Sunday, April 10, 2016

Correlation between IQ and educational attainment has decreased over time

Pumpkin Person writes:
In the 1950s, the correlation between Wechsler global IQ and years of education among American adults was a potent 0.7 (roughly as high as the correlation between two different IQ tests) but by the late 1970s it had sunk to 0.57, where it remained through the 1990s and presumably today.
His post on the relationship between IQ and education made me wonder if the GSS might shed some light on the presumption he makes.

Restricting respondents to those born in the US and aged 25-39 at the time of their participation in the survey, the correlation between mean years of education and mean wordsum scores by decade is as follows:

1970s -- .56
1980s -- .53
1990s -- .46
2000s -- .42
2010s -- .42

Although the earliest year for which both educational attainment and wordsum scores are available is 1978, the relationship between years of education and wordsum scores are virtually identical to the correlation between the Wecshler IQ test and years of education reported by Pumpkin Person (.56 and .57, respectively), lending credibility to the rest of the results.

This suggests that rather than holding steady since the seventies, the relationship between years of education and intelligence has continued to weaken and is now just over half of what it was in the 1950s.

As more and more people obtain degrees, a degree--generically, the correlative power of a specific degree will vary based on what area of study the degree is in--will tend to signal less and less about the cognitive capacities of people who have them.

Steve Sailer has pointed out multiple times in various contexts that the easiest way to reduce disparities in accomplishments is to water down the requirements necessary to enjoy said accomplishments. If a college degree becomes as common as 'graduating' from elementary school, the correlation between a degree and IQ will approach zero.

That is the direction that this age of educational romanticism will continue to drive us in if it doesn't end up on the side of the road because of a blown student loan gasket. The trend shows up in mean IQ* by decade among native-born college graduates under the age of 40. As the percentage of people who graduate college increases, the IQ of the average college graduate compensatorialy decreases:

1970s -- 113.7
1980s -- 110.8
1990s -- 106.6
2000s -- 104.4
2010s -- 104.3

Parenthetically, Inductivist pointed out this latter trend years ago.

* Computed by assuming the mean wordsum score of non-Hispanic whites to be the equivalent of an IQ of 100 with a standard deviation of 15.

GSS variables used: EDUC(16-20), YEAR, WORDSUM, BORN(1), AGE

9 comments:

ADog said...

If it's in a STEM field it's a credential. If it's not, it's little more than ambiguous suggestion of above average intelligence and conscientiousness. The deadweight loss to society as a whole not to mention the indoctrination is incalculable.

Audacious Epigone said...

Adam,

Right, but the costs aren't directly borne by industry so even though a degree is a really expensive, time-consuming, rough proxy for IQ/EF, it puts those hiring in a better spot than they'd be in if they took on the training and preparation on their own. Applicants are indebted and have nothing in their twenties rather than being hungry and at least not in the red in their late teens. Society on the whole loses big, but the educational and industrial complexes gain.

Dan said...

If the left end of the curve stays on campus and out of the maternity ward, then I support that.

Trivially easy solution if we lived a society that permitted truth:
No welfare unless birth control.

Complicated solution because truth is not permitted:
The poor need to go to college.

The second one is the actual solution by geniuses like Bill Gates, who know the score but cannot say. He is all for women's education. Why? So they can all make Windows 2025 amazing?


Audacious Epigone said...

Dan,

Is that not counterproductive? We're looking at about half of the young adult population in higher education of some sort. That's still a long way from scraping the bottom of the barrel. Wouldn't a lot of these middling girls be better served--and society better served--by finding guys in their late twenties who are already working and have some resources to start families with?

Anonymous said...

I know a lot of you WN and MRA types want to categorically ban White women and Colored people from any type of education, but I have a much simpler solution.

1. Ban affirmative action. I have no problem with a Black or a Hispanic going to university as long as those individuals have the same aptitude as their White male classmates.

2. Decrease funding for non-essential liberal arts, humanities, visual and performing arts programs and use the money to increase funding for STEM and other practical programs.

luciussomesuch said...

"I know a lot of you WN and MRA types want to categorically ban White women and Colored people from any type of education, but I have a much simpler solution."

--Nobody suggests women can have NO education at all. I merely wish to disenfranchise them. And I have no say, or wish to presume such, in how Liberia or Guatemala educate their native talent.

"1. Ban affirmative action. I have no problem with a Black or a Hispanic going to university as long as those individuals have the same aptitude as their White male classmates."

--If we let in only blacks and Hispanics with "aptitude", then I'm sure you'll enjoy both gentlemen's company.

"2. Decrease funding for non-essential liberal arts, humanities, visual and performing arts programs and use the money to increase funding for STEM and other practical programs."

--Obviously Cultural Marxism must be marched out of the institutions, and programs like "------ Studies" abolished; but this is actually a bit of a strawman. Does STEM really suffer for lack of "funding", per se? After all, presumably already there is a fair amount of low-to-middling aptitude creep there (girl Legos engineers! and all the females with three science degrees writing grants to promote more science-indoctrination for six year-old girls so they'll grow up to be "scientist" too).

Technically, all an English department needs is respectable livings for the faculty (who actually teach), some Penguin Classics, and a room. The performing arts people have theatre/studio space. There will always be a fair amount of piddling and inanity going on there, but as long as we don't shoehorn half the public into college this isn't really the most taxing drain on our society.

Dan said...

"Wouldn't a lot of these middling girls be better served--and society better served--by finding guys in their late twenties who are already working and have some resources to start families with? "

Indeed. The West has a huge problem. I think now that Trump has shown the way, the rich and famous with a penchant for thrills and doing good should say truly horrific truths way outside the Overton Window, like: "Smart women are destroying the whole world by not making enough babies."

If I was a rich and famous old man, I'd love to light up the sky with such remarks. Even if the world crashed and burned anyway, I'd leave my mark on history.

Trump is already guaranteed a blessed in history because he happens to be right, and history will bear him out. Those who politically defeat him would not receive the blessing of history.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Who are these strawmen you are refuting?

Perhaps an even simpler solution would be to make universities responsible for student debt that goes unpaid after some period of time (with some legal mechanism to garnish wages, levy liens, etc). If the 90-IQ black woman in lesbian studies graduates with $50k in student loan debt and five years later still owes $45k then the college (and/or the lender) eat it. Debt financing for a lot of these stupid, unproductive 'degrees' would dry up fast.

Joshua Sinistar said...

Figures lie, and liars figure. My brother and sister are both in their thirties. They tell me they never had an IQ test. Where are they getting this data? Without IQ testing, these stats are just lies, damned lies and statistics they just made up. Psychometrics has the highest reliability of all the sciences. Its not science that failed, its oversight of those who claim to run it, but LIE.