Sonntag, 30. Juni 2013

Learning Ability & IQ:

... Individual differences in learning proficiency show increasingly higher correlations with IQ directly in relation to the following characteristics of the learning task.

1. Learning is more highly correlated with IQ when it is intentional and the task calls forth conscious mental effort and is paced in such a way as to permit the subject to "think". It is possible to learn passively without "thinking", by mere repetition of simple material; such learning is only slightly correlated with IQ. In fact, negative correlations between learning speed and IQ have been found in simple tasks that could only be learned by simple repetition or rote learning but were disguised to appear more complex so as to evoke "thinking" (Osler & Trautman, 1961). Persons with higher IQs engaged in more complex mental processes (reasoning, hypothesis testing, etc.), which in this specially contrived task only interfered with rote learning. Persons of lower IQ were not hindered by this interference of more complex mental processes and readily learned the material by simple rote association.

2. Learning is more highly correlated with IQ when the material to be learned is hierarchical, in the sense that the learning of later elements depends on mastery of earlier elements. A task of many elements, in which the order of learning the elements has no effect on learning rate or level of final performance, is less correlated with IQ than is a task in which there is some more or less optimal order in which the elements are learned and the acquisition of earlier elements in the sequence facilitates the acquisition of later elements.

3. Learning is more highly correlated with IQ when the material to be learned is meaningful, in the sense that it is in some way related to other knowledge or experience already possessed by the learner. Rote learning of the serial order of a list of meaningless three-letter nonsense syllables or colored forms, for example, shows little correlation with IQ. In contrast, learning the essential content of a meaningful prose passage is more highly correlated with IQ.

4. Learning is more highly correlated with IQ when the nature of the learning task permits transfer from somewhat different but related past learning. Outside the intentionally artificial learning tasks of the experimental psychology laboratory, little that we are called on to learn beyond infancy is entirely new and unrelated to anything we had previously learned. Making more and better use of elements of past learning in learning something "new" - in short, the transfer of learning - is positively correlated with IQ.

5. Learning is more highly correlated with IQ when it is insightful, that is, when the learning task involves "catching on" or "getting the idea". Learning to name the capital cities of the fifty states, for example, does not permit this aspect of learning to come into play and would therefore be less correlated with IQ than, say, learning to prove the Pythagorean theorem.

6. Learning is more highly correlated with IQ when the material to be learned is of moderate difficulty and complexity. If a learning task is too complex, everyone, regardless of his IQ, flounders and falls back on simpler processes such as trial and error and rote association. Complexity, in contrast to sheer difficulty due to the amount of material to be learned, refers to the number of elements that must be integrated simultaneously for the learning to progress.

7. Learning is more highly correlated with IQ when the amount of time for learning is fixed for all students. This condition becomes increasingly important to the extent that the other condition listed are enactive.

8. Learning is more highly correlated with IQ when the learning material is more age related. Some things can be learned almost as easily by a 9-year-old child as by a 18-year-old. Such learning shows relatively little correlation with IQ. Other forms of learning, on the other hand, are facilitated by maturation and show a substantial correlation with age. The concept of learning readiness is based on this fact. IQ and test of "readiness", which predict rate of progress in certain kinds of learning, particularly reading and mathematics, are highly correlated with IQ.

9. Learning is more highly correlated with IQ at an early stage of learning something "new" than is the performance or gains later in the course of practice. That is, IQ is related more to rate of acquisition of new skills or knowledge rather than rate of improvement or degree of proficiency at later stages of learning, assuming that new material and concepts have not been introduced at the intermediate stages. Practice makes a task less cognitively demanding and decreases its correlation with IQ. With practice the learner's performance becomes more or less automatic and hence less demanding of conscious effort and attention. For example, learning to read music is an intellectually demanding task for the beginner. But for an experienced musician it is an almost automatic process that makes little conscious demands on higher mental processes. Individual differences in proficiency at this stage are scarcely related to IQ. Much the same thing is true of other skills such as typing, stenography, and Morse code sending and receiving.

Arthur Jensen, 1980

A Collapse of Self-Confidence

"In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Arnold J. Toynbee's A Study of History had a public vogue in the United States. Toynbee identified twenty-six distinct civilizations in recorded history and propounded a grand theory that explained their trajectories of growth and decline. The academics pounced on A Study of History - Toynbee's sweeping, moralistic approach was at odds with the academic temper of the time - and after a few years it became intellectually unfashionable. But in 2001, while working on a book about the history of human accomplishment, I decided that I should take a look at a work so rich in material. Eventually I reached the chapter titled "Schism in the Soul," and experienced a shock of recognition.
In that chapter, Toynbee took up the processes that lead to the disintegration of civilizations. His argument went like this: The growth phase of a civilization is lead by a creative minority with a strong, self-confident sense of style, virtue, and purpose. The uncreative majority follows along. Then, at some point in every civilization's journey, the creative minority degenerates into a dominant minority. Its members still run the show, but they are no longer confident and no longer set the example. Among other reactions are a "lapse into truancy" - a rejection of the obligations of citizenship - and "surrender to a sense of promiscuity" - vulgarization of manners, the arts, and language - that "are apt to appear first in the ranks of  the proletariat and to spread from there to the ranks of the dominant minority, which usually succumbs to the sickness of 'proletarianization'.
The shock of recognition that I experienced in 2001 came because of the adoption by the middle class and upper-middle class of behaviors that used to be distinctly lower class. When Tipper Gore, the wife of senator and later vice president Al Gore, attacked the incontestable violence and misogyny of rock and rap lyrics, why was she so roundly scolded by so many of her social and political peers? Why were four-letter words, which formerly were seen by the upper-middle class as declasse, appearing in glossy upscale magazines? How had "the hooker look" become a fashion trend among nice girls from the suburbs? How had tattoos, which a few decades ago had been proof positive that one was a member of the proletariat, become chic? Toynbee would have shrugged and said that this is what happens when civilizations are headed downhill - America's creative minority has degenerated into a dominant minority, and we are witnessing the universal next step, the proletarianization of the dominant minority.
There are many reasons to bridle at that characterization. For one thing, civilizations that see a coarsening of their culture are sometimes in their heyday. Why shouldn't America in recent decades be seen as something like Regency England? The early 1800s were a time of hap-hazard morals and mindless extravagance in the aristocracy, but also the era when England defeated Napoleon and English science, technology, literature, art, and industry were in a golden age. We should remember, too, that cultures sometimes do an abrupt about-face. Within a few decades of the end of the Regency, England had become Victorian.
For another thing, how is America's new upper class vulnerable to a charge of imitating the proletariat, when, as this book has just documented, the new upper class and, more broadly, Belmont, have more or less held the line on marriage, industriousness, and honesty - even religiosity, comparatively speaking - while the proletariat has deteriorated?
All good points. But, nonetheless, the sign that America's new upper class has suffered a collapse of self-confidence are hard to ignore. There is, for example, the collapse of confidence in codes of honorable behavior."

Coming Apart, 2012
Charles Murray

Couch kids: Correlates of television viewing among youth

Couch kids: Correlates of television viewing among youth
T Gorely, SJ Marshall, SJH Biddle; September 2004
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine


The purpose of this study was to review the published empirical correlates of television/video viewing among youth (2 to 18 years). A descriptive semi-quantitative review was conducted based on 68 primary studies. Variables consistently associated with TV/video viewing were ethnicity (non-white +), parent income (-), parent education (-), body weight (+), between meal snacking (+), number of parents in the house (-), parents TV viewing habits (+), weekend (+) and having a TV in the bedroom (+). Variables consistently unrelated to TV/video viewing were sex, other indicators of socio-economic status, body fatness, cholesterol levels, aerobic fitness, strength, other indicators of fitness, self-perceptions, emotional support, physical activity, other diet variables, and being an only child. Few modifiable correlates have been identified. Further research should aim to identify modifiable correlates of TV/video viewing if interventions are to be successfully tailored to reduce this aspect of inactivity among youth.

Samstag, 29. Juni 2013

Occupational Level, Performance, Income & IQ:

>Not the judgment of the "average" person, but the averaged judgments of many persons  can show an extraordinary consistency across quite diverse groups of persons, and from one generation to the next, as well as remarkably high correlations with certain independent objective criteria. Such is the case with people's average subjective judgments of occupational "level" and their high correlation with the average tested IQs of persons in various occupations. The striking finding has been demonstrated to about the same high degree in numerous studies and has been contradicted by none.
People's average ranking of occupations is much the same regardless of the basis on which they were told to rank them. The well-known Barr scale of occupations was constructed by asking 30 "psychological judges" to rate 120 specific occupations, each definitely and concretely described, on a scale going from 0 to 100 according to the level of general intelligence required for ordinary success in the occupation. These judgments were made in 1920. Forty-four years later, in 1964, the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), in a large public opinion poll, asked many people to rate a large number of specific occupations in terms of their subjective opinion of the prestige of each occupation relative to all of the others. The correlation between the 1920 Barr ratings based on the average subjectively estimated intelligence requirements of the various occupations and the 1964 NORC ratings based on the average subjective opined prestige of the occupation is .91. The 1960 U.S. Census of Population: Classified Index of Occupations and Industries assigns each of several hundred occupations a composite index score based on the average income and educational level prevailing in the occupation. This index correlates .81 with the Barr subjective intelligence ratings and .90 with the NORC prestige ratings.
Rankings of the prestige of 25 occupations made by 450 high school and college students in 1946 showed the remarkable correlation of .97 with the rankings of  the same occupations made by students in 1925 (Tyler, 1965). Then, in 1949, the average rankings of these occupations by 500 teachers college students correlated .98 with the 1946 rankings by a different group of high school and college students. Very similar prestige rankings are also found in Britain and show a high degree of consistency across such groups as adolescents and adults, men and women, old and young, and upper and lower social classes. Obviously people are in considerable agreement in their subjective perceptions of numerous occupations, perceptions based on some kind of amalgam of the prestige image and supposed intellectual requirements of occupations, and these are highly related to such objective indices as the typical educational level and average income of the occupation. The subjective desirability of various occupations is also a part of the picture, as indicated by relative frequencies of various occupational choices made by high school students. These frequencies show scant correspondence to the actual frequencies in various occupations; high-status occupations are greatly overselected and low-status occupations are seldom selectes.
How well do such ratings of occupations correlate with the actual IQs of the persons in the rated occupations? The answer depends on wether we correlate the occupational prestige ratings with the average IQs in the various occupations or with the IQs of individual persons. The correlations between average prestige ratings and average IQs in occupations are very high - .90 to .95 -when the averages are based on a large number of raters and a wide range of rated occupations. This means that the average of many people's subjective perceptions conforms closely to an objective criterion, namely, tested IQ. Occupations with the highest status ratings are the learned professions - physician, scientist, lawyer, accountant, engineer, and other occupations that involve high educational requirements and highly developed skills, usually of an intellectual nature. The lowest-rated occupations are unskilled manual labor that almost any able-bodied person could do with very little or no prior training or experience and that involves minimal responsibility for decision or supervision.
The correlation between rated occupational status and individual IQs ranges from about .50 to .70 in various studies. The results of such studies are much the same in Britain, the Netherlands, and the Soviet Union as in the United States, where the results are about the same for white and blacks. The size of the correlation, which varies among different samples, seems to depend mostly on the age of the persons whose IQs are correlated with occupational status. IQ and occupational status are correlated .50 to .60 for young men ages 18 to 26 and about .70 for men over 40. A few years can make a big difference in these correlations. The younger men, of course, have not all yet attained their top career potential, and some of the highest-prestige occupations are not even represented in younger age groups. Judges, professors, business executives, college presidents, and the like are missing occupational categories in the studies based on young men, such as those drafted into the armed forces (e.g., the classic study of  Harrell & Harrell, 1945).
Evidence contradicts the notion that IQ differences between occupations are the result rather than a cause of the occupational difference. Professional occupations do not score higher than unskilled laborers on IQ tests because the professionals have had more education or have learned more of the test's content in the pursuit of their occupations. A classic study (Ball, 1938) showed that childhood IQs of 219 men correlated substantially with adult occupational status as measured on the Barr scale some 14 to 19 years later - a correlation of .47 for a younger sample of men and of .71 for a sample of older men just five years further into the careers. ...<

Arthur Jensen; 1980
Bias in Mental Testing

Mittwoch, 26. Juni 2013

Sexually Selective Cognition: Beauty Captures the Mind of the Beholder

Sexually Selective Cognition: Beauty Captures the Mind of the Beholder
Jon K Maner et al.; 2003


Across 5 experimental studies, the authors explore selective processing biases for physically attractive others. The findings suggest that (a) both male and female observers selectively attend to physically attractive female targets, (b) limiting the attentional capacity of either gender results in biased frequency estimates of attractive females, (c) although females selectively attend to attractive males, limiting females’ attentional capacity does not lead to biased estimates of attractive males, (d) observers of both genders exhibit enhanced recognition memory for attractive females but attenuated recognition for attractive males. Results suggest that different mating-related motives may guide the selective processing of attractive men and women.

The Necessities and Luxuries of Mate Preferences

The Necessities and Luxuries of Mate Preferences: Testing the Tradeoffs
Norman P Li et al.; 2002


Social exchange and evolutionary models of mate selection incorporate economic assumptions but have not considered a key distinction between necessities and luxuries. This distinction can clarify an apparent paradox: Status and attractiveness, though emphasized by many researchers, are not typically rated highly by research participants. Three studies supported the hypothesis that women and men first ensure sufficient levels of necessities in potential mates before considering many other characteristics rated as more important in prior surveys. In Studies 1 and 2, participants designed ideal long-term mates, purchasing various characteristics with 3 different budgets. Study 3 used a mate-screening paradigm and showed that people inquire 1st about hypothesized necessities. Physical attractiveness was a necessity to men, status and resources were necessities to women, and kindness and intelligence were necessities to both.

Dienstag, 25. Juni 2013

A Sex Difference in the Predisposition for Physical Competition:

A Sex Difference in the Predisposition for Physical Competition: Males Play Sports Much More than Females Even in the Contemporary U.S
Robert O Deaner et al.; 2012


Much evidence indicates that men experienced an evolutionary history of physical competition, both one-on-one and in coalitions. We thus hypothesized that, compared to girls and women, boys and men will possess a greater motivational predisposition to be interested in sports, especially team sports. According to most scholars, advocacy groups, and the United States courts, however, this hypothesis is challenged by modest sex differences in organized school sports participation in the contemporary U.S., where females comprise 42% of high school participants and 43% of intercollegiate participants. We conducted three studies to test whether organized school sports participation data underestimate the actual sex difference in sports participation. Study 1 analyzed the American Time Use Survey, which interviewed 112,000 individuals regarding their activities during one day. Females accounted for 51% of exercise (i.e., non-competitive) participations, 24% of total sports participations, and 20% of team sports participations. These sex differences were similar for older and younger age groups. Study 2 was based on systematic observations of sports and exercise at 41 public parks in four states. Females accounted for 37% of exercise participations, 19% of individual sports participations, and 10% of team sports participations. Study 3 involved surveying colleges and universities about intramural sports, which primarily consist of undergraduate participation in team sports. Across 34 institutions, females accounted for 26% of registrations. Nine institutions provided historical data, and these did not indicate that the sex difference is diminishing. Therefore, although efforts to ensure more equitable access to sports in the U.S. (i.e., Title IX) have produced many benefits, patterns of sports participation do not challenge the hypothesis of a large sex difference in interest and participation in physical competition.

Mittwoch, 19. Juni 2013

Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition: Advancing the Debate

Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition: Advancing the Debate
Perspectives on Psychological Science, May 2013
Jonathan Evans & Keith Stanovich


Dual-process and dual-system theories in both cognitive and social psychology have been subjected to a number of recently published criticisms. However, they have been attacked as a category, incorrectly assuming there is a generic version that applies to all. We identify and respond to 5 main lines of argument made by such critics. We agree that some of these arguments have force against some of the theories in the literature but believe them to be overstated. We argue that the dual-processing distinction is supported by much recent evidence in cognitive science. Our preferred theoretical approach is one in which rapid autonomous processes (Type 1) are assumed to yield default responses unless intervened on by distinctive higher order reasoning processes (Type 2). What defines the difference is that Type 2 processing supports hypothetical thinking and load heavily on working memory.

Mittwoch, 12. Juni 2013

Slow and steady wins the race: Life history, mate value, and mate settling

Slow and steady wins the race: Life history, mate value, and mate settling
H M Dillon et al.; Available online 9 June 2013, Article in Press
Personality and Individual Differences;


Life history theory explains how individuals decide to invest their limited resources, which involves several trade-offs. Particularly relevant to the current work, individuals can choose to invest in current or delayed reproduction (a slow life history strategy), which implicates a trade-off between the quantity and the quality of one’s offspring. Choosing to delay reproduction allows for increased self-investment, and previous research has demonstrated that traits requiring self-investment are related to higher mate value. As such, the current study hypothesizes that slow life history strategy will predict high personal mate value and high levels of partner mate-value within heterosexual partnerships. Similarly, those with a slow life history strategy should display fewer tendencies toward mate-settling. The current work employs both subjective and objective measures of mate value within mateships to investigate these hypothesized relationships. As hypothesized, significant positive relationships among life history and mate value were detected, suggesting that a slower life history strategy corresponds to high ratings of mate value for both self and partner. Also, life history strategy is a significant predictor of subjective, objective, and Mate Value Inventory ratings of partner and self. Further implications and potential future works are discussed.

[Dennis Mangan wrote a comment on this article:]

Freitag, 7. Juni 2013

Sex Differences in Personality:

>Parental investment theory and the rigors of intersexual competition leads to the prediction that males will generally pursue relatively high-risk strategies compared to females and will thus be higher in behaviors typical of behavioral approach systems (BAS; dominance/sensation seeking, risk taking, impulsivity, exhibitionism) and lower on behavioral inhibition systems (BIS; fear, wariness, caution, safety seeking). Based on this predictions ethologists and evolutionary psychologists are interested in studying early gender differentiation in patterns of approach and avoidance behavior.
Developmental research in humans has produced a wealth of evidence that is generally consistent with predictions derived from parental investment theory. Research relevant to the BAS has consistently demonstrated that compared with girls, boys are more physically active from an early age (Eaton & Yu, 1989; Marcus, Maccoby, Jacklin, & Doehring, 1985; Money & Erhardt, 1972; Parke & Slaby, 1983), more assertive (Parke & Slaby, 1983), more aggressive, competitive, and dominant with peers (LaFreniere & Charleswood, 1983; LaFreniere, Dumas, Dubeau, & Capuano, 1992; Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974, 1980; Strayer & Strayer, 1976), and more oppositional with adults (LaFreniere et al., 1992). Boys are also more likely to take physical risks (Cristophersen, 1989; Ginsburg & Miller, 1982), engage in more rough-and-tumble play (DiPietro, 1981; Humphreys & Smith, 1987), and more high-energy socio-dramatic play involving guns and superheroes (Paley, 1984).
In contrast, research on the BIS has shown that preschool girls are more compliant to parents and teachers and rated by them as more socially competent (Cowan & Avants, 1988; LaFreniere et al., 1992, Maccoby, 1988). Girls rate themselves as more fearful, timid, nurturant, and empathic  than boys (Fabes, Eisenberg, & Miller, 1990; Maccoby, 1988), and girls tend to show more interest and are more responsive towards infants than are boys (Blakemore, Berenbaum, & Liben, 2008). Parental ratings indicate that when sex differences are found in fearfulness and timidity, parents rate girls as more fearful than boys (Buss & Plomin, 1975; Maccoby & Jacklin, 1974), and they are more cautious in situations involving risks as noted above. All data derived from indirect sources must be interpreted cautiously and wherever possible validated against direct observation since the gender biases of the raters (parents, teachers, or child) cannot be ruled out. For excample, observational data do not show systematic sex differences in empathy and prosocial behavior, and in some situations boys or men are more likely to offer assistence than girls or women, particularly in situations involving significant risk (Eagly & Crowley, 1986; Fabes, Eisenberg, & Miller, 1990).<

Adaptive Origins - Evolution and Human Development
Peter LaFreniere; 2010

Dienstag, 4. Juni 2013

The effect of nonphysical traits on the perception of physical attractiveness - Three naturalistic studies

The effect of nonphysical traits on the perception of physical attractiveness - Three naturalistic studies
Kevin M Kniffin & David Sloan Wilson; 2004


From an evolutionary perspective, beauty is regarded as an assessment of fitness value. The Fitness value of a social partner can be influenced by both physical and nonphysical traits. It follows that the perceived beauty of a social partner can be influenced by nonphysical traits such as liking, respect, familiarity, and contribution to shared goals in addition to physical traits such as youth, waist-to-hip ratio, and bilateral symmetry. We present three studies involving the evaluation of known social partners showing that judgments of physical attractiveness are strongly influenced by nonphysical factors. Females are more strongly influenced by nonphysical factors than males and there are large individual differences within each sex. In general, research on physical attractiveness based on the evaluation of purely physical traits of strangers might miss some of the most important factors influencing the perception of physical attractiveness among known associates.

Samstag, 1. Juni 2013

Stereotypes about the sexes:

"We have all grown up with generalizations, or "stereotypes", about males and females, but we are often told that there is something "bad" about stereotypes: they are said to be inaccurate, to constitute rigid all-or-none beliefs, and to cause people to ignore individuating Information. In fact, however, existing data undermine all three of those assertions. Most studies of stereotype accuracy have shown them to be accurate generalizations; they tend to be probabilistic, rather than categorial beliefs such as "all Xs are Y"; and people tend to rely on stereotypes when they lack individuating information but attend to individuating information when it is present. Indeed, stereotypes serve the essential function of allowing us to generalize from  patterns of information."

Kingsley R Browne; 2002
Biology at Work