Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hunting women as smart as non-hunting women until race is considered

++Addition++Agnostic has a couple of related posts up. He finds the same regarding hunting, in addition to looking at involvement in sports by intelligence.


Half Sigma marshalls quite the stack of circumstantial evidence that Sarah Palin is of modest intelligence. One of several reasons he gives for presuming she is at best narrowly on the right side of the spectrum:
(5) Smart people have intellectual hobbies. Sarah Palin hunts moose.

Hunting is putatively a blue collar activity, but it is also a moderately costly (not just in terms of equipment and licensing, but also time) and predominately white activity.

So is HS correct? The GSS asks respondents if they or their spouses hunt. The average IQ, converted from Wordsum scores, for women who either hunt, are married to someone who hunts, or both, and for women who do not hunt are nearly identical--97.5 in both cases, with hunters enjoying a rounding error edge.

Among whites, however, hunting tends to be an activity of the less cognitively endowed. The average IQ of women who hunt, are married to hunters, or both, is 98.0. For white women who have nothing to do with hunting, it is 100.2.

As long as he's not afraid of political incorrectness (as it's Half Sigma, this isn't the case), his assertion that hunting is an activity characteristic of white women of lower intelligence is a valid one.


Peter said...

Not all hunting is created equal. Deer hunting has a Joe Sixpack image, while waterfowl hunting is more upscale. I've no idea where Alaskan moose hunting fits into the mix.

Stopped Clock said...

Thank you for introducing me to the world of GSS correlations.

Alice Finkel said...

You have made a critical error in your analysis. Alaska is a special case. Hunting is more of an integral activity for Alaskan kids and adults. It's the low IQ Alaskans who don't hunt.

Sigma's obsession with Sarah Palin has gone beyond the Freudian into the Outer Limits. Tell me you are not following him down that prionic path.

Steve Sailer said...

Do you have a sense for how much the GSS needs to be corrected for the fact that it's not a full IQ test, it's just a 10 question vocabulary test? Yes, I know vocabulary correlates with g, the general factor, to a high degree, but I'm concerned that an over-reliance on vocabulary misses out on important non-g subfactors in intelligence, especially 3-dimensional processing power. One's ability to accurately rotate 3-d objects in one's imagination is fairly separate from g, but it's not unimportant in overall IQ. And, it's clearly related in some fashion to masculinity, since men average something like 3/4ths of a standard deviation higher on it.

This probably isn't worth worrying about for most uses of the GSS vocabulary scores, but for something like propensity to go hunting, which no doubt is related in some fashion to male hormone levels, it does seem important.

The difference between the GSS vocabulary test and a true IQ test is probably also important for politics, too. My impression is that colleges where students average higher on the SAT Math than on the SAT Verbal tend to be more conservative than mirror image schools of the same overall SAT score. That at least was my experience at Rice in the late 1970s.

agnostic said...

I've got a similar post up at my blog, but you can see how strongly IQ correlates with hunting / fishing, as well as going to NASCAR races.

Overall, playing or watching sports isn't correlated with IQ (though there's a clear relationship).

Half Sigma said...

Remember, it's not just about one point, but the pattern of the many points.

Hunting as a hobby doesn't prove stupidity, but if she had an intellectual hobby such as teaching a class at a university (which is what Biden and Obama like to do), this would demonstrate intelligence.

Hunting is a hobby practiced by ordinary people. Too dumb and you can't afford it, too smart and you tend to look down on it.

al fin said...

I suspect that there is a correlation between playing basketball and IQ. Of course, there are confounders.

That is the problem with such widely sweeping generalisations regarding IQ associations with particular activities. You can say nothing about individuals, only groups.

When persons abuse statistical metrics to make "confident" pronouncements about individuals, that is not science nor is it rational.

Emotions play a huge part in this entire brouhaha.

Of course, my take on the situation with HS and Palin, is that HS has found a topic that attracts readers and commenters. Who can argue with that?

Peter said...

I've got a similar post up at my blog, but you can see how strongly IQ correlates with hunting / fishing, as well as going to NASCAR races.

It appears that the GSS asked about attendance at auto races in general, not NASCAR specifically. Of course NASCAR heavily dominates motorsports in America, so the GSS results are reasonably well applicable to all motorsports. I nonetheless am under the impression that other types of racing are perhaps more upscale than NASCAR in terms of fan appeal.

Hunting as a hobby doesn't prove stupidity, but if she had an intellectual hobby such as teaching a class at a university (which is what Biden and Obama like to do), this would demonstrate intelligence.

Palin might not have had the chance to teach a university class even if she had wanted to do so. I'd guess that by and large a state governor has a busier and more time-consuming a schedule than a senator, plus Palin has more family responsibilities.

Audacious Epigone said...


The last time I was in Alaska, the RV I was in had to stop until a moose in the road got out of the way. My impression remains that hunting moose must be easy, but whenever I flippantly say the same thing about deer hunting, I'm lectured on how suburban deer are a different animal than rural deer are (which I assume is the case due to selection pressures).


It's addictive, beware.


I ran the same analysis for respondents from the Pacific region, the closest thing to isolating Alaska that the GSS allows for. The results are the same. For white women who hunt or have a spouse who does, average IQ is 100.1. For those who have nothing to do with hunting, it is 102.1 (the Pacific is a more intelligent region, based on GSS scores, than the country as a whole, which is why the average is above 100). That probably doesn't add much though, since the Pacific includes California and thus probably overwhelms the Alaskan respondent sample.

I'm ambivalent about Palin. I'm not sure where her sentiments are regarding immigration, which is the issue that matters most to me. Also, I'm assuming that second comment wasn't directing at me, as of course I'm aware that averages do not tell anything definitive at the individual level.


Please see the post addressing this.


Regarding hunting, you find the same thing I do. Your method of listing variables used is something I will start doing, as well as listing the number of respondents for each attribute looked at.

Alice Finkel said...

A better sample than the western US would be to use western Canada.

Expecting an analysis of Californian, Oregonian, or Washingtonian hunting households to say anything relevant about Alaskan hunting households is an exercise in futility.

agnostic said...

Alice is wrong. I've put up a new post breaking down the country into red and blue states, since the GSS allows you to look at regions.

The picture is the same: more smarts means less hunting, fishing, and auto racing, whether in red or blue states.

The only difference is that red staters in a given IQ class participate more in these activities.

Steve Sailer said...

I'm sure that the appeal of hunting skews lower on the IQ scale than the average, but bloodsports also seem like a particularly likely case to skew toward the most masculine personalities. My late father-in-law, a professional classical musician and union boss, was a quite bright and quite masculine city boy in purely urban Chicago. When he got to be about 16, he once said, every time he saw one of the few wild animals in Chicago, like a squirrel or a possum, the thought occurred to him: "I'd like to kill that." So, he took up hunting even though he lived in a big city.

Me, personally, I've never felt that way about critters. So, I took up golf, which is like the Disney version of hunting.

al fin said...

I suspect that Agnostic is far afield here. Both Alaska and Hawaii are outliers in many ways. To consider either to be typical of "Red States" or "Blue States" seems quite absurd.

Having lived personally in Alaska, California, Washington, Colorado, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. in a wide array of both red and blue states, I strongly suspect that using either "Red State" data or "Western State" data to obtain meaningful information about Alaska, is an exercise in self-deception.

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