The Flynn Effect in China??

Data are reported for intelligence of children in China assessed by the Combined Raven’s Test in 1988, 1996 and 2006. The IQ of the samples increased by 15.0 IQ points over 18-year period. The British IQ of China in 1988 and 2006 is estimated as 94.8 and 109.8, respectively.

That is from a new paper by Mingrui Wang and Richard Lynn.  Via a loyal MR reader.  Speculative!


This is double the rate of increase of test scores elsewhere.

It was all set forth in the Party's most recent Five-Year Plan for intelligence scores.

I'm heartened to see that MR would even mention a study by Richard Lynn, as there's usually a cordon sanitaire around him in the press. Even James Flynn readily admits that Lynn is one of the pioneers in researching the (actually mistitled) Flynn Effect, which is why some researchers call it the FLynn Effect. Lynn is still the 2nd or 3rd most prolific author in the journal Intelligence, but if you let the Southern Poverty Law Center do your thinking for you, he's little more than a monster (and why does every mainstream article about Trump's recent IQ tweets robotically mention The Bell Curve and then the SPLC's take on that book and its authors, as if the SPLC is some kind of scientific authority?).

Because equality, the left, kind of, believes that everyone is equal. If they acknowledge that IQ is real, then they might have to acknowledge that IQ differences are real, then they might have to acknowledge that IQ is hereditary, then they might have to acknowledge that it differs between racial/ethnic groups, then they'd be racist!

the left, kind of, believes that everyone is equal

So does the right. If someone is poor it isn't because they have an IQ of 83 it's because of culture or bad choices.

No, 83 IQ lack skills to be productive enough to earn a living wage. Also that same low IQ predisposes one to bad decision making. Statistically speaking 83 IQ are doomed from birth

I think you are wrong about this. 1/6th of the human population has an IQ below 85. There are plenty of functional people in the IQ = 83 range.

According to Wiki the Average IQ of unskilled workers is 87.

they might have to acknowledge that IQ is hereditary, then they might have to acknowledge that it differs between racial/ethnic groups

it doesn't follow. The number of digits on people hands are (almost) 100% heritable, yet there are no difference in the number of digits between racial groups that I know of.

Bear in mind, anyone who doesn't think it's heritable can be nothing but a creationist of some sort. Not people to be taken seriously.

IQ is an overrated measure in most ways. Some of the biggest idiots ever had high IQs and some of the best have low IQs. I'd be more worried about more practical concerns like mental illness or even EQ which is most ways is more impactful.

+1 and RQ.

"some of the best have low IQs"

Please, name some. I'm sure there have been many, many good people with low IQs, but successful ones outside of entertainment?

I can't read the paper, but what ages were these test reports for? If this increase is real then there must be a tremendous increase in the very smart population - which must be very much large than the Askhenazi very smart population which has had so much effect on physics and maths. I suspect though that this increase is an artifact of the testing method - perhaps increased use of computer games is making the Raven matrices style problems easier for young people.

Interesting idea.
In med school in the early '70's I got involved with PLATO, maybe the first computer online teaching community. And that included online gaming, where I was an Airfight champ. Maybe one of the first online 3D interactive games, which formed the core basis for Flight Sim.
That being said, my medical related test scores immediately moved to the top. Whereas before I was perennially stuck at about the 75th percentile. The computer changed the way I thought, and changed the way I approached testing. Not only did my scores improve, but I would then forever be the first to finish long tests.

Yes, the age of the subjects is indeed very important. Any study that compares the IQ of children is at best misguided at worst dishonest.

And yes, even in the west, the Flynn effect is only noticeable on the least g-loaded tests (like the Raven matrices), which suggests that it is caused by more familiarity with symbols, etc. rather than an increase in intelligence.

I can think of a few other variables.

1. Better nutrition in a growing economy.
2. Less frequent or non-existent testing in rural schools, where teachers do not wish to be and frequently are not.
3. Government fudging/cheating by test administrators. In one US professional school, I have been told, Chinese applicants' admissions test scores are 100 points higher than other applicants' scores. Indians, not so much.

I can't read the paper. If the average is almost 110, what Is IQ at, say, the 95th percentile?

Assume Gaussian distribution with mean and median at 110. Also assume standard deviation is still 15. Then 50th percentile (=median) is 110 and other percentiles can be calculated online. 95th percentile is about 135.

I am doubting a 15 point move in 18 years, but not having access to the paper, I cannot say anything about the methods.

Unfortunately discussion of IQ are verbotten in modern America because they interfere with the zeitgeist that anyone can be anyone so long as the bugaboos of the era, racism, sexism are abolished. Look how Larry Summers was pilloried for pointing out that men tend to cluster at the far right (and far left) of the curve in mathematical ability. He now does penance for being an apostate by writing monthly columns for the FT denouncing Donald Trump.

Only reading the abstract, but is this just time-lagged anti-poverty? Eyeballing some graphs, China was rapidly decreasing its poverty levels in the 1980s and 1990s. Instead of some rapid growth, this is getting rid of an artificial dampener.

The Chinese started teaching western medicine, and western science in general, and their IQs go up? Maybe we should start teaching those things in high school, too . . .

Not sure we need to teach medicine in high school but we do teach science. Unfortunately the powers that be hate science and doing everything they can to prevent its teaching.

Just tossing the idea out here. Suppose there isn't a gene for intelligence so much as a 'privilege detection gene'? Basically if it appears you are among the 'top dogs' in your social group, it triggers more development of IQ, if not it doesn't.

On a personal level, I notice if I'm in a totally foreign environment, I try to see and follow the rules as best as possible, avoid wasting time 'thinking outside the box' or suggesting changes. On the other hand if I'm sort of 'in charge', all these traits come out.

I'm thinking this genetic aspect would be more epigenetic and would be turned on or off by very subtle environment cues early in life. It would also be pretty modest and would vary individual to individual.

I think one consequence of this idea would be that social divisions would appear to be caused by IQ differences and those differences would be inherited *but* at the same time IQ wouldn't be stable over time even though genes are.

I think this also makes more sense than racial IQ differences...First humans are remarkably similar gene wise, much more so than many other animals.

Second, I'm not really buying that different geographic environments make different IQ demands on individuals. It takes no less smarts to make a living in Africa versus Polynesia versus China or crossing the over the ice/land bridge to the Americas. All places humans have lived required a very demanding knowledge of the local environment in order to secure food and shelter. I suspect base level human IQ would have to be the same everywhere. It is social complexity that demands most of our IQ above some base level

This could also explain the Flynn effect. If an economy moves towards a more dynamic model with more frequent change, then individuals all are more in command of their life choices. In some sense everyone becomes a bit of a 'top dog' in making decisions. The same gene then could trigger a mass rise in IQ's over time. IQ researchers would be be perplexed at how IQ could appear to have a major inherited element yet you get dramatic changes faster than could be attributed by any genetic change.

"I'm thinking this genetic aspect would be more epigenetic and would be turned on or off by very subtle environment cues early in life. It would also be pretty modest and would vary individual to individual."

While a nice hypothesis, and somewhat plausible, you are getting carried away with speculation based off of epigenetics, an area which there is very little evidence for despite how highly touted it is in some circles. It is a relative molehill compared to the mountains of research and evidence on genetics. Not to say that there is a "gene" for intelligence, but genetics, including its influence on behavior, is in general a much more significantly developed field than epigenetics so as to render the claims of the latter trivial. SSC addressed this well.

You have a point. Suppose we were talking about tennis. There's no special 'tennis gene' but imagine tennis is considered a 'white sport'. White kids play a lot of tennis growing up hoping to be a star someday, black kids don't play much. Generations of great tennis players will be white. Then decades later things equalize and black and white kids grow up playing lots of tennis.

It would seem tennis skill is inherited, great tennis players have different genes than non-players. But then it will seem like tennis skill suddenly changed despite the genes remaining the same. We'll ponder the paradox of the 'tennis Flynn effect'.

Perhaps cultivating IQ is not as rewarding growing up in a more simple society so kids grow up with a lower average IQ for the same reason that kids who grow up learning the language spoken by their community.

Suppose there isn't a gene for intelligence

A) there aren't. There are many, many of them
B) re: the rest of your post: adoption studies. You keep acting like this is a new field. It's not. It's older than you.

How many adoption studies of identical twins could one have? Here we would be talking about cross-class adoptions, which I suspect are harder to find and if a society assigns privileges by skin color it would be difficult to study this even with transracial adoptions.

The rise in Asian-American test scores on the SAT/ACT in this century in the US is an underreported story. Asians have been pulling away from whites to become the clear #1 race on college admissions tests.

Steven, has your Made in China wife turned you into a race traitor? Say no to white genocide.

Meanwhile the collective IQ of Trump's America has been going downhill. The next season of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" should be retitled "Are You Smarter Than a 3rd Grader" to reflect the state of affairs.

Last year, Tyler would have deleted every single post here. Times, they are a changing.

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