Bell-Curve of the Apes

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Another outrageous study completely overlooks the problem of stereotype threat.

Hopkins et al conclude (un-shockingly):

Finally, from an evolutionary standpoint, the results reported here suggest that genetic factors play a significant role in determining individual variation in cognitive abilities, particularly for spatial cognition and communication skills. Presumably, these attributes would have conferred advantages to some individuals, perhaps in terms of enhanced foraging skills or increased social skills, leading to increased opportunities for access to food or mating … These individuals would have then potentially had increased survival and fitness, traits that would have become increasingly selected upon during primate evolution, as has been postulated by a number of theorists, going all the way back to Darwin …

(Thanks to Greg for the link.)

July 10, 2014admin 12 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Discriminations

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12 Responses to this entry

  • Bryce Laliberte Says:

    What does cause stereotype threat? Somehow I find myself skeptical that it’s merely the reminder of the existence of negative stereotypes against your racial background. What if, rather, the tendency towards a lower score is a subconscious tendency to more obviously signal black? It’s difficult to prime one to score higher, given it would require actual intellectual faculties to do so, and anyone who recognizes that their score is a larger determiner of their success (while those below 100 can’t expect any significant benefit to being exceptional) would already be trying their best. Those who have learned that ability to signal in-group affiliation is their greatest determiner of success, they will subconsciously alter their own behavior to ensure they fall towards the mean; when you consider that low grades = little attention from school authorities, which frees up substantial time to be with one’s peer group with little negative repercussions from delinquency and poor academic achievement (this when you consider how much better off they would be if they did try; trying really hard in order to pass with C’s and be no better off isn’t better than not trying at all and having the same economic opportunities anyway). In other words, stereotype threat is an adaptation by low IQ higher in-group oriented groups to ineffective, defamiliarized social integration (i.e. public school) which improves their overall social standing and reproductive success.

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    this is exactly what I did in High School; I recognized that I wasn’t really being benefited by getting better grades (trying harder) so my natural response to pressure was to slack off. When white kids do it it’s called ‘underachievement’ – so whenever reminded of the negative stereotype of being a slacker, I would slack off more, but that was because I had already adopted the assumption that doing better wasn’t really going to help me much. So being ‘threatened’ made the cost-benefit analysis favor disengagement over engagement. In the end it wasn’t really a helpful behavior, but it wasn’t the stereotype of slackers that was the problem, but my habituation and rationalization of slacking. If we treat ‘blackness’ as a subtype of ‘slacker’ for the purposes of this analysis, we can replace them and say that black is being treated as a species of underachiever, but that in part black kids have adopted underachievement as a habit as an intuitive long term strategy, as I had done.

    So the ultimate point is that ‘stereotype threat’, if / when extant is nothing other than underachievement, and like all forms of underachievement is not self-caused, but results from coping strategies. In my case, I was smart enough to do okay without trying. Trying did not have a benefit that would outweigh the cost. For lower-IQ kids, they recognize how hard it is for them to do really well, and often make a judgment call as to how much effort they’re willing to put into things. They could do better, but if you have adopted a slacker strategy, disengagement will be your habituated response.

    They could do better, but how much resources would be required to raise their test scores, only to have them only perform as well as they were going to do anyway in the end?

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    Excellent steelman of stereotype threat.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Agreed — almost enough for me to move ‘Stereotype Threat’ out of the comedy folder.

    Arc Reply:

    Just as an FYI, you should know that a great number of social psychology theories, such as “stereotype threat,” are in dispute right now, due to the fact that so many fail attempts at replication. Organizations such as the Center for Open Science and websites such as PsychFileDrawer.org document many of these failed attempts.

    It has become so bad that the entire discipline is in question. You even have social psychologists are Harvard now, such as James Mitchell, claiming that attempts at replication are worthless and “mean-spirited.”
    http://wjh.harvard.edu/~jmitchel/writing/failed_science.htm

    So, as always, be skeptical about most pop psychology, especially social psychology.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I consider politicized social psychology to be roughly as authoritative as an astrology column.

    [Reply]

    Arc Reply:

    I figured as much, but I’m glad to see that we have a similar perspective on this.

    Alrenous Reply:

    No way dude. Astrology is significantly more authoritative. If nothing else it can twig your subconscious to lead you better.

    Posted on July 10th, 2014 at 5:37 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lesser Bull Says:

    But humans don’t have genetic bases for IQ, its been proven. So we must not be descended from the apes! Phew! It was touch and go for awhile, but at last modern science has launched a thorough vindication of creationism.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That works. Liberal and Paleo- Creationism could have a real Hitler-Stalin Pact-type thing going if the situation gets desperate enough for them.

    [Reply]

    Alrenous Reply:

    +1
    Modus tollens hype.

    [Reply]

    Posted on July 10th, 2014 at 7:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bell-Curve of the Apes | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on July 10th, 2014 at 9:09 pm Reply | Quote

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