From Steve Sailer’s comments section:
Steve Sailer writes:
Perhaps culture-free tests are kind of like simpler sports like sprinting or weightlifting, while culture-loaded tests (e.g., vocabulary) are like the really popular sports like soccer and baseball that involve a variety of skills.
P&G paid a lot of money to validate their hiring tests to the government’s satisfaction along time ago. It helps to have a big bureaucratic system where job performance is carefully put down on paper.
In contrast, the much smaller marketing research firm I worked at had simply used one of the founders’ Marketing Research 302 exams from the U. of Iowa as a hiring test. That worked quite well — it was a hard test that I had to work on for several hours. The secretary was amazed that I kept saying I wasn’t done yet, but after they graded it, the CEO called me up the next day to schedule a full day of interviews.
But, when the firm grew big enough to get on the EEOC’s radar, management decided to junk the exam rather than try to jump through all the hoops to have it validated…
Or perhaps Vocabulary has the highest heritability because it’s a very good all around test of intelligence.
A culture-free test of Fluid Intelligence like the Ravens Matrices is an extraordinarily abstracted test of intelligence, kind of like the various skill tests (40 yard dash, jump, Wonderlic, etc.) given to potential draftees at the NFL Combines are abstracted versions of football. The prospects don’t have to know each team’s playbooks, they just have to execute certain skills that are common to almost all teams. Similarly, you don’t have to speak English to take the Ravens Matrices.
In contrast, a vocabulary test is to intelligence more like a scrimmage is to a football game. You won’t do well if you haven’t had the opportunity to study the playbook.
NFL coaches and general managers use both kinds of information to predict future game performance. They’d likely prefer the scrimmage if they had to choose one, but for reasons of practicality both are highly useful…
Blacks do okay in the Army, in part because the Army imposes quite a bit of culture on them…
It’s not clear that everything an intelligence test measures is solely IQ. It also measures stick-to-it-iveness and the like. But if the goal is to predict future achievement, then a test that measures both intelligence and diligence might be better than one that just tests intelligence…
To go back to the value of a vocabulary test, consider the question of who is more intelligent: Tom Wolfe v. John Updike. Which one of these two major American authors born in the early 1930s and educated at Yale (Wolfe) and Harvard (Updike) seems more intelligent? I’d vote for Updike (this would be on the SAT Verbal scale of 200 to 800 on which Wolfe might score 1050 and Updike 1190). An important data point in my estimation would Updike’s supreme vocabulary.
Now, I, personally, have gotten more out of reading Wolfe than out of reading Updike, so intelligence isn’t everything.
Which one would have scored higher on the Raven’s Matrices? I don’t know. The Raven’s don’t come up much. That they correlate so amazingly with so much else is extraordinary. But still, a vocabulary test is closer to a direct measure of how we judge, in part, the intelligence of, say, authors, so I’m hardly surprised that vocabulary is such a good measure of intelligence.
Of course, vocabulary is a good way to compare the intelligence of Updike and Wolfe because they are so similar in culture and era. I wouldn’t feel as confident comparing Updike in this manner to, say, Joseph Conrad, who didn’t speak fluent English until he was in his mid-20s…
I picked Wolfe and Updike for my example because their cultural backgrounds are, in the big picture, close to identical. Vocabulary size is affected by language a lot and also by other social factors. A Raven’s test was a pretty amazing breakthrough in its day because it didn’t look much like anything earthly. Now, however, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if social factors aren’t playing a role because some people are more exposed to this kind of test than others.
If you made admission to Manhattan kindergartens contingent upon the Ravens (which I they are sort of doing), pretty soon you’ll see a lot of small rich children highly familiar with Ravens. It will still work pretty well but the prepped kids will have an advantage over the unprepped kids.
Anyway, to come back to a vocabulary test for figuring out if Updike is smarter than Wolfe, well, that’s kind of like testing baseball players at a batting cage. It’s a test that overlaps a lot with the behavior we want to predict.
On the other hand, if Lionel Messi didn’t do that well at a batting cage, well, you wouldn’t draw that many conclusions about his future in soccer from it. But still I’d expect Messi to be pretty good at eye-hand coordination since he’s supreme at eye-foot coordination…
IQ tests aren’t illegal, it’s just that a strong burden of proof is on the employer. In contrast, using a college degree as a job requirement doesn’t impose much burden of proof on most employers.
My impression is that the P&G just wore down the government by dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s on its paperwork in its usual thorough manner.
Bay Area Bill:
Do you have children? If so, are you concerned about the influence of your political/sociological worldview on them? Don’t get me wrong — I’m a huge fan of yours and think you speak the truth better than just about anyone else out there. But, roughly speaking, The Narrative has won. Our elites in academia, media, and politics speak with one voice, and it’s a voice that very frequently ritualistically denies blindingly obvious and unmistakable patterns and explanations (your “War on Noticing”). Not toeing the line could easily get a person ostracized and close down many opportunities. We’re basically living in a mild version of 1984.
I’m raising my kids not just to be “good people” in general, but to be smart, analytical, and realistic. I enjoy teaching my kids “how the world works” (as best as I have figured, anyway), but our conversations sometimes venture into territory where there’s a choice between obliviousness and Crime Think. I find it profoundly difficult to just lie to my kids and blame all the world’s troubles on Evil Old White Men and Racism. But I’m genuinely very concerned my kids won’t become fluent in The Narrative. I’ve often seen the way liberal elites speak about Narrative Deniers and their viciousness and contempt are really scary. But they really do control the world in which my family and I live, at least.
The Bay Area is ascendant and ascending. I am surrounded by millionaires and soon-to-be millionaires. DC, NYC, LA, and the SF Bay Area are where elites go. Like it or not, these are the places where the future is made.
Arthur Jensen: “If one hypothesizes that the black IQ deficit may be due to poor motivation or uncooperative attitudes of blacks in the test situation, then one must explain why little or no difference in scores occurs between blacks and whites on tests involving rote learning and memory. Such tests are just as demanding in terms of attention, effort and persistence, but do not call upon the kinds of abstract reasoning abilities that characterize the culture-fair intelligence tests. We have devised experimental tests, which look to pupils like any other tests, that minimize the need for reasoning and abstract ability, and maximize the role of nonconceptual learning and memory. On these tests black and white children average about the same scores. Therefore, the racial difference clearly does not involve all mental abililities equally. It involves mainly conceptual and abstract reasoning, and not learning and memory.”
Now let’s say that Vocabulary really IS a better test of abstract reasoning than Raven’s Matrices (though this certainly hasn’t been obvious to many hereditarians)…no one can deny that there’s lots of room for culture, as well as rote learning and memory, wrt how well one performs on the Vocabulary section. In your own words, “you won’t do well if you haven’t had the opportunity to study the playbook.”
IIRC, you were a lot more open-minded towards Duckworth’s paper on motivation than lots of other hereditarians. Following the logic above, this means that there could be much more room to close racial gaps by focusing on non-cognitive traits like James Heckman’s “character skills”, which are also more malleable:
To assume otherwise is to assume that all groups in the U.S. are equally motivated now and that measures to increase motivation or conscientiousness etc. would raise the motivation or conscientiousness of all groups, thus retaining the gaps. I’m not so sure that’s the case. For one, I think the East Asian-White gap is to a large extent mediated by differences in work ethic and conscientiousness. East Asian motivation is probably already “maxed out.” I don’t think East Asians have a genuine cognitive advantage over Whites, but that’s a different discussion.
On that note, I’ll also mention that the East Asian “IQ advantage” is in Math but NOT in Verbal. Not only hereditarians, but also the general public, tend to take mathematical ability as the ne plus ultra of intelligence, but I’ve shifted to the belief, expressed by Education Realist and others on your blog, that math ability — especially at the high school and undergrad level — is much more “trainable” and dependent on dedication than people realize. Thus the kind of motivation discussed above would play a much greater role.
How do they pick who benefits from NYC subsidized housing? “It seems screening for bad credit lets buildings avoid people whose friends steal credit cards and run up “astronomical bills.” They are OK with low-income tenants, they just have to have spotless credit and the high-IQ required to fill out the forms just right, supposedly without using whiteout or oversized envelopes.”
That’s kind of like sending in a spec script to the producers of a sit-com or hour-long TV drama: there are extremely picky standards about margins, typeface (primitive Courier), and how many brass fasteners to use in the three hole punch paper (two, never three). There are functional reasons (the number of pages should correlate closely to the running length — a veteran can tell if a script needs to be cut to fit the time slot just from its weight). But a big one is to show that you follow rules well and are less likely to throw a snit over your idiosyncrasies. TV writing is factory work.
I’m probably higher in crystallized intelligence than fluid intelligence (obviously, more so as I age, but even adjusted for age). I don’t deal well with new challenges like setting up devices, but I am still pretty good at drawing analogies between this large stock of examples I’ve accumulated.
For example, a commenter just listed some of the absurdly picky rules you have to follow when applying for one of those “affordable housing” subsidized apartments in a new luxury building in New York. I’d no doubt screw up on one of the rules and have to use white out on my application, thus violating the “No White-Out” rule. But I’m good at things like saying, oh, this is like how if you want a TV producer to read your sitcom spec script, you have to follow exactly a bunch of arcane formatting rules: they are both designed to demonstrate that you will follow the rules.
PeterRike2: “[Tom] Wolfe has always been a proponent of clarity in writing, has a journalistic background and so forth. Updike, with his New Yorker heritage, is a more academic type of writer. Maybe he just spends more time with his Thesaurus.”
When I worked in advertising, P&G was one of our clients. They had some obvious make-work jobs for blacks; for example, at meetings they sometimes had a black sketch artist who would produce rough drawings illustrating the ideas expressed. (This was a full-time job.) There was also diversity training, which some of the agency people had to attend. My partner went and found it useful, bless his heart. He shared with me his learning, such that the term “black” was okay, you don’t always have to say “African American,” and that blacks have a different work-style which involves more socializing, and that’s a good thing. (I have noticed this style when I have had to interrupt black clerks at Walmart who are clustered together discussing their weekend.)
On Tom Wolfe vs John Updike, it seems to me that Wolfe sets about writing a novel in order to make a specific point, or a number of points, while Updike sets about writing a novel with no point in mind whatsoever. The last Updike I read was “Villages,” which meandered through a number of affairs a middle-aged man had had, described with a sort of world-weariness and anomie. You get to the end and wonder what you have reaped from your investment of time. Well written, though!