More haplogroups and National IQ

Haplogroups statistically explain 50% of the IQ variance among 42 nations. The amount explained is approximately the same as found by Rindermann et al.; the novelty of this paper is that a globally representative sample is used. Lynn and Vanhanen’s new book, Intelligence: A Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences, which contains updated national IQs for 161 nations is due to release July 16th, so an enterprising researcher can soon replicate the results using a more comprehensive data bank. A novel extension of this line of research would be to look at the National K variance explainable.

Generally, these types of studies don’t seem to be able to reduce the genetic-environmental uncertainty concerning the origin of National IQ differences. (Refer below for a summary of the found biological, ecological, and historic cognitive correlates of national IQs.) They merely increase the a priori plausibility of a genetic hypothesis.


This paper first sets an equation for the average intelligence of a country or a human group, which is determined by genetic factors and other variables where education is one of them. Another equation representing a production function of education depends upon intelligence and different elements that improve the quality of education. These two equations solve for the average level of intelligence and the level of education simultaneously. A third equation is a production function, where the GDP of the country is determined by human capital, physical capital and labor. Human capital is approached by the level of education obtained in the first two equations.

The previous system is estimated in a cross section for 42 countries. Intelligence is approached by the IQ level by countries shown by Lynn and Vanhanen (2002); the genetic factors explaining intelligence are takenfrom the haplogroups maps of the Y DNA chromosome of McDonald (2005) (haplogroups being groups of distinct genes). Other factors explaining intelligence are nutrition-approached by the per capita ingestion of calories presented by FAO- and education. The elements that improve the quality of education are supposed to be the per primary pupil expenditure in education and the per capita expenditure on health of the HumanDevelopment Report. Real economic variables are taken from different sources, mainly from the Penn WorldTable.

Results show that in the determination of the IQ genetics matter. However, other factors much less related to genetics are equally important. The per primary pupil expenditure on education may boost both the level of the IQ and the level of education, which also can explain the so called Flynn effect (a situation where theIQ is increasing in time. Flynn (1984)). At the same time, human capital is approximated better for education than for the IQ itself.

Biological, ecological, and historic cognitive correlates of National IQ

Haplogroups (5,7)
Cranial Capacity (4)
Skin Color (various, cited in 3)
Temperature (various, cited in 3, also 1)
Climate (various, cited in 3, also 1)
Parasite load (1)
Technological differences circa 1000 BC, 0 AD, and 1500 AD (2)
Eminent Scientists from 800 BC to 1950 AD (6)

(1) Hassall and Sheratt, 2010. Statistical inference and spatial patterns in correlates of IQ

(2) Lynn, in press. IQs predict differences in the technological development of nations from 1000 BC through 2000 AD

(3) Lynn and Vanhanen, 2012. National IQs: A review of their educational, cognitive, economic, political, demographic, sociological, epidemiological, geographic and climatic correlates

(4) Meisenberg and Woodley, 2012. Global behavioral variation: A test of differential-K. Personality and Individual Differences

(5) Rindermann et al., 2012. Haplogroups as evolutionary markers of cognitive ability

(6) Rindermann and Thompson, 2011. Cognitive Capitalism : The Effect of Cognitive Ability on Wealth, as Mediated Through Scientific Achievement and Economic Freedom

(7) Rodriguez-Arana, 2010. Intelligence and the Wealth of Nations: Genetics matter but there is still much room to reduce in equality

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3 Responses to More haplogroups and National IQ

  1. Steve says:

    Hi Chuck,

    what do you think of this article which argues that the average IQ of sub-saharan Africans is 80 based on all the ravens studies done in Africa?

    They say that Lynn and Vanhanen came up with the famous African IQ of 70 based on an arbitrary subset of all the ravens tests. L&V tended to chose studies which had low scores without explaining their selection criteria or justifying their selection. The article contains a list of all the ravens studies, their samples and their scores.

    If the sub-saharan African IQ is 80, rather than 70, that is the same as the IQ of the United States in 1932, according to Neisser’s estimate. But Africa is less developed than the US in 1932, right?

    That gives me hope for the possibility that black Africans can reach the same IQ as Europeans and Americans with more development. Even if that is not the case, there’s no intelligence reason why sub-sahran Africa cannot develop at least to the level of the US in 1932 or Europe in the 20th century.

    • Chuck says:

      Refer here and here. And to note 5 here.

      I would put the score difference at 25 IQ points. If the difference is measure invariant and g-loaded (i.e., if it represents fully a difference in general intelligence), then it is not comparable with the secular difference. Based on Wai and Putallaz (2011), I would estimate a secular increase in g of 1 point per decade. Which is about what you would expect given the -.3 correlation between the secular rise and g. (Refer to note 5 in the link above.) So if Black Africans had a mean g score of 75 or 80, then, in the metrics of the secular rise, they would have to be 200 to 250 years behind the West in Human development indexes to fully environmentally explain the difference. Is that plausible? I think not. This makes for a better argument against an environmental hypothesis than for. But this is only if the difference is a g difference. If it’s a mere score difference, then I would agree with you. Unfortunately the issue has not been settled. Though, in South Africa, a country which allows for a comparison between Whites and Blacks living in a similar environment and for which tests of MI have been conducted, it probably is. Generally, assumptions/inferences about MI are crucial here. As for a defense of g differences, refer to the excellent discussion in the first column on page 5 in Rindermann et al.’s Haplogroups as evolutionary markers of cognitive ability. I would agree with the authors that the data allows for a strong inference (i.e., bold, not uncontestable inference) that the difference is in stratum 3. Those who invoke the secular rise as an explanation are implicitly or explicitly arguing that the differences are not really general factor differences.

      • Chuck says:

        I should note that one can make a strong Flynn argument for genetic differences between Blacks and Whites in the US. That BW difference is a g difference. In fact, the difference in g is actually underestimated by IQ scores. This implies, given my estimated secular rise in g, that Blacks in the US must be 15 decades environmentally behind Whites for the difference to be fully environmental. Which is not even remotely possible. Would it make a difference, though, if the secular rise in g was 3 points per decade (which it was not)? Is it even plausible that Blacks are 5 decades environmentally behind Whites? That their environmental condition is equivalent to that of Whites in the 1960s. Probably not. It’s funny how no ones looks at the flip side of these arguments. See, for example, my reverse Lewontin argument:

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