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April 17, 2014 / JayMan

Predictions on the Worldwide Distribution of Personality

Like quite a few other HBD’ers, I try not to focus so much on IQ. Although it is of preeminent importance, it is not the be-all end-all when it comes to human traits, particularly traits that differ between people. Personality is important too. What we call “personality” is the rough categorization of the vast array of human behavioral traits. No system will ever be able to fully capture the great variation in human behavior. However, human behaviors do seem to manifest themselves in reliable patterns, which are (very) roughly captured by personality tests. Several systems have been devised to catalog human personality, and each has its drawbacks, as each is, at best, an imperfect approximation. This is likely to always be the case. Many of you have heard of the Big Five. Lately, a newer system, the HEXACO (also here and here) has been developed which, in my view, supersedes the Big Five (until the HEXACO is itself subsumed by some other system). Unfortunately, because the HEXACO is so new, the vast majority of personality research has been done using the Big Five, so we’re stuck using it for much analysis. However here, I will discuss my thoughts on the global distribution of personality traits on the HEXACO that I expect to find when we finally get reliable cross-national data.

The HEXACO is a six-factor system (“HEXACO” being an acronym for those factors). Those factors are:

  • H: Honesty-humility
  • E: Emotionality
  • X: eXtraversion
  • A: Agreeableness
  • C: Conscientiousness
  • O: Openness to experience

It is essentially the Big Five, more or less, with a new dimension, Honesty-humility, added to the fold. This dimension captures the Dark Triad (Tetrad) – the psychopathic traits.

Predicted Worldwide correlates of major personality dimensions
Personality Dimension Low End High End
H: Honesty-humility (pro-social vs. anti-social traits) Clannish Non-Clannish
E: Emotionality (neuroticism) Non-Clannish/Genetically Pacified Clannish/Not Genetically Pacified
X: eXtraversion High-Latitude Farming Low Latitude
A: Agreeableness Not State Pacified State Pacified
C: Conscientiousness Low-Latitude/non-farming High-Latitude Farming
O: Openness to experience Clannish Non-Clannish

Here’s my rationale for each:

H: Honesty-humility: This is essentially a measure of the Dark Tetrad (aka, the Dark Triad, in older thought): narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism: the psychopathic, or anti-social traits. Those who score low on this dimension are honest, modest, and fair. Those who score high are manipulative, scheming, callous, self-important, and cruel. Also included in this measure is one of greed (or more accurately, greed avoidance), with those scoring high on this dimension tending not to be greedy. This is the essence of clannishness and corruption. As well, narcissism seems advantageous in societies where intense male-on-male competition for women is common. The key problem is that I believe that, as research on this is gathered, the specifics of how this operates will matter greatly. In a clannish society, where family is supreme, behavior toward kin will be systematically different than towards non-kin. Corrupt/clannish people will come off as psychopathic towards non-kin, but highly altruistic and caring towards kin. EDIT, 8/31/14: [And indeed, it seems there is evidence suggesting that this is the case. Psychopaths seem to take advantage primarily of non-kin. That is, they act nepotistically. See Krupp et al 2012.]

E: Emotionality: This is a measure of how “bothered” an individual is: their penchant for “negative” emotions, like anxiety and fear. Sisyphean can tell you all about what it’s like to not score highly on this trait. People who aren’t very neurotic are chilled and calm. The Big Five’s version of this was rather confused, because it included both internalizing emotional states, like anxiety, sadness, dependence, etc, with externalizing ones like anger, contempt or offense. The HEXACO split these apart. In the HEXACO, only the internalizing states are included: fearfulness (straightforward); anxiety (also straightforward); dependence (one’s need for emotional support from others); and sentimentality (here defined as emotional bondedness to other people). I suspect they still may not have it right, however. Some of these aspects appear more concentrated in some peoples than others. Anxiety, for example, is squarely a problem of non-clannish, cold-weather (especially historically farming) peoples. One key facet that hasn’t made it into a dimension in the HEXACO system is what they called “Negative Self-Evaluation”, which was meant to capture low self-esteem. They eventually folded this into extraversion, which may fit with a latitudinal pattern, but it doesn’t seem right to me. Nonetheless, it is clear that cold weather peoples are more susceptible to this characteristic. Richard Lynn & Tatu Vanhanen wrote a paper that noted a pronounced correlation between IQ and suicide rates across the world (among many other things). Low IQ people (that is, low-latitude dwellers) are simply less likely to commit suicide. This is beyond the guilt/shame dichotomy that seems to exist between non-clannish/clannish societies (since, globally speaking, suicide is significant in East Asia, which is generally more clannish and more shame-based). This isn’t even a problem of resulting from civilization/manorialism/state-pacification, since suicide is a problem for many Arctic peoples. I suspect some more work will be done on this dimension.

X: eXtraversion: This dimension is straightforward. Extraverts tend to be bold, talkative, and enjoy being with others. Introverts are quiet, often shy, mindful, and enjoy being alone. The clear correlate here is latitude. Tropical people have little to gain from being withdrawn from others, and indeed, often spend much of their time idle and in the thick of social musings in the group. By contrast, high-latitude people have to spend a lot of time in isolation, often engaged in dedicated work. A penchant for being alone may have been helpful in regions with lengthy winters. The success of the “strivers” through Gregory Clark-Ron Unz selection may have encouraged this trait. Clearly there appears to be a negative correlation between latitude and extraversion globally.

A: Agreeableness: This is another facet revised from its Big Five counterpart. In the Big Five, it meant friendly, patient, and accommodating vs. quarrelsome, oppositional, and irritable. However, here, they also added the externalizing negative emotions – the ones directed towards others, like anger, contempt or offense. It would seem the clear correlate is genetic pacification through state selection against violent individuals (see Genetics and the Historical Decline of Violence? | West Hunter, Evo and Proud: Genetic pacification in medieval Europe, and Evo and Proud: Making Europeans kinder, gentler). Populations that didn’t go through this process are likely to be less agreeable, I expect, because violence would have paid off more in these places. By contrast, those who went through this historic pacification are probably friendlier and more inoffensive, I predict.

C: Conscientiousness: Hardworking, organized, dutiful, punctual, vs. lazy, disorganized, shiftless, lackadaisical (organization, diligence, perfectionism, and prudence in the system). Clearly this is a result of selection in cold-weather farming societies. High-latitude farming demanded arduous and dedicated labor, especially in the coldest climes.  Life depended on growing enough crops to last the winter. By contrast, warm-weather societies, farming could be done year-round. Minimal thought needed to be given to long-term needs, since food could be produced and any time. Future-time vs present-time orientation is a clear division here. Indeed, a recent paper confirmed that high GDP per capita countries (essentially the high IQ, and hence high latitude societies) display more future-time orientation than low GDP per capita countries. Anyone familiar with the attitudinal differences towards work between Northern and Southern Europe, for example, can see this dimension in action. [Edit, 9/5/14: Another recent paper directly examined the connection between historical farming practices, particularly high-investment crops (primarily found at high-latitudes) and low time preference (future-time orientation). This serves to essentially confirm this prediction. See Galor and Özak, 2014.] [Edit, 9/30/14: Yet another paper confirming this result looked at time-preference across 45 nations, noting a fairly strong relationship with latitude: Wang, Rieger, and Hens, 2010.]

O: Openness to experience: Liberalism. Plain and simple. Fundamentally, this dimension captures those core essences of liberal thought: receptiveness towards strangers/out-group members (basically, degree of reciprocal altruism vs. kin-altruism); sexual mores, with people who are more Open tending to favor less restrictive sexual attitudes (essentially, the conflict between outbreeding and inbreeding); and unconventionality (willingness to disregard tradition and established order – an opposition to hierarchy common in clannish societies). This is the other key essence of a clannish vs. non-clannish society. Higher openness works in societies where there are fewer external threats and group trustworthiness is high. An outbred society is more receptive towards outgroup members because reciprocal altruism means anyone could be a potentially ally. Historically, these were other group members, if not necessarily of the same clan. As well, outbred, high Openness individuals don’t favor tight sexual restrictions. By contrast, clannish inbred societies need to be more structured and tightly regulated when it comes to sex to exclude outsiders and enforce traditional rules on who can mate with whom – which is of course something traditional outbreeders have little use for. This is interestingly the dimension with the highest apparent heritability, which matches nicely with the high apparent heritability of overall political orientation. Staffan has noted problems with this dimension in how it was designed in the Big Five – notably, they included an “intellect” aspect which was clearly capturing IQ. That has been removed in the HEXACO.

It’s worth noting that the HEXACO was designed specifically with clannishness vs. non-clannishness in mind (or this passage of the Wikipedia article was written by someone familiar with HBD Chick’s work):

The HEXACO model is often used in research studies when behaviours or traits found on the Agreeableness, Honesty-Humility and Emotionality dimensions are of specific interest. The factors of Agreeableness, Honesty-Humility and Emotionality are distinctly different from their counterparts on the Five Factor Model (FFM). Honesty-Humility, Emotionality and Agreeableness are proposed to be measures of Altruistic versus Antagonistic behaviour. Honesty-Humility and Agreeableness both measure two different aspects of Reciprocal altruism, high levels of which indicate a propensity for helping behaviour and cooperation as opposed to the exploitation of others. The Honesty-Humility factor represents a person’s tendency for pro-social altruistic behaviours,[10] while Agreeableness indicates an individual’s tendency to forgive and to show tolerance. Emotionality is a measure of kin altruism, that is, the tendency to show empathy and attachment to one’s kin.

So there we are. I predict that cross-national measurements of personality will find that the roughly follow these described patterns: higher psychopathy (less Honesty-humility) in clannish peoples, more agreeableness in genetically pacified people, more openness to experience in non-clannish people and less of it in clannish ones, etc.

Yet there is a major problem: personality tests are hard to do cross nationally. Why? Because people tend to rate themselves against the background and mores of their own societies, and not against the global background in these traits. An East Asian, for example, in his hard-working, driven society, may feel he is an undisciplined slacker, regardless of his actual behavior across these things. It may seem that in order to do proper cross-national comparisons, either some more objective metric needs to be utilized (say, actual average days late to/missed from work, for example) and/or “neutral” observers need rate behavior of the people they examine. Many of our proxies seem to be going in that direction. It is likely that such a project might uncover other important behavioral variables among different peoples. It’s a sign of how much more there is to discover about human behavior, and belying any notion we’ve made all the discoveries there are to make in HBD.

Edit, 8/30/14: See also:

Honor, Dignity, and Face: Culture as Personality Writ Large | Staffan’s Personality Blog

colorcodingmjgsmall1

One idea on classifying the world. Not sure if I agree, but the pattern is interesting. It seems blue = introverted, emotionally stable, dutiful (low X, low E, high C); Yellow = Agreeable (high A); Red = extraverted, impulsive, emotional (high X, low C, high E). Source.

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45 Comments

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  1. Sisyphean / Apr 17 2014 9:07 AM

    Love this post, very interesting.

    I went and took a Hexaco at the Alaska research group’s psychometrics page so I could see how my Big five Neuroticism result compared to the HEXACO’s Emotionality scale. What I like the most about the Hexaco is how it breaks down your result. My Emotionality general score is only a bit smaller than average. However when you break it down you see that on the subsets of Anxiety, Dependence and Fearfulness I score very low (anxiety was zero) but my ‘Sentimentality’ score was in the 92nd percentile. That seems odd. Either I am really really weird (a possibility, I also score almost 100% on Hexaco’s Openness measure) or maybe these items shouldn’t all be grouped together. I wonder how often people have very high differences between the measures within one section.

    ~S

    • JayMan / Mar 13 2015 8:33 AM

      @Sisyphean:

      I recently re-read this comment. You raise a good point. I suspect the HEXACO will need to be tweaked as it is applied to more samples around the world. Clannish people tend to be quite sentimental (as more emotional in general), but I’m not sure they’re more anxious. They do seem to be more dependent (on kin, i.e., more collectivist), but the fearful aspect is hard to call.

    • Sisyphean / Mar 13 2015 10:52 AM

      I suspect things will vary by population. As a mixed clannish(Irish, Polish) and unclannish(English,German) person, my own experience isn’t very useful, although there are a lot of mixed heritage people in the US today. However, I live in a part of the US with a lot of Irish and Polish and I find they are impulsive, clannish(family oriented but not to extent of Italian Americans), and hot tempered/emotionally reactive but with little anxiety, I don’t see people taking anxiety meds or worrying about things much. However my wife joined a group of moms on facebook a while back and the entire group except for her are from Mass and let me tell you, the anxiety and manic behavior among those women is insane! Every one of them has some kind of prescription for anxiety. I’ll have to ask her to poll the women for their ethnic ancestry. I’m betting it’s mostly English.

    • JayMan / Mar 13 2015 10:56 AM

      @Sisyphean:

      Indeed, I’ll bet more English (and possibly French) than Irish/Italian. The hot tempered/emotionally reactive aspect you describe may be more under the fold of (the HEXACO) agreeableness (or its lack there of) than anything, and sounds like typical clannish behavior to me. Feel free to offer more anecdotes. 🙂

    • JayMan / Mar 13 2015 10:58 AM

      @Sisyphean:

      For the French angle (and I don’t know if this applies to the French Canadians who populate New England), have you ever seen the film 2 Days in New York with Julie Delpy and Chris Rock? Talk about neurotic!

    • Sisyphean / Mar 13 2015 11:19 AM

      @Jayman, No I haven’t seen that movie. I actually stopped watching Woody Allen movies for a long time because I just couldn’t stand the neurotic people… it’s so at odds with my personality that it grates on me at a very deep level. I just want to strangle them or slap them, it’s bad. Luckily Allen stopped making all his movies with himself as the lead and many of his later movies are some of my all time favorites. Midnight in Paris with Owen Wilson felt like my life story… incredible move. Also, as I’ve mentioned on my blog somewhere the Blue Jasmine movie was very hard to watch due to the neurotic/narcissistic heroine/anti-heroine but I loved it for it’s catharsis. Meh, I guess I never know what I’ll like until I try something.

      I don’t have a ton more anecdotes, I have been less interested in people in groups as I have been people as individuals lately as I’m working on getting better at characters so I’m drawing faces all day every day and pushing them in odd, hopefully fun and expressive, ways.

      I will tell you that I find the Irish and Polish more fun to be around than the English or German extracted, but that’s because I’m always up for something crazy and I tire quickly of pompous intellectual talk especially when it feels like people are engaging in conversation for the sole purpose of pea-cocking their own intelligence. When I see a spark in someone’s eyes as they describe their work on nano-particles and their endless fascination with them, that I can abide, but it’s far rarer than intellectual peacocks.

      I’ve been watching you on twitter, always entertaining.

      ~S

  2. Matt / Apr 17 2014 11:34 AM

    The HEXACO is based on the lexical hypothesis, taking a big list of descriptive words people use about individuals (themselves?) and seeing how they cluster.

    It’s not necessarily the case that between nation differences would manifest as differences within populations, for the same reason as for instance face shape differences between nations are orthogonal to within nation differences.

    The normal cultural dimensions used by Hofstede and others to capture national culture differences, like individualism-collectivism, come from world wide samples of people talking about their values, and do not form the same structure as the Big 5 or HEXACO, although there are correlations.

    It would be interesting to run it on people talking about ethnic groups and nations, to see what the recapitulated structure would be (own nation bias should generally).

    Yet there is a major problem: personality tests are hard to do cross nationally. Why? Because people tend to rate themselves against the background and mores of their own societies, and not against the global background in these traits.

    Mass comparison of language used by facebookers between nations might be interesting – http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0073791 / http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchObject.action?uri=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0073791.g006&representation=PNG_M

    Condition linguistic norms against a minimum set of cultures, use to estimate. If a culture is writing “pissed”, “lonely”, “stressed”, etc. all over it’s facebooks then it’s probably neurotic, if they talk about religion and sports all the time, probably emotionally stable, if they’re talking about anime and computers all the time, probably introverted, etc…

    (although some of this is not sufficiently structured for age, the mean age in the above study is too low, which limits its predictive accuracy. the word clouds are age standardized, but that can only do so much if you pool is so skewed (age about 8 sds too low for the sample)).

    (figure 2 for other of the Big 5 traits – “fucking” seems to go against just about any desirable trait, while the Openness traits are amusing in pitting the pretentious and mildly negative / affectless against the illiterate and slightly happy. Perhaps the more intellectual effort you make relative to your IQ, the more likely you are to run into a brick wall and become slightly depressed?).

  3. Anthony / Apr 17 2014 3:30 PM

    The triangle chart seems ok, though there ought to be countries in the middle, too. My parents are both from countries near the red pole, but themselves are much closer to the teal pole (on the purplish side). That probably explains why they did so well in the U.S.

  4. hbd chick / Apr 17 2014 5:08 PM

    @jayman – “Yet there is a major problem: personality tests are hard to do cross nationally. Why? Because people tend to rate themselves against the background and mores of their own societies, and not against the global background in these traits.”

    aye, there’s the rub right there! *sigh*

    • Anthony / Apr 18 2014 12:54 PM

      It seems that self-rating is ultimately not very sound even within one culture, as people will rate themselves against their local background. Also, people will tend to make themselves look “better” than they really are, for some value of “better”. (I’ve taken a few personality tests for jobs before, and they’re painfully transparent in the answers they’re looking for.)

  5. Test Subject / Apr 17 2014 10:12 PM

    I haven’t read many GWAS/GTCA papers discussing personality in terms of in/out breeding. I am not sure what you would make of this but you might find it interesting.
    Karin_J_H_Verweij et al MAINTENANCE OF GENETIC VARIATION
    IN HUMAN PERSONALITY: TESTING EVOLUTIONARY MODELS BY ESTIMATING HERITABILITY DUE TO COMMON CAUSAL VARIANTS AND INVESTIGATING THE EFFECT OF DISTANT INBREEDING EVOLUTION 10 2012 66 (10)3238

  6. schlafly / Apr 18 2014 8:45 PM

    Why isn’t IQ considered a personality trait?

    • JayMan / Sep 8 2014 4:17 PM

      @schlafly:

      IQ is intellectual ability. Personality directs what you do with that ability. Enough to consider them separate things.

  7. Messi / Apr 19 2014 10:23 AM

    I’d imagine that prudishness is less correlated to clannishness than other traits. Other traits like shyness or anxiety can rapidly change the way people see sex. On top of that, I just can’t figure out, from a clannishness perspective, why Japan is so sexually libertine compared to its neighbors, including otherwise very similar cultures like South Korea. My guess is germs, along with inbreeding, play a big role in dictating how people feel about sexual freedom.

    • Dippity Do / Apr 23 2014 3:57 AM

      I suspect the Japanese are not as libertine in actual practice as their porn might suggest. Very high numbers of Japanese adults report being virgins into their 40s and beyond, for example. The Duggers are probably having far more sex than the average Japanese folks.

    • JayMan / Apr 23 2014 7:38 AM

      @Dippity Do:

      In my observation, it appears the more permissive a society is about sex, the lower its average sex drive tends to be.

    • Kn83 / Jul 19 2016 2:23 PM

      @:Jayman

      Actually, Japan’s actual sex drive seems to be identical to other east asian countries according to statistics, suggesting that Rushton was right when he pointed out that Mongoloids regardless of culture tend to be less sexually active than the other 2 main races (on average).

      There doesn’t seem to be a strong (if any) connection between a group’s cultural views on sex and their actual sexual behavior, since blacks virtually everywhere have higher rates of sexual activity than caucasians, who in turn have more than east and southeast asians.

    • JayMan / Jul 19 2016 2:24 PM

      Based on what data?

    • Kn83 / Jul 19 2016 3:04 PM
    • JayMan / Jul 19 2016 3:05 PM

      Self-report, based on a restricted number of groups. How about no?

  8. Staffan / Apr 20 2014 10:14 AM

    Lots to consider here. My first reflection is that clannish people may only seem dark to outsiders. Really WEIRD people think of animals as family/ingroup. They look at the majority’s cruelty and deceitfulness towards animals and think of them as dark. Then there is the buddhist who cares for plants… We can only measure honesty/humility and dark tetrad in regard to what the person views as morally relevant.

    Also, clannish people are often sun people who are impulsive sensation seekers, something that is linked to bad behavior due to urges and lack of self-control rather than cruel intent. The clannish Chinese do not share these traits and come off as less dark (although not necessarily as less corrupted). Honesty/humility also relates to empathy which is in turn linked to the strength of the fight/flight response.

    That is to say that honesty/humility is a complex trait made up of more fundamental and biological traits like clannishness/ingroup and sensation seeking, fight/flight and that those latter traits should be used for a model or theory of personality rather than the complex ones of the Big Five or the HEXACO.

  9. Gottlieb / Apr 21 2014 1:00 PM

    If you still have the patience to put up with me , I’ll understand when you see my comment being accepted .
    People talk on environmental factors , but I think the environmental issue only appears when it comes to environmental outcomes . Environmental factors supposedly predict the future when in fact , are the genetic predispositions that do.
    Therefore , the environmental results , ie the results caused by the combination and interaction of different phenotypes in environments created anthropomorphically , are in fact what we call environmental influences .
    Each and every event that we have analyzed to date are predictive of past events , a chain of them, like the cycle of poverty .
    Only two situations in which environmental factors can be taken into consideration. When man interacts directly with nature .
    When men migrate to a new land , to create a new society , in this case , we still have the above situation , but based on a design of anthropomorphic transformation. Any human society is designed by humans and obviously by genes . In a large city, the main and significant interaction that will prevail precisely gene – to – gene, phenotype – to – phenotype , since a city is the representation of its population genetics . The church in the city center , the main square , explains his religious tendencies , while shopping and museum explains its secularism .

  10. Dippity Do / Apr 23 2014 3:59 AM

    How is Japan not blue, or at least green?

    • JayMan / Apr 23 2014 7:39 AM

      @Dippity Do:

      I said I didn’t quite agree.

  11. Matt / Apr 24 2014 3:24 AM

    Interesting that the last image posts up differences in personality using the term active.

    In this context, and of cross nations and personality –

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140422121237.htm

    “A study of nearly 4,000 college students in 19 countries has uncovered new details about why neurotic people may avoid making decisions and moving forward with life. Turns out that when they are asked if action is positive, favorable, good, they just don’t like it as much as non-neurotics…”People who are less emotionally stable have less positive attitudes towards action and more positive attitudes toward inaction,” the authors wrote. “Furthermore, anxiety was primarily responsible for neurotic individuals’ less positive attitudes toward action. The link between neuroticism and less positive attitudes toward action was strongest among individuals who endorsed more collectivistic than individualistic beliefs.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130903113311.htm

    People in East Asian countries seem to strike the best balance (their interpretation) between liking action and inaction, whereas someone from the Mediterranean area of the world are far less likely to have achieved the same balance. (preferring action most strongly).

  12. Luke Lea / Apr 27 2014 10:07 PM

    What about Hans Eysenck’s psychological trait of “psychoticism”? That’s not quite the same thing as neuroticism is it?

  13. Luke Lea / Apr 27 2014 10:15 PM
    • Staffan / May 1 2014 8:09 AM

      Eysenck’s psychoticism is a kind of reverse of the Big Five openness: instead of linking creativity to nice liberal qualities he linked it to antisocial tendencies and sensation seeking. But creative people are rarely into immediate gratification, as the angry man-children you’ll find in jail. They can work for years and even decades before bringing something to completion. I think schizotypy remains the best measure of creativity (apart from the work itself of course).

  14. chrisdavies09 / Apr 29 2014 4:57 PM

    @ Jayman – “In my observation, it appears the more permissive a society is about sex, the lower its average sex drive tends to be. ”

    I completely agree with this statement. Also, in my experience, individuals [females at least] from societies with lower average iqs tend towards more frequent but less creative sex, while individuals from societies with higher average iqs tend towards less frequent but more creative sex. I know that you previously wrote about ‘iq and kink’ in an earlier post. Clearly the various personality traits discussed are also involved. I suspect that higher iq and/or more introverted male individuals might have a lower average ‘sex drive’, but might actually masturbate very frequently [ie their introversion prevents them approaching women or from demanding the frequency or kinkiness of sex with their partner that they actually fantasised about]. The lower sex drive might be partly hormonal, but is also psychologically influenced to a large degree. Maybe a country like Japan would fall into this category.

  15. 23312qwewqe / May 2 2014 4:00 PM

    “Like quite a few other HBD’ers, I try not to focus so much on IQ. Although it is of preeminent importance, it is not the be-all end-all when it comes to human traits, particularly traits that differ between people. ”

    In face of your posts about national IQ figures, where you seem to swallow figures put out by Lynn and co. with little to no skepticism (Portugal and Southern Italy having IQ’s far below the rest of Europe, Albania having an IQ of 80 etc.) or internet IQ test results for China and how prop them up as such great explanatory figures, this comes as a surprise.

    • JayMan / May 2 2014 4:10 PM

      @23312qwewqe:

      Lynn’s scores have corroboration from other sources (e.g., PISA, TIMSS), and are predictive of economic performance, so I generally regard them as being close to correct, even if there is some imprecision in some areas (which are in need of more testing).

    • Staffan / May 3 2014 9:05 AM

      Lynn’s national IQ scores correlate around 0.9 to PISA and TIMSS, 0.7 to various GDP measures, 0.5 to economic growth measures, (not adjusted for oil or other natural resources) and higher for the longer time periods.

      Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160289611001413

      In Albania, people often go from A to B by way of horse and carriage. Electricity comes and goes erratically. Clan feuds are common. Sounds like IQ 80 to me.

  16. 23312qwewqe / May 4 2014 11:51 AM

    The PISA and TIMSS have not been validated as being just as good as IQ tests. This is mainly the assertion of the small number of researchers, like Rindermann and Lynn who say they are. It’s worth considering how Thailand ended up with an IQ of 98.6 after the Thai government decided to use the Standard Progressive Matrices, IE, a test that is widely agreed upon as a measurement of intelligence as opposed to “scientific achievement tests” regarded as such by a small circle of researchers and their fans on the internet: http://occidentalascent.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/thai-national-iq-98-race-realism-sucks-another-big-one/

    While this is undoubtedly brought up by the Chinese, this score is likewise with correction for malnutrition, disease and other transient environmental factors, so it is entirely possible that Thailand’s IQ is over 100, and that the native Thai are no less than the high 90’s in their scores.

    Now, if you look in the comments, there is some possibility that these scores might be off with what Sagat brings up, but he later concedes, although begrudgingly, they are indeed accurate. In face of this, it draws into question the figures we typically see for southeast asia, and by extension, elsewhere.

    “In Albania, people often go from A to B by way of horse and carriage. Electricity comes and goes erratically. Clan feuds are common. Sounds like IQ 80 to me.”

    The country has poor infrastructure and there’s a lot of clan violence, therefore, they must be dumber than american blacks.

    And since you seem to be a firm believer in Greece having an IQ of 92: https://web.archive.org/web/20080805140647/http://www.geocities.com/dienekesp2/greekiq/index.html

    • 23312qwewqe / May 4 2014 11:57 AM

      And to make it clear, I am not an anti-hereditarian or an “HBD denier”- I just don’t believe the bulk of these national IQ figures. There are clearly inherent differences in national/racial intelligence, but I don’t the figures we see trotted out are not illustrative of what it really looks like.

      Also, in my prior post, meant to say “without correction.”

    • JayMan / May 4 2014 12:10 PM

      @23312qwewqe:

      Fair enough, and I gathered as much. Do understand that gathering accurate IQ data is difficult (for example, it’s very difficult in a place like sub-Saharan Africa). Variability in test scores depending on the methods and samples used are to be expected. Am I interested in arguing over the fine details of any particular country’s precise IQ average? Not really. Rarely will that kind of debate be productive.

      As a matter of course, yes, there is going to be variation in average IQ within race and even within nations or even ethnic groups. That’s because IQ evolved fairly recently, and hence will be subject to considerable local variation.

    • JayMan / May 4 2014 12:05 PM

      @23312qwewqe:

      There are certain things I’m tired of arguing over. I will tell you one time not to repeat them. Please take heed of that.

      The PISA and TIMSS have not been validated as being just as good as IQ tests.

      Wrong. The scores from these tests correlate as highly with IQ tests as well as different IQ tests correlate with each other. They are IQ tests like the WISC and SAT. Do not repeat that claim here.

      t’s worth considering how Thailand ended up with an IQ of 98.6 after the Thai government decided to use the Standard Progressive Matrices, IE, a test that is widely agreed upon as a measurement of intelligence

      There is going to be variability in the scores of certain countries based on the test used, sampling issues, both random and non-random, transformations made by researchers, etc. This has been discussed to death as per the Ron Unz fiasco. That’s the nature of the beast. While there may be some valid points in analysis of these, it must be done properly. Tread very carefully on this subject.

      While this is undoubtedly brought up by the Chinese, this score is likewise with correction for malnutrition, disease and other transient environmental factors

      And there in lies your problem, as per above.

      so it is entirely possible that Thailand’s IQ is over 100

      Considering what we know of Thailand, I’d say certainly not.

      The country has poor infrastructure and there’s a lot of clan violence, therefore, they must be dumber than american blacks.

      No, but the situation in the country both now and historically does render an average IQ of 80 plausible, if not necessarily exactly accurate.

      And since you seem to be a firm believer in Greece having an IQ of 92:

      DO NOT misrepresent me. I have said before that I believe that Lynn’s scores are likely close to being correct, not that they are ironclad final and eternal. I believe that the average IQ of Greece is likely quite a bit lower than that of Northern Europe, and possibly in the lower 90s. I don’t claim precise numbers for any country.

      I don’t want to have to threaten you with being put on moderation so early, but please think carefully about what you say. I can see this argument headed to places that I don’t want on my blog again, and I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you’re going to have to engage accordingly.

  17. 23312qwewqe / May 4 2014 12:54 PM

    First off, the part about Greece was in response to Staffan and posts he has made on the topic previously, not you. Sorry if you got the wrong impression.

    “Wrong. The scores from these tests correlate as highly with IQ tests as well as different IQ tests correlate with each other. They are IQ tests like the WISC and SAT. Do not repeat that claim here.”

    Like I said, this is comes almost entirely from the assertions of a small number of people like Rindermann and Lynn. They and a small number of others are genuinely the only ones who assert as such. These tests have not been subjected to the rigors and extensive independent analysis of tests like the ASVAB, SAT etc. You will not find anything find anything approaching the level of analysis they have compared to the PISA and TIMSS. Their correlations have long been based on Lynn’s IQ figures, which have long been wrought with issues, and from what I’ve seen, there’s long been some bizarre figures in PISA/TIMSS data, like various SS african countries outscoring much of latin america, some developed countries (like Norway) producing virtually no advanced students, Kyrgyzstan having an IQ of under 70 (the lowest) etc.

    I’m aware there’s another recent paper promoting their validity, but I am unable to access it, and I’m willing to admit they’re more valid than I give them credit for, but from what I’ve really seen, I am doubtful. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    “There is going to be variability in the scores of certain countries based on the test used, sampling issues, both random and non-random, transformations made by researchers, etc. This has been discussed to death as per the Ron Unz fiasco. That’s the nature of the beast. While there may be some valid points in analysis of these, it must be done properly. Tread very carefully on this subject.”

    This is all true, but I consider Thailand’s case very noteworthy for the fact the government used widely agreed upon IQ tests, with a sample size of over 70k from every single province, as opposed to Lynn’s original IQ figures, which came from a single province.

    “No, but the situation in the country both now and historically does render an average IQ of 80 plausible, if not necessarily exactly accurate.”

    Well, that’s an entirely different can of worms (though I consider the idea they’re that low absolutely bizarre and naive), but since you honestly think this could be a genuine reflection of their abilities, there are these two maps from your site:


    You put the 2nd together on your own, so I’m not sure what you base this on, but how can you see this as valid when when Bosnia and Herzegovina apparently shot up by 11 points, Montenegro by 5 and Albania dropped by two? Albania showed the most consistency, but, there’s the large discrepancy with Bosnia/Herzegovina and Montenegro.

    • JayMan / May 4 2014 1:02 PM

      @23312qwewqe:

      First off, you didn’t take heed to my warning, so you are on moderation. I DO NOT have time for unproductive back and forths.

      “Wrong. The scores from these tests correlate as highly with IQ tests as well as different IQ tests correlate with each other. They are IQ tests like the WISC and SAT. Do not repeat that claim here.”

      Like I said, this is comes almost entirely from the assertions of a small number of people like Rindermann and Lynn. They and a small number of others are genuinely the only ones who assert as such.

      Who cares about the number? I sure don’t. Whether or not that number is correct, these scientists are correct in making that assertion based on the evidence, and that’s all that matters.

      You put the 2nd together on your own, so I’m not sure what you base this on, but how can you see this as valid when when Bosnia and Herzegovina apparently shot up by 11 points, Montenegro by 5 and Albania dropped by two? Albania showed the most consistency, but, there’s the large discrepancy with Bosnia/Herzegovina and Montenegro.

      See above about test variability, which you apparently didn’t absorb for one reason or another.

      End of discussion.

  18. M.G. / Jun 18 2014 8:00 PM

    As you know Jayman, I share your view about avoiding the ‘cult of IQ.’ I focus on character traits (or ‘cultural values’ as they’re often called) in my research, too.

    I’ve trawled through lots of cross-national value surveys. Many originally came from the business world (age of globalization, natch), but are I think broadly applicable. I read all the methodology and questionnaires too. I know you’re well-acquainted with World Values Survey and the General Social Survey, but just thought I’d throw a few links your way for possible future reference:

    -My all-time favorite is the GLOBE study, from the U. of Pennsylvania in the 1990s. Guess it’s a little dated now, but still very good. A nine-value scale. (All countries’ value scales in this PDF, starting p. 25). Interesting stuff.

    Shalom Schwartz: He developed the European Social Survey value scale. Has done loads of cross-national values studies. A smaller selection of countries.

    Geert Hofstede, who I’m not a huge fan of (not crazy about his methodology), but he’s a pioneer in this field, so he gets referred to a lot.

    Schwart’s and Hofstede’s complete all-country data can be found in this PDF.

    I’ve also visualized a lot of the data in color-coded tables, for example like this. Have it all on Excel docs. If ever in the future you’d want to take a look at any of it, let me know. It’s so nice to see others focusing on personality instead of just IQ, especially you and HBD Chick.

  19. Matthew Wolfinbarger / Feb 3 2015 12:29 AM

    I have to imagine honesty-humility is substantially negatively correlated with IQ. Also, I don’t see blind obedience or a desire to put someone away for 3 years over a $20 theft to be desirable traits in any way, shape, or form. Valuing property over life to that extent is true psychopathy.

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