January 23, 2009

NYT: Science Proves Obama's Powers Are Miraculous

Now that the Dark Ages of American Science (January 20, 2001-January 19, 2009) are over and we are all basking in the bright light of reason, the New York Times reports that miracles are occurring due to beneficent psychic emanations from Obama's puissant aura:

Study Sees an Obama Effect as Lifting Black Test-Takers

Educators and policy makers, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, have said in recent days that they hope President Obama’s example as a model student could inspire millions of American students, especially blacks, to higher academic performance.

Now researchers have documented what they call an Obama effect, showing that a performance gap between African-Americans and whites on a 20-question test administered before Mr. Obama’s nomination all but disappeared when the exam was administered after his acceptance speech and again after the presidential election.

The inspiring role model that Mr. Obama projected helped blacks overcome anxieties about racial stereotypes that had been shown, in earlier research, to lower the test-taking proficiency of African-Americans, the researchers conclude in a report summarizing their results.

“Obama is obviously inspirational, but we wondered whether he would contribute to an improvement in something as important as black test-taking,” said Ray Friedman, a management professor at Vanderbilt University, one of the study’s three authors. “We were skeptical that we would find any effect, but our results surprised us.”

The study has not yet undergone peer review, and two academics who read it on Thursday said they would be interested to see if other researchers would be able to replicate its results.

Dr. Friedman and his fellow researchers, David M. Marx, a professor of social psychology at San Diego State University, and Sei Jin Ko, a visiting professor in management and organizations at Northwestern, have submitted their study for review to The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Dr. Friedman said.

“It’s a very small sample, but certainly a provocative study,” said Ronald F. Ferguson, a Harvard professor who studies the factors that have affected the achievement gap between white and nonwhite students, which shows up on nearly every standardized test. “There is a certainly a theoretical foundation and some empirical support for the proposition that Obama’s election could increase the sense of competence among African-Americans, and it could reduce the anxiety associated with taking difficult test questions.”

Researchers in the last decade assembled university students with identical SAT scores and administered tests to them, discovering that blacks performed significantly poorer when asked at the start to fill out a form identifying themselves by race. The researchers attributed those results to anxiety that caused them to tighten up during exams in which they risked confirming a racial stereotype.

In the study made public on Thursday, Dr. Friedman and his colleagues compiled a brief test, drawing 20 questions from the verbal sections of the Graduate Record Exam, and administering it four times to about 120 white and black test-takers during last year’s presidential campaign.

In total, 472 Americans — 84 blacks and 388 whites — took the exam. Both white and black test-takers ranged in age from 18 to 63, and their educational attainment ranged from high school dropout to Ph.D.

On the initial test last summer, whites on average correctly answered about 12 of 20 questions, compared with about 8.5 correct answers for blacks, Dr. Friedman said. But on the tests administered immediately after Mr. Obama’s nomination acceptance speech, and just after his election victory, black performance improved, rendering the white-black gap “statistically nonsignificant,” he said.

“It’s a nice piece of work,” said G. Gage Kingsbury, a testing expert who is a director at the Northwest Evaluation Association, who read the study on Thursday.

But Dr. Kingsbury wondered whether the Obama effect would extend beyond the election, or prove transitory. “I’d want to see another study replicating their results before I get too excited about it,” he said.

No, this isn't from The Onion.

Funny how Obama personally presiding over the giving away of $100,000,000 or so to improve Chicago school performance as chairman of the Annenberg Chicago Challenge didn't do a damn thing for the test scores of Chicago black students, but his ascent to supreme power, his wonders doth work.

I analyzed the ever-popular urban legend of Stereotype Threat in a 2004 VDARE.com piece called "Occam's Butterknife." Bottom line: it's really easy for "researchers" to depress black students' scores on tests of no importance to the students by giving them hints that they don't want them to work hard on the test.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

In other news, President Obama has caused African-American brains nationwide to increase in both volume and mass.

Anonymous said...

But Dr. Kingsbury wondered whether the Obama effect would extend beyond the election, or prove transitory. “I’d want to see another study replicating their results before I get too excited about it,” he said.

I'd say he's probably changed his pants a few times already...

Anonymous said...

Well this is wonderful news! On top of leveling the field, we can save taxpayer money by pulling the Affirmative Action program now.

Anonymous said...

"just after his election victory, black performance improved, rendering the white-black gap “statistically nonsignificant,” he said."

I like the way that they tell us the pre-Obama scores, BUT NOT THE POST-OBAMA ones. Obviously, the gap remained, and remained in favor of whites. Probably with the small sample size it was only significant at a 92% rather than a 95% level (not to mention publication bias and any other statistical chicanery).

Guts Strongman said...

Well, if Dr. Marx of San Diego State university says something, it must be true.

sj071 said...

Hard for The Onion competing against Mexican tabloids, Chubacabra rules...
Lysenko might be dead but his spirit lives on!

Mmmm, '..black test-taking', soon to be followed by 'yellow cooking' in the mainstream media?

Anonymous said...

At least when talking about stereotype threat they mentioned that the effect was first shown in kids with identical SAT scores. That's an improvement compared to years of claims that the normal gap disappeared.

Dollmaker said...

Splendid news! I propose we next elect a Japanese-American president to raise the IQs of blacks, Hispanics AND whites, and after that a Jewish president to raise EVERYBODY'S IQ's!

J said...

Does it follow that Obama´s touch cures lepra?

fbj said...

I'm holding my breath......NOT

Anonymous said...

That is miraculous! Bypassing at least one millenia's worth of evolution!

My metabolism is slower than I'd like it to be and Cochran and Harpending say basically this means my body isn't as well adapted to our agricultural society as it should be... can I now count on Obama to take some of the thunder out of my thighs?

Eddy Elfenbein said...

So wait a second, this means that white people AREN'T inspired by Obama. You can even say there's an inspiration gap. I think the NYT needs to look into this.

Anonymous said...

You people are so racist for not realizing that Obama's ascension to the presidency would raise AA IQ

Anonymous said...

I'm flabbergasted.

Stopped Clock said...

Hmm, Obama raised their IQ 15 points overnight. This makes the Obama effect approximately 2190 times more powerful than Head Start.

Anonymous said...

This only confirms the existing data from Africa where we've watched the elections of dozens of black presidents raise the IQ of so many countries like Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Liberia, etc.

P.S. I wouldn't post as "anonymous" except that your Google sign-in isn't working for me.

Chief Seattle said...

Yes, but how long will the effect last? I recommend that T.V. screens, permanently tuned to the great leader, be hung from the walls of every bedroom or office, just to be sure. Perhaps these "telescreens" can include web cams, monitored by psychologists such as Friedman and Marx to insure that the population doesn't let their thoughts drift to something less productive.

tommy said...

Just like the NY Fishwrap to publish a study that hasn't even been peer reviewed when it extols Obama.

tommy said...

In total, 472 Americans — 84 blacks and 388 whites — took the exam. Both white and black test-takers ranged in age from 18 to 63, and their educational attainment ranged from high school dropout to Ph.D.

What was the average educational attainment of blacks versus whites in this study? Will it reflect the differences in educational attainment we actually find in the greater black and white populations in this country, or will the field have been leveled before the test was administered? I can't wait to find out -- assuming the study passes peer review.

I've got a great idea for the believers: why not allow a few thousand underperforming blacks to watch Obama's inauguration speech before taking the NAEP and see if we have made any progress?

EW said...

"Well, if Dr. Marx of San Diego State university says something, it must be true."

In fariness, (I think) this is the same David Marx who blew the whistle on Karen Ruggiero

http://www.academia.org/campus_reports/2002/january_2002_3.html

EW said...

http://www.academia.org/campus_reports/2002/january_2002_3.html

Anonymous said...

"I think the NYT needs to look into this."

I wonder how much longer the NYT is going to waste Slim's bucks on rubbish like this. I could imagine he's gonna reign them in pretty soon so they can take care of his business, i.e. telling Americans how wonderful the elite in Mex are.

Ronduck said...

For the money we spend at the federal level on "education" we could fund a large biological research project to find the roots of Black low IQ. With the right information on which genes cause such low IQ and by what processes those genes are expressed we could find a neonatal supplement or an adult supplement that could raise such IQ. If we can't send them back maybe we could spend the money productively looking for a cure.

Of course, I'm just dreaming.

Anonymous said...

Shock and awe journalism.

Anonymous said...

THIS IS IN YOUR FACE IDIOCRACY

Anonymous said...

Leaving aside the debt and phony economy built entirely on consumption and borrowing, I honestly think we are collapsing under the weight of our own staggering stupidity.

Of course it's all related... but my God!

Statsquatch said...

I guess I should see the real study but I was surprised 12 vs. 8.5 was significant. With an N of 120, 5:1 white, this would give a standard deviation of no greater than 7.3. Assume it is 6 then you have 80% power to detect a difference of 4. Is that a little or a lot if you ask 20 questions from the verbal GRE as opposed to a regular IQ test? I have no idea? Regardless, I doubt that the differences between the pre-election B-W difference and the post-election B-W difference will be significant. This is the interesting question and they are underpowered. This study does prove I have too much time on my hands.

Anonymous said...

This is amazing! We haven't had a Jewish president yet. Can we elect one so my IQ goes up 15 points?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much longer the NYT is going to waste Slim's bucks on rubbish like this. I could imagine he's gonna reign them in pretty soon so they can take care of his business, i.e. telling Americans how wonderful the elite in Mex are.

If they are anything like the rest of the liberal MSM they would be doing that for free already.

Robert said...

This result clearly means that Obama must remain in office as long as possible - repeal term limits! - to lift his entire race out of underachievement. It's a tough job and only he can do it.

albertosaurus said...

You can't make tis stuff up.

Johnson said...

I just blogged about this exact thing, that the Obamamania is going to have a hard landing.

none of the above said...

This is a kind of interesting natural experiment, right?

To the extent that black/white academic differences are mainly due to culture, electing a smart, well-spoken black president might actually have a big effect. That effect will have to take some time, if it happens at all, since kids who screwed off in all their math classes until high school are usually not going to end up in AP calculus, even if they've got the brains for it. To the extent those different outcomes are due to genetics, concrete environmental stuff (like more exposure to lead paint or more poverty), etc., having Obama as president will have little effect.

I don't think we can know ahead of time which way this will go. Recall that the Irish were, early on, at least as bad on most any measure as blacks are now. Culture and evironment changed, and the Irish do about like all other whites in the US now.

I'll admit, I have my doubts. The IQ difference hasn't changed all that much despite the end of Jim Crow, despite moving from a society in which overt discrimination was commonplace and widely accepted to one in which it's illegal and socially unacceptable. It's hard to imagine a black president changing that. (Similarly, differences in wealth, income, family structure, lead exposure, etc., aren't going to change just because we elected a black guy president.) But I won't be surprised to see some effects, and maybe some surprisingly large ones, especially in stuff that's a matter of conscious choice. A country in which blacks have fewer out-of-wedlock kids and commit fewer crimes is a much better country, even if we don't see an end to the performance gap.

Stopped Clock said...

Black mayors and black governors haven't shown any improvement in the average black's behavior; would a black president really be any different?

To answer Robert: I suspect Obama will be around for the next forty years: eight years as President, thirty-two as an eminence grise calling the shots behind the scenes and letting the figurehead Democrat president know what is and isn't acceptable. And probably even Republicans will have to consider what Obama would think before doing anything controversial.

gordon-bennett said...

Does the fact that the US has had an unbroken line of white Presidents for the last 200+ years account for black/white IQ gap?

And the ancestors of Japanese and Chinese Americans must have had massive IQ's, before they settled in America, to have offset the whittling down effect on their descendants of having lived under all those "wrong colour" Presidents.

Ronduck said...

none of the above said...

Recall that the Irish were, early on, at least as bad on most any measure as blacks are now. Culture and evironment changed, and the Irish do about like all other whites in the US now.

Politically the Irish are still as bad as the Blacks, if you consider their longstanding support for the Democratic party. Without the Irish we would not have Ted Kennedy, or any of the other disgraceful Northern politicians.

Doug said...

"ll that the Irish were, early on, at least as bad on most any measure as blacks are now. Culture and evironment changed, and the Irish do about like all other whites in the US now."

First: you seem to have no idea just how "bad" blacks are. There are few whites living in metropolises with large black populations that haven't been victimized in serious ways. I'm talking rape, murder, deadly assault, extreme sexual harrassment, bullying, robbery. The Irish NEVER threatened the local population to the extent that blacks do. Their crimes were never of that lethal, hateful violent type. Mostly they were drunken brawlers; the worst had their mafias. But they did not prey on innocents to the extent blacks do.
Why do people keep repeating this nonsense? Because it's comforting?
The Irish rate of homicides was nowhere near the black rate. Crimes of sexual violence, a black specialty, were extremely rare. Hasia Diner writes of that in her study of Irish women in America.
The Irish were extremely poor, brawled and drank. Their illegitimacy rate however was low. Can't give percentages, but let's just say it was not very significant.
In any case, the Irish were pretty much moved out of their condition by the third generation, with little help from the government. When they settled in cities they created living neighborhoods with businesses and schools they ran themselves. They did ruin some neighborhoods initially (cholera) when they first arrived; but they didn't turn the entire core of a metropolis into a dead zone that no one but they could ever want to enter.
sorry. Very poor comparison. Sort of like attempts to compare pre-medieval europeans to sub-saharan africans, another comforting absurdity.
If you want to make any serious assertions about black crime compared with any other ethnic group, past or present, come with statistics and be prepared for your opponents to have theirs.

d.c. watch said...

"electing a smart, well-spoken black president might actually have a big effect."

He's smart? Really? Well-spoken? maybe, if you like some manchurian candidate emoting speeches from a teleprompter written by lots of little SWPL sorts, sitting in Starbucks. Ex-Clintonites many of them. This guy couldn't even recite the oath of office without screwing it up, which surprised me not at all.

For crying out loud. What's "smart" about him? He didn't get himself elected--lots of rich white people who control the media did that. Why they selected him, I'm not sure, but perhaps something to do with the psychological exercise of a black president who can't be impeached no matter what he does (as they tell him) because it would cause civil unrest. Also, it makes people think "third world", and "weak, unstable country." Also on their agenda.
This is one empty headed mofo. The only thing funnier than expecting him to "do" anything "smart" are the people who really BELIEVE he is smart. They are inexcusable.

Mr. Liberal said...

You reactionaries are just jealous because you don't feel the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

And just think Steve-o, we're barely thru the first friggin' week of Year One, Anno Obamini.

--Senor Doug

Anonymous said...

PC gone wild at Newsweek magazine: the Political Correctness and Marxism are jumping out of each and every article over there. I don't know who is running Newsweek these days but the place is off the charts left wing.

Here is an article by Henry Cisneros that is laughably full of disinformation on the immigration issue.

DIVERSITY A Fence Can’t Stop the Future

Here is a howler on the Somali invasion of Lewiston Maine.

IMMIGRATION The Refugees Who Saved Lewiston

Newsweek seems to allow substantial free speech in their comments section and it's nice to see a bunch of commenters totally rejecting the Trotskyite content of their articles.

Ronduck said...

All of the media is having a left wing obamagasm. I was bored today and I bought USA today for something to read. After reading that drivel I want my money back. Hell, I wouldn't read that paper for free now. The whole paper was just an excuse to kill trees. And yet I could swear all of the headlines were recycled from the liberal nightly news I used to watch as a kid.

Anonymous said...

In the Newsweek thread mentioned above is this comment about Henry Cisneros himself:

Cisneros Pleads Guilty
September 8, 1999
Former housing secretary Henry G. Cisneros pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of lying to the FBI about money he paid to a former mistress, ending a wide-ranging independent counsel investigation that lasted more than four years and cost more than $9 million.

Henry.....great job of leading by example! Who's the idiot in Newsweek who gave you a column to write your thoughts on where this country is headed?


Superb work there Newsweek thread guys!

I wanted to go and join in the fun but you have to signup/login, another time perhaps...

Anonymous said...

Re: "Science Proves Obama's Miraculous Powers", according to Prof. Marx, et al.

I can hardly wait till Prof. Lysenko confirms these results. Surely someone is pulling a hoax on the humorless loony leftists at the NY Fishwrap.

If Blacks' test scores keep rising for even a year at this rate, they will soon enslave Whites.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Science Proves Obama's Miraculous Powers", according to Prof. Marx, et al.

I can hardly wait till Prof. Lysenko confirms these results. Surely someone is pulling a hoax on the humorless loony leftists at the NY Fishwrap.

If Blacks' test scores keep rising for even a year at this rate, they will soon enslave Whites.

Black Woman said...

How about some real reporting without racial bias?

African immigrant students in England outperform whites and Asians and achieve higher than the national average:

http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/News/PressReleases/PressReleaseArchive/2006/130706LambethBlackAfricanPupils.htm