Tuesday, November 25, 2008

WORDSUM and spatial IQ: Audacious has a post up on the ability of WORDSUM in the General Social Survey to capture IQ. Steve Sailer commented that since it's a vocabulary test, it might fail to pick up important abilities like spatial intelligence.

I found a study of American students by Lynn (Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 271-273, 1996) which reported spatial IQ scores for whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. Using WORDSUM, I calculated mean IQs for each of the four groups and then estimated a correlation across the four groups. It was .98. Admittedly, it's an N of 4, but the results are reassuring nevertheless.


  1. I'm mostly interested in fairly subtle differences among whites. For example, using GSS to determine the IQ of hunters is likely to somewhat underestimate a group that is probably better at visuo-spatial intelligence than verbal intelligence.

  2. You could look for interests such as hunting, the problem is that's correlated with rural living and location.

    Steve's right. Take an extreme example: do you really think Shakespeare would have been able to learn calculus? How do you think Einstein would have done on the SAT verbal?


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