Saturday, March 07, 2009

Emergency: The Idiocracy begins



The graphs show the trend in scores on a ten question vocabulary test (WORDSUM) given by the General Social Survey (N = 24,196). This test is a good measure of IQ, and you can see how the share of the country in the highest IQ bracket has fallen. In 1990, it was 7.4%, and by 2008 it was almost half that--3.8%. The area of gain has been with the middle scores of 6 and 7.

Suspecting that the shrinking of the smartest group might be due to a larger number of immigrants--a group with a poorer English vocabulary--I removed them, but found the same trend. It looks like we're seeing Idiocracy in action.

16 comments:

Audacious Epigone said...

Ron,

Very interesting pattern here. If you look at either all races or just whites alone, the average wordsum scores in the 2000s are higher than in previous decades, and the 70s and 80s are the lowest. But the standard deviation has steadily shrunk over that same period of time--the super-smart fraction is shrinking, even though the mean level intelligence is holding steady and maybe even rising steadily.

Oh, and speaking of Idiocracy, how are you getting the figures for 2008? I am getting invalid returns for that year. Please assist me!

Audacious Epigone said...

... maybe even rising slightly, that is. Sorry.

Audacious Epigone said...

Nevermind, I found it. Man, I should think a little before I start blabbing, but this post had me too giddy for all that.

BGC said...

According to Richard Lynn there are two main processes going on with intelligence trends:

1. The Flynn Effect of rising phenotypic IQ (i.e. rising test scores) due mainly to improving nutrition.

NB: the Flynn Effect has flattened-off and average IQ scores are perhaps now declining in some developed countries - probably including the UK - as there is diminishing scope for nutritional improvement.

2. Falling genotypic IQ due to dysgenic processes (differential fertility by IQ, and demographic trends in general).

Speculation - Maybe this pattern of change is consistent with an interaction of these two trends; with genotypic effects operating more powerfully among already-optimally-nourished higher IQ people, and nutrituional effects still powerful among lower IQ people?

Scrutineer said...

Audacious Epigone - "Nevermind ..."

Hey!

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see what words are being tested here.
Are they words which people regularly come in contact with, or words like "mileau", "pedantic", "double entendre", and "laconic" which most people would only hear at school?

I suspect that schools are not emphasizing pedantic vocabulary words (which is relatively useless)as much as they used to. If this is the case, the percent of people scoring a 10 would decrease and the percent of people scoring in the middle and upper sections would increase without any change in intellect. I am not sure how valid it is to use vocabulary as a proxy for intellect across generations. The change we have seen could just represent a change in scholastic emphasis. A

*Assuming that your hypothesis (fewer people scoring a 10 on the vocab is being driven by greater stupidity) is correct, one should see an increase in the number of low scores; however, the total number of people scoring 0-5, 0-4, and 0-3, and 0-2 has decreased. This appears to contradict your theory and support mine.

Audacious Epigone said...

Scrutineer,

Hah! Bad habits are resilient things. Thank you for the persistent application of orthopraxy. I will make a conscious effort to keep it from happening again! I mean it this time.

Anonymous said...

Most people don't read anymore, because there are more fun and accessible things to do, such as using the internet, watching tv, playing videogames, etc. That doesn't mean they must be stupider than before

Antidysgenics said...

Is this surprising, when our welfare empire is supporting clueless people?

http://www.corrupt.org/news/lolcatz_against_democracy

silver said...

Most people don't read anymore, because there are more fun and accessible things to do, such as using the internet, watching tv, playing videogames, etc. That doesn't mean they must be stupider than before

It does make them act more stupidly. Literacy is closely intertwined with "culture," so with respect to "idiocracy,", the decrease in literacy can be thought of as reducing the "cultural multiplier" on IQ levels to below 1.0: the populace may (may) be just as smart, but people are "dumber."

The introductory page of literatevalues.org spells it out better than I ever could.

I suspect that schools are not emphasizing pedantic vocabulary words (which is relatively useless)as much as they used to. If this is the case, the percent of people scoring a 10 would decrease and the percent of people scoring in the middle and upper sections would increase without any change in intellect. I am not sure how valid it is to use vocabulary as a proxy for intellect across generations. The change we have seen could just represent a change in scholastic emphasis

There's some irony in a passage brushing aside concerns about literacy standards with a demonstration of how far they've already fallen. :)

Blode0322 said...

literatevalues.org looks pretty cool, but I'm about 98% sure they're using "suborned" when they mean "subordinated" - four lines from the top of their page. ('Course, they could just be playing some hi-falutin' prank on me.)

Anonymous said...

Silver: "It does make them act more stupidly."

Indeed, the idiocracy begins.

Steve Sailer said...

This graph might be easier to follow flipped upside down, with the 10s as the bottom layer.

Ron Sealon said...

Anonymous 3:08 PM : I must admit that I have never run into the word "mileau" either. Perhaps I never find myself in the proper milieu to achieve exposure to such words?

Anonymous said...

From the comments I have read, those tests are MEANINGLESS (i.e worthless).

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." - Albert Einstein

Anonymous said...

I need a Riddle ASAP! i know this sounds extreamly werid but i need a riddle. Dont ask why just give me something!! thanks!









































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