Non-COVID Research of the Day

What determines intelligence in adolescents? Do the family’s social status, income or parental education have an effect?

No, not really.

Conclusion: “Claims that class background and family income are of central importance for adolescent outcomes are not supported.” You can’t buy brains. You can only inherit them.

Everybody everywhere on the planet knows this but in the US it’s hugely controversial.

32 thoughts on “Non-COVID Research of the Day”

  1. The paper seems to be saying best determinant of intelligence at 17 is intelligence at 13, not ses and wealth and family life style. ..but isn’t the obvious flaw (couldn’t read paper..just summary) that intelligence at 13 easily can be and is to some degree determined by income, ses, class etc.. non impressed by the paper summary at least


  2. BUT developing skills, learning how to use the said intelligence, etc., has to do with what kind of experience you have, which doesn’t have to be a middle class one to develop your intelligence; knowing the kind of information you need to do well on certain kinds of tests does presuppose middle class advantages. I’ve taken aptitude tests with calculus problems on them that I had to use calculus to solve. I took a language achievement test with questions on it about the metro system in Madrid.


    1. But this is kind of a circular argument. What was first, chicken or an egg? Those with a higher intelligence will have a higher likelihood of success in life and will be able to provide a better environment for their children that will develop their talents. If you live in a society with any kind of social mobility that is going to be the case.

      My grandmother who was born before the First World War was from a very poor family. She had very little education- as soon as she learned how to read and write her parents pulled her from school and sent her to work. Their thinking was that she is just a woman and education was not going to be good for anything for her, she was more useful to the family working. She worked various jobs since she was 7 years old. She was, however, a very intelligent woman and a voracious reader, and when it became possible for her children to go to school she pushed all of them to finish at least a high school and made sure they had a shot at a university education. She has seen that as the most valuable thing she could do for her children. Several of her children ended up with university degrees in engineering.


      1. Yes, I, too, have smart relatives with little to no education, etc. But srsly: certain types of education and training will get people to be able to make certain metrics. This is why universal access to equal education is fair/needed. Nobody who can, doesn’t send their kids to good schools. There’s a reason for this.


        1. Well, at this point we are seeing a situation where private schools are all teaching students while public schools refuse to do so and trap kids in Zoom jail. The number of black and Hispanic students who have dropped out of school and will probably never return are staggering. And every single person on the Left is adamantly against reopening schools.


          1. ” number of black and Hispanic students who have dropped out of school and will probably never return are staggering. And every single person on the Left is adamantly against reopening schools”

            Funny how that aligns…. for years when I would say that Brazil was the model the US was headed for this is what I meant – the left pulling up the ladder behind them in the name of… some progressive goal or other and leaving behind an ever wider and ever more unbreachable gulf between the haves and the hordes of the have nots….


            1. The same people who have spent all summer BLMing are adamantly refusing to notice what school closures are doing to black kids from harsh neighborhoods. It’s truly cruel what they are doing. And it’s the same people who are active in the #DisruptTexts and anti-racism crap. The most anti-racist thing anybody could do is give these kids their school back. And instead these bastards are spending all their time debating what to substitute Homer with in the curriculum. Bastards, evil bastards.


              1. I am a Black Lives Matter person and I am not like this at all. I don’t think you understand what this movememnt is


              2. St Louis reached record murder rates in 2020. The worst in 50 years. Every major city is showing the same results. Chicago, NYC, it’s a slaughter. Most victims are black.

                In 2020 black communities were hit with a wave of criminality and slaughter and the removal of schooling. That’s the reality. Up to 80% black people want more policing. Comparable numbers want real school for their kids.


              3. This is the context free right wing claim and has been for decades. There is so much more to say and know


              1. Everybody is doing it in the name of neoliberalism. Which is the only progressive goal anymore. So yes. The difference between Bolsonaro and Cuomo is impossible to spot.


              2. It’s not progressive, although it can be dressed up with pseudo-progressive language. Anyway, I’m going to teach a course on neoliberalism this semester, as it turns out, and we’ll see. It’s about transnational filmmaking in the neoliberal era. There are a lot of superficially progressive seeming films that beneath that veneer are quite retrograde and neoliberal, so via this course I will finally figure out why certain films that are supposed to be good, make me so uncomfortable


              3. Try saying that schools should reopen in the leftist circles and observe the reaction. I’ve been called every name possible. Murderer, Nazi, genocidal. And it’s not for my own benefit I’m suggesting it. My kid is in school. But I’m seeing what this does to people who don’t have $15,000 a year to pay for a private school. It’s devastating. But somehow noticing this is the greatest sin on the left.


              4. I barely know any leftists young enough or old enough to have school-age kids, but my former student who is an actual CP-USA member is teaching school in person, in an ultra-poor district. I know a lot of people who believe in closing but they’re all of different views, and I am noticing that a lot of die-hard Trump people are for the closings


          2. Once again, what’s the left, is my question, you can’t mean Biden. And yes – I’m for having school, and if I had a child school age now, would put them in private school. I think the reason they’re closing public schools, here, is partly because this is their agenda (and it’s a right wing one) and partly because they’re so underfunded that they can’t afford to do the things the private schools are doing for CDC compliance. I think although I don’t have details on what CARES money any may have gotten, etc. I do know that at my university, there are buildings that are easier to clean and not, and there are people of the worried type who are willing to go into certain buildings but not others (and I see their reasoning). Some of these crumbling school buildings may not be bringable up to snuff, I don’t know, and I’m just speculating here, really


            1. Once you accept that the Left in all of its flavors has become completely neoliberal, it becomes easy to understand. The Left wants austerity. No schools, no police – that’s austerity.

              You don’t have to ask who people voted for anymore. If they are for school reopening, everybody knows: a Trump voter.

              As for not having enough money to reopen, it’s a standard Bidenite lie. I personally visited two private schools that are open. It costs absolutely nothing to comply. It’s not a money issue. Biden is lying. The private schools that are open didn’t install any new ventilation or anything of the kind.


              1. I don’t see this at all. Although I will say it is sometimes more expensive to open public than private schools because public ones are larger and are mandated by law to accommodate everyone and every eventuality.


    2. The processor either has the capacity or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, there’s nothing anybody can do.

      But it shouldn’t be a big deal. Most people don’t need calculus. I definitely don’t.


      1. “The processor either has the capacity or it doesn’t”

        Basically true. The problem is that recognizing this… kind of messes with just about every predominant ideology since the end of WWII… made more acute by the systematic devaluation of work that doesn’t require high intelligence (which really went into high gear sometime in the 1980s IIRC and shows no signs of slowing). This means that people’s worth becomes a function of their intellectual prowess (so many will have a desperate need to blank slate out everyone).

        I do think that some that have the capacity find themselves in environments where it’s not going to get developed and a better environment can help people max out their potential but individuals have no control over what their basic potential is…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. People have accepted this in regards to every other aspect of physiology, yet the intelligence gets this magical status. We all know one isn’t going to jump like an NBA star if one hasn’t got the physique. And you’ll have to be on insulin your whole life if you are born with Type 1 diabetes. And if you don’t have a voice, you won’t sing.

          It’s the same thing with the intellect. Many people won’t be able to learn another language because the brain capacity isn’t there. It doesn’t mean they are bad people or inferior, just like I’m not inferior to an Olympic swimmer. And so on.

          We need to end the moral panic about physiology and make efforts to make everybody’s life more comfortable.


          1. Virtue is the missing bit. We’ve shifted our whole value system onto “success” which is to some extent dependent on intelligence. But intelligence is innate, and has almost no connection to virtue. Virtue is to a very large extent learned. Possibly the equation could be balanced if we prioritized virtue.


          2. The reason this is controversial is because of eugenics. When you openly acknowledge that fact, you inevitably get people trying to control who gets to reproduce.

            Having an average or below average IQ doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. But the free market is not dictated by morality. The systemic devaluation cliff referenced is just business. Corporations are giving a lot of money to people with very high IQs to eliminate as many jobs done by human employees as possible.

            Isn’t making an effort to make everybody’s live comfortable regardless of their market value pretty much socialism? How do you propose we accomplish that short of remaking society?


            1. When exactly did socialism try to make everybody comfortable? Think about the extraordinarily inhumane treatment of the disabled in the USSR, for instance, and compare it to the way the disabled are protected in capitalist societies.

              Maybe you are too young to know but in the USSR amputees, for instance, had to present themselves in person at the disability services and stand in line for hours to show the stump and assure the government that their limb hadn’t grown back. Every year. The humiliation, the discomfort. Many people would faint and be kicked to get up.

              And now let’s look around and observe everything that’s being done to make the disabled live decent lives in the capitalist societies. Still more could be done, of course, but come on, eugenics?

              It’s an absolute mystery where people get this mythology of socialism. How do you go from the government ownership of the means of production to making everybody comfortable regardless of how much you produce?

              In Cuba diabetics have to prostitute their children to get a vial of insulin. Women who aren’t very young and healthy are forced to abort because nobody wants the burden of their imperfect children.

              I could go on but if people still noticed none of this, they never will.


              1. During apartheid the public sector provided guaranteed employment for all white people regardless of ability. The railways and post office were notorious for being employment agencies for low-ability whites. The lack of need to turn a profit makes the public sector great for employing politically favored people regardless of ability to produce.

                Liked by 1 person

  3. But the reason the disabled are protected in capitalist societies is not capitalism! It’s laws! Capitalism is the means by which the society becomes rich enough to be able to do that. And then the government makes businesses accommodate people with disabilities via regulations or investment (e.g. prosthetics for soldiers; benefits for people with disabilities).

    I will admit to not having googled disability laws in all the rich countries. But I know that in the States, the ADA was a big deal (and is still not enough).


    1. Laws don’t come out of nowhere. They come from a set of beliefs shared by a society. An individualistic society will adopt laws that protect the individual. A collectivized society won’t. And it’s not an assumption. It’s what actually happens.

      The economic system arises from the same principles. Capitalism is highly individualistic and always leads to the defense of the rights of the weakest individuals. Socialism is collectivist and always leads to the collectivity trampling on the weakest.


  4. I’ve got an adopted daughter – adopted when already in teens – who’s got a lot of native intelligence, I see it, everyone sees it. But had basically zero education or alternative life experience that would be enriching earlier on, had had very limited/limiting life. There are certain kinds of academic skills she never really got, although she caught up a lot. She’s got college degree, job, etc., and I’m not saying it’s a bad outcome, she’s happy, has very nice husband and child, loves her job, etc., but for purposes of this discussion I do note that YES her outcome, academically speaking, would have been different if she had had a different set of opportunities earlier on, she has more intellectual potential than she’s actually using. Once again, it doesn’t matter, she’s doing fine, but this is a person with spotty GPAs and test scores throughout life and it was that way due to environment and situation having to do with poverty / addicted parents / etc. Better school situation than what was available in town of origin would have helped a great deal


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