Saturday, June 13, 2009

IQ and altruism

N = 695 whites

N = 731 whites

I'm very interested in the relationship between altruism and intelligence. Is it positive, negative, or zero? The graphs present evidence of a positive association. Smarter people are more likely to have volunteered to help someone in an informal way (not as part of an organization) in the past year, and they are also more likely to think that cheating on taxes is seriously wrong. The tax question is interesting because Jews--a smart group--are less likely than others to think that cheating on taxes is wrong.

We also know from research that street criminals--an unaltruistric group, if there ever was one--have lower average IQs.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...


The tax question is interesting because Jews--a smart group--are less likely than others to think that cheating on taxes is wrong.



Ohhh, boy, I think you stepped in it!

However, it could also have to do with their strong intra-group cohesiveness. Ie, they are not one of us, so it's OK to cheat them.

Then again, Madoff cheated quite a few Jews as well, didn't he?

The Undiscovered Jew said...

The TAXCHEAT variable might be influenced by Jewish high income.

The GSS HELPOTH (ie, Help Others when they need help) variable shows no notable difference between Jews and whites.

Plus, the Ns had a large number of Jewish respondents (306 Jewish respondents and 2,907 whites who scored 7-10 on Wordsum).

The most clannish Jews, the Orthodox, were much more likely than either high Wordsum scoring whites or other Jews to say helping others was most important.

Higher IQ whites seem a bit less likely to say helping others is important than more modest IQ whites, according to the GSS.

So here, Jews look like they are in line with the white upper classes in terms of altruism.

Here is the full question:

HELPOTH : TO HELP OTHERS - 170. If you had to choose, which thing on this list would you pick as the most important for a child to learn to prepare him or her for life? a. Which comes next in importantc? b. Which comes third? c. Which comes fourth? TO HELP OTHERS WHEN THEY NEED HELP 0 IAP 1 MOST IMPORTANT 2 2ND IMPORTANT 3 3RD IMPORTANT 4 4TH IMPORTANT 5 LEAST IMPORTANT 8 DK 9 NA

The Undiscovered Jew said...

However, it could also have to do with their strong intra-group cohesiveness. Ie, they are not one of us, so it's OK to cheat them.

Do you have any evidence that Jews are more likely to cheat non-Jews?

The Undiscovered Jew said...

I used the how often have you given money to charity using the GSS variable GIVCHRTY.

I found Jews were more likely to give to charity than whites (though the Ns for Jews were only 37).

Unfortunately the GSS did not let me filter whites by Wordsum scores for some reason.

OneSTDV said...

"However, it could also have to do with their strong intra-group cohesiveness. Ie, they are not one of us, so it's OK to cheat them."

I'm not sure if I've witnessed the exclusionary attitude too often amongst secular Jews (exists amongst religious Jews though). I have witnessed the "Oh he's part of the tribe!" mentality though.

"Do you have any evidence that Jews are more likely to cheat non-Jews?"

Isn't there a Talmudic rule stating a Jew should not break sabbath to save the life of a non-Jew?

The Undiscovered Jew said...

Isn't there a Talmudic rule stating a Jew should not break sabbath to save the life of a non-Jew?

There could be, but most non-Orthodox American Jews know as much about the Talmud as Catholics know about the Gnostic Gospels.

I myself don't know anything about the Talmud (my dad is an atheist/agnostic) and I can't remember family members ever discussing its laws in detail.

Anonymous said...

"Isn't there a Talmudic rule stating a Jew should not break sabbath to save the life of a non-Jew?"

My understanding is that this is very controversial even among the Orthodox, and that it is by no means a majority opinion of modern-day observant Jews. Most Jews in the U.S. are Reform or Conservative and either non-observant or minimally observant of obscure talmudic teaching and halacha (Jewish law).

JA should opine because as an ex-Orthodox Jew he is likely to be familiar with the talmudic text in question and the subsequent rabbinical debate.

Charles Iliya Krempeaux said...

I think anyone with a libertarian or libertarian-leaning point-of-view isn't going to consider paying taxes as a form of altruism. Don't know how many such people participated in GSS, but it is something that may be expressing itself in your graphs. And thus may make your interpretation of the graphs somewhat problematic.

Checking GIVCHRTY instead of TAXCHEAT, as a "maker" of altruism, might make more sense.

OneSTDV said...

"My understanding is that this is very controversial even among the Orthodox, and that it is by no means a majority opinion of modern-day observant Jews."

Of course, almost no Jew in the world actually follows that rule.

I'm merely pointing out that Jewish ethnic solidarity has a traditional history within the Jewish population. I think the amount of exclusion (e.g. against marriage with white gentiles) in the community has almost disappeared amongst non-Orthodox. But the idea of Jewish solidarity (e.g. "I'm so excited that you're Jewish too!!) is still prevalent.

nazgulnarsil said...

Linking taxation to altruism is making an ideological assumption. smart people are disproportionately libertarian.

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peter baxter said...

The most altruistic person who ever lived was Saint Nicholas or Santa he gets the credit off every child for their toys which someone else buys.