Saturday, October 03, 2009

Extraversion and political influence: Based on IQ, one would expect Jewish Americans and Asian Americans to have a disproportionate political influence on the country. We certainly see this with Jews, but not Asians (correct me if I'm wrong). Based on IQ levels, we would not expect blacks and Hispanics to have much influence, but of the two, Hispanics should be more powerful since they are smarter. The truth, though, is that blacks are the stronger group.

My recent posts might help explain this pattern. Blacks and especially Jews are extraverted groups, Asians and Hispanics are not. American Indians are another introverted group who seem to be practically invisible. Of course, population is a factor with all the groups, and I'm not arguing that groups do not have power on particular issues. I'm thinking more of an overall presence in the political process.

IQ and extraversion might also explain the disproportionate influence of homosexuals. My last post revealed that homosexuals and bisexuals have high extraversion scores, and I showed some time ago that the mean IQ for white gay men is 105.

Extraversion can also help explain differences in cultural influence and media presence.

And let's not forget that broad heritability for extraversion is around .5, suggesting that genetic differences might help explain these patterns.


  1. I think you are on the right lines with this argument.

    The work of Thomas Sowell - in several books including Black Rednecks and White Liberals - has shown that different ethnic groups have different job specializations which persist over many generations and survive migration to different countries.

    Sowell would be a good source of hypotheses for doing this kind of testing. He seems to regard the phenomenon as cultural, but hereditary factors such as a mix of intelligence and personality are more plausible explanations.

    From memory, one example from Sowell is that Germans are especially good at being soldiers and doing crafts (including beer making) - and this has been true for 100s of years and applies to American Germans as well as Central Europeans.

    But Germans tend to avoid politics (eg. the Mid West is mostly German, but the politics is dominated by other groups - eg Chicago). (Eisenhower was first a soldier, then a politico).

    By contrast, the Irish are very political, wherever they happen to be - but intellectually undistinguished - literature aside. And in literature among the first-raters - Shaw, Wilde and Yeats were all protestant Brits - so there was only Joyce who was truly Irish.

    According to Richard Lynn (and nobody else seems to have studied the matter), the Irish IQ is the lowest among natives of the British Isles - about 96 average I think. Germans have an av. 100 IQ, so maybe the difference in political influence is in some aspect of personality related to eloquence, or charm - and maybe this is most important in politics (and in the motivation to enter politics)?

    This might not be captured by the Big Five - but it could perhaps be isolated by tying to get a typical average personality profile for a group of successful politicians and see if any specific factors jump out.

  2. Anonymous12:43 PM

    "Based on IQ, one would expect Jewish Americans and Asian Americans to have a disproportionate political influence on the country. We certainly see this with Jews, but not Asians (correct me if I'm wrong). "

    No, I wouldn't necessarily expect because of their IQ that Asian Americans would have a weightier "political" influence.

    Some groups, because of their history and culture and because of their intelligence and interest in math/science, have a weightier influence in fields that demand great aptitudes for math/science. And, the personality of those with such interests and abilities in math/science are not likely to be like the personalities of those people who enjoy the political sphere.

    While Jews have high IQ, yet also a disproportionate influence in politics (both directly and indirectly), you have to factor in the cultural differences between them and those from an Asian background.

    The Jewish culture has always placed a premium on the verbal, as well, making them more likely to excel in the fields requiring persuasion.

  3. Another large ethnic group that gets little media attention are Polish Americans.

  4. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Asians tend to do well in areas where the rules are well defined and success correlates highly with work ethic, such as academics. In fields with more ambiguity and more of a need to think on your feet, they tend to perform more modestly. This is why you see plenty of Asians in the Economics and Finance departments of most of the major universities, but somewhat fewer actually working as Wall Street financiers or corporate managers.

    This pattern tends to be replicated on an international scale as well. Asian nations tend to have much higher scores on standardized tests, but those scores don't always translate into greater national economic strength.

    Extroversion might be a factor for Asians in the U.S., but I don't think it explains why South Korea has yet to overtake Australia.

    For Jewish people, their cognitive strengths are diverse enough that they do pretty well in almost any cognitively demanding field.


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