IQ and Politics - Q &A

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"Ignacio Moreno" <>



why looking IQ if it is genetically defined?


Mon, 15 Nov 2004 23:32:32 +0100

I found it interesting to look your comparisons among IQ data, income data, and US election results. Reading the mails you posted I have learnt a few things. According to you, IQ is a measurement of problem solving capacity, it becomes fixed at about 5 y.o., and it depends mostly on inherited competences. Do you mean pure genetic inheritance? Is nutrition the only phenotypic factor influencing IQ? Another important thing is that average IQs differ when comparing populations that belong to different races. Are these variations constant in different geographic locations inside and outside EEUU?

Sloan replies: Identical twin studies indicate that 60-80% of IQ is genetically inherited. Besides food, early brain development is affected by mothering, including physical stimulation, eye contact, and verbalization. Infants in some poorly run orphanages have shown brain defects from a lack of these. Average IQ's vary by region, leading Lynn and Sloan to suggest that those differences might have developed from the White/ North Asian human subgroup adapting to their harsher ice age climate.

In one hand, you say that IQ variations only explain about 10-20% of income level variation in the US. In the other hand your data show stronger correlation between income and voting results than correlation between IQ and voting results in 2004. The fact that more blacks vote democrat and that their IQs are significantly lower than whites IQs indicate a strong bias in the data and suggest that there is no true correlation between IQ and election results. I dont see the point of a making statistical comparisons between a variable which is genetically determined (IQ) with a variable which depends on social, educational, economical and developmental factors. It would be much more interesting to analyse other skills which are probably more influential in political decision making (social skills, self-knowledge, the ability to infer general rules). Such skills are a very important part of human intelligence, and probably much more important in political issues and in general human development than IQ. When comparing such skills race differences fade and the resulting intelligence is a question of personal race-independent achievements. Election results vary greatly in the US depending on the perceptions for particular candidates. I would consider much more likely that social and self perception is much more important for such kind of election than actual IQ. More precisely, if I was a partisan representative looking for key factors to bear in mind I would never look at average IQ as an important trait to deal with. You have no influence on it!

Anyway, I learnt a lot. Thank you! Ignacio Moreno, Madrid, Spain

Sloan replies: I agree that traits like social skills and self-knowledge would be more interesting than IQ for analysis with politics. The original focus of this website was on such traits. But the several pages I developed on IQ matters became by far the most popular ones for viewers. So I added more pages on IQ. Then the public's appetite for IQ information (especially state differences) dramatically increased even further after the 2004 election. A number of those increased viewers of my website surf onto my other web pages dealing with non-IQ skills. Like you, I feel that society will benefit more from analysis of non-IQ skills that are more important to success than is IQ. Unlike IQ, which is fixed and favors some races, social and self-control skills can be improved and seem abundant in all races. The implications in politics and education for such findings could be dramatically beneficial. One reason IQ is so studied is that we have lots of data on it, extending for many years. In contrast, there is little data or agreement on how to measure social skills, integrity, and similarly useful traits. My Social Quotient approach, tested with 2400 high school students, is covered in detail in this website. This approach could be used to reliably test for Integrity and other difficult-to-measure traits. This site also describes findings from a separate method I used to test Ambition.

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