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IQ in Everyday Life

  1. Aug 31, 2004 #1
    While there's certainly a lot of sources that show a link between IQ and both academic and economical success, I was wondering if the members of this board could list sources on how IQ effects other aspects of life. Probability of getting divorced, probability of going to prison, etc. It will be much appreciated. Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2004 #2
    One of the most read sources is The Bell Curve. It discusses the very items you mentioned and a lot more. In fact, much of the book is devoted to making the point that IQ is very important to many important life outcomes. The authors present numerous studies, graphs, correlations, etc. and then discuss their implications.

    There are two people who have written extensively on the relatively narrow topic you mentioned, using precisely the same words as you used:
    Linda Gottfredson
    Robert Gordon

    If you are interested, I am willing to page through some of their papers and present some of their findings here. One area of particualr interest is health. Gottfredson has presented a lot of data showing that good health correlates positively with IQ.
  4. Aug 31, 2004 #3
    "Higher intelligence might lower mortality from all causes and from
    specific causes partly by affecting known risk factors for disease, such
    as smoking". Is that serious?

    It is probably that the Evariste Galois' IQ were high. Nevertheless...

    And What great notice: "good health correlates positively with IQ". Rather, IQ would correlate with good health. :zzz:
  5. Aug 31, 2004 #4
  6. Sep 1, 2004 #5
    I disagree but let's take that debate in another thread shall we? There's plenty of threads already with that discussion. I would much rather have this thread concentrate on how much IQ effects everyday decisions.
  7. Sep 1, 2004 #6
    If you can do that, I will greatly appreciate it.
  8. Sep 1, 2004 #7
    Robert Gordon perspective

    I am somewhat busy, but have taken time to extract a few comments from one source. As time permitts, I will try to post some additional material from Gordon and some from other sources. Keep in mind that the following material is not the entire article, nor is it the entire portion from Gordon. The full text should be easy to locate with a search engine.

    Intelligence and Social Policy: A Special Issue of the Multidisciplinary Journal INTELLIGENCE. Edited by Douglas K. Detterman. Jan/Feb 1997 (Vol 24, No.1).

    Everyday Life as an Intelligence Test: Effects of Intelligence and Intelligence Context by Robert A. Gordon. For many years intelligence has been subjected to testing, primarily in academics and for the workplace, to see how well people are suited for different tasks. Along with this testing has been an assumption that outside of these areas, different intelligences do not matter all that much. But this view is now being challenged through analyses of individuals and groups. Gordon states that the nontest items of intelligence, or how one conducts life is real and measurable. He looks at three levels of testing: the individual, the near context of individuals, and entire groups. He uses a population-IQ-outcome model to measure how much intelligence impacts life itself. And correlations and differences can be better analyzed and relationships found when they are aggregated on the group level, such as differences in Black-White IQ's and the impact it has on how they conduct their lives. What he is primarily interested in is whether outcomes of juvenile delinquency, adult crime, single parenthood, HIV infection, poverty, etc. are due to the lower intelligence of different groups.

    It is now believed that in fact intelligence is a cause of SES, not SES a cause of IQ, poverty, etc. If intelligence is highly inherited, how can SES account for more than a small change in general intelligence. As long as intelligence was assumed to be highly malleable, this false paradigm could continue blindly ignoring psychometrics and the large and consistent disparity between White and Black intelligence as a cause for differences in poverty. But that assumption can no longer be made. For example in crime the within-group differences are much less than the between-group correlations. Black-White ratios of crime are three to five times greater for Blacks.

    Gordon writes, "The incongruous fact is that gifted individuals happily relinquish any advantages they might command in average settings to place themselves among peers who are equally advantaged intellectually. Is this elitism or egalitarianism?" And so society naturally stratifies by intelligence, and that is reflected in a class stratification. Marxist dogma believes it is based on class struggle, but the struggle is with the level of cognitive ability it takes to rise to the top or fall to the bottom, and is a direct result of our advanced technological society.

    Hierarchically arranged substructures, in particular, limit exposure to demands for help that can never be reciprocated, but simultaneously they also limit the quality of cognitive help readily available within structures low in the hierarchy." And this inequality of the upperclass supporting the lower class shows up over and over again. For example, males with an IQ below 85 are almost three times more likely be killed in a car accident than males with an IQ above 100.

    The bad outcomes of Blacks has been blamed on poverty and/or racial discrimination, but a more likely cause as Gordon has shown is a low general intelligence, "Is poverty to be understood as a continuous variable that is measurable, or as a virtually unanalyzable qualitative state so global that no set of measured variables seems to capture it adequately?

    Attempts to add g to explanations of group differences have aroused more resistance. Herrnstein and Murray's (1994) The Bell Curve exploited an unusual data set that happened to include scores on a good test of g with records on a variety of individual outcomes, but reactions to their work have often been dismissive, as though their findings were merely empirical or incidental rather than possibly causal associations, and overstated at that if not the products of misanalysis. Ironically, Herrnstein and Murray's basic model is a within-group one, and thus typical of much sociology except for the respectful treatment given g. Hence, their measures of effect size often fail to convey the greater importance that g can assume at the population level. . . . The difference between the population-IQ-outcome model and the usual sociological approach to explaining race differences can be likened to two different approaches to explaining the cracks that radiate from a single point of impact to a mirror.

    In fact Black-White differences in diverse outcomes could often be accounted for entirely (delinquency, crime, HIV infection, poverty, opinions) or almost entirely (single motherhood, values) in terms of differences in g distributions. Not only were these race differences predictable, therefore, they were often totally predicted by g distributions. When policymakers attribute such differences in prevalences to properties of the larger society [putative white racism] without regard to differences in the properties of the populations themselves [black low intelligence], there occurs a shift in emphasis from errors made by members of the population to errors made by the society or system that in itself constitutes a redefinition of deviance. Sociological labeling theories, which are more concerned with who defines certain outcomes as deviant than with what causes the behavior so defined, are a prime example of the shift in emphasis."

    In conclusion, there is a wealth of data showing that the disparity in life's outcomes between Whites and Blacks and any other group is primarily intelligence. It is what makes one group prosper while another group fails. Too often this dichotomy is made between Whites and Blacks when the same difference in life's outcomes can be shown to exist between Gentile Whites and Jewish Whites. With an average IQ difference of 103 to 117 it reflects the similar difference in Black-White differences in average IQ of 85 to 103.

    Nature is neither kind nor mischievous, just "a blind watchmaker," tinkering with many different mechanisms.
  9. Sep 1, 2004 #8
    Gottfredson presentation to ISIR

    In 2002, Linda Gottfredson presented a paper to ISIR. As she opened the presentation, she asked six questions. I will post those below so that participants here can think about them for a while. I will try to edit her answers and will post them later.

    g, Jobs, and Life: Honoring Arthur R. Jensen
    Linda S. Gottfredson
    International Society for Intelligence Research
    Nashville, December 7, 2002

    1. The first question is, What is the distribution of g loadings across life’s many tasks? For instance, which broad arenas of life—say, school, work, family life, health—are most g loaded and thereby most advantage the bright and most hobble the dull relative to the rest of the population?
    2. To what extent do we all take the same subtests in life’s long test battery—or do
    do we mostly get to pick and choose the ones we want, say, by picking different life styles?
    3. To what extent does how bright we are affect which life subtests we end up
    taking, whether by choice or not?
    4. To what extent are life’s tests standardized, say, in the conditions under which we take them—when and where, how much time we can take, how much help we get, and so on? To the extent we decrease their standardization in daily life, perhaps they allow us to get around or at least mute the effects of individual differences in g.
    5. Do life’s myriad little tasks behave like mental test items with regard to the Spearman-Brown formula? That is, if most if not all daily tasks have at least some faint g loading, might these small effects pile up over time to create some surprisingly highly g-loaded life outcomes? And, in fact, might this not be how g produces some of its biggest, least escapable consequences in real life?
    6. And sixth, how do a society’s members, wittingly or not, shape the mental test battery that faces current and future generations? Is the battery getting harder, if so why, and with what social consequences?
  10. Sep 1, 2004 #9
    Gottfredson question 1

    I will post Gottfredson's first answer tonight (below). Let me remind all that I have edited her comments to shorten them to a reasonable length for posting here.

    Question 1: How g Loaded are the Different Arenas of Life?

    Tests are constellations of tasks where performance is judged against some standard of correct or incorrect, better or worse, including faster or slower. We use many such yardsticks in our lives for judging each other’s success and well-being. I’ll show you two sets of outcomes, the first with continuous and the second with dichotomous outcomes.

    These correlations with IQ can be interpreted as g-loadings for the outcomes in question—in this case mostly ones relating to education and work. They range from .2 to .8, illustrating, not surprisingly, that life’s major outcomes vary more in their demands for g than do IQ subtests, whose correlations with g seldom dip below .4-.5. What may be more surprising is that many of these life outcomes—such as income, occupation, and performance on moderate to higher-level jobs—are at least as g loaded as IQ subtests usually are.

    g-related risk varies widely across these dichotomous life outcomes too. This can seen in the odds ratios for the different outcomes, which I have calculated here to compare the odds of experiencing an unfavorable outcome if you are somewhat below average in IQ rather than somewhat above average in IQ. For example, you can see that the odds of living in poverty are 4 six times as high—the odds ratio is 6.2—for young white adults of IQ 75-90 compared to ones of IQ 110-125. Once again, relative risk for dull compared to bright people varies widely across the different outcomes, with odds ratios ranging from just over 1 (which would be parity) to over 100.
  11. Sep 2, 2004 #10
    Gottfredson question 2

    Question 2: How different are the test batteries that we each take in life?

    Life differs from a mental test battery in that we tend to choose somewhat different subtests to undertake, when given the chance.

    Many of life’s yardsticks are common, however, and they are the ones that tend to most concern policy analysts and those status-conscious Joneses living next door to us. For example, the law requires that we all attend elementary and secondary school, surely two of life’s most relentlessly public IQ tests. Some of the adult outcomes I showed you earlier, such as getting married, being employed, and staying out of jail, are often treated like minimum competency tests for adulthood because they are generally easily passed, when attempted, by all but the mentally retarded.

    Other subtests of daily life are more private but no less escapable for being so. One is daily self-maintenance in a highly literate society, where it is taken for granted that citizens will routinely be able to independently and effectively fill out forms, read posted notices, order from menus—including those on ATMs. Such tasks are part of the minimum competency test for mental normalcy, as revealed so poignantly by the great effort that many mildly mentally retarded adults make to hide their inability to do them so they can pass as normal in public settings. The second example was guarding one’s health and safety, including being able to read medicine labels and understand simple spoken instructions on caring for one’s chronic disease.

    Turning to post high-school education, training, and paid employment, both are highly organized realms of activity where our test performance tends to be officially graded, so to speak. But both are also life arenas where we tend to take different tests—I train to be a dental hygienist and you go for an MBA. Adult life does—and must—provide great variety in this 6 regard to accommodate the intellectual variety among us. This becomes clear when you look at the occupational ladder.

    The higher you go up the occupational ladder, the more g loaded jobs are. That is, higher level, more complex jobs would be expected to function as IQ tests were they to recruit randomly from the population. They don’t, of course, which is the point.
  12. Sep 2, 2004 #11
    Question 3. How does our own g level affect which tests we end up taking in life?

    This table shows you the IQs of the middle 50% of people applying for these jobs. It shows that applicants to any job range widely in IQ, but they tend to cluster higher on the IQ continuum when the job they are applying for is more complex and prestigious. (Jobs overlap less in IQ when you consider just the people hired, because they tend to come from the top half of the applicant pool.)

    Researchers have also found that when people are not as bright as the typical worker in their job, they tend to gravitate over time to cognitively easier work. When they are brighter than the typical worker, they tend to move into more cognitively demanding jobs. This may help explain why the correlation of IQ with both occupational prestige and income level goes up during early to mid career.

    Movement along this hierarchy of jobs—of our economy’s set of occupational tests—can be seen as a metaphor for how we and others go about identifying the most congenial social niches for ourselves. In fact, it’s a bit like computer adaptive testing—we try a few items, see how we do, and then move up or down on the difficulty scale till we zero in on a congenial level of difficulty. Schools and employers informally do this all the time when assigning us our next task. But we also do it ourselves everyday. We do it when sizing up other people and figuring out how intellectually compatible we might be with them—we start with comments or questions of low-average difficulty and then, depending on their answers, we gradually zero in—whether it takes minutes or months—on where they stand intellectually, especially relative to ourselves. This may seldom be a conscious process and there are many social norms surrounding it, including the merits of announcing our conclusion—we are supposed to be tactful, for instance—but the process is ubiquitous. ...
    We all work to find a set of life activities—our personalized life test battery—that makes us feel competent—which means one neither too hard nor too easy.
  13. Sep 2, 2004 #12
    Question 4. The fourth question concerns how standardized life’s different tests are.

    Mental test scores are hard to interpret correctly unless the tests are standardized. Good standardization means using the same or equivalent sets of items to measure the skills in question, measuring them under comparable conditions for everyone, scoring the answers in the same way, and interpreting the scores within the appropriate norm groups or against clear standards of mastery. Life’s subtests are rarely as standardized as are IQ test batteries, of course. In fact, we encourage in real life what testers prohibit in the testing situation—namely, getting and giving help, or taking extra time if we need it.

    Does this mean that life’s tests often won’t provide good signals of g? That g doesn’t really matter much in the end? Yes and no. As Bob Gordon points out, much of daily life is structured—on purpose—to degrade signals that we differ in mental competence. Habits, rituals, routines, tact, surreptitious help, cultivating personal areas of expertise—all help reduce the invidious distinctions in mental competence that g is constantly threatening to expose.

    Sometimes, however, it is the very non-standardization of the life tests that signals g level. Recall that degree of mental retardation is sometimes defined, not in terms of what people can do unassisted, but in terms of the amount of help they need to do it. And so it is in daily life too. We would be happy to see all our employees or our co-workers eventually get their assignments done well, but we would surely rate as more competent those who did so in half the time and with no special help or extra resources, especially from us.
  14. Sep 2, 2004 #13
    Question 5. Do low-g loaded life tasks produce highly g loaded life outcomes?

    As Buzz Hunt said, even small predictive validities can have huge dollar effects when they involve very, very big numbers of people. Others have alluded to the fact that as long as you use enough test items, you can create a very good test of g from items that individually hardly measure g at all as long as you have many of them. With enough items, the small bits of g-related variance that each item contributes to the total score will add up while the many less consistent influences on performance will cancel each other out. I have begun to suspect that everyday life often operates in this way too.

    Add enough items, and you’ll eventually end up with a test that measures virtually nothing but g if g is the only consistent source of covariance in the test.

    Imagine now that this is a calendar and that each day is an item in the life test called controlling your diabetes. Let’s pick the task of not letting your blood sugar swing above 9 300 for more than 24 hours. And assume for the sake of argument that it does a wee bit of damage to your retina if you do. Now, whether your blood sugar is too high on any particular day will not likely be related much to your IQ—because a lot of unexpected and uncontrollable things can push it up, such as having an infection, a friend cooking a surprisingly sugar-laden meal for you, being distracted and taking your smaller night dose in the morning, giving in to temptation, or perhaps even taking bad insulin, all of which I’ve seen with insulin-dependent friends. Whether blood sugar stays high and whether it often swings into the high range is quite another matter, and I suspect is meaningfully g related—yielding our hypothetical .1 validity for our imaginary diabetic population. If you think that is too high, shrink it to .01. Add enough days, however, and you start to get a g-loaded test. Then add the option for what’s called tight control of diabetes, which requires more judgment and intensive monitoring, you boost the g loading further because bright people will be better able to implement it and more often opt for it.

    No matter how you measure social class, rates of morbidity and mortality are usually at least 2-3 times higher in the lower social classes. Among the measures of social class, education—the most g loaded of the measures—is virtually always most strongly related to them. When IQ itself is measured—as it rarely is—it outpredicts education, suggesting that education is just a rough stand-in for g.

    The risk ratios range widely, from just 1.3 for suffocation, when you compare people living in very poor neighborhoods compared to those in middle-income areas, to over 7 for dying from exposure and neglect. For purposes of comparison, the relative risk associated with low social class is about 2.1 for dying in a motor vehicle and 2.5 for dying in a fire.
  15. Sep 2, 2004 #14
    Question 6. How do the members of a society shape the life test battery that the current or future generations must take? My guess is that advancing technology is driving up complexity in many life arenas, which portends greater g-related social inequality.

    To take an obvious example, daily activities are being computerized in many ways, creating a digital divide between individuals and groups that, I suspect, is at least as much mental as material in origin. Perhaps a less well-known example is that the ever increasing complexity of health care is demanding more learning and problem solving on our part.

    We might ask whether the progressive destigmatization of having children out of wedlock has increased the tightness of its link to g over time. As I recall, it was educated women who led this charge for more personal freedom, but they are better able to calculate the risks of exercising that freedom, which is perhaps why they seldom do.

    I will conclude by saying that Jensen’s work opens up entirely new ways of examining the horizontal effects of g, from understanding how we deal with the minutiae of daily life and their hidden consequences to the biggest social issues of the day. In so doing, it also reveals why intelligence will inevitably be a controversial topic in societies that wish to mute intellectual and social distinctions, perhaps especially as they go about increasing them. It is no wonder that many people are discomfited by Jensen’s drawing our attention to this incredibly general force in social life. His passion for empiricism, his scientific acumen, and his unwavering integrity are an inspiration, however, to follow the new paths wherever they lead.

    Thank you, Art.
  16. Sep 2, 2004 #15

    If you are a low IQ gifted person you will have more problems with memorising-test like the driving test. So you have the put more effort and time to pass the test. If you have made so much effort you want to take something out of it. (Perhaps to drive is the only thing you can sell because of a low education). So you are automatically longer on the streets… perhaps being forced to drive in an area witch is more dangerous then others.

    Jewish people are genetically much closer to the other with people then Withes to Blacks. So you have the prove that the group IQ depends on your education (whish is in Jewish society very good and wisely chosen) and not on your genes.
  17. Sep 2, 2004 #16
    Education does not have a profound impact on one's IQ level. Modern IQ tests as used by psychologists are designed so cultural bias such as formal education would have minimal to no effect.
  18. Sep 2, 2004 #17
    Well... That is what is described in the Text. But the evidences aren't here.


    Don't mix up Main-part-thinking and individual IQs wit group IQ test.
  19. Sep 2, 2004 #18
    I am not sure I understand what you think someone has to prove or why, but I will try to guess. I was under the impression that we had thoroughly discussed the relation of family and institutional factors on intelligence. Education is an institutional factor and falls into the category of macro environment. Although education can be shown to have some influence on the non-g portions of at least some group factors, it has no influence on _g_. There are no studies in the literature that show that any macro environmental factor is capable of boosting _g_.

    If it were true that _g_ increases as a function of education, people with identical _g_ at age 18, but who did not go to college, would be found to have lower _g_ later than those who started with the same _g_ and then completed college. This doesn't happen.

    It also appears that you are unfamiliar with the methodology used in psychometric research studies. Is that correct? Your comments imply that you believe that obvious variables and even potential variables are not controlled by the researchers. If that is what you think, I suggest that you should spend some time reading the full reports of good quality research papers, such as those printed in the journal INTELLIGENCE.
  20. Sep 3, 2004 #19
    The genetic correlation of IQ is .80. Identical twins separated at birth do not differ much in IQ level. They are much more simliar than fraternal twins that live together.

    For a thorough evaluation of this topic, read "The g factor" by Arthur Jensen.

    No there are more than sufficient evidence there. The evidence that the difference is environmental is not there. IQ tests have a high degree of g loading. An environment does not impact g.

    To answer your earlier statement, Jews would be highly affluent in academics due to their IQ levels. Not the vice versa of IQ levels effected because they are affluent in academics.

    China has a very high IQ level. Close to the Japanese level. Even though over 50% of their labor force is in agriculture. (2% in United States) So with the majority of Chinese still very and poor and with jobs not highly associated with academics, they still have a higher mean IQ level than most European countries. This is mentioned in "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" written by Professor Richard Lynn.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2004
  21. Sep 3, 2004 #20
    GIVE ME PROVES... It isn’t sufficient to say they have proven it. You have to explain the studies with all parameters. I haven’t seen a single one witch wasn’t to doubt with logical thinking.

    That there is no enhance in IQ after your study isn’t a surprise. You don’t learn think you learn only nude knowledge. And you are under distress so your brain looses instate to gain.

    The different highness of IQ Levels has to do with the culture itself. The Jewish has to do with their family structure. Low stress levels for pregnant women, early and difficult questions for very young children, religious debates.

    _g_ is a myth. I call it Main_Part _Thinking. With the little difference that my definition hasn’t much to do wit IQ tests (estimated 0.3).
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