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IQ got a rare mention in MSM (D.Telegraph, 3 xi, Glenda Cooper):
"Prof Kevin Beaver’s longitudinal research [at Florida State University], published last week in the journal Intelligence, claims that, while reading bedtime stories, having meals together and engaging in conversation may help socialise your child, it has no effect on their IQ. No matter how many times you read Each Peach Pear Plum, or force them to the British Museum, it won’t get them the grades for that ideal secondary school or the dream job; your genes determine your children’s intelligence."
Excellently, the Daily Mail expanded (4 xi, Sarah Griffiths):
"Previous research that has detected parenting-related behaviours affect intelligence is perhaps incorrect because it hasn't taken into account genetic transmission," Professor Beaver explained. Some studies have shown that parents who socialise their children by reading to them, for example, have smarter children than parents who do not engage in this way. But others argue that intelligence is passed down from parent to children genetically, not socially.
To investigate which theory is true, Professor Beaver looked at families raising adopted children.‘When we tested these two competing hypotheses in this adoptive-based research design, we found there was no association between parenting and the child's intelligence later in life once we accounted for genetic influences,’ Professor Beaver said. The finding is published in the journal Intelligence.
Studying children who share no DNA with their adoptive parents eliminates the possibility that parental socialisation is really just a marker for genetic transmission, he explained.‘In previous research, it looks as though parenting is having an effect on child intelligence, but in reality the parents who are more intelligent are doing these things and it is masking the genetic transformation of intelligence to their children.’
BIOLOGY OF POLITICS
The idea that basic political stances were inborn, first jokingly mooted by Gilbert & Sullivan (1882, Iolanthe*) and confirmed by Eysenck & Eaves (1977, Nature) was given further support in Current Biology (xi 2014) (Washington Post, 3 xi). A team led by Virginia Tech scientists tested 83 volunteers to determine their political leanings. Then the researchers put the participants in a functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, machine, had them look at 80 disgusting, threatening, pleasant or neutral images, and watched how the participants’ brains reacted. Later, the volunteers were asked to rate how disgusting, pleasant or threatening each image was.
When shown a disgusting image--particularly one of a mutilated animal body--the conservatives’ brains reacted more strongly, and in different ways, compared with the liberals' brains. The difference between the two groups was stark; also, oddly enough, the fMRI responses didn't match the conscious ratings that participants gave the pictures. "People tend to think that their political views are purely cognitive (i.e., rational)," the study authors wrote. "However, our results further support the notion that emotional processes are tightly coupled to complex and high-dimensional human belief systems, and such emotional processes might play a much larger role than we currently believe, possibly outside our awareness of its influence.”
GENES FOR PERSONALITY
Hereditarianism had a good day as London researchers reported finding some 100 genes that were involved in autism – hugely advertised as to be blamed environmentally on ‘refrigerator mothers’ around 1965; and a large European project reported a gene for happiness which had its longest form in the good-natured, heartily-breakfasting Danes and its shortest in the miserable and surly French (Brits and Americans were in between, but on the happier side if they had Danish ancestry) (D.Telegraph, 30 x).
Two days earlier, Medical Xpress (28 x) had announced a crime breakthrough. A study of nearly 800 Finns jailed for both violent and non-violent crimes, and compared to the general population, found variants of two genes, called MAO-A and CDH13, to be “associated with extremely violent behaviour. No substantial signal was observed for either MAO-A or CDH13 among non-violent offenders, indicating that findings were specific for violent offending,” said the study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
As AmRen noted: In A Troublesome Inheritance, Nicholas Wade cited a study which found American Blacks were fifty times more likely to have the variant of MAO-A that was associated with propensity to violence.
RACE REALISM REALISTIC
On the 20th anniversary of the publication of The Bell Curve, the ‘controversial’ Charles Murray was asked whether anything had changed. ‘Nothing,’ he effectively replied (AEI Ideas, 16 x):
What’s happened in the 20 years since then? Not much. The National Assessment of Educational Progress shows a small narrowing of the [B-W IQ] gap between 1994 and 2012 on its reading test for 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds (each by the equivalent of about 3 IQ points), but hardly any change for 17-year-olds (about 1 IQ-point-equivalent). For the math test, the gap remained effectively unchanged for all three age groups.
On the SAT, the black-white difference increased slightly from 1994 to 2014 on both the verbal and math tests. On the reading test, it rose from .91 to .96 standard deviations. On the math test, it rose from .95 to 1.03 standard deviations.
If you want to say that the NAEP and SAT results show an academic achievement gap instead of an IQ gap, that’s fine with me, but it doesn’t change anything. The mean group difference for white and African American young people as they complete high school and head to college or the labor force is effectively unchanged since 1994. Whatever the implications were in 1994, they are about the same in 2014.