Montag, 21. Juli 2014

Solving the puzzle of why Finns have the highest IQ, but one of the lowest number of Nobel prizes in Europe

Solving the puzzle of why Finns have the highest IQ, but one of the lowest number of Nobel prizes in Europe
Edward Dutton, Jan te Nijenhuis, Eka Roivainen
Intelligence (Sept - Oct 2014)


Finland does very well in PISA, but has very few Nobel Prize winners.
Finns have the highest IQ in Europe but the smallest SD.
Finns have high Conscientiousness and Agreeableness.
This explains why they do well in education, but not in measures of significant creative achievement.


Finland has been noted to perform consistently very well in the international PISA assessments for many years, but it also has a relatively low per capita number of Nobel Prize winners. We draw upon a large body of proxy data and direct evidence, including the first ever use of RTs to calculate the Finnish IQ and the first ever use of the WAIS IV and PISA scores in the same capacity. Based on these data, we hypothesize that Finns perform so consistently well in PISA because they have a higher IQ overall than other European countries and exhibit a specialized slow life history strategy characterized by high Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, and low Psychoticism and Extraversion. Most of these traits predict educational success but all would suppress genius and creativity amongst this population. We connect the present distribution of phenotypic traits amongst the Finnish population with evolutionary change starting in the Pleistocene, accelerating in the Holocene, and continuing into the present day. We argue that this profile explains why Finns are relatively poorly represented in terms of science Nobel laureates.


  1. Finns being agreeable sounds a bit weird; I'm not sure many Finns would agree. National data are tricky - Japan less conscientious than Nigeria etc. Should really be behavioral measures like car accidents, lifetime drug use and things like that.

  2. Hi Staffan,
    Your post about the >feminine Swedes< was an interesting read. Perhaps you could write an article about the >highly introverted Finns<. (...with all your insider knowledge about Scandinavia)

    1. To be honest, I don't have expert knowledge even though I've grown up with several Finns. Although more introverted than Swedes, they tend to blend in pretty well here. But they are certainly interesting and in many ways key to understanding HBD issues.

  3. Well first of all there's the obvious point that Finland never had more than a handful of Jews...

    Nobel prizes have been given out since 1901. There really could not have been any Finnish winner in 1901 as there was hardly a Finn who had even studied science at that point. There were literally no schools for Finns (only for Swedes) until 1866 and then it was only made legal to set up schools for Finns. Before that there hadn't been any schoolbooks for Finns either since until 1860 it was illegal to publish anything in Finnish except religious texts (since Lutheran obligations demanded them). Even after it was made legal to build schools for Finns they were mostly not built as the government was controlled by the Swedish minority.

    Most Swedes in Sweden are completely unaware of how bad ethnic relations in Finland were after 1809. The Swedes in formerly guaranteed positions suddenly found themselves a minority in a new country and decided that completely suppressing the Finnish majority would be the only way to maintain power. (Though of course a lot of Swedes sided with Finns and that was the most bitter fight of all.) We had book burning bonfires and all that.

    Finnish society in the 19th century/early 20th century was a hate-filled bloodbath waiting to happen and it took the bloodbath to get equal rights for Finns. The right-wing won the Civil War and the anti-Swedish Reds lost, but Finnish nationalists had spent years preparing for war, Swedes hadn't, so it was clear who wasn't getting the country.

    After the Civil War a proper education system was built for Finns and by the 1930s everyone was going at least to a basic school. But higher education took a long time to catch up with Western Europe.

  4. So Finn's psychology has remained stable for thousands of years? Yeah, I don't think so.

  5. Nobody says that. According to that paper it's likely that some changes occurred.