## Friday, September 25, 2009

Race, extraversion, and crime: Using last post's measure of extraversion, I wonder if it could help explain racial differences in crime. Ever getting arrested is the dependent variable. Here are the logistic regression coefficients, and I'm comparing two groups at a time:

Logistic regression coefficients

Whites and Asians (N = 3,087)

White 0.64
Extraversion 0.14*

Blacks and Asians (N = 468)

Black 1.46
Extraversion 0.12*

* p < .01, two-tail test

Compared to Asians, whites are more likely to get arrested, but the difference becomes non-significant when extraversion is entered into the equation. The exact same thing happens when we compare blacks and Asians. So the evidence here suggests that extraversion helps explain the racial gap in criminality.

But why, you ask, would extraversion raise the risk of breaking the law? Compared to, say, the guy who likes to spend his time blogging alone, people who love to be out doing things with other people are more likely to find themselves in situations conducive to crime. And they would be less likely to back away from criminal opportunities.

#### 7 comments:

1. Could the decrease in most forms of crime since the 90's be related to an increase in outlets for introversion? I don't think it would matter much for those on either extreme end of the scale but could it be possible that the lure of Playstation, Facebook, blogging, etc. might reduce the time a young person spends in social situations where they could wind up getting into trouble? If so, I'm not sure if the cure is much better than the disease.

2. Anonymous12:52 PM

Could the decrease in most forms of crime since the 90's be related to an increase in outlets for introversion? I don't think it would matter much for those on either extreme end of the scale but could it be possible that the lure of Playstation, Facebook, blogging, etc. might reduce the time a young person spends in social situations where they could wind up getting into trouble?

I could well see these outlets for introversion as reducing the rates of certain "socially related" crimes. Things such as getting into nightclub brawls, some drug offenses, perhaps date-rape situations.

It can't be the whole story, however, as there's also been a marked decline in predatory street crimes. That sort of change is a lot harder to connect with a decline in extroverted behavior. Try as I might, I just can't conceive of a criminal passing up the opportunity to commit armed robbery because he's playing Madden NFL on his Playstation.

Peter

3. Anonymous7:58 AM

Ok, but aren't hispanics and american indians both less extroverted and more criminal?

4. Right, that's why IQ is a favored explanation. I'll have to look at the data and see if IQ explains the gaps better.

5. Anonymous11:18 AM

Rushton's rule seems to work very well for whites, blacks, and east asians, but also seems to break down pretty quick when others are included. I think the rule is still important, but hbd people need to start expanding it to cover all of humanity. How many factors will we need?

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