Testosterone, Race and IQ: Avenues for Research

Third Eye writes:

I think exploring the testosterone factor might be fertile for getting at the roots of IQ differences between different groups.
Blacks are the high testosterone group, Asians are the low testosterone group, and Caucasians are somewhere in between the two. There is also disparity between the IQ scores of black males and black females.
It would be overly simplistic to draw too much of a negative correlation between testosterone and IQ, as we don’t have evidence that there is a gender disparity in IQ performance for Asians or Caucasians as there is for blacks. Maybe there’s a threshold level where testosterone becomes a significant impediment to developing cognitive ability. Maybe testosterone is one factor that is synergistic with others in interfering with the self control required to develop the cognitive intellect in the formative years.
It would also be interesting to compare the premium on intelligence as an adaptive characteristic between tribal and civil societies. Maybe high testosterone levels are adaptive in tribal societies while lower testosterone levels are adaptive in civil societies.

This is great stuff from Third Eye. I would love to explore this sort of thing in depth. I already have some theories about it.

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19 thoughts on “Testosterone, Race and IQ: Avenues for Research”

  1. White males and black males would be much closer in testosterone levels than black males and black females, so where does that leave the hypothesis?
    If testosterone had a strong affect on IQ, the IQ ranking would go:
    1. female Asian,
    2. female white,
    3. female black,
    4.male Asian,
    5. male white,
    6. male black.
    And there would presumably be a big gap between the females and males.

      1. So the whole thing is that men have 1 or 2 points lower IQs than women of the same race (on average) who have a lot less testosterone. So its a pretty tiny effect…

        1. 2-3 points.
          There are twice as many Black women as Black men with IQ’s over 120. There are 5X as many Black women as Black men with IQ’s over 140. That’s not a tiny effect.
          And within the White race, as IQ rises, testosterone declines. Bodies get skinnier, athletic ability declines as does sexual interest and activity.
          As testosterone rises among Whites, bodies get more muscled, athletic ability rises as does sexual interest and activity.

        2. I see. Are there 5 times as many white women as white men with IQs over 140? I remember that Harvard professor getting hounded out of a job (Larry Summers?) for suggesting that there are more top male mathematicians because there are more men at the extremes of the IQ range.
          How strong is the correlation between testosterone and IQ among white males?

        3. NO! The correlation on excess high IQ’s among females is only found among Blacks.
          The article explaining about the correlation between high IQ and low testosterone is in one of those links in my post.

        4. “The correlation on excess high IQ’s among females is only found among Blacks.”
          Strange. I wonder if that is the case with African blacks too or some legacy of black America history.
          It also raises the question of whether it is environmental in the sense that black females clearly are better behaved in school and more studious……although probably that is so because of their lower t.

        5. @Steven
          Your question about African blacks is an excellent one and there could be statistical data to explore it with.

  2. Does the testosterone-IQ link hold for similarly aged males in all age groups? Has there been any research on IQs in gays? If we’re trying to see testosterone’s effects, looking across cultures and from men to women seems hardly helpful.
    Having some specifics on testosterone’s effects would be helpful:
    http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1519/929.full
    *Does testosterone affect lateralization of brain and behaviour?
    http://www.jneurosci.org/content/32/2/674.full
    *Fetal Testosterone Influences Sexually Dimorphic Gray Matter in the Human Brain
    …I have many saved, but my bookmarks aren’t labeled.
    Regarding sex frequency, an obvious explanation is that people with higher IQs are socially awkward. Back in high school I used to defend myself and become anxious when someone called me weird (now I don’t mind). I’ve been called “the weirdest person ever” and “socially inept” multiple times. I don’t go to bars, etc and avoid most group gatherings and group conversations. Luckily I’m physically attractive.
    I can’t explain the lack of masturbation though. Are there interesting differences in type of porn preferred?

    1. I think we would agree that looking at the testosterone issue in an overly simplistic, deterministic fashion wouldn’t get us very far. A lot of complex interplay between testosterone and environmental or cultural factors is quite likely. It may be that kids with higher testosterone levels need more help with impulse control if they are to develop their intelligence. The combination of high testosterone with a culture that is downright contemptuous towards impulse control and intellectual learning is a formula for disaster.

  3. For a whole bunch of interesting stuff on testosterone and DHEA (androgens), and melatonin, and other stuff, vis a vis brain development and related maters, see James Howard’s anthropogeny.com. He does not speak much about I.Q. as such, but he writes a lot about the evolution of the brain, and the impact of these hormones thereon. Links might be bad; they are from sept 2005; see archive.org if need be. anthropogeny.com is still up, so all these items are there, somewhere…
    http://www.anthropogeny.com/Explanation%20of%20the%20Flynn%20Effect.htm
    Explanation of the Flynn Effect
    http://www.anthropogeny.com/Androgens%20in%20Human%20Evolution.htm
    Androgens in Human Evolution. A New Explanation of Human Evolution
    http://www.anthropogeny.com/Original%20Theory%20of%20Human%20Evolution.htm
    Dehydroepiandrosterone, Melatonin, & Testosterone in Human Evolution
    http://www.anthropogeny.com/The%20Secular%20Trend%20and%20Failing%20Schools.htm
    The Secular Trend and Failing Schools
    http://www.anthropogeny.com/The%20Biological%20Basis%20of%20Western%20Civilization.htm
    The Biological Basis of Western Civilization

    1. Thanks Alan,
      I’d just worry that Howard is overly emphasizing his own specifics. It seems plain silly to think there is *the* mechanism. There are papers on nutritional density (meat), omega-3s/seafood, cooked tubers, sexual selection, …lots. I think Ray Peat has good information on brain size, growth, intelligence, scattered throughout his articles and books. I mean testosterone will affect the brain, but what about thyroid hormones, etc? There are clear results in other animals regarding brain development. Increasing body/brain temperature speeds reaction time and increases intelligence. DHA plays an important role in “energy” use/availability and makes up a significant portion of brain lipids.
      I haven’t seen the melatonin/DHEA northern latitude idea before. That’s interesting.

      1. Yes, Howard overly emphasizes his own specifics. Don’t we all?
        I agree that brain development occurs like a symphony, with scores of factors. Thyroid hormones are extremely important (one of my special interests). Pituitary hormones are very important. Lots of stuff is very important.

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