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This post was edited by asiangirl at 2014-11-19 02:29|
CADEMIC INTELLIGENCE STEADIES FOR 2013
My student Ian Deary and one John Maltby had a bland article in the British Psychological Society’s house mag (‘Intelligence and individual differences,’ 1013, 26, 30-33), purporting to give an account of "individual researchers in Britain who were still making key contributions and developing bodies of work to advance our understanding of intelligence's structure, origins and outcomes."
Necessarily missing from this sadly soporific piece was any mention of pioneering research on inspection times and IQ, of the succinct analyses of John Baker’s Race and my own The g Factor, or of Richard Lynn's breathtaking and celebrated work on the IQs of all peoples and nations....
‘WORKING MEMORY’ – OLD HAT
Hilarious toothy ‘North Florida’ Jewish-looking and remarkably named ‘researcher,’ Tracy Packiam Alloway, pronounced she had made a proper test of cogniwallahs’ 1960s concept of ‘working memory’ (or ‘desktop memory’) which the cowardly cognitivists had always vaguely hoped would replace IQ and spare them from accusations of elitism (but they hadn’t dared to do the work – which of course would not have worked). So how was toothy Tracy’s ‘new’ class-free, environmentally-free, race-free concept to be measured (Observer, 16 xii)? In her own words:
“Is there an easy way to test working memory?
You can ask someone to read out a random string of numbers, a number a second, and recite them in backwards order. Keep adding a number until they can't recite them backwards. An average 30-year-old should be able to remember five or six numbers; an average 40-year-old about five; a 50-year-old around four.”
This test, of course, was Digit Span – always one of the eleven famous Wechsler subtests from 1930. (Alas, because it was briefly administered test, and thus relatively unreliable, it misled even the mighty Arthur Jensen (q.v.) to think it might be a rather separate – and more basic – form of intelligence. Hans Eysenck and I had to explain this to Art in 1979.)
As UKIP zoomed to 14% support in some British polls, the Daily Mirror managed to dig out that one of the party’s electoral candidates had discussed “compulsory abortion” as a possibility for foetuses diagnosed with Down’s syndrome or spina bifida. Geoffrey Clarke, a candidate in Kent county elections, had also considered other cost-cutting measures on his website, such as restricting expensive NHS treatments for the over-80s; but such sweet reasonableness was not enough to get the handicap lobbies off his back (18 xii).
UKIP itself – ever eager to dissociate itself from ‘far right’ thinking and maintain that the party was just a single-issue (anti-EU) operation – promptly suspended GC pending disciplinary inquiries. GC’s website also suggested, amongst other things, that Israel and Iran might both be kicked out of the UN, that the Koran should be “updated”, that the government should ban the burka and that same-sex marriage was an “abhorrence”.
‘MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE’ FRAUD CONTINUES IN PANTO
There was general rejoicing in MSM (e.g. D.Telegraph, 20 xii) as neurocogniwallahs repeated the age-old trick of making the g factor vanish. Using a splendid-sounding ‘sample’ of 44,000 “young and healthy” testees, Adam Hampshire and co-workers reported lots of correlations between mental tests (e.g. verbal, reasoning, memory) that were around a modest .30 (rather than the more usual .50) (Neuron 76, ‘Fractionating human intelligence’). Victory over Burt and Jensen was duly proclaimed.
Any problem with this? Any thought about the astonishing 44,000? Where did they hail from? Ah! “Social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook.” That is: they were nerds, probably of around IQ 115. And Edinburgh research had demonstrated by 1990 that the g factor ‘fractionates’ above IQ 100 (see TgF, 1996/2000, Chap.2). Yes, Hampshire et al. had well and truly reinvented the wheel – or part of it, for the lower-IQ distribution had been simply forgotten by the ‘neuroscientists.’
No wonder the ‘brain and mind’ ‘natural scientists’ had to publish in an unheard-of journal having no competence to evaluate psychology!
Hopefully Art Jensen and Phil Rushton gave wry smiles from heaven. How one would like to know if Phil had offered his anti-g colleagues at the University of Western Ontario a photocopy of The g Factor!
Called to discuss IQ testing on the Beeb, senior Mensan Peter Bainbridge volunteered that a testee getting only a score around 60 was “probably a carrot” (Daily Mail, 21 xii). An apology was immediately demanded and obtained by irate ‘learning difficulties’ groups – indicating that at least someone still believed in the reality of IQ.
Perfectionism (as per cleanliness fanatic Marlene Dietrich and many other great actresses in their younger days, a neuroticized and thus automatized version of conscientiousness) was found strongly heritable in a new twin study from U.Michigan (ZeeNews, 5 xi; Wall Street Journal, 29 x).
The study also found that the strength of women’s preferences for slimmer female figures was in line with their general level of perfectionism and itself markedly heritable – giving hope that some female genes might help stave off the Western tendency to obesity that had been let loose as women had been bullied into stopping smoking.
DUMBER AND FATTER
Intelligence made a rare appearance in the West’s media as journalists seized on a report from Aberdeen that ‘cognition’ and obesity were negatively linked and both under substantial genetic control (Neuroscience 10 xi; Medical Express, 10 xi).
Lest anyone thought neo-Communist China daft enough to impose egalitarianism on its schools, the Director of English at Dulwich College, Suzhou, Shanghai explained (Sunday Telegraph, Magazine, 10 xi, reported by Mick Brown):
“Not everybody is able, and also not everybody is a good fit, for Cambridge. There are times when we....need to have a good discussion with both the students and the parents and say, ‘Your son is not an ‘A’ student, he’s a ‘B’ student, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He can get into a good school as a ‘B’ student that he will feel comfortable in and will achieve in and have a very successful life from.’ Those discussions are very important.”
Yes, the sort of educational differentiation advocated by Sir Cyril Burt, pursued unproblematically in post-War Germany, and adumbrated in Chapter 4 of The g Factor (1996, Wiley DePublisher) did not frighten the horses in ‘Red’ China – even though all British political parties abjured it.