Assorted links

by on July 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 mw July 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm

5. Amen. All our comparative knowledge about the physiology of the brains of all animals studied says this is true. Which is why every country except ours generally tries not to spend less money educating its poorest citizens than its richest ones, with the knowledge that the former on average already have crummier less enriched upbringing environments.

2 Doug July 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm

While I generally agree with your conclusions, I don’t necessarily think the paper necessarily supports it.

The abstract says that previous research shows that for young children environmental effects are large, but by adulthood they go to zero and heritability completely dominates. The paper looks at adolescents and shows that for low IQ the environmental effect has already gone to zero, while for high IQ it’s still lingering at that age.

But it doesn’t conclude that by adulthood that environmental effects persist. Only that the dominance of heritability is delayed in high IQ children. If it eventually goes to zero by adulthood then putting more resources into high IQ children is ultimately equally as worthless as doing the same with low IQ children.

3 mw July 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm

It would be nonsensical for it “to go to zero” at a lower rate. What would that even mean biologically?

In any event, the history of hominid evolution is essentially one of increasingly arrested neural development. In other words, if you track the neural critical period via whatever is your favorite metric of plasticity, synaptic pruning, bla bla bla, what you find, with astonishing consistency, is that the “smarter” apes take longer and longer for the hardware to stabilize. And it’s perfectly natural that one would find the same phenomenon *within* a species.

4 Andrew July 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Yes, please explain how you concluded the paper didn’t argue the opposite of your assertion?

5 Andrew' July 8, 2013 at 1:06 pm

For bonus points, explain how 4 y.o. daycare, the only discernible proposal, precisely correlates to your views.

6 mw July 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm

A logical point, and then an empirical one. The logical point is, if you accept that the brains of smarter people (and animals) are developmentally sensitive for longer than those of dumber people, how can you not conclude the asymptotic total amount of sensitivity would yield a greater total effect of environment by the end of development? Particularly since precisely what is physiologically meant by “sensitive” is that the detailed wiring and function of the neural circuits are shaped by it? I just don’t see what the alternative could possibly mean.

The empirical point is, that the aggregate statistics are tricky. Let’s face it, most people aren’t that smart. And therefore disaggregating by smarts is the only thing that *ever* made sense to really try to understand this, because otherwise you’ll be dominated by the less-sensitive, dumber majority and the statistics are less meaningful. Similarly, most upbringings aren’t outstanding, and you don’t want to let that drown out the thinner tail. As always, your statistics are dominated by the location of the bulk of the variance in your data and you need to stay skeptical.

7 JWatts July 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm

LOL, this post is all about mood affiliation over logic. I particularly like the use of the words All and every. I’ve avoided the use of those words in these type of comments since I was in high school.

8 Andrew' July 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm

It’s fair points. It’s just that I have my doubts that enriching the environment scientifically at the scientifically studied correct time for maximum effectiveness is what people are actually talking about.

I’m also not sure we’ve successfully convinced the “rich” that they should have the money they’ve allocated to their kids taken away to make the kids of poor parents more equal.

9 mw July 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm

If that’s not what they’re talking about, but they actually care about the outcome, then isn’t it just a lack of scientific information about interventions or publicizing what is known?

The latter point is obvious, here anyway, although I would say we’ve also not convinced that group that their money should be taken away to pay defense contractors.

10 Eric Auld July 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm

That’s my favorite South Park episode.

11 Saturos July 9, 2013 at 3:59 am

This would make a fairly good high school English essay, or even an economics one, but seriously? How is this being hosted by SSRN? The argument isn’t really even supported here, section 3 transparently panders to the authors’ political philosophy rather than actually showing evidence of public choice thinking by Messrs. Parker and Stone.

Not to detract from how funny that episode is, of course.

12 Saturos July 10, 2013 at 4:58 am
13 Mark Thorson July 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Is there a link between the paper about the high-IQ individuals sensitivity to the environment and the earlier item about the Japanese withdrawing to their rooms?

14 Andrew' July 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Probably not with the paper directly, but “gifted” children are often observed to be intense and what I call “high gain.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_giftedness#Characteristics_of_giftedness
“Many gifted individuals experience various types of heightened awareness and may seem overly sensitive.”
“Hypersensitivity to external or internal stimuli can resemble a proneness to “sensory overload”, which can cause such persons to avoid highly stimulating, chaotic or crowded environments.”
Someone once said TANSTAAFL.

15 whatsthat July 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm

#3: Nick Cave, more interesting than Kanye West. Plus more rock and roll too. Plus more intelligent.

16 Rahul July 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

#6 The absolute lack of any pretension to ethical qualms in this paragraph was funny:

“Note that while monetizing those under 18 runs the risk of charge backs, those between the age of 18 and 25 are still in the process of brain development and are considered legal adults. It seems unlikely that anyone in this age range, having been anointed with adulthood, is going to appeal to a credit card company for relief by saying they are still developmentally immature. Thus this group is a vulnerable population with no legal protection, making them the ideal target audience for these methods. Not coincidentally, this age range of consumer is also highly desired by credit card companies.”

17 Michael B Sullivan July 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I think you missed some artifice here: that article is a strong critique of coercive payment schemes with the device of appearing superficially to be presenting without judgment. Note that the author, in the first comment, mentions that he “only makes skill games.”

18 Rahul July 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Ah! Stupid me. No wonder, it sounded so unnaturally devoid of morality or value judgement.

19 Arjun July 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

#2 A quick and easy read, in case anybody is looking for a funny paper to look at for procrastination purposes.

I have no real knowledge of public-choice theory, but I wonder how the analysis of the marginal utility of voting and the practice of voting for “the least bad candidate” changes when dealing with a proportional representation system or a two-round voting process (like in France). From my own lay perspective, such systems that dominate the democratic institutions of Europe seem far more reflective of the population’s wishes, since people can “safely” vote for a small third party without worrying that their general political camp isn’t “split”, and thus giving the election to a more united opposition.

I also think it’s very telling that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any wish to reform our political system. When’s the last time any of us heard any discussion at all about the merits of switching away from electoral colleges and first-past-the-post procedures? Seems clear that if a change is to occur, it may very well have to stem from extra-legal, extra-political sources.

20 Winston McGrain July 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm

#3. Lou Reed’s review of Kayne West serves only makes me appreciate Lou Reed less, not Kayne West more. The only thing you need to know about Kayne West is that he finds emotional fulfillment in Kim Kardashian. Nothing he does or says can overcome that.

Reed’s album with Metallica was so ridiculous your forced to go back and reevaluate his entire body of work in a new light. Plus I’ve always had my suspicions that he’s a bit of an a-hole anyway: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v27/n06/terry-castle/desperately-seeking-susan

21 Jason W. July 8, 2013 at 7:57 pm

I doubt the fulfillment he finds in Kim Kardashian is of the emotional variety.

22 Rich Berger July 8, 2013 at 9:05 pm

This review seems like an understated mockery of KW. I wish Orson Welles had reviewed this, but that would have required resurrection.

23 dan1111 July 9, 2013 at 5:48 am

I read the whole review based on these comments, and I honestly have no idea whether it is a rave review or vicious mockery.

That should make it a terrible review by definition, but I liked it.

24 Kanye West July 8, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Lou Reed, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish but Roger Ebert had one of the best reviews of all time. One of the best reviews of all time!

25 ac July 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Like other commenters, I can’t tell what in the paper rules out the opposite conclusion: that high-IQ individuals are those that had more influential environments during adolescence?

26 Matt July 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm

“5. Are high-IQ individuals more sensitive to their environments in adolescence?”

We found that individuals with high IQ show high environmental influence on IQ into adolescence (resembling younger children), whereas individuals with low IQ show high heritability of IQ in adolescence (resembling adults)

Heritability is essentially the child-parent correlation?

If this is the case, maybe low IQ individuals show greater child-parent IQ correlation because they cease developing earlier? The parent IQ is the “finished IQ” for the genotype, and will show more correlation with the child’s “finished” IQ than with the child’s developmental IQ, so individuals who finish earlier, if low IQ individuals are such, will have higher child-parent correlations in adolescence.

After all, let’s remember that the non-heritable part of IQ is generally not really found to be sensitive to environmental, but just to be random variance.

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