Repost from the old site.
A recent post of mine noted that the Black IQ in the US has shown gains of about 5.5 points against Whites in both children and adults. At age 12, the Black IQ is now 90.5, as opposed to 85 30 years ago. Black adult IQ’s have risen from 79 to 84.5 during the same period.
At the same time, Blacks have shown major gains in achievement test results relative to Whites. They narrowed the achievement gap by about 30%, about the same degree to which they reduced the IQ gap. There is even some suggestive evidence that the Blacks who have experienced the most desegregation benefited most of all (Keita 2007). Integration seems to be good for the Black IQ .
Rising IQ’s over time are referred to as the Flynn Effect (FE).
In Britain, the results are even better. West Indian Blacks in the UK now have an IQ of about 93.5 at age 11. Scores for adult Caribbeans in the UK are not known. Studies from 1960’s-70’s showed an IQ of 85 for these same children, but now it has moved up by 8.5 points. Young Caribbean Blacks in the UK have closed the IQ gap by more than half.
Interestingly, this IQ increase has coincided with a spectacular increase in crime among these British-born Jamaicans. The first generation that came in the 1950’s and 60’s were mostly hard-working and law-abiding. But their offspring in many ways have been a disaster.
Here we see once again the phenomenon discussed on this blog before, that the male children of low-wage immigrants to the West are often criminals. This even held for the offspring of Irish, Italian and some Jewish Whites to the US over 100 years ago. With a rising IQ coinciding with a skyrocketing crime rate, again we see the disconnect between the simplistic game that White Nationalists play called “low IQ = high crime”.
Most Caribbean Blacks in the UK are Jamaicaans. In Jamaica, the Black IQ is about 71.5.
A counterargument to these rising Jamaican IQ gains is that these Jamaicans are heavily intermarrying with Whites. In the first generation, up to 25% married Whites, and in the second generation, the figure is said to be up to 50%. These are just anecdotes, not hard figures. The claim is that all of the rise is due to White genes.
But let us look at the argument. If base Jamaican IQ is 71.5, then a 25% outmarriage rate in the first generation raises the IQ 3.5 points to 75. Instead, this generation had an IQ of ~85, 10 points higher than genes would have predicted. A 50% outmarriage rate in the 2nd generation should raise IQ by 6.25 points to 81.5. Instead, the figure is 86 for, 5.5 points higher than expected.
A good analysis of the UK Jamaican data is that, if assuming the benefit of increased White genes, the more complex modern environment in the UK is raising Jamaican IQ by 5-10 points.
In another study by Barbara Tizard (Tizard et al 1972), Jamaican children in the UK who were raised with Whites in an institutional setting had IQ’s of 108, mixed race children had IQ’s of 106, while White children had IQ’s of 103, all at age 4-5. If anything, this study showed a slight advantage for the Black children.
Opponents say that these Jamaicans were selective immigrants – that is, they were the brightest of the bright. James Flynn argues in counterpoint that selective migration could not have raised IQ’s by more than a few points (Nisbett 1998).
Black children in the US score 95 at age 4 and Blacks in Africa score 92 at that age, both scores in comparison to a White score of 100. The Black US score then declines to 85 (a 10 point drop) and the African Black score drops to 67 (an incredible 25 point drop).
Black scores decline as children age, and this recent post suggests that an initial high score followed by sharply declining scores are indicative of earlier maturation among Blacks. I do not know to what extent early Black maturation (Blacks do mature earlier, and this has a genetic basis) explains the strange phenomenon of high Black IQ’s in small children which rapidly decline into adulthood.
But it is interesting that Tizard’s group raised together in an institutional setting, the young Black kids had even higher IQ’s than the Whites.
In the Caribbean nation of Dominica, there has been a stunning rise in IQ over a 36 year period from 1965-2001. There was an 18 point rise during this period, which rose their IQ’s from 61 to 73 (the IQ’s did not rise by 18 points because other groups’ IQ’s were also rising during this period). This represents a gain against UK Whites of 12 IQ points.
The test used was Raven’s Progressive Matrices, a test that is said to be the best available for measuring pure “g” intelligence.
A schematic of the
g, or general intelligence, factor. The ovals represent subtests on an intelligence test.
G is a correlation coefficient of various tests. It measures the tendency of superior test takers (and someone who has a brain that works a bit better), where if they do well on one test, they also tend to do well on all other tests. The
FE is generally not on g because some tests have risen dramatically, others moderately, and still others little or not at all.
Therefore, intelligence has not risen in a general, across-the-board kind of way. However, certain aspects of intelligence have definitely risen, and those aspects would seem to me to have quantifiable benefits in modern society occupationally, academically, and in other ways.
It also predicts success in life in various ways pretty well and is not culturally biased in any way. The researchers gave a vocabulary test to the group and found a similar rise of about 18 IQ points on that test.
Researchers tried to tease out which factors were most related to the IQ rise. The only factor that explained the rise fairly well was schooling, so it appeared that improved schooling was a major cause of the IQ rise. The IQ rise occurred at the time of a major expansion of the school system in Dominica.
Socioeconomic status of parents explained about 10% of the IQ gain. This shows that increasing incomes in the 3rd World may pay off in increased IQ’s in the children. Interestingly, researchers found no effect on family size, types of food consumed, head size, or height. Mysteriously, researchers were unable to explain much of the IQ rise.
These findings are interesting for many reasons. This post suggests that most of the FE is due to increased caloric intake among children, resulting in earlier maturation. Improved nutrition has often been suggested as a reason for the FE but did not seem to be a factor here.
Those who favor a genetic explanation for racial variations in IQ (nearly all of whom are White racists) disparage all societal interventions to increase IQ as worthless. In particular, they oppose spending any more money on educating “inferior” Blacks and Browns, as it is just throwing good money after bad. This study indicates that increased educational spending can indeed have IQ benefits for Blacks.
Some other findings in this study are of interest. One is that the rise is on the Raven’s test, which is the most heavily g -loaded test in existence. Critics of the FE claim that the rise is not on g, or general intelligence, and hence it is worthless. The Dominican rise was definitely on g.
In the West, while there have been major rises in tests of problem-solving, visual analysis, visual intelligence, and verbal analysis, there have been little to no gains in general knowledge, vocabulary, arithmetic, and mathematical analysis.
Some interpret this to mean that there has been no rise in general intelligence – only a rise in “factors subject to environmental bias.” Such an analysis is false – but it is interesting that in Dominica such huge gains are being seen in vocabulary, while in the West, vocabulary gains have only been 4.4 points over 80 years.
A study out of Kenya in 2003 looking at 7 year old children found an incredible 26 point gain over 14 years from 1984-1998 in rural Kenya, leaving them with an IQ of 89 (Daley et al 2003). This apparently represented a 21 point IQ gain over British Whites from the previous IQ of 68.
The rise was correlated with schooling, family structure, nutrition, and the health of the children. Schooling seemed to be the major factor and once again coincided with a major educational expansion by the government. The test used was the children’s version of Raven’s, the Children’s Progressive Matrices, once again a very g-loaded test, so the Kenyan rise was also on g.
The Kenyan, UK, and Dominican studies are important because they show Blacks reducing the Black-White IQ gap by 10-15 points in a few decades. Hereditarians argue that the Black-White gap is permanent in all areas of the world, and that Blacks are a hopelessly stupid race – a drain on humanity. All money spent on raising Black IQ’s is wasted for this reason.
The three studies above show purely environmental factors causing major reductions in the Black-White IQ gap.
Another study found massive gains, that I have not been able to quantify, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, over a 72-74 year period. The gains were probably at least on the order of 20 points. Researchers suggested that increased cognitive stimulation in the form of a more complex world was responsible for the rise.
A common complaint of all of these studies showing rising Black IQ’s, both in tandem with Whites and in closing the Black-White gap, is that the studies are done only on children. But most IQ tests are done on kids. Taking African studies as an example, we can see here that 69% of all tests in this series were done on kids.
In my opinion, testing kids is probably a better way to measure pure neurological efficiency without throwing in all sorts of potentially confounding extraneous variables.
Adults are much more likely than kids to have physical and mental diseases (schizophrenia and depression lower IQ), to be in jail, prison, or homeless, to abuse alcohol and drugs, or to have suffered serious head injuries. All of these factors throw a monkey wrench into tests that should be trying to show us real differences between races.
Just today, the White Nationalist blog Majority Rights posted a well-done article by Richard D. Fuerle, A Possible Explanation for the Flynn Effect. The article’s interesting premise is that the FE is due to increased caloric intake and even increasing obesity in our modern world. This increased food intake would result in earlier maturation and higher IQ’s among children, which would then level off in adulthood.
The author suggests that the FE is not really an IQ increase but an effect of this early maturation, and that people are getting less intelligent, not more so.
I believe this theory is wrong, though it has an interesting premise. James Flynn also disagrees with Fuerle’s article, saying that the author was led astray, as he did not have good knowledge of the literature. Flynn also disagreed with the notion that the FE was only in children and that it leveled off in adulthood, saying that he had refuted this in an article his famous article published in JEM: The Journal of Educational Measurement, in 1984 (Flynn 2008).
Some of the comments following Fuerle’s article are also not correct.
First of all, IQ’s have been rising among all age groups, not just kids. It’s really a cohort effect. James Flynn agreed with me (Flynn 2007) that Black adults of today have the same IQ scores (100) as the Whites of 1957. Blacks of today have somewhat higher scores than the Whites of WW2.
This brings up a conundrum as one wonders if today’s US Blacks would have been able to beat the Japanese in WW2, since they can’t even seem to run Detroit (Taylor 2007). This long and rather involved post of mine deals with a lot of the arguments around the FE, including some of the misconceptions about it. My post theorizing that Blacks of today equal the Whites of 1957 is here.
Here, I show that Black children and adults have indeed made about a 5.5 IQ point gain on Whites over the past 30 years, coinciding with the liberation of Blacks via Civil Rights laws.
The notion that IQ has risen due to increased caloric intake is interesting but probably invalid. Flynn himself says that after 1950, gains due to nutrition were minimal to nil in the West.
Furthermore, the gains should have been across the board, not just in the certain areas that the FE is in. As we see above, the FE is also occurring in 3rd World countries like Kenya and Dominica where excess nutrition is certainly not an issue. In those countries, it is related to better education, if anything. Much of the FE remains mysterious.
The notion that gains are occurring only in certain areas that are “subject to environmental bias” is not correct. First of all, in Dominica, huge gains were seen in vocabulary, one of the areas that is not seeing much gain in the West.
Vocabulary, general knowledge, basic math, and mathematical analysis are all subject to environmental influence too, but Western society has not been promoting these areas so much.
The areas that the FE is occurring in – verbal analysis, analytical reasoning, visual analysis, visuospatial reasoning, on-the-spot problem solving for which no previous method was known, etc. – are areas that our increasingly sophisticated society has been promoting.
We have promoted this in terms of an increasingly complex society and the mass promotion of scientific thinking. The visuospatial aspect may be due to video games, cell phones, computers, and many things that need programming – boom boxes, car radios, microwaves, answering machines, thermostats, on and on.
My personal opinion is that TV has a lot to do with it. TV shows are increasingly complex, and kids sit in front of TVs with clickers clicking through 50 different channels one after the other. The camera usually only focuses on something for a short time, then moves on. Even jokes and dialog on TV come at a rapid pace. Movies seem to have gotten a lot more complex in recent decades too.
Lastly, the FE is only ending or reversing in Scandinavia. It is still going full blast in the US and in the 3rd world.
The notion that IQ is rising while “real intelligence” – general knowledge, math and vocabulary – is not cannot be supported. Those three things are no more “real intelligence” than the stuff that is going up in the FE.
Another argument advanced later in the discussion has to do with Malcolm Gladwell’s misreading of the FE. Gladwell says that the gains have been almost exclusively on a subtest of the WISC called Similarities. Although gains on Similarities reflect increased use of scientific thinking in our society, these gains are disparaged in the comments section as showing a phony effect of increased intelligence when there has been none.
First of all, the commenters are wrong in that gains on Similarities are a meaningless artifact. Similarities tests for the ability to solve problems on-the-spot without a previously learned method. Raven’s tests for the same thing – it is said to test for the “ability to make sense of the buzzing confusion of life.” Second, Gladwell is wrong. Major gains have occurred on many tests, not just Similarities:
Look at the gains:
Picture Arrangement 21.5
Object Assembly 17.35
Block Design 15.9
Picture Completion 11.7
A nice photo of James Flynn, along with Richard Lynn and Philippe Rushton, from an obscure document reporting on a conference on intelligence in Amsterdam last year, is here. The link also features a short, interesting interview with Flynn along with some interesting abstracts on intelligence.
Some abstracts I found interesting were those showing that the more intelligent people are, the less likely they are to believe in God. Also, among believers, the more intelligent people were, the more liberal and less literal they were in their beliefs. These findings also applied at a national and ethnic level.
Other abstracts showed that the more intelligent people are, they longer they live and the healthier they are. A recent finding not in the document was that in the West, the smarter you are, the more likely you are to be a vegetarian.
- Daley, Y. C.; Whaley, S. E.; Sigman, M. D.; Espinosa, M. P.; and Neuman, C. (2003). “IQ On the Rise: The Flynn effect in Rural Kenyan Children.” Psychological Science 14, 215-219.
- Flynn, James R. (November 2007). Personal communication.
- Flynn, James R. (January 2008). Personal communication.
- Keita, Lamin. (December 2007). Personal communication.
- Nisbett, R. E. (1998). “Race, Genetics, and IQ.” In C. Jencks and M. Phillips (eds.) Black-White Test Score Differences. Washington, D. C.: Brookings Institution.
- Taylor, Jared. (December 2007). Personal communication.
- Tizard, B., Cooperman, O., Joseph A., & Tizard, J. (1972). “Environmental Effects on Language Development: A Study of Young Children in Long-stay Residential Nurseries.” Child Development, 43, 337-358.