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Scientists Discover Happy Gene [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-11-24 16:42:58 |Display all floors

A gene (called 5-HTT, responsible for distribution of serotonin by nerve cells) apparently having “a strong influence” on ‘contentment with life’ (cf. non-neuroticism, q.v.) was reported by researchers in a study of 2,500 American subjects conducted from the London School of Economics (led by a behavioural economist, Jan-Emmanuel de Neve (Telegraph, 6 v; Guardian, 6 v; Daily Mail, 6 v). Writing in the Journal of Human Genetics, De Neve described how roughly 40% said they were "very satisfied" with life, and among these, 35.4% had two ‘long’ variants of the gene. Of those who were "dissatisfied" with life, only 26.2% had two long variants. {Eysenck & Prell had reported a substantial heritability for neuroticism from a twin study in 1951.}

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Post time 2014-11-24 16:43:40 |Display all floors

What with third-world immigration and its own higher social classes failing to breed, Denmark was estimated to be likely to lose nine IQ points in the next sixty years. Using available figures for immigration and IQ between 1979 and 2010, top Danish psychologist Helmuth Nyborg (U. Aarhus, retd 2007), and speculations and assumptions conjured from the theorizing and empirical work of Richard Lynn, thus concluded that, though “fertile, low-IQ non-Western immigrants” might be “the ultimate winners,” they would “conquer a lesser country” – including one higher in conservatism/authoritarianism than today’s idyllic socialistic Denmark (Personality & Individual Differences, ii).

Strangely, the paper proceeded without express mention of the actual rise in IQ scores found in the West in the last half of the twentieth century – first by Tuddenham (1948), later by Flynn and Lynn; and poor editing* yielded a number of malapropisms, incomprehensibilities and even omission of data [from Fig. 1]; but the gist was clear and perhaps even effective – for Denmark restored guarded borders with Germany and Sweden c.10 v [see previous].

For more on Richard Lynn’s oeuvre, see e.g. my reviews of Dysgenics, Eugenics, IQ & WoN, Global Inequality etc. at Amazon Books.

PAID’s editors even asked that the paper be cited as being published 31 ii 2011....

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Post time 2014-11-24 16:44:15 |Display all floors

Despite months of efforts to oust him from Germany’s Socialist[-Democratic] Party for racism, top German banker Thilo Sarrazin happily refused to mince his words, saying that anyone denying the hereditary basis of intelligence was “vacuous or criminally lazy-minded.” (The Local [Berlin], 4 v)

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Post time 2014-11-24 16:44:49 |Display all floors

Cambridge U.’s neurobabbling ‘autism’ expert, Simon Boring-Cohen (brother of comic genius Sasha Baron-Cohen, aka Borat) was taken to task in the Torygraph (by Alasdair Palmer, 17 iv (Seven)) for attributing* human cruelty to a lack of empathy, thus apparently denying “individual responsibility.” Yet psychiatrist B-Cohen was probably vaguely right, and might have even been reading The g Factor (Chap. 1), which detailed “the longest-running distinction between mental abilities” (tracing ‘tender-mindedness’ back to Shakespeare’s King Lear and William James):

    ....Classically, the Verbal-Performance discrepancy [in types of intelligence] was often held to be related to personality and to type of psychopathology – with delinquents, criminals and personality-disordered patients scoring relatively ‘low-verbal’ (accounting for the CIA’s long-standing interest in V-P differences when testing potential spies and informers). Typically, women are more ‘verbal/intuitive’ than men; likewise, women score higher on the moderately correlated personality measures of tender-mindedness, openness/imagination, affection, empathy, trust, idealism and aesthetic and religious values (Minton & Schneider, 1980; Sidanius & Ekehammer, 1982; Gibson, 1979; Vernon, 1982).

*In his 2011 Zero Degrees of Empathy: A New Theory of Human Cruelty, Allen Lane.

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Post time 2014-11-24 16:45:16 |Display all floors
Monday, April 25, 2011

Although human height differences had long been recognized as strongly (broadly) heritable (i.e.genetically determined but not necessarily parentally transmissible), it turned out that twenty years of searching (by modern geneticists, using modern DNA-scouring techniques) for the precise genes involved had yielded no result (BBC Radio 1, 18 iv, 09:30. ‘Andrew Marr Show’; Guardian, 18 iv, Jonathan Latham) – no more than had IQ/g/intelligence divulged its precise genetic basis.

{This was perhaps because – like bricks in a house – each contributing gene had value not on its own, as a direct cause, but as and when it came into play in conjunction with other exactly positioned genes [as I had explained to the Galton Institute in 1983 – ‘Intelligence and inspection time: an ontogenetic relationship?’, published 1984 in The Biology of Human Intelligence].}

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Post time 2014-11-24 16:46:03 |Display all floors

Charles Spearman’s notion that the g factor is stronger across lower levels of g – a notion strongly backed, discussed and linked to ‘inspection time’ findings in Chapter 2 of The g Factor (1996/2000) – turned out to have received further confirmation.

From the University of Texas, Elliot M. Tucker-Drob (2009, Developmental Psychology 45) reported that a general factor accounted for approximately 75% of the variation in seven different cognitive abilities among very low IQ adults, but only accounted for approximately 30% of the variation in abilities among very high IQ adults (Wapedia, iv 2011).

This point (expounded and elaborated several times in the past decade by Harrison Kane and myself – e.g. 2003; 2006, Educational Psychology 26) is perhaps, strangely, the most important in the entire heated g debate (as explained in Chapter 2 of The g Factor): simply, it grants that Thurstone and Gardner were substantially right about the modest diversity of types of intelligence in the high-IQ range while granting that Burt and Jensen were right about the massive strength of the g factor in the low-IQ range. – An academic (but most ‘political’) argument solved (as Edinburgh psychologists [the Edinburgh Structural Psychometrics Group, ‘SPG’] had realized by c. 1987 as they were granted access to Dr Tom Kellaghan’s data [collected at St Patrick’s College, Dublin] on 10,500 Éirish secondary schoolchildren*)! Not that the critics of g have paid the slightest attention! {Simply: general intelligence is like money. The more people have, the more diverse (since non-necessitated) their investments become.}

A particular longstanding example of ‘differentiation’ was the work of Ellis Torrance (1915-2003) which linked low g and low creativity but left the two variables only weakly associated across their higher ranges.

The idea of differentiation with increasing age and general ability in children could also be traced back to the writing of Anne Anastasi (1958, Differential Psychology, Macmillan;1970, Psychological Testing, Macmillan) and had achieved support in work by the authors of the Differential Ability Scales [for children, based on the British Ability Scales] who reported by 1990 that the number of mental ability factors increased from one at age 3 to three by age 9 (Colin D. Elliott et al., DAS Introductory and Technical Handbook, p.207 [San Antonio : Psychological Corporation]): "...Summary of Confirmatory Factor Analyses -- The CFA's suggest that the structure of abilities becomes more differentiated with the examinee's increasing age. It has been a robust, but often overlooked, finding that, as the child's age & ability increase, abilities become more differentiated (Anastasi, 1970)..."


1987 'The importance of intelligence.' In S. & Celia Modgil, Arthur Jensen: Consensus and Controversy. Brighton : Falmer, pp.251-265 & 278-283. [C. R. BRAND]

1996 ‘Intelligence and the differentiation hypothesis.’Intelligence 23, 2, 105-132. [I. J. DEARY, V. EGAN, G. J. GIBSON, ELIZABETH J. AUSTIN, C. R. BRAND & T. KELLAGHAN]


General intelligence (Spearman's g) accounts for over 50% of the reliable variance in a battery of mental tests in a sample of the general population. In a “differentiation hypothesis” originally suggested by Spearman it is hypothesized that the degree to which g pervades performance on mental tests is greater at lower ability levels. In addition to providing a critical review, the study presented here tests the differentiation hypothesis: (a) at different ability levels and ages; (b) when groups are selected on the basis of a wide range of criterion abilities; and (c) by developing new statistical techniques for sampling groups of different ability levels. Data used were the Differential Aptitude Test results of over 10,500 Irish schoolchildren aged 14 through 17 years. Of groups selected on the basis of verbal, numerical, or spatial ability, the below-average ability groups had a more pervasive g factor, confirming the differentiation hypothesis.

2003 ‘’Why ignore the g factor?’ In H.Nyborg, The Scientific Study of General Intelligence [Festschrift for Arthur Jensen]. Oxford : Pergamon [CHRISTOPHER.R.BRAND, DENIS CONSTALES & HARRISON KANE].

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Post time 2014-11-24 16:46:30 |Display all floors

Eugenics sympathizer James Watson, 83, who had never lifted a finger to support Art Jensen or any of the rest of the London School, was rushed in Greece by some twenty hooded protesters waving sticks and screaming 'Racist'; but other audience members intervened and he was unhurt and able to continue with his lecture at Patras University (New Scientist, 15 iv).

{Watson had previously had to resign as Director of the prestigious Cold Harbor Spring Laboratory following a mild off-the-cuff doubt about Africa expressed to a supposedly friendly journalist.}

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