Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Perceptions of intelligence by political orientation

The perceptions of intelligence among members of different racial groups was the focus of a recent post. I subsequently wondered how political orientation affected these judgments. The following table converts to IQ scores the responses given to questions on the intelligence of members of various groups under the assumptions that the mean intelligence value for whites represents the equivalent of an IQ of 100, with a standard deviation is 15 points:

Politics
Whites
Blacks
Hispanics
Asians
Jews
Liberal
98.5
94.4
93.8 101.3
102.0
Moderate
100.4
94.1
90.8
100.1
101.7
Conservative
100.7
94.0
91.6
102.0102.8

The differences by political outlook are pretty marginal. Relative to conservatives, liberals perceive NAMs to be slightly more intelligent and whites, Jews, and Asians to be slightly less so. Moderates are actually the most vile, having depressed perceptions of non-whites across the board without a corresponding depression in their view of whites!

That there is minimal variation across the political spectrum is one point of interest. Perhaps more noteworthy, though, is the fact that self-described liberals tend to be consciously aware of group differences in intelligence (and probably other attributes like athleticism and personality as well). The chasm between what is permittable to say in a private, one-on-one interview and what may be said in the larger social sphere exists irrespective of politics.

Similarly, all racial groups are aware of this diversity. Blacks tend to think whites are more intelligent than blacks are. Hispanics think whites are more intelligent than Hispanics are. All groups perceive Asians to be at least as intelligent as whites are.

This is encouraging. As the knowledge of human genetics continues to accumulate, the blank slate will become increasingly vulnerable. The ignorant attacks on James Watson illustrate how threatened blank slatists already feel. The moment uttering hatefacts no longer carries with it the risk of personal destruction, the dam will have burst and realistic thinking will be able to replace disingenuous political correctness on a grand scale. In another sense, though, it is disheartening to consider that what most people know to be true is publicly held to be false by a substantial majority of the populous. Political correctness really is the great mental disease of our time.

Parenthetically, gender doesn't have influence. The largest group variance between men and women amounts to 1.1 IQ points. We appear to be from the same planet on this one.

GSS variables used: INTLWHTS, INTLBLKS, INTLHSPS, INTLASNS, INTLJEWS, SEX(1)(2), POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7), YEAR(2000-2008)


28 comments:

Jokah Macpherson said...

Since you'd already done perceptions of racial intelligence by race, political views, and sex, I decided I'd give region of residence a shot. I figured it would be a good test of one explanation for that Red State/Blue State book's assertion that blacker states are more likely to vote Republican even though blacks almost uniformly vote Democratic.

Once again, however, there's not much variance in the mean perceptions, even by region. Somehow the lily-white communities in the upper-Midwest reached about the same views on the subject as the denizens of Alabama and Mississippi.

It looks like you're right when you say that everyone implicitly understands these facts even if they'd rather not admit it.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

As the knowledge of human genetics continues to accumulate, the blank slate will become increasingly vulnerable.The problem for the left with HBD is that acceptance of HBD would crimp their ability to socially engineer society - and not only on race issues.

If humans have a fixed biological nature which cannot be changed radically, then the justification for social engineering falls flat.

Basically, acknowledging HBD is acknowledging the right was correct about human nature all along.

ironrailsironweights said...

One thing the GSS presumably does not ask is the reason why people believe I.Q. differs among groups. It's a reasonable assumption that as people get more conservative, they give greater relative importance to nature vs. nuture.

I also would imagine that people believe I.Q. is more significant to life outcomes as they get more conservative.

Peter

Audacious Epigone said...

Jokah,

Thanks for doing that. So we see that it's pretty universal. People are fairly realistic about group differences in intelligence across racial, political, gender, and geographical lines.

UJ,

Well said. That's why I don't understand why the right won't embrace thinking about things from an evolutionary perspective. It stands to be vindicated in so doing.

Peter,

I wonder if there is something in the GSS that might help us address that question. It's worth digging around for.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

I wonder if there is something in the GSS that might help us address that question. It's worth digging around for.

Search for the political inclinations people who believe genes play an important role in human behaviour.

Such a GSS search will give us a hint how future attitudes on policy will change as HBD reaches critical scientific mass.

Try these variables that you used on the below post:

GENEEXPS, SEX, RACECEN1

http://anepigone.blogspot.com/2008/12/gss-on-personality-formation-genes-or.html

The Undiscovered Jew said...

I used GENEEXPS as my row and POLVIEWS as my column and found that Extreme conservatives were most likely to believe genes play a major role in personality.

Interestingly, extremely liberal women were about twice as likely to agree about the importance of genes than liberal men were.

Blode0322 said...

Interestingly, extremely liberal women were about twice as likely to agree about the importance of genes than liberal men were.It's been suggested (maybe by Steve Sailer?) that this is because women observe babies more than men do. So two babies in the same environment - twins or close-age sibs - will have to be fed in different ways, or its easier to get one to stop crying by shaking a rattle while the other prefers bouncing on a knee....

Hard to explain those things using radical environmentalism. "Baby Timmy was trained to hate rattles because he was closer to the TV than little Debby when it was tuned to that one show about rattlesnakes. So shake a rattle for Debby and bounce Timmy." You'd have to be both leftist and male to believe that.

J said...

It might be worth noting that one of the largest gaps in perception is the disparity between how conservatives view Hispanics and how liberals view Hispanics. This could account for (or reflect) some of the difference of opinion between liberals and conservatives on immigration.

This may effect the way the immigration debate plays out over time. Both liberals and conservatives incorrectly rank Hispanics below blacks, but conservatives are more egregious in their error and therefore more likely to be surprised and chastened when Hispanics eventually pull ahead of blacks in income -- a development that could easily be spun toward the conclusion “See, Hispanics will assimilate toward white norms after all.”

The original post raises an important point. These surveys are done on a face-to-face basis. This may lead people to under-report the magnitude of the differences between groups. Better to err on the side of equality in front of strangers. Observe that self described liberals see a range of about 8 point between top and bottom groups, while conservatives see a range of about 11.

Audacious Epigone said...

UJ,

Good suggestion. I recall the differences by political orientation being pretty minimal, although you've found variances at least on the extremes. Definitely worth taking a look.

Blode,

Hmm, I wonder how having children influences the GENEEXPS question. I'm crunched for time at the moment, but it'd be interesting if there is a meaningful difference among those who have children and those who do not.

J,

Yes, that is concerning. In a lot of right-leaning, white libertarian minds, Hispanics are desirable to the extent that they outperform and are better behaved than blacks, as if the addition of a laborer from Mexico sends a black guy from the urban core out of the country.

Good point regarding the larger variance among conservatives than liberals.

agnostic said...

Only somewhat off-topic.

I've futzed around on NAEP's website, but can only get average scores for a
given year, and many years are missing.

Does anyone know:

1) Where to get yearly data for 1988 to 2007 / 2008?

2) Where to get distributional stats? I need the total number of students, or
percent of all test-takers, who score in the top 1 or 2 proficiency levels.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Audacious Epigone said...

Agnostic,

NAEP testing isn't done every year. Subjects rotate in and out, every 2-4 years (math and reading are more frequent than science and writing). Distributions by state can be found here. Click on the state of interest, and then scroll down to the "Related Material" pdf section. That will give you distributions by year for all races, and also a racial breakdown for the most recent year. I'm not sure if that's all you're looking for, but hopefully it helps.

Blode0322 said...

I wonder how having children influences the GENEEXPS question.I think the best variable to capture the former is HHTYPE1. Agreed?

I ran the tables, and the perfidious data fail to support my genius hypothesis! It looks like family type has virtually no effect on the answer to the GENEEXPS question, with ca. 3-to-1 majorities in every family type saying "It is experience that determine personality". (Single adults are marginally the most likely to say genes play a major role, but the difference is miniscule.)

We still have no data on who has spent most time observing little children. Technically, for all we know it's the women (and men) spending the least time with children who are most likely to think genes are important.

Blode0322 said...

Just for gits and shiggles, I ran a few more things. First, while the WORDSUM, GENEEXPS chart for ladies is bumpy (with average and very bright women most likely to feel genes are more important, and moderately bright women most heavily environmentalist), the brightest gents are dramatically more likely than the dimmest to be radically environmentalist. (Again, the caveat is: a majority of all groups oppose "Genes plays major role", but to differing degrees.)

Next, breaking family type out by gender is particularly interesting. So there you have it - over five minutes of brow-mopping work with very few shiggles to show for it.

P.S. I'm slightly annoyed that Blogger now seems to think I never want any line breaks after an italicized passage.There should be a line break before this sentence!

Audacious Epigone said...

Blode,

What you report is similar to what I found in a post from last December. Women are 34% more likely than men to say genes play a major role in determining personality.

An easier way to separate women who've raised children (presumably) and those who have not is to simply look at those who have had children (N = 918) and those who have not (N = 344) (using CHILDS variable).

Percentages of each saying genes play a major role:

Has child(ren): 30.3%
No child(ren): 22.4%

The trend runs in the same direction among men:

Has child(ren): 23.9%
No child(ren): 18.0%

The Undiscovered Jew said...

First, while the WORDSUM, GENEEXPS chart for ladies is bumpy (with average and very bright women most likely to feel genes are more important, and moderately bright women most heavily environmentalist), the brightest gents are dramatically more likely than the dimmest to be radically environmentalist.

Blode,

When I filtered for sex, white women across WORDSUM levels were more likely to believe genes play an important role in personality than white men were.

I suppose women just "get" heredity in a way men don't because women have to put more thought into reproductive decisions than men do because women generally can't afford to jump from partner to partner like men can.

This result may give us an indication as to why so many high IQ, leftist progressive white women such as Margaret Sanger were so enthusiastic about Eugenics in the early 20th century.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

I ran some more numbers and found young white women were less likely to believe genes play a role in personality than older white women, although younger white women are still much more likely to believe genes play a role in personality than young white men are.

Keep in mind though that these numbers are are going to tilt heavily in favor of determinism as genomic data comes pouring in over the next 5 years.

The trick for us is attempt to look for small clues as to how political views are going to reconfigure themselves by the end of the next decade and beyone.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

I used ABPOOR ("should be
possible for a pregnant woman to obtaina legal abortion if: d.
The family has a very low income and cannot afford any more
children?) to get a sense of who is likely to be sympathetic to arguments for eugenics.

I used ABPOOR for my Row, POLVIEWS for my column, RACE for my Control and my filter was GENEEXPS(1)(2).

I found that, although the number of respondents was small, whites across the ideological board who say genes have an effect on personality - except for extreme liberals (and be warned that there were only 3 extreme liberals in this dataset) - were more likely to support abortion rights for poor women who cannot afford more children than whites of any ideology, except for extreme liberals, who believe primarily in the nurturist case.

ABPOOR, because of it's obvious eugenic implications, could be an even more interesting variale to work with than GENEEXPS.

Audacious Epigone said...

UJ,

That makes sense. As the primacy of genetics becomes more widely accepted, eugenic approaches will be seen in an increasingly pragmatic way. Very encouraging.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

Oh, and using ABPOOR, I found stong majorities of all liberals who believe in genes playing a role in personality were most strongly in favor of providing abortion services to poor women than moderates or conservatives who believe genes play a major role in personality.

Audacious Epigone said...

UJ,

Are GENEEXPS 1 liberals more likely to support abortion for the poor than any other political/GENEEXP set? The question seems like a useful proxy for intelligence, but it's obviously not perfect, because of abortion's political baggage.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

"Are GENEEXPS 1 liberals more likely to support abortion for the poor than any other political/GENEEXP set?"

Yes, except for extreme liberals, but there were only four extreme white liberals who believe genes have a heavy influence over personality.

Also, when using WORDSUM, but not screening for political views, whites scoring a 10 are most likely to support abortion access for poor women (64.7-35.3%).

Of course, the most are intelligent whites are the most likely to be antiracist but, ironically, are most likely to support a de facto if not de Jure pro-Eugenics abortion policy for the poor.

In other words, there is a lot of cognitive dissonance on the left regarding genetics and evolution.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

Of course, the most are intelligent whites are the most likely to be antiracist

should be

Of course the most intelligent whites are the most likely to be antiracist

J said...

"The trick for us is attempt to look for small clues as to how political views are going to reconfigure themselves by the end of the next decade and beyone."

There are a lot of single mothers out there, and their ranks appear to be increasing. They tilt left. Perhaps they will greet the news of genetic determinism with relief. Children will turn out the way they turn out, barring some severe negligence on their part. That's setting the bar reassuringly low.

Once women begin to internalize genetic determinism in large numbers, they may be more selective in who they choose as bed partners.

It is possible, even likely, that political orientation is at least partly hard wired. Once the idea of genetic determinism gets some traction on the left, the idea is sure to take off. See how much traction gay empowerment activists have made on the right by arguing that homosexuality is inborn. See how much traction genetic determinism has already gained on the left by arguing that homosexuality is inborn.

The Undiscovered Jew said...

J,

That's true, young Americans are pretty religious and increasingly opposed to abortion but they are more tolerant of homosexuality than their elders in part because they know homosexuality is inborn.

Audacious Epigone said...

UJ,

That's a satisfying (and relatively encouraging) explanation for why opposition to abortion is actually enjoying a little bit of an uptick, while opposition to same-sex marriage looks to me as though it is going to continue to steadily decline. Thanks.

Blode0322 said...

AE, thanks so much for saving the theory. As usual, I wasn't using the best variable. The GSS is as daunting as it is powerful.

Anonymous said...

I have found women to be generally more accepting (or resigned if you like) to nature's inequities. Women seem better able to adapt to changing conditions and stresses, e.g., like the loss of a spouse better than men. Women are quite satisfied simply talking about their problems and don't always need solutions.

Men (at least real men) are more aggressive and combative and more likely to wage war against nature. To men, a problem by its nature demands a solution, which may be the catalyst for invention. Men therefore (especially liberal men) may be less likely to accept genetic determinism which, in the absence of eugenics, is a battle they're likely to lose.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Could be, although it seems to me that women are more likely to fall into the trap that they will be able to change a problematic lover down the road. That could just be rationality being overwhelmed by a strong emotional bond, which is stronger in women (at least while it's intact).