More Thoughts on Short Time Preference

One of my finest commenters, Tulio, comments:

Does anyone know if IQ correlates with deferred gratification? Do blacks with IQ’s of 100+ defer gratification at the same rate as whites?

Yes.
Time preference correlates very well with IQ. My best friend for a year or two around here was a young 23 year old more or less gangbanger or gang associate. The guy may have had an IQ of 80, I have no idea honestly. He was Guatemalan, not an ounce of Black in him. This guy literally was incapable of thinking beyond the next 24 hours. I am serious. And any money he got was gone as soon as it hit his fingers. Then the next day he would be standing there looking lost saying, “Whoaaaa dude I am broke. What happened to my money? Dohhhhh.”
He was like those stories of Blacks with short time preferences squared.
A major White nationalist blogger, since left WN, whose name now eludes me, wrote on his site a while back that Hispanics have also been shown to have short time preferences. I am not sure what data he based that on, if any.
There was also a report of a Brazilian Indian tribe that had no time preference at all. They are called the Piraha. The guy who worked with them said they never saved up anything. Whatever food you gave them was immediately consumed on the spot. If there was too much to eat, they would just eat what they wanted and walk away. They literally did not save anything from one day to the next.
So you see, short time preference is not limited to Blacks and it is definitely found in other races, at the very least in Amerindians and possibly also in Hispanics.
I have no idea if Blacks with higher IQ’s can delay gratification better than those with lower IQ’s, but I would imagine that the lower IQ Blacks would be absolutely the worst at delaying gratification. I would also assume that Blacks with higher IQ’s would be the ones who tended to be better at delaying gratification.
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0 thoughts on “More Thoughts on Short Time Preference”

  1. Some thoughts:
    1. Not true for me and my fiance. My IQ is 149, his is 137. We’re both definitely in the short time preference group. We suck at finances. We suck at saving. We suck at not spending loads of money impulsively. We do, however, both come from poor economic backgrounds and were raised like that.
    2. The IQ test most commonly given, the one with the written questions, isn’t a good indicator of actual intelligence. It’s a good indicator of memory, and that you were paying attention in school. The IQ test that MENSA does that involves rotating three-dimensional objects is a far better test for measuring actual intelligence, rather than amount of education, but that isn’t the test frequently given in schools and it’s biased towards men due to the tendency for men to have mathematical / spacial intelligence while women tend to have lingual / social intelligence. There is no perfect IQ test that I’m aware of.
    3. You can be a total genius and if you don’t care about school because you’re depressed or something, do poorly in school and thus do poorly on the standard IQ test.

    1. IQ tests are pretty scientific. They correlate well with all sorts of things: scholastic achievement, head size, even brain size on MRI and a test of how efficiently the brain users glucose. In addition, they line up very well with tests for reaction time, a pure, raw measurement of sheer brain speed.

      1. http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2013/02/ideas-bank/raise-your-iq-instantly
        A good example of how IQ doesn’t equate intelligence: a friend of mine who had an IQ of 153, was a MENSA member, and thought that the stars were all tiny fixed objects the same distance from the earth and much smaller than our sun. Her brother was an astrophysicist.
        Also, brain size has little to do with intelligence. http://www.livescience.com/32142-are-big-brains-smarter.html

        1. Nooo, that article is not accurate. Brain size has about a .42 correlation with IQ. In the social sciences, that is pretty good. I think the correlation goes up to .5 or .6 if you use MRI.

          1. Can I have a link to the study or other material you’re referring to?

  2. Filipinos and Mexicans delay gratification all the time. They send money to their families constantly, when they could just spend it (referring to those working overseas). Not only that, they send a huge chunk of their money home.

  3. I’m really leery of time preference as an indication of intelligence. It is only that, an indication, a correlation, but not an innate facet of intelligence. It’s like saying dislike of gangsta rap is proportionate to IQ size. I would put money on that postulation but in no way are one’s opinions of gangsta rap interwoven with the mechanics of intelligence. Intelligence lends itself to behaviors but they are merely tangential offshoots.
    The real trait that long-term orientation describes is that of being sensible, but of course, most intelligent people tend to be sensible, but that is only because they see the grand, holistic picture that allows them to comprehend and articulate boundaries of the physical and intangible sort. Most normal people steer consistently through these obstacles in an identical manner, but there are oddballs who react to boundaries in completely unpredictable manners which say nothing of their intelligence. And there are many dim people who don’t blow their wad instantly.
    Time orientation is a character, perhaps cultural, trait, but it tells us nothing about intelligence, whereas the flipside of that correlation is less dubious: intelligence can tell us a lot about time orientation.

  4. I’m too over-calculating that I don’t even try at things if I calculate my efforts won’t be paid off or if something will bring more trouble in the end.

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