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Americans are becoming better sorted into social classes by intelligence.
At least, that's the thesis of the book The Bell Curve by sociologists Herrnstein & Murray (1994), and you might be able to weaken the claims a bit, but the trend seems accurate. Now this means, smart people have more control, and that's generally what you want. But class, by any selective function, is a means to divide and isolate, and at least when it comes to earnings, the range of division is increasing.
It seems to me, you could ague IQ is as much an accident of birth as class background. Few try to be unintelligent, just as few in Elizabethan England would have tried to lower their social standing.
So is this societal reconfiguration, which I guess is better approaching the American ideal of meritocracy, a reasonable and stable one? What are your thoughts? Well, we're all anonymous, so where you do fall on the spectrum of class, and how does the world around you look [if you want to answer, no need to reveal too much, but sometimes I wonder how different my world is from others]?
I'm never quite sure if I come up with a topic of interest, so thank you for being the first poster. :)
OK, intelligence then is too complex to reason about, above, say, those with disability. I'm not sure I can follow that with much, except to note the perspective. The tests, perhaps, target something too narrow or lack reliability.
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>>3206>Intelligence as a concept is already too nebulous to test accurately or usefully,
Maybe we can consider the g
factor. It is well-established in the psychological literature.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G_factor_%28psychometrics%29>I'm not entirely convinced it contributes to class or even success outside of some examples on the extremely low end.
IQ is definitely correlated with income.
It's definitely an interesting topic and I'd enjoy seeing what people have to say about it.>>3209>Maybe we can consider the g factor. It is well-established in the psychological literature.
Well established, but not without critics. My own criticism, which is perhaps very on topic for the thread, is that its research seems to have no meaningful applications. Even if intelligence had
divided the nation into a class system, you can already see the classes. What good does it do to claim that one class is more intelligent than another?>IQ is definitely correlated with income.
Correlation doesn't equate to causation, however. It's entirely possible that a third variable, or perhaps several extra variables, simply contribute to both.
Further, even the correlation shown is a bit unimpressive. For starters, why is everything above 125 lumped together? I'd prefer to see more specific data. Does it simply flatline after that, such that 125 is the effective limit of IQ's usefulness? And the median income between 100 and 125+ is only moving from $38k to $55k. That hasn't separated people into classes at all, that's just a really average payscale. What are the IQs of people who make $100k or $1m? More?
And perhaps most interestingly, why does net worth dip down
at 110 IQ? That's a very strange anomaly. Every other part of the graph, assuming it's accurate at all, implies that this shouldn't happen, and yet it's right there, included in the graph. How were these numbers collected? And would they be repeatable in another study?
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Meritocracy is great, but for the most part that's not what we live in. Many people who are at the top inherited that from their parents, whether through wealth or connections or both. That isn't to say there aren't self made men and women, but they only represent a fraction of the whole. I think it's rare that someone gets ahead in life merely because they deserved it through hard work. If you don't have the connections or the backing of wealth, then if you made it to the top, you were probably a bit lucky.
That includes myself, I'm no doubt in the upper class. But around me it doesn't feel like anyone is so exceptionally smart or deserving, at least not so much more than other people who have less. My parents were not born rich, but they worked hard and got lucky. I hear stories about their lucky breaks all the time. Because of that, they were able to give their children, including me, more chances to fuck up before getting their act together. Before I could lay claim to something like being in the upper class, I was a total fuck up who was using up his advantages and connections left and right just to stay in the game long enough to start a career. If I didn't have that, extra chances granted to me through sheer luck of who birthed me, I would be a manager working at a retail shop today.
That's my perspective. I am a hard worker, and I'm pretty smart, but I deserve nothing I have any more than the next guy. I just had more chances to figure it out than average.
Put another way, I think intelligence has a role, but it tells only a fraction of the story.
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>>3210>My own criticism, which is perhaps very on topic for the thread, is that its research seems to have no meaningful applications.
Well I'd agree that research into intelligence is still at a basic research level (in government terms, at technology readiness level 1). But I don't think that's really a "criticism" of the science itself. Our understanding of the brain is still in its infancy. We don't even know whether beta-amyloid plaques are causative
for Alzheimer's disease. I'd say that simply finding interesting phenomena (in replicable manner!) is worthwhile research at this stage.>>3210>Correlation doesn't equate to causation, however.
OK, that's fair. But I'd say that most highly-paid and prestigious professions nowadays (e.g., doctor, scientist, engineer, lawyer, business executive) all require an above-average IQ.>Further, even the correlation shown is a bit unimpressive.... How were these numbers collected? And would they be repeatable in another study?
OK, perhaps that study wasn't very good.
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The authors use g in their book, considering it a variable with general predictive power.>>3210>What good does it do to claim that one class is more intelligent than another?
I think there's generally value in understanding. Something worries you, though.>>3210>a third variable
Grit and charm may factor into economic success. IQ tests probably can't be charmed, but motivation to do well might help increase the score while also showing up on the job.
Probably a bigger possibility is family wealth. Wealth usually means a good environment for the child -- security and perhaps family connections as a adult.
The authors say IQ is somewhat heritable. Some evidence comes from twins separated at birth. The prenatal environment was shared, so to be clear, it's not proving completely genetic inheritance.
Thomas Piketty, an economist, claims in slow growth economies, inherited wealth is a major factor in economic class. Herrnstein & Murray claim that IQ is fairly heritable, which jives with the other claim, adding only that the less bright of the wealthy are a bit more likely to sink.>pic
The graph below shows a gradual increase of IQ in college students, even while the number increases. Most notable is the increase in the IQ of Ivy League students. The second graph is from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, although I'd guess the Ivy League number comes from elsewhere. The National Longitudinal Study of Youth were not actually given formal IQ tests, the authors inferred the numbers from Armed Forces Qualification Test data.
The authors other reasoning for stratification are in the last century 'smart people' jobs like engineer are getting paid more relative to common jobs. Intelligence protects against poverty even when considering parent's status (weaker for single mothers). And business executives have more educational credentials now.>>3211
To be clear, neither I nor the authors say we are exactly at meritocracy. Prejudice and poverty keep a lot of people down.
There are various observations such as this: "The second broad implication is that parental SES is important but not decisive. In terms of this figure [not the one in the picture], a student with very well-placed parents, in the top 2 percent of the socioeconomic scale, had only a 40 percent chance of getting a college degree if he had only
average intelligence. A student with parents of only average SES-lower middle class, probably without college degrees themselves-who
is himself in the top 2 percent of 1Q had more than a 75 percent chance
of getting a degree."
Of course, that also means 25% of very bright poor folks aren't going to college (although in another vein I would question whether college is a universal mark of success, I'll save that for later). In another chart, it shows they probably escape poverty, but are not taking their economic place among the 'cognitive elite.'>a bit lucky.
I'm glad you were lucky. I guess this is something that separates narratives from bigger data, luck is in the domain of the individual.
>>3214>I'd say that simply finding interesting phenomena (in replicable manner!) is worthwhile research at this stage.>>3215>I think there's generally value in understanding.
True enough. It's interesting if nothing else.>>3214>But I'd say that most highly-paid and prestigious professions nowadays (e.g., doctor, scientist, engineer, lawyer, business executive) all require an above-average IQ.
There's might be a tendency for people in those positions to have a higher IQ, but I definitely wouldn't say it's a requirement. I'd wager people could probably learn to perform adequetely, or even very well, in most of those roles without having a particularly high IQ (though I do still believe that having a particularly low IQ could be detrimental).>>3215>The authors say IQ is somewhat heritable. Some evidence comes from twins separated at birth. The prenatal environment was shared, so to be clear, it's not proving completely genetic inheritance.
It's certainly believable, though, from what I understand of heritage. There's always a chance of mutation in offspring, of course, but generally speaking I think a great deal of traits are inheritable.>The Graph
While again this shows a correlation, I'm curious if the causation isn't backwards. Often IQ is measured using various logic puzzles, and people who are interested in that sort of thing might be more likely to attend a college, just as an example. Similarly, those with higher IQs might find themselves more drawn towards careers like engineering, just as a matter of preference for what they enjoy doing, rather than based purely on capability to perform the task.>The authors other reasoning for stratification are in the last century 'smart people' jobs like engineer are getting paid more relative to common jobs.
This is true to a point, but I think ultimately only explains a relatively small gap. An engineer might get paid more than a diner waitress, but they still fall firmly outside of the upper class, and possibly even outside of the upper portion of the middle class. Much like IQ, once you remove the lowest examples, I think the differences start to fade and things tend to flatten out.
Early intelligence tests in particular have been largely criticized for favoring the upper class, or usually whites. Typically examples revolve around use of certain vocabulary, or associations that would only be relevant to people with a certain background.
I do believe many of the ways we think about intelligence are strongly tied to social structures. So if anything, being part of a social system that passes on its knowledge will overwhelmingly give you an advantage in intelligence. Since the original book merely notes a correlation, you might alternatively consider that it is in part wealth that gives the opportunity to become intelligent, and not the other way around. But it's really how that happens that needs more investigation rather than that it happens.
Regarding the idea of meritocracy, merit depends in part on skill and skill in part on training. You stand a much better chance, for instance, of creating your own electrical circuit if you have access to the relevant education than if you don't and may as well have been tasked with discovering electricity in the first place.
Furthermore, there are scenarios where merit doesn't necessarily play into one's status. Consider investment. You commit resources to someone else's endeavor, and if they succeed financially, then you do also.
Merit, or alternatively value, always has to enter the equation somewhere. But it does not necessarily distribute in a purely meritocratic fashion. Consider that companies, especially the larger they are, depend on people with many kinds of skills, and those who make more don't necessarily have the same know-how as other vital members, whose knowledge, "intelligence", is essential.
I definitely fall on the lower class spectrum, but lower middle considering we somehow manage to have a house.
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>>3216>I'd wager people could probably learn to perform adequetely, or even very well, in most of those roles without having a particularly high IQ
I'm not sure what you mean by "a particularly high IQ". If you mean two standard deviations above mean, I'd agree. If you mean 1 standard deviation above mean, I'd be more hesitant.
I'm pretty sure someone with a below-average IQ (i.e., an IQ less than 100) won't even be accepted into a reputable law school, considering that performance on the LSAT is highly correlated with IQ.
>>3219>I'm not sure what you mean by "a particularly high IQ". If you mean two standard deviations above mean, I'd agree. If you mean 1 standard deviation above mean, I'd be more hesitant.
That's roughly what I meant, I think, yeah.>I'm pretty sure someone with a below-average IQ (i.e., an IQ less than 100) won't even be accepted into a reputable law school, considering that performance on the LSAT is highly correlated with IQ.
Though here I'd say that anyone within a standard deviation, in either direction, could probably manage. First of all, because this is again only a correlation, which implies there are exceptions, regardless of how high the correlation. And secondly just because I don't trust law schools as gatekeepers of who could
perform the job.
And this is the sort of thing which concerns me with IQ tests in general. People putting so much stock in them that other metrics get discarded. We don't have to predetermine who we think would perform well on the LSAT, we can just let people take the LSAT. And ultimately even that is a form of predetermination that might not be entirely accurate when it comes to determining success in law school, or more importantly in law itself. But I think it's more reasonable to limit ourselves to a certain number of steps of removal from a task. The fewer steps, the better.
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>>3205>logic puzzles, and people who are interested in that sort
You point out an alternate theory, either people who are self selected for what you think of as high-IQ careers simply happen to have high IQ on average, or alternately when school staff see children struggling with IQ-test-related tasks, they begin to shepherd them away from those jobs. This is related to how people explain that, say, computer science is male dominated, adding the idea that people believe men are better at logic puzzles than women.
The authors quote Gould's The Mismeasure of Man (which I've not read):
"Earnings, occupation, productivity--all the important measures of success--are unrelated to the test scores. All that tests really accomplish is to label youngsters, stigmatizing the ones who do not do well and creating a self-fulfilling pophecy that injures the socioeconomically disadvantaged in general and blacks in particular.">rather than based purely on capability to perform the task.
The authors infer intelligence from military tests and find it helps in nearly every job. But these are correlations in large sets of data, not the same as saying 'your IQ must be this high to ride.' You're right to think about options other than absolute necessity.>upper portion of the middle class.
Well, doctors. I...don't think I know what the upper portion of the middle class does, I guess.>Much like IQ, once you remove the lowest examples, I think the differences start to fade and things tend to flatten out.
I can say at least, at the upper ends, data is going to get sparse and fuzzy.>>3217>part of the human experience that is love and treating people [and creatures/nature] fairly and with respect
Well, that's a concern. Should love involve shared experience and goals, will separating the smart and less smart cause issues? Although I feel you may be thinking -- if someone's IQ were elevated somehow, would it eclipse their humanity, make them more calculating and cold? It's a good question.
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>>3205>use of certain vocabulary, or associations that would only be relevant to people with a certain background.
sort of questions.
The authors bring that up, but dismiss it, saying it's a pretty easy thing to check, and people who otherwise do well don't seem tripped up by these questions (sorting by race/SES/etc.). Suppose you could say people from disadvantaged backgrounds both miss questions generally and struggle with culturally biased questions, but I suppose the effective score is the same. They admit if you test someone with English as a second language, there are legitimate problems.
Before reading this book, cultural bias was my assumption. Confess I've never taken an IQ test myself.>in part wealth that gives the opportunity to become intelligent, and not the other way around.
Evidence would have to involve mobility. Some was indicated, but given the assertion of 60% or so heritibility of IQ, it didn't need to be common. The graph, I believe, is more inferences from their Longitudinal Study of Youth.>how that happens that needs more investigation rather than that it happens.
True rags-to-riches stories, given people's appetite for them, seem rare. I can think of middle class to superstar stories. Poor to pretty OK stories.>creating your own electrical circuit if you have access to the relevant education
Oh, certainly.>Consider investment.
I'm reminded of another book which claims the larger funds gain greater returns, since the proportion going to a quality manager is lower and you can afford better managers. Points to a greater capacity for the wealthy to coast. I believe it's hard to get good data on the upper crust of society. I could see perhaps the class meritocracy breaks down above the highest tier of professionals, where legacy money plays a greater role.>those who make more don't necessarily have the same know-how as other vital members,
In economics, they talk about the marginal productivity of an employee -- how much more money the company makes with them than without. Presumably that relates to pay, but there can be many perversions. The book says productivity goes with general intelligence, at least where experience is even enough (based on evidence from the military). So there are a lot of steps of reasoning to assert pay goes as IQ. I guess one of the questions I'm trying to address is: as much as it's true, is it a reasonable way to organize society?>lower class spectrum
I checked, and my earnings are at the 41st percentile for America. I think the kind of housing that buys depends a lot on location. Currently I rent with a room-mate. A house would come with some freedoms, but more to worry about, too.
>>3220> First of all, because this is again only a correlation, which implies there are exceptions, regardless of how high the correlation.
Not really. The correlation isn't 100% mostly because of measurement error and not measuring everything that an IQ test does. The LSAT is almost as correlated with IQ tests as IQ tests are to themselves. The LSAT doesn't measure exactly
the same thing as IQ tests do (e.g., it doesn't have a spatial reasoning section), but it's very close. The LSAT basically is
a subsection of an IQ test. And the various subsections of an IQ test are famously highly correlated with other sections, as observed by Spearman and widely replicated.
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True, probably a more modern study would have put more weight on mental illness. There was some discussion of injury, but they were thinking mostly physical.>>3224
I think you mean by now I should have read many sociology books. I'm not even done with this one yet. Reminds me many indications suggest my IQ is around average, perhaps below, and if above not by a great deal. Probably that means my capacity to process volumes of information quickly is not impressive.
(I'm still going to be a scientist, though.)
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No, the Turtle has not. I did a bit better than average on my ACT (27), but my SES is worse than average. I tried to go dig up my ASVAB paperwork, but that's who-knows-where at this point.
Looks like a valid test would costs hundreds of dollars. I'm sure tons of websites will tell me I'm a certified genius after 20 questions, for what that's worth. The book makes me a bit curious, but I'm not hundreds-of-dollars-curious.>>3298>what you mean by class.
Socioeconomic status, I guess. It has no formula, but depends on income, education, job prestige, etc.>I struggle every day not to look down on people around me who don't think as far as I do.
That's interesting. You're, like, really smart, perhaps. I've sometimes wondered what that's like. It sounds like planning ahead is something you do better. I guess if the book is right, smart people do pretty much everything better.>>3303
What did you expect your score to predict that it seemed not to?
Well, anything, really. Despite my score, I feel very normal, on par with those around me. A statistical outlier to the graphs posted previously, I'm not only impoverished but have the least income out of anyone I know. Though apparently I'm so far outlying that I wouldn't be graphed to begin with. I've never noticed a significant difference between me and anyone else outside of other academic tests back in school, and even that didn't really seem in line with the gap that people claim IQ tests should be predicting.>Looks like a valid test would costs hundreds of dollars. I'm sure tons of websites will tell me I'm a certified genius after 20 questions, for what that's worth. The book makes me a bit curious, but I'm not hundreds-of-dollars-curious.
I believe I've only had one "valid" test, and that was quite a long time ago, though it's been in line with most tests I've taken since, so I'm actually a bit more skeptical of people trying to charge hundreds of dollars for their "official" IQ tests than I am of people who made one available for free. This perhaps filters into my distrust of the IQ test in general, seeing that for some people there's a clear profit motive to making IQ seem more important, and further to making it seem so scientifically rigorous that you couldn't figure out your IQ with relative accuracy on your own.
>>3337>Well, anything, really.
Of course, the is the inverse of the law of large numbers. There's some expected deviation from the trends for any given individual that is larger than the deviations of means of large groups.>the least income out of anyone I know.
So you make less than people who seem as smart as you.>I'm so far outlying that I wouldn't be graphed to begin with.
You're a super-genius? I'm guessing you mean off the chart in the positive direction. The negative way would probably mean you couldn't make sentences and stuff.>gap that people claim IQ tests should be predicting.
So you don't excel at something cognitive?>I'm actually a bit more skeptical of people trying to charge hundreds of dollars for their "official" IQ tests
Well, this is just me Googling stuff. But some say you ought to have a psychologist proctor the test, and attention of a psychologist will typically run ~$100/hr, and you figure a few hours of testing. With more searching I found Mensa offers tests for much less, $30-$60. That might be the best option.>there's a clear profit motive to making IQ seem more important,
General thing for any psychology test. People hold a range of opinions on who should have to right to do science, especially science on/for you. For me, I think if I tried to give myself a test, I'd fudge in my favor, so at best I'd get an upper bound.
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>>3337>Well, anything, really.
All that IQ really measures is your ability to reason abstractly. In today's world, there are many high-paying, high-prestige jobs that require various amounts of this ability to reason abstractly. So, IQ above a certain threshold is a necessary condition (but not a sufficient condition) for obtaining and holding such a job. And some achievements (like making a major scientific discovery leading to being awarded a Nobel Prize) require both very high IQ and a lot of luck.
>>3393>You're a super-genius?
I don't know about "super" genius, but I guess that depends on how you'd define an "ordinary" genius. I'm about four standard deviations above average, with my test averages placing me between 150 and 160, depending on the test. I feel like a significant number of people seem higher than that, but apparently not enough that any of us make it into statistics.>So you don't excel at something cognitive?
Again, it depends on your definition of excel. As an example, I also got a 27 on my ACT, which is high enough for colleges to take notice of you, but ultimately something people of much lower IQs are capable of. Upon entering college, I maintained a 4.0 average for multiple semesters, but I feel like anyone in my situation could've done the same.>For me, I think if I tried to give myself a test, I'd fudge in my favor, so at best I'd get an upper bound.
I suppose if you can't trust yourself to be impartial then it makes sense to include a proctor. Though as most free ones I've seen are automated, the proctor is kind of still there, just as an AI.>>3394
It's not impossible, I suppose. I haven't researched the topic enough to be sure of anything I'm saying. I maintain skepticism on the grounds that there are some counterexamples and because misapplications of the concept of IQ could be devastating.
I ended up just leaving. I had to get a job while in college, which interfered with my performance, and ultimately I decided I wouldn't want to leave my job even after getting my degree. So instead I dropped it of college to focus on my job.
So definitely there were other factors and you can't necessarily say that I'm not intelligent because of my job.
So you're 1/30,000 smart. I think that's super-genius.
Hmm...I got a 27 and dropped out of college because work was taking too much time. Not quite 4.0, though, and pretty bad at the end. Hard to get back on the horse when you fall. (It's OK, now I'll make my own flexible school).
I take if you have a job that's not cognitively demanding, pays poorly, and takes much of your time. (I guess that's the experience of most people I know.)
I would seriously start by reading and considering the criticisms of that book.
OK, it's mostly about race. There were several threads for that earlier. Some questioning the IQ as something genetic and invariant given the Flynn effect, that does seem valid. Murray's book is one of libertarian persuasion, that is becoming clearer as I get to the end.
But anyway, any social hierarchy will be the right social hierarchy for its proper subjects, so there's not much else to say. Thank you all for participating.
>>3440>any social hierarchy will be the right social hierarchy for its proper subjects
What do you mean by "proper subjects"? Depending on what you mean, I'd say that your statement is either true by definition (in which case some social hierarchies don't have any
'proper subjects'), or else obviously false.