bias from the Thai researcher), Thailand is known for being quite developed compared to its neighbors. The expressways and skyscrapers of Bangkok (as opposed to the ruins of Detroit) are most definitely not a product of an average IQ only 5 points higher than that of American Blacks.

    Unfortunately, the study is worthless because its subjects are mainly children and not adults. In fact, it has been shown Black children in good environments do tend to approach the White children’s IQ (perhaps even surpass it). Only as adults do Blacks revert to their IQ racial mean.

    • Chuck says:

      I had the opportunity to visit Thailand a number of times when I was working in Asia. My experience was that Thais were little different from Malaysians, Cambodians, Laotians and so on in terms of cognitive ability. And that they all were a little duller than Han (even the Han in those counties.) As for development, Thailand isn’t more developed than Malaysia; compare Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur. Whatever the case, this is another significant anomaly, since Thailand is less developed than the average European country. And since the scores are inconsistent with social development indexes: See: http://www.iratde.org/issues/1-2009/tde_issue_1-2009_03_rindermann_et_al.pdf That is, by these estimates, Thais significantly depart from the global regression line for National IQ and social development.

      As for the Child/adult IQ, presumably the Child IQ indexes the adult IQ since the adults are creating the Children’s environment. Or are most Thai adults not Thai adults ? And the median age of the children here is 10. At this age the B-W US gap is around 0.5 SD. So if we assume that the gap can double due to the not quite doubling of heritability between age 10 and adulthood, we might assume the at gap is a whopping 3 points!! Compare that to Rindermann’s paper.

      Just face it. Global race realism is biting it.

      • Sagat says:

        Chuck,

        As much as I would love to say that the previous studies were simply limited in their sample size and incorrectly put the Thai IQ at around 90, those earlier studies were about right.The Thai IQ is not 98. It’s still around 90. That estimate of 98 is based on a comparison to the world average, not the UK average.

        Here’s an english language article that gives more details of the study:

        http://sports.tmcnet.com/news/2011/07/08/5623876.htm

        It’s worth noting the disparities in IQ across different regions. As expected, the urban areas have a higher average IQ while rural areas have a lower IQ, but the differences in IQ also break along ethnic lines. The lowest average IQ is in the southern province of Narathiwat, which is inhabited by Malays. The whole northeastern Isaan region, the Lao lands, also score low. The province of Nonthaburi, which is directly north of Bangkok and Thailand’s most industrialized area, has an average IQ close to 99 when compared to the UK mean.

        There may be some small rise in Thailand’s IQ in the future because of the Flynn effect, but it’s hard to say how much more improvement can be expected. Then again, South Korea did experience a rise of 15 points in their average IQ in just two decades, not that I expect Thais to match the Koreans though.

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886911001437

      • Chuck says:

        “As much as I would love to say that the previous studies were simply limited in their sample size and incorrectly put the Thai IQ at around 90, those earlier studies were about right.The Thai IQ is not 98. It’s still around 90. That estimate of 98 is based on a comparison to the world average, not the UK average”

        Sagat,

        Thanks for dropping by and commenting on this. Would you mind checking the relevant papers and verifying if what you said was correct?

        http://forum.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/jmht/article/view/1667
        http://antispam.kmutt.ac.th/index.php/jmht/article/view/1665

        The authors did mention that they were comparing the Thai national IQ to the world IQ, but I assumed that they assumed that the world IQ was the same as the UK IQ. I was unable to find a Thai script translator, so I wasn’t able to check how the authors calculated the IQs, but this seemed like a reasonable assumption given the phrasing in the abstract. I was going to write you about this but I saw that your blog was inactive and so figured that you were no longer interested in the topic. (I have a few Thai friends, from my travels, but I felt that it would be rather rude to ask.)

        “As expected, the urban areas have a higher average IQ while rural areas have a lower IQ, but the differences in IQ also break along ethnic lines….The whole northeastern Isaan region, the Lao lands, also score low.”

        This agrees with my experience — though I always attributed the regional differences to differences in malaria prevalence. Do you know of a script translator? I really would like to read the papers.

        • X says:

          Chuck were you able to find out what the norms were based on? Wouldn’t a test like this which is meant to compare the Thai IQ with elsewhere be measured against the norms of a particular country such as the UK or the US? That’s my understanding anyway.

          • Chuck says:

            I’m unable to translate the paper — copy and paste to google translate — because I’m unable to install windows complex scripts, which is needed to copy the scripts, because I don’t have a windows CD and there is no downloadable version of the needed file.

            If you have the windows CD and time, would you mind installing the needed scripts, copying the relevant sections of the paper to google scholar, hitting the translate button, and sending me the results? If you do that, I can better evaluate the results.

      • Chuck says:

        “I was unable to find a Thai script translator”

        Silly me. The problem was that I was unable to copy and paste Thai script to a translator because I didn’t have complex script installed.

        • Amibiguous says:

          I’m trying to translate it now, I don’t have a Windows disc either. I just get Unicode when I try to paste it into a browser.

          • Chuck says:

            same same

            (as they frequently say in Thailand)

          • Amibiguous says:

            I tried with my Vista laptop, same result even thought it had Thai script installed. When I copy Thai from my browser to Word or vice versa it works fine, but when it’s from that pdf, it doesn’t work. I think it’s something to with the font in the pdf itself. There has to be someone who can help us…

          • Amibiguous says:

            Ok after a look at this paper http://www.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/jmht/article/view/1664/1379 which shows a table giving the results of various IQ studies for Thailand over the last few decades I’ve concluded that the norms are the UK norms. You can see among them a study on 3846 people with a result of 92, that’s the same study referred to here:

            http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2005/08/thailand-gets-serious-about-iq.php

            “a National Health Examination Survey team released a report just before Children’s Day last month that the average IQ of Thai school children, based on tests in 1997 on 3,846 schoolchildren between six and 12 years old was a poor 91.96 . . .

            Although Thailand’s IQ average falls well within the 80-95 range for Southeast Asia, it still falls short of the average 100, achieved by developed nations and East Asian countries such as Japan and Korea”

            That’s from a Thai newspaper report.

            So when the National Intelligence quotient survey of
            Thai students in 2011 talks about an IQ of 98.6 it’s talking about UK norms. Lol you can see Lynn referenced quite a few times in each study.

          • Sagat says:

            Chuck,

            I’m revisiting this topic because I keep seeing individuals making the claim that the average Thai IQ is 98 now and your blog is the first result to come back when I google “Thai IQ.”

            If the Thai IQ had seen a dramatic rise from 91 to 98, the Thai govt. would be touting this fact and it would’ve been the headline in every Thai news source, What we saw instead was concern over Thailand’s low average IQ. The most recent study that you cited in this post actually showed a slight decrease in average IQ, not a rise.

            Here are two Thai articles that address this recent study and the decline in Thai IQ:

            http://www.thairath.co.th/content/edu/298076

            http://tinyurl.com/bmyhknh

            You should be able to glean the info once you put these articles through google translate.

            As someone of Thai background, part of me just wanted to let others keep believing that Thais actually had risen in IQ, but I can’t in good conscious let others believe something that is false.

  2. podard says:

    So Lynn and Rindermann are suckers, but somehow the anonymous HBD blogger divines the truth. Sorry, but that’s a tough sell.

    • Chuck says:

      Thanks for the complement.

      N= > 72,000
      Report conducted by the Thai Ministry of Health

      But let’s trust Lynn

      • podard says:

        ‘compliment’…
        Anyway, how does Thailand having an average IQ of 98 debunk race realism? Thailand isn’t generally considered a low-IQ nation; not as high as Taiwan or Japan. but certainly way higher than Ethiopia or Suriname. So I don’t really see this study as all that suprising/counter-intuitive.
        that could be

        • Chuck says:

          No, I meant “complement.” As in: your statement added to my point about race realism sucking. But if it was meant as a compliment thanks for that too.

      • Chuck says:

        Podard,

        I didn’t say that global race realism was debunked, I just pointed to another hole in the Global Bell Curve hypothesis. Thailand now falls off the regression line for National IQ and developmental indexes. If a few dozen Thailands appear in the next couple of years, “National IQs” are going to be meaningless.

        Generally, I consider this to be an important test of Lynn’s national IQs as the Thai government explicitly tested Lynn and Rindermann’s estimates and found them to be substantially off.

  3. rjp says:

    Could you imagine the uproar that would be unleashed by a National Intelligence quotient survey of United Stated students in 2012?

    The South African mean of a 63 is a wow …..

  4. JL says:

    Is this compared to a British mean of 100 like Lynn’s estimates or compared to some normative sample for Raven’s matrices? Any idea how they dealt with the Flynn effect?

    • Chuck says:

      I haven’t been able to translate it. The comparision seems to be Raven’s 2004 UK standardization.

      JL, is there any type of analysis that I can do which could decrease our uncertainty concerning the B/W US gap? I was tempted to try replicating Rowe’s SEM study on the NLSY97. But since I won’t be able to publish it and since Rowe’s study has just been dismissed, It seems doing so would be a waste of a considerable amount of time and energy.

      • JL says:

        I can’t think of any that would change anything until we have direct genetic admixture data. Those admixture analyses with biracials and skin color data you did were nice. If there are untapped large datasets with admixture data you could always do more such analyses.

        Did you see this paper? Nothing new really, but they demonstrate that lower g loadings produce both smaller b-w gaps and smaller validity coefficients. Their take on Fagan’s studies is rather similar to mine.

      • Chuck11 says:

        I checked the ECLS-K file and found 66 to 69 mixed race kids based on parental ID. On verbal and quantitative cognitive tests, the mixed kids performed 3 points below Whites and 10 points above Blacks in grade 5 and 8 points below Whites and 5 points above Blacks in grade 3. It was a longitudinal study so the kids in grade 3 were the kids in grade 5. I was having trouble with the data file — it kept crashing my computer — so I was unable to get the more relevant Grade 8 scores, which represented the studies final data point. But the story seems to be what we have seen: intermediate performance, often closer to that of White kids; small sample sizes with large standard errors; data from more achievement loaded tests and based on children and adolescents, making inferences either way suspect. I also took a look at PSID. It’s a potentially great sample since WJ is give and given quasi-longitudinally. But there is no multi-race variable for the offspring (ages ~ 7-17). One would have to go through and determine parental race and spousal race and link this to the child. But the data isn’t set up in a way that makes that an easy task. And per my estimates the number of possible mix race Black and Whites is under 50, so it doesn’t seem to me that it’s worth it. I also looked at the NELS online viewer (http://nces.ed.gov/dasolv2/tables/mainPage.asp#varLine98). The problem here was the the sample size was too small to generate readings with reportable values. If I feel up to it someday I will dig through the data file. This was already done — sort of — by Kao in “racial identity and academic performance an examination of biracial asian and african american youth” but she only reported math tests scores controlling for SES. Anyways so I looks like I have gone through all low hanging fruit when it comes to biracial IQ — I’ll let you know if I come across anything else though.

  5. JL says:

    Also, it would be interesting to know if there’s a difference between primary and secondary school students, and how much of the sample was drawn from each group, because Thailand is another country where a large percentage (apparently almost 50%) of students drop out after primary school.

  6. Chuck says:

    Did you see this paper? Nothing new really, but they demonstrate that lower g loadings produce both smaller b-w gaps and smaller validity coefficients. Their take on Fagan’s studies is rather similar to mine.

    The magnitude of the gap is only 0.837 SD (see table 2). Any thoughts? And, if I’m reading this correctly, spearman’s correlation, in this sample, is a whopping .96. Isn’t it typically around .67?

  7. Chuck says:

    Sagat,

    Would you be interested in writing an article on the Thai national IQ for Human Varieties? See: http://humanvarieties.org/category/hv-global-iq/

    If so, Malloy and I will give you what IQ studies we have found. You can just summarize the results and double check the original sources. If you do this, I will take this page down. Right now, I don’t have time to try to make sense of the Thai IQ results.

    If interested, shoot me an email at j122177@hotmail.com

    • Sagat says:

      Thanks, but I don’t know what more there is to say on the issue. All of the results were as expected and the 2011 study had results in line with previous studies as far as IQ averages per province. The only major difference was that this study was much more extensive and covered all the Thai provinces, which is the reason for slight decline.

      Also, I was schooled in the US, so I only have a rudimentary understanding of Thai script. I won’t be able to translate advanced texts for you.

      • Chuck says:

        “Thanks, but I don’t know what more there is to say on the issue”

        You could do a systematic review of the know studies — as Malloy has done here:
        http://humanvarieties.org/2013/03/01/hvgiq-jamaica/
        Just follow his template. Cut and dry. Otherwise, just wait until Malloy gets to it — in about a year or so, at his rate.

        ” All of the results were as expected and the 2011 study had results in line with previous studies as far as IQ averages per province…”

        Both articles which you linked to seemed to refer to the 2011 paper.

        Basically, you believe that the 2011 study gives a Thai IQ of around 90. Indeed, above you said: “That estimate of 98 is based on a comparison to the world average, not the UK average.” Based on what I could glean from the original paper — which I was unable to translate — I concluded that this was not correct and that the Thai IQ of the 2011 study was ~100. This seems to be the major bone of contention.

        Refer to this comment for a further discussion of this issue: http://occidentalascent.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/thai-national-iq-98-race-realism-sucks-another-big-one/#comment-2382 The table on discussion is 1 & 2 here:
        http://www.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/jmht/article/view/1664/1379 The authors reference L & V and it looks like they used UK norms and applied Flynn corrections.

        • Sagat says:

          I looked into it further and it appears that I was wrong and the average Thai IQ is actually 98.6. I find this hard to accept, because this IQ level does not correlate well with the performance of Thai students on standardized tests and with other developmental indexes. Also, I have found nothing but articles in Thai bemoaning the results of this study rather than celebrating the rise in IQ. It doesn’t make sense to me.

          Since this study was on young children, could it be that Thai IQ is currently on the rise and we haven’t seen the effects of that rise yet?

          I found this Thai site that addresses the discrepancies between the earlier study cited by Lynn and this more recent study. They explain that it was due to a more representative sample size and type of tests used, with the previous study only testing students in Chonburi province.

          http://www.smartteen.net/iqeq/QA.html

          That site also has most of the relevant data from the 2011 IQ study. which you can find by clicking the links in the upper left of the page. You can run everything on that site through google translate.

          Here’s also a word document with the same info for your convenience:

          http://tinyurl.com/cfz7naq

          From that document:
          Thai students across the country had intelligence (IQ) mean of 98.59, which is the level of intelligence in the normal range but slightly lower than the center of international standards in modern countries (IQ = 100).

          So yes, they definitely were using the UK mean for comparison. I’m not sure why they weren’t more explicit about that.

          • Chuck says:

            Thanks for looking into this….Would it be possible for you to make a quick summary post for HV? You could just make a table and give a quick summary of the studies.

          • Chuck says:

            “Since this study was on young children, could it be that Thai IQ is currently on the rise and we haven’t seen the effects of that rise yet?”

            You can check the TIMSS (2011) results. 4th grade native Thais perform well over 1 SD worse than US Native Whites on math and science tests. http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/international/ide/ So the achievement-IQ test discrepancy is real.

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