September 14, 2007

David Brooks: "The Waning of IQ"


September 14, 2007

Op-Ed Columnist

The Waning of I.Q.


A nice phenomenon of the past few years is the diminishing influence of I.Q.

For a time, I.Q. was the most reliable method we had to capture mental aptitude. People had the impression that we are born with these information-processing engines in our heads and that smart people have more horsepower than dumb people.

And in fact, there’s something to that. There is such a thing as general intelligence; people who are good at one mental skill tend to be good at others. This intelligence is partly hereditary. A meta-analysis by Bernie Devlin of the University of Pittsburgh found that genes account for about 48 percent of the differences in I.Q. scores. There’s even evidence that people with bigger brains tend to have higher intelligence.

But there has always been something opaque about I.Q. In the first place, there’s no consensus about what intelligence is. Some people think intelligence is the ability to adapt to an environment, others that capacity to think abstractly, and so on.

Then there are weird patterns. For example, over the past century, average I.Q. scores have risen at a rate of about 3 to 6 points per decade. This phenomenon, known as the Flynn effect, has been measured in many countries and across all age groups. Nobody seems to understand why this happens or why it seems to be petering out in some places, like Scandinavia.

I.Q. can also be powerfully affected by environment. As Eric Turkheimer of the University of Virginia and others have shown, growing up in poverty can affect your intelligence for the worse. Growing up in an emotionally strangled household also affects I.Q.

One of the classic findings of this was made by H.M. Skeels back in the 1930s. He studied mentally retarded orphans who were put in foster homes. After four years, their I.Q.’s diverged an amazing 50 points from orphans who were not moved. And the remarkable thing is the mothers who adopted the orphans were themselves mentally retarded and living in a different institution. It wasn’t tutoring that produced the I.Q. spike; it was love.

Then, finally, there are the various theories of multiple intelligences. We don’t just have one thing called intelligence. We have a lot of distinct mental capacities. These theories thrive, despite resistance from the statisticians, because they explain everyday experience. I’m decent at processing words, but when it comes to calculating the caroms on a pool table, I have the aptitude of a sea slug.

I.Q., in other words, is a black box. It measures something, but it’s not clear what it is or whether it’s good at predicting how people will do in life. Over the past few years, scientists have opened the black box to investigate the brain itself, not a statistical artifact.

Now you can read books about mental capacities in which the subject of I.Q. and intelligence barely comes up. The authors are concerned instead with, say, the parallel processes that compete for attention in the brain, and how they integrate. They’re discovering that far from being a cold engine for processing information, neural connections are shaped by emotion.

Antonio Damasio of the University of Southern California had a patient rendered emotionless by damage to his frontal lobes. When asked what day he could come back for an appointment, he stood there for nearly half an hour describing the pros and cons of different dates, but was incapable of making a decision. This is not the Spock-like brain engine suggested by the I.Q.

Today, the research that dominates public conversation is not about raw brain power but about the strengths and consequences of specific processes. Daniel Schacter of Harvard writes about the vices that flow from the way memory works. Daniel Gilbert, also of Harvard, describes the mistakes people make in perceiving the future. If people at Harvard are moving beyond general intelligence, you know something big is happening.

The cultural consequence is that judging intelligence is less like measuring horsepower in an engine and more like watching ballet. Speed and strength are part of intelligence, and these things can be measured numerically, but the essence of the activity is found in the rhythm and grace and personality — traits that are the products of an idiosyncratic blend of emotions, experiences, motivations and inheritances.

Recent brain research, rather than reducing everything to electrical impulses and quantifiable pulses, actually enhances our appreciation of human complexity and richness. While psychometrics offered the false allure of objective fact, the new science brings us back into contact with literature, history and the humanities, and, ultimately, to the uniqueness of the individual.

I couldn't agree more! Obviously, judging from laws like No Child Left Behind, our political and pundit classes have spent quite enough time studying and publicly elucidating the subtleties of the science of IQ. C'mon, guys, enough is enough with all the IQ expertise on display in the press! We're into diminishing marginal returns on IQ knowledge by now.

Aren't we all sick of hearing George Will and Thomas Friedman harp on and on about Spearman's Hypothesis about the g factor on every Sunday morning talk show? And how many dozens of articles about IQ and the Wealth of Nations can The Economist run in one decade? And by now haven't we've all heard NPR explain ad infinitum that the reason that young whites have an 80% higher combat death rate in the Iraq War than young minorities is in large part because the military's well-validated devotion to IQ testing makes it much harder for minorities, with their lower average IQs, to enlist? And do we really have to see Arthur Jensen and Linda Gottfredson on the evening news every week being asked to give an IQ expert's perspective on every social issue under the sun? Can't we ever debate immigration without Dana Milbank of the Washington Post reminding us of the lower average IQ of illegal immigrants?

And when will critics of IQ research ever get any media attention whatsoever? Will the little-known paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, who died in poverty because of persecution by the all-powerful IQ Establishment, ever get any recognition for his (admittedly obscurantist) critique of IQ?

And when will all the Schools of Education stop requiring all future teachers to spend a semester studying The Bell Curve? Wouldn't 8 weeks be enough to spend on that one book?

Brooks is right! Enough of the never-ending IQ-this and IQ-that in the media!

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


TGGP said...

Shorter Brooks: "I don't like the science on IQ because it's not warm and fuzzy enough".

Anonymous said...

Maybe Sailer can write an article "The Waning of the NYT" to explain why fewer and fewer people talk about what is in the NYT.

Anonymous said...

The decline of The New York Times can be charted by the decline in IQ of their designated conservative columnnists, from Bill Safire to David Brooks.

Anonymous said...

Well done Steve.

Anonymous said...

Aw Steve, you missed the best line:

If people at Harvard are moving beyond general intelligence, you know something big is happening.

Yeah, sort of like what happened to Larry Summers.

Anonymous said...

Steve, this is a very common media tactic to offset or obliuqely discredit things they don't like and don't want be heard of. It's based on a clever observation of user... sorry, luser... erm, "reader" behavior.

I've experienced it myself on a number of issues when I was ignorant about them, so I know it first hand.

- You take up this issue which is hotly debated in some "marginal" circles that is now being heard outside of the small circles of marginality, and before it acquires critical mass, you write about it as if (and with details, treated in a certain way) the reader is the only one who hasn't entirely heard about it.

- Naturally, the average reader being the average sheep that gets their clues on who/what is "cool" by looking at other sheep (a good evolutionary trait, I say, when the IQ endowment distribution of human groups are taken as an aggregate, but that can turn deadly if the "authority" positions are hijacked by people with other agenda), the reader at least understands -- with not an "analytic" but an "empathic" reading of the article -- that there's this thing "IQ debate" which the reader might as well treat as Chance the gardener treated "claims" in the real world in "Being There" (when asked repeatedly, after accidents, whether he was going to make a "claim," Chance finally replied "no, I don't even know what they look like.")

- But the reader senses that it's not cool to take the positions enumerated in the debate (e.g. as enumerated in the article), while very cool to bring up the "counter" evidence (again, as enumerated in the article).

- So, from now on they will strictly avoid ever studying that darned thing called the "IQ debate," they will not even touch it with a ten-foot pole.

This is a very effective way of keep that "marginal" issue outside of mainstream, believe you me -- or believe me, you.

Well, you're probably much more aware of this than I am, but it's just that I had too many embarrassed forehead slappings to know painfully that it is very real and very effective. (i.e. on a few issues, this is also they way I picked my cues, only to discover down the road how pig ignorant the vast majority of journalists are. You see, it's not for nothing that journalists are considered to know so little about so many things. They are great at "faking" erudition because all it takes is verbal skills. The crappier a perspective is, the more brilliant the verbal "costume and make up" is just to hide the lack of "natural beauty" underneath.)

In fact, with the IQ range of 105-120 -- that is, those above the average and think the world of themselves, but are mostly things like political science or history majors, and couldn't possibly relate to a statistics-based sociobiology debate that requires a minimum of 130 -- it is almost certain that *this* is the way they pick the lines they'll use in cocktail parties, and using their verbal skills they only create variations on it so that in a couple of years' time someone like Stephen Fry practically writes whole TV sketches built around the issue as (mis-)defined by that article by using his stupendous skills for sophistry.


SN said...

"it’s not clear what it is or whether it’s good at predicting how people will do in life"

I guess Brooks hasn't read the discussions of the relation between IQ and job performance in The Bell Curve, then. I guess he doesn't know why the US armed forces IQ-test all applicants.

Bob said...

Let's examine comments from Brooks. He says that 48% of the differences in IQ are due to genetics. He is using street-talk, but lets assume that he understands variance. The fact is that this number is close to accurate in young children, where heritability is about 45%. Those young children show a heritability component from the shared environment, but that component vanishes by about age 12 or shortly thereafter. In young adults, the heritability of IQ is about 70% and rises from that point to about 82% in older adults. Mr. Brooks is woefully uninformed, or else he is willfully misrepresenting the facts. For example he cited Eric Turkheimer's finding, but did not tell us that the oldest children examined by Turkheimer were age 7. At that age, the shared environmental component is relatively large. Recall that it goes to zero in the teen years. These same comments apply to the Skeels reference and should also disclose that the vanishing effect of the shared environment was not understood for several decades after the 30s.

The reason multiple intelligence theories thrive is that they are appreciated by people who are unfamiliar with intelligence research and want to reject the facts because they do not align properly with PC dogma. There will always be a market for scientifically unsupported claims from Gardner and Sternberg, but both have been the subject of dissections in the peer reviewed journal Intelligence. They have stories, but their stories were not derived from empirical observations and fall apart when subjected to rigorous testing.

The discussion of people with brain damage or severe retardation adds nothing to a discussion about IQ and its merits. Brooks has used it as a silly strawman. The facts can be ignored by journalists and have been ignored by all of them except Daniel Seligman and Frank Miele. If someone wants to read about intelligence from the perspective of a professional writer, he should read what these two have written. Why? For the simple reason that the other journalists have not bothered to learn the material before reporting their personal (ignorant) opinions.

Intelligence matters a lot in life outcomes. Career options have IQ thresholds below which one need not bother, as the task ahead will be impossibly difficult. You will not find individuals with IQs of 100 who have succeeded as mathematicians or physicists and are very unlikely to find anyone at that level (average) who has succeeded in any high IQ career. IQ produces most of the variance in SES, income, and job status. It is particularly important for dull people, as small differences can have large consequences for them. As Charles Murray has pointed out, below IQ 88, it is very difficult to teach students to perform acceptably (in a fairly graded evaluation) in school. That is about the 20th percentile. He pointed out that in a compilation of NAEP test scores, 36% did not meet the "basic achievement" level. It turns out that 36% of the IQ distribution lies below IQ 95.

tommy said...

If people at Harvard are moving beyond general intelligence, you know something big is happening.

Besides, Harvard has long been a bastion of unfounded theories of multiple intelligences.

Brooks is just another loathsome and idiotic neoconservative with not an iota of predictive power.

Anonymous said...

david brooks has been wrong on almost everything he's written for many years now.

the NYT only keeps him around so they can claim they are not a liberal bastion.

the NYT is becoming increasingly irrelevant and is in danger of going out of business.

take a look:

ziel said...

SN: I guess Brooks hasn't read the discussions of the relation between IQ and job performance in The Bell Curve, then. I guess he doesn't know why the US armed forces IQ-test all applicants.

No, he's probably read those absurd-use-of-restriction-of-range statements that when you control for education, race, choice of career and parents' SES then IQ has only a small effect on one's success.

tommy said...

I'm surprised Brooks didn't mention the "fact" that Eastern European Jews had low IQ scores when they arrived in this country and that they improved their scores through an ethnic commitment to education and by overcoming Anglo prejudice.

I.Q., in other words, is a black box. It measures something, but it’s not clear what it is or whether it’s good at predicting how people will do in life. Over the past few years, scientists have opened the black box to investigate the brain itself, not a statistical artifact.

It's abundantly clear. But hey, this is David Brooks so who needs facts?

Steve Sailer said...

Who could possibly be these dispensers of the supposed conventional wisdom about the importance of IQ that are being outmoded by cutting edge findings?

Hmmhmmm ... Well, there's Charles Murray -- lots of people have at least heard of him. And then there's ... uh ... wait, uh, well, there's got to be somebody somewhere in the media who talks about IQ. Don't rush me ... I'll think of somebody ...

The funny thing is that I've been told on reliable authority that David Brooks is a regular reader of, so I guess one of those popular and trusted but outdated oracles is ... me ...

I'll tell you, it's a weird experience reading an NYT column that is apparently constructed around the conceit of "Well, sure, everybody is familiar with Sailer's analysis of the pervasive influence of IQ in our modern society, but that's _so_ 2004ish!"

I feel like Lord Voldemort: "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."

Anonymous said...

anonymous: Yeah, sort of like what happened to Larry Summers.

Ironic that you would mention Larry "Li'l Rubin" Summers - Stanley Kurtz just posted a piece about him over at The Corner:

UC yanks speaker's invitation: Controversial ex-Harvard president was scheduled to address regents Wednesday
By Sharon Stello/Enterprise staff writer
Published Sep 14, 2007 - 14:09:40 CDT.

...When Stanton heard about the initial invitation to Summers, she was "stunned."

"I was appalled that someone articulating that point of view would be invited by the regents," she said. "This is a symbolic invitation and a symbolic measure that I believe sends the wrong message about the University of California and its cultural principles"...

Anonymous said...

Bob: As Charles Murray has pointed out, below IQ 88, it is very difficult to teach students to perform acceptably (in a fairly graded evaluation) in school. That is about the 20th percentile. He pointed out that in a compilation of NAEP test scores, 36% did not meet the "basic achievement" level. It turns out that 36% of the IQ distribution lies below IQ 95.

You're using numbers for "white" or "asian" or "high caste indian subcontinent kids".

For blacks & mestizos/aboriginals, 88 [your 20th percentile] is ABOVE THE MEAN!!!

And that's being generous - Guatamala has a mean of 79, and many of the sub-saharan countries have means down in retarded to severely retarded territory.

So if Murray says "below IQ 88, it is very difficult to teach students to perform acceptably (in a fairly graded evaluation) in school", he is saying that that is ABOVE THE MEAN for blacks & mestizos/aboriginals.

And indeed, that's exactly what we see when we look at even something so trivial as high-school graduation rates:

By Race/Ethnicity Nation Female Male

American Indian/AK Nat 51.1 51.4 47.0
Asian/Pacific Islander 76.8 80.0 72.6
Hispanic 53.2 58.5 48
Black 50.2 56.2 42.8
White 74.9 77 70.8
All Students 68 72 64.1

I.e. the mean [or, assuming a symmetric curve, the "expected value"] is not sub-standard performance, but rather no performance whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

yes, IQ is meaningless. that is why the average SAT score at harvard is ~1490. duh!

bjdouble said...

Brooks is following the Straussian strategy of criticizing an argument for the purpose of raising the argument (see "Persecution and the Art of Writing.") So what Brooks is really saying is "I agree with Steve Sailer" but he can't say that, so he says "This argument you've never heard of is very passe."

Martin said...

David Brooks wants to maintain his gig at the Times as their house "conservative", so it behooves him to innoculate himself against any possible charges of belief in heresy.

Roach said...

It's like Bill Clinton: he never refutes something for a while and then begins to say after some interveal, "these are old stories that I've already responded to."

Anonymous said...

I wonder Steve.

The world is competitive. For pretty much EVERYTHING.

Whoever as an individual, organization, country, or people takes advantage of IQ differences the most (and the reality of IQ which IS as you point out massively heritable) will succeed. Despite violating PC.

I imagine Japan, China, and some European nations are not particularly PC. And don't care about PC stuff.

Some organizations are likely to pursue some un-PC policies also.

There's that competitive edge, particularly if the organization can use more smart people than the competition.

Google's rise is probably due to their ability to attract and retain High IQ folks; Microsoft's decline in part their inability to retain or hire those.

Anonymous said...

I guess it takes an average guy to see what you 1/2 brains who worship IQ scores can't; Take two people with the same numeric IQ and they aren't equally good at the same things. This is why Gardner's multiple intelligences holds so much appeal for people. Focus on IQ alone can also negate the real ability of someone who might not score well on tests of verbal and mathematical ability. IQ tests as well as the scores leave out huge chunks of information about a person.

For too long, high scores on college entrance exams and IQ tests have been the sole indicators of a person's ability (until colleges began to emphasize diversity). You could be the dullest, most immature lump of a human being and get a scholarship to all but the most competitive schools based on test scores alone.

I gather you guys feel threatened by any conceptualization of IQ that challenges your place in the genius aristocracy. There are people you would discount because they don't score in a range of IQ you deem worthy of notice who have talents and abilities you could never match. I say the tests are limited in what they can measure and have led to sloppy teaching and thinking.

James Kabala said...

As fun as making fun of Brooks is, I'd like to hear more about this H.M. Skeels study (beyond the brief mention made by Bob). Was it flawed, and if not, how does it fit in with theories of the Murray/Sailer kind?

Steve Sailer said...

Skeels -- There's zero question that being raised in the most awful environment -- some Oliver Twist-like orphanage or being chained to the water heater in the basement -- can severely depress IQ, which can then bounce most of the way back if the kid is rescued and put into a a humane situation.

Adoption studies generally don't show much influence for variation in non-abusive environments at all, but they tend to suffer from a restriction of range problem because few children from biological parents at the top of the social scale wind up, like Oliver Twist, being raised at the bottom.

A small French adoption study tried to find ten children for each part of the quadrangle (top of society biological parents to top of society adoptive parents, top to bottom, bottom to top, and bottom to bottom. They could only find 8 after a decade of looking for the top to bottom group, but decided that was good enough. Their set of 38 children came up with IQ being 60% genetic and 40% environmental, which sounds plausible to me.

Steve Sailer said...

Keep in mind that the endless nature-nurture arguments over IQ can be a distraction for any time-frame short of a couple of generations.

Consider height, which varies over time considerably. At present, young Japanese, while much taller than their grandparents remain somewhat shorter on average than Europeans and blacks in the African diaspora. Say that you are a sports media entrepreneur, who thinks that he could make a fortune if he could promote a global sport in Japan where the Japanese could compete on an equal footing with the other major nations. The two most popular sports in the world are soccer and and basketball? Which do you invest in now in the hopes of seeing Japan do well on the world stage.

Now, one of your advisors might argue that the Japanese height deficiency is not genetic, and with a couple of more generations of high protein diets, Japan will be churning out lots of 6'10 power forwards by, say, 2060, so you should invest in basketball instead of soccer. And you would fire him on the spot for being an idiot because, whether or not the Japanese height deficiency is purely environmental, 2060 is a long, long way off, whereas Japanese youth are tall enough right now to do well in soccer.

SFG said...

I believe Brooks quoted Sailer directly on 'natalism', and then Garance Franke-Ruta of all people went after him for it.

Brooks also wrote earlier on how personality was more important than intelligence, so this may be a pet topic of his.

Leonard said...

"psychometrics offered the false allure of objective fact"

Who you gonna believe? Me or your lyin' objective facts?

Steve Sailer said...

The point is that making more accurate predictions about human beings is both extremely beneficial and extremely difficult. IQ hardly explains more than a small fraction of everything we'd like to know about people, but it's a bigger fraction than just about anything else that's easily testable.

Given large enough groups of people categorized by IQ, it's possible to make extremely accurate predictions about the performance of the two groups. E.g., over a decade, Air Force planes maintained by avionics technicians with scores on the military's AFQT IQ enlistment test over 105 will crash less than planes maintained by techs with IQs under 90. That kind of this is as close to an absolute certainty as is possible in human affairs.

My point has never been that IQ is the end-all and be-all. Instead, I've merely argued that IQ is an underexploited tool for making better public policy.

Steve Sailer said...

Lots of other factors are highly important: e.g., honesty, work ethic, energy level. But IQ has the special quality that it's quickly measurable with a paper and pencil or oral test.

There are paper and pencil tests for things like honesty that work pretty well on average, but their inevitable problem is that they are susceptible to the occasional catastrophic failure where a highly intelligent conman uses his high IQ to figure out what answers give the impression of honesty. Call it the Ahmad Chalabi Problem, after the embezzler with the Ph.D. in Math from the U. of Chicago who conned us into the Iraq War so we would make him President of Iraq. How would old Ahmad do on a written test of honesty? Great!

tommy said...

John Ray discusses Brooks' claims here. He also provides a link discussing (actually, debunking) Gardner's model of multiple intelligences.

Anonymous said...


To be fair to Chalabi, he was accused of being an embezzler by the government of an autocratic Arab state (Jordan), and this accusation may have been due more to political and financial motivations that objective fact. Not exactly a great example of an honest, independent justice system in that absolute monarch that's been pretending to "reform" for decades.

SFG said...

Now here's my question for Steve: is Chalabi a crook, or a loyal, upright supporter of his tribe? ;) You've blogged before on how in less-developed parts of the world, it's considered moral to help your relatives out in ways we consider unethical.

Steve Sailer said...

My son found an interview with Chalabi where he says something to the effect of, Well, sure I was lying, but you'd have to be a complete idiot not to expect me to lie in that situation: I wanted to go home. It's not my fault your country's leaders are so credulous.

Anonymous said...

You could be the dullest, most immature lump of a human being and get a scholarship to all but the most competitive schools based on test scores alone.

Thank you, Senator Chuck Schumer's Father.

Anonymous said...

Their set of 38 children came up with IQ being 60% genetic and 40% environmental, which sounds plausible to me.

Re: environmental effects: Do we really need an academic study to see that the deliberate dumbing down of the American public is possible? And indeed that the program is being carried out in the schools and media?

Steve, the Marxists didn't need any studies to recognize that entire societies can be made duller. So, why do anti-Marxists need the studies? Look at what the Marxists achieved in East Germany in only two generations!!! Imagine what the New World Order goons might achieve over, say, ten generations. They could build a real paradise on earth for the "lucky" few at the top.

Yes, Virginia, you can crash the intellect of a nation and the globe if allowed.

Anonymous said...

"Gardner protests that there is no reason to differentiate—he would say aggrandize—linguistic and logico-mathematical intelligences by giving them a different label; either label will do, but they should be the same. He has written, “Call them all ‘talents’ if you wish; or call them all ‘intelligences.’” By this Gardner means that the mind has many processing capabilities, of which those enabling linguistic, logical, and mathematical thought are just three examples. There is no compelling reason to “honor” them with a special name, in his view."

from Daniel T. Willingham

This is what my point is, there are children who simply aren't going to get very far if all education does is address "linguistic and logico-mathematical intelligences". Yet, they often have abilities that can get them gainful employment if schools offer programs in art, music, etc, which of course most schools do. These people can make valuable contributions despite their lack of general intelligence. And, no, I don't like those silly approaches to teaching spelling and math by adding gimmicks such as songs or physically spelling out words like cheerleaders but neither does Gardner.

What's happened in our education system is that someone decided everyone could have high general intelligence if given the appropriate environment and encouragement. The end result has been an aversion to or even contempt for training in skills that could be useful for a trade.

It's all semantics to me whether or not Gardner has accurately labeled something an intelligence when it's more a talent, skill or ability.

Another issue I have which isn't really related to discussion of IQ is that schools like the Art Institute which offer programs of study that appeal to those less intellectually gifted are damned expensive. So you take a group of students who are less likely to earn a high salary (or whose job skills might become obsolete within a decade) and put them in debt forever for learning a trade.

Despite the higher IQs of Ivy League education researchers, we're still not managing our human resources effectively. I think Gardner is at least trying to address the issue that a population of people with IQs below 100 doesn't necessarily have to be a burden on society.

Anonymous said...

You've blogged before on how in less-developed parts of the world, it's considered moral to help your relatives out in ways we consider unethical.

How about in more-developed parts of the world also. Places like New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. seem to be hubs of this sort of activity.

Anonymous said...

The comment section goes to show that not everyone with a high IQ is a good speller.
0) People of any IQ can get their feelings hurt.
1) A friend who was a junior Physics prof at Oxford commented on how lopsided many of his colleagues were. A running joke was to count the number of words a certain math professor spoke at dinner party's beyond "Good Evening" and "Good Night". It is considered an underground comment that many high IQ's may be Asperger"s sufferers.
2) Isn't it a true measure/test of intelligence when someone can explain a difficult concept to those beneath them in intelligence? There is talk of the "revolt of the elites". I believe it was around 1950 the students began to be segregated by intelligence. My father went to a one room school house and pointed out the advantages of hearing and watching the better and advanced students work. Those same students acted as tutors for the younger ones. That and an enthusiastic teacher are the keys to learning. Look for a program like this and you will be pleased.

TGGP said...

I've got a post up on the Brooks column now with two links readers here might be interested in.

tommy said...

I'm not convinced that multiple intelligences don't exist but I simply doubt that any researcher to date has found the correct model. It seems to me that g isn't something straightforward but instead "lurks behind" many other testable mental abilities to one degree or another. It is easy to test for but difficult to characterize. I have no reason to believe other intelligences might not be equally broad and elusive.

tommy said...

Assuming they exist, what we would need in order to characterize other intelligences isn't more broad theories but a lot of tedious empirical grunt-work in psychometrics. Take a theory - any theory - of multiple intelligences and develop tests to measure individual aptitude in various areas. Take an individual test and determine how g-loaded it is. Then refine the test to make it less g-loaded. Rinse and repeat until you are testing something that isn't highly dependent on g but still generates a lot of consistent individual differences. Then try and look for correlations between whatever it is you are testing for and other abilities. Eventually a picture should emerge of mental abilities that aren't mostly g dependent.

Anonymous said...

"My point has never been that IQ is the end-all and be-all. Instead, I've merely argued that IQ is an underexploited tool for making better public policy."

I don't think we're at odds on the issue of IQ but we do approach it from opposite perspectives. So much is anchored to how well students do on IQ/Achievement tests. Schools get funding and awards based on how smart their students are rather than how many of them are gainfully employed at a decent living wage after graduation. Until this changes, people who don't perform well on intelligence tests are going to resent them and want to nullify them.

Anonymous said...

"It is considered an underground comment that many high IQ's may be Asperger"s sufferers."

I would like to add to this an inability to take the other person's perspective which can lead to the Asperger's sufferer making some brutally unkind remarks. Those I'd diagnose as such on this blog are also demonstrating an intellectual deficit by

a) having the poor impulse control to make hurtful comments b/c they think they are as funny as they are true such as a child might and

b) alienating people who could be of use to them all to make a childish joke.

They also tend to demonstrate the Can Dish It out but Can't Take It Syndrome which offers the opportunity to get sweet revenge for those of us who should be mature enough and intellectually balanced enough to behave better. ; )

Anonymous said...

steve: i surfed here after reading an amazing page at blog about the lefty newspaper writer now working in idaho to soften up readers for immigration invasion. the writer in question is a former californian who knows full well what the immigration invasion means for natives.

call me cynical but i can only conclude that that writer is a change agent. he is working within a network of fellow travelers. after completing the mission [immigration invasion] in the southwest usa they are now fanning out across the country in order to replicate the demographic changes in every community.

"Imagine what the New World Order goons might achieve over, say, ten generations. They could build a real paradise on earth for the "lucky" few at the top."

it wasnt til tonight reading these websites that i fully got it. the elites actually want to turn ALL nonelites into dull worker drones. many current workers are a threat ... todays workers are too intelligent for elite comfort.

#1 dumbed down school program > easier to control reduced levels of inquiry across the board

#2 single mother [fatherless] households > easier to control [break] transmission of traditions passed generation to generation

#3 antireligion athiest culture chic > easier to control 'evolving standards of decency'

#4 interbreeding of 'hard to control middle class whites' with lower iq browns and blacks > easier to control masses

all religious racial national familial cultural lingual social bonds are to be diluted. these bonds strengthen nonelites. therefore all these bonds are to be weakened.

this is modern version of trotsky permanent revolution. the change agents are fellow travelers. this is why the marxist organization A.N.S.W.E.R. can be behind huge nationwide immigration marches with no mention of their role in the mainstream media. photos of crowds with picket signs that clearly showed A.N.S.W.E.R. on them never showed up in the tv media.

mr sailer you say you feel like a villain out of the harry potter movie. i feel like orwells 1984 is actually happening to all of us ... for real.

i always knew they wanted to control the world but i never realized until tonight that what they really want to control is a stupid world and not an intelligent world. they want to keep the intelligence for themselves. and they will condition and or breed the masses as necessary ... to achieve this result.

the modern elites are sick sick sick. same as the old elites i suppose.

David Brookes said...

Steve, you heard right. I do read your blog. I don't, however, write for the NYT.