Monday, April 01, 2013

Skin tone and IQ, and volunteering, too

The 2012 data from the GSS has been released for public consumption. Apparently (and beautifully) oblivious to PC etiquette, the GSS asked interviewers to assess the skin tones of the survey respondents they interviewed. The following graph shows the relationship between skin tone and wordsum results, a quick ten question vocabulary test that correlates pretty well with IQ (n = 1,119):


There is some noise on the dark end due to small sample sizes in the 8-10 range. Excepting that, we get confirmation of the stereotype that ice people are more, uh, bookish than hipper sun people are.

To get under leftists' skin (heh) even more, the percentages of people who have volunteered through or for an organization over the last year, by political orientation:

PolsVols
Liberal40.6%
Moderate35.5%
Conservative49.0%

When it comes to volunteerism, one of our demographic groups is assimilating to the norms of old America. The other? Not so much. By race:

RaceVols
White41.0%
Black39.7%
Asian40.3%
Hispanic26.7%

Morality doesn't need religion! Humanism is my religion! Just because you go to church on Sunday doesn't make you a good person! Volunteerism over the last year, by frequency of worship attendance:

AttendVols
Never21.7%
Less than monthly36.2%
Less than weekly43.7%
Weekly+60.4%

GSS variables used: WORDSUM, RATETONE, POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7), VOLACTYR, RACECEN1(1)(2)(4-10)(15-16), ATTEND(0)(1-3)(4-6)(7-8)

8 comments:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

If you badger and poke the numbers in Arthur C. Brooks's Who Really Cares? it does seem as if most of the difference in generosity between conservatives and liberals is a function of religious involvement.

And to stave off the argument before it gets offered, that greater generosity is still there even when church giving and all religious giving is taken out.

A quibble about graphing: I like the zero to be zero and the ceiling to be the ceiling whenever it is convenient. Chopping off a 0-10 to 3-8 makes graphs more dramatic, but less precise in the impression they give. The exceptions would be when there is some clear reason why a graph should floor at 37 degrees or whatever.

Audacious Epigone said...

AVI,

A quibble about graphing: I like the zero to be zero and the ceiling to be the ceiling whenever it is convenient. Chopping off a 0-10 to 3-8 makes graphs more dramatic, but less precise in the impression they give. The exceptions would be when there is some clear reason why a graph should floor at 37 degrees or whatever.

Duly noted. I'll keep that in mind and clean it up in the future..

Dan said...

The Obama administration is launching a massive brain mapping science project.

I wonder if, while they keep insisting that everyone is exactly equal, they know that they'll never 'close the gap' without getting in the brain?

Surely they must know why their utopian dreams keep slipping away from them.

Anonymous said...

Re: religious involvement

I do reckon it's probably correct that church attenders don't really have more moral means than non-church attenders (although I could see non-church attenders having a lower mean but a wider distribution) when they are placed in a particular situation. In terms of trait-like morality.

Still, people who go to church are probably energized (well, on average) about moral behavior by the situation and are around lots of other people who are likewise, so probably make volunteering commitments in that context. There's no comparable context for for non-church goers.

So religion operates more to provide contexts and situational triggers to push its followers buttons, rather than them having more basic empathy, less anger, more honesty, less competitiveness, etc, which would be the relevant traits in the kind of de-contextualised experiments that often get carried out. And this is why religion as a group activity matters, rather than completely "personal religion".

(Of course, Christians probably would be unsurprised and unthreatened anyway, since they think they're all sinners anyway and that their salvation depends on the church...).

n/a said...

"Chopping off a 0-10 to 3-8 makes graphs more dramatic, but less precise in the impression they give. The exceptions would be when there is some clear reason why a graph should floor at 37 degrees or whatever."

It's multiple choice. A large group in which every member resorted to guessing randomly would still average 2 right.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

n/a - fair point.

anon 4/4 - partly agree. The "salvation depends on the church" part isn't quite the understanding of even RC believers, however, and wouldn't not be endorsed by other Christian groups at all. It's not wrong, exactly, but not quite right.

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering if what exactly was the scale used to determine "skin tone?" Is it a reliable scale that would pass peer review? And what is the overall p-level of the correlation?

I also wonder if you controlled for extrinsic variables -- like parent's income and education levels. Based on what I read in journals, you may be measuring the effects of poverty on test scores more than raw intelligence. Since in my experience in American culture, the darker you are, the less you make.

From what I remember reading in journals when I was in grad school -- albeit, it's been ten years -- was that when a dark skinned African, like Barack Obama, was raised in a middle to upper middle class household, they outperformed their peers significantly on IQ tests.

While there is a genetic component to IQ -- about 42% according to the Minnesota twin studies -- that leaves 68% to environmental factors. Which is substantial.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

The interviewer subjectively evaluated skin tone.

No, I didn't control for any variables, although it is easy to do so using GSS data. Sometimes my purpose is to point to possible causation(s), but other times it's simply to present a quantitative "as is" snapshot. This post falls into the latter category.

Obama isn't really dark-skinned, but IIRC white kids raised in households earning under something like $20k outperform black kids raised in households earning over $100k on the SAT. Not sure if you're trolling or not--if not, I'll be happy to do a little digging to substantiate that.