Arnold Kling  

I am not an IQ-ist

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I think of Bryan as an IQ-ist. To me, IQ-ism is the doctrine that IQ determines many things in life, including income and health.

I take the view that cultural and emotional factors matter. On cultural matters, see Judith Harris' The Nurture Assumption.

I think that how well my AP statistics students do on the AP depends a lot on the attitudes of key student leaders in the classroom. If the leaders are pushing everyone to do their best, then everyone takes the test and most pass. If the leaders are indifferent, then only a few students will pass.

My guess is that someone with a high IQ in an adverse cultural setting will not necessarily be healthy and wealthy. Someone with an average IQ in an achievement-oriented cultural setting will tend to achieve a lot.

What IQ-ism and culturalism have in common is that they imply a less monetary view of the determinant of economic class. While a person's lifetime wealth will tend to be correlated with his or her inherited monetary wealth, this is not due to strong causality.

In addition to IQ and culture, I believe that emotional health matters a great deal. I am not sure how to define emotional health, but I know it when I see it, so to speak.

Cultural influences and emotional health cannot be measured as accurately as IQ. In regressions to explain things like wealth and health, this puts IQ at an advantage and the other factors at a disadvantage. But I do not think that justifies IQ-ism.

Finally, every IQ-ist needs to be aware of the Flynn effect, which is the documented increase in average IQ over time. This suggests that IQ has a large environmental component.


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CATEGORIES: Income Distribution



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The author at The Liberal Order in a related article titled Intelligence Quotient (IQ) vs. Emotional Intelligence (EI) writes:
    Arnold Kling challenges Bryan Caplan's IQ-ism, arguingIn addition to IQ and culture, I believe that [Tracked on June 14, 2006 8:12 AM]
COMMENTS (6 to date)
Ben writes:

On cultural matters, see Judith Harris' The Nurture Assumption

That's like saying "I take the view that inborn factors matter. On nativist matters, see BF Skinner."

Steve Sailer writes:

Human behavior is enormously complicated, and any singly tool, such as IQ, that can help explain just a few percent of human behavior is extremely useful.

The issues is that while IQ can't explain even 10% of human behavior, it can probably explain at least 1% -- and yet I doubt that economists devote even 1/1000th of a percent of their explanations to IQ. And that's solely due to various biases and insecurities.

Clearly, there is a market niche for an economist to exploit here. Perhaps some economist would like to study this as a classic example of market failure.

Bourg writes:

Listening Steve Sailer and his IQ monomania, one could be forgiven for believing that he is expert rather than a popularizer of studies mentioned on science blogs and of bits and pieces of information obtained from a few friends who are experts.

The fact here is that this guy has really no idea of how much of a focus economists give to innate ability because he has no real familiarity with an strand of economic literature.

George P writes:

Both the definition and the available measurements of IQ are totally inadequate or, at best, useless.

What is the point in measuring IQ if there's no correlation between IQ and anything that happens in your life?

Which of course easily goes further by adding that may be our definition of intelligence is totaly flawed?

Is intelligence the ability to solve puzzles or the ability to achieve health and wealth and ultimately some sort of happyness?

I am a member of Mensa, by the way....

Mike writes:

The big problem is, as has been stated, that IQ tests generally are sensitive to environmental factors and such. For example, it is not unusual for IQ tests to include questions on evaluating different statements from Venn diagrams. Well, as someone with a decent training in mathematics (which you for example also could get by reading a graduate course/book in microeconomics) will have no problems at all doing.

To argue that such tests are not very sensitive to educational background and time is plain silly.

Frank McGahon writes:
That's like saying "I take the view that inborn factors matter. On nativist matters, see BF Skinner."

Said by someone who hasn't read the Nurture Assumption. If you had bothered to read it (or even a precis!) instead of inferring Harris' point from what people have written about her on blogs, you'd see that what she suggests is that children are socialised by their peers so, yes, culture does matter.

The controversial aspect of her book is *not* to say that *everything* is genetically determined, but rather to say that, contra received wisdom, parenting and home environment doesn't really count for anything significant and that any similarities one might detect between parents and children and between siblings are more likely to be genetic than due to any shared environment (except in the case of siblings who share peers).

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