Saturday, April 30, 2011

Decline in confidence that God exists

Once every two years the Inductivist gets giddy with excitement when the new GSS comes out. As a first plunge into the new data, let's look at trends in confidence in the existence of God.

The shrinking purple section (if I were a girl, I'd know the precise name for that color) indicates that "knowing that God exists" has been on the decrease over the past decade. On the other hand, I wouldn't make any long-term predictions. Most of the experts sixty years ago predicted the imminent death of religion.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Predictors of closeness to whites among whites

GSS respondents were asked how close do they feel toward whites. Limiting the analysis whites, I regressed the answers onto a list of predictors. Here are the results (sample size = 2,806):

Standardized OLS coefficients

Female .09*
Age -.03*
South -.02
Size of place .02
Education .02
Income .05*
IQ -.07*
Church Attendance .08*
Jewish .01
Conservatism .00

*statistically significant

Much of this surprises me. Being from the South or a small town is unrelated to liking whites. So is years of education or level of conservatism. Jews like whites better than others at the bivariate level, but the relationship becomes non-significant in the multivariate analysis.

What predicts greater closeness to whites is: being female, being younger, having more income, being less intelligent, and more church attendance. The gender finding replicates other research that has found that women have more race affection than men. Who would have guessed that younger people feel more affection for whites than their elders?

Although all of the predictors are weak, gender, religiosity, and IQ are comparatively the strongest. Why am I not surprised that smart people like whites less? IQ exerts an effect while education does not. Interesting.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Race and ethnicity among Hispanics

As a follow-up to the last post, I calculated how warmly Hispanics of three different races (white, black, other) felt towards generic whites, blacks, and Hispanics (sample sizes = at least 200).

Overall, Hispanics are the best liked group (not surprising); blacks are the least liked. This is the same pattern we saw in the last post with all races.  

White Hispanics like Hispanics better than they like whites. They like their Latinness more than their whiteness. People usually like their whatever-elseness more than being white if they have a choice. You distance yourself from whiteness if you can. Whites also like their own race the least (the difference is very big). I suspect that while they describe their race as white, many answer the closeness-to-whites question thinking of whites as "Anglos." 

Black Hispanics like blacks better than Hispanics. They like their blackness more than their Latinness. Black trumps Latino in the race/ethnic hierarchy.

Other-race Hispanics like whites more than blacks, but the means for both are low. They like Hispanics much more than either blacks or whites. The 2.5 point gap between the mean closeness towards blacks and that towards Hispanics is huge. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Feelings of warmth among races

This table shows the mean scores of how warmly one group feels toward another, based on GSS answers from 1 (very cold) to 9 (very warm). The columns are the judging groups, while the rows are the target groups. "Whites" are "blacks" are non-Hispanic; "Hispanics" are "other race." "Asians" in the judging group are Japanese and Chinese Americans, but are simply Asians in the target group.

Going along the rows, you can see that Asians and Hispanics tend to be the best liked groups. I suppose this puts a tally mark in the plus column on the immigration question. Perhaps Asians and Hispanics tend to be inoffensive? Blacks are the least liked by everyone (except for blacks of course). Must be because whitey taught the others to hate.

Going down the columns, it is not clear who judges the harshest in general. Asian feelings towards blacks are comparatively cool, but they like Hispanics. Whites judge blacks more warmly than others do--white guilt perhaps--but they are comparatively cool on Hispanics and Asians. I see no evidence here that whites have a unique gift for disliking other races. Unless the race is whites--they have the lowest self-directed mean.

Friday, April 22, 2011

He gets made in our image

This new study supports the view that people make over Jesus in their own image (e.g., blacks believing he was black; Nordics believing he looked Nordic):
In two studies, we examined whether (a) conceptions of Jesus would differ between Koreans and Americans, and whether (b) national differences in self-reported personality and well-being are mediated by the cultural norm for personality and well-being. Because there is only one Jesus, different conceptions held by Koreans and Americans are likely to reflect cultural construction processes. In Study 1, we asked Korean and American participants to engage in a free association task with Jesus as a target. Americans associated Jesus with primarily positive connotations (“awesome”) and rarely with negative connotations (“pain”), whereas Koreans associated Jesus with both positive and negative connotations. In Study 2, we asked Korean and American participants to rate Jesus and themselves using personality and well-being scales. Americans rated both Jesus and themselves as more extraverted, agreeable, conscientious, open, and happier than did Koreans. Most important, national differences in self-reported agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness, and happiness were partially mediated by conceptions of Jesus.
Myself, I imagine him with a hilarious, self-deprecating sense of humor and a nagging fear that he's coming down with something.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Parental income and IQ among teens

Here's a new study of a large sample of teens published in Personality and Individual Differences that shows that the IQs of children from wealthy homes are higher, not because of money, but because of their parents' superior genes.
Parental educational level and family income have been related to individual differences in intelligence. However, large and representative samples are hardly available. Here two samples of young and old adolescents totaling 3233 boys and girls completed an intelligence battery comprising abstract, numerical, verbal, mechanical, and spatial reasoning subtests. Parents’ educational levels, family incomes, and adolescents’ general intelligence (g) were simultaneously related using SEM (structural equation modeling) analyses. The main findings show that (1) parental education strongly predicts family differences in income, (2) family income is not related to adolescents’ intelligence, and (3) parents’ education predicts adolescents’ intelligence regardless of family income. Because it is widely acknowledged that personal intelligence is the best predictor of educational differences, the next causal chain is endorsed: brighter parents reach higher levels of education, which allows approaching better occupations, and, therefore, they can create families with higher incomes. Adolescents from more affluent families tend to be brighter because their parents are brighter, not because they enjoy better family environments.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Social class and autism

From a new study on the increasing prevalence of autism:
The prevalence of autism has increased precipitously—roughly 10-fold in the past 40 years—yet no one knows exactly what caused this dramatic rise. Using a large and representative dataset that spans the California birth cohorts from 1992 through 2000, we examine individual and community resources associated with the likelihood of an autism diagnosis over time. This allows us to identify key social factors that have contributed to increased autism prevalence. While individual-level factors, such as birth weight and parental education, have had a fairly constant effect on likelihood of diagnosis over time, we find that community-
level resources drive increased prevalence.
The researchers conclude that the epidemic is the result of a greater probability of being diagnosed, and that until recently, diagnosis depended heavily on having money and living in better-off communities where the focus on autism began. Social class factors have been more important for less severe cases of autism where diagnosis was less obvious. 

Other factors that are associated with a greater risk: higher parental education, low birth weight, being male (of course), being first-born, having older parents, and not being on Medi-Cal.

I find it odd that race and ethnicity were not examined. It's a California sample, you're focusing on social class, and you don't control for race and Hispanicity? Maybe it doesn't matter, but they don't seem to address it. Being on Medi-Cal matters, and it is correlated with NAMishness. And of course there is no mention of the possibility that social class might be associated with genes implicated in autism. Everyone just knows that social class has nothing whatsoever to do with genes. It's the same old story that class reflects privilege and access and nothing more.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Orderliness and stereotyping

This study shows that stereotyping by whites drops if the environment is orderly. The implication for people wanting to increase the comfort level among races is conservative: you need to maintain a clean, safe living space. That means that cops, not graffiti, must seen as cool.

On the other hand, disorderliness may be an accurate and important signal of risk. It doesn't make sense to clean up an environment if it tricks people into being comfortable in an objectively dangerous place.

Another point: In one experiment, whites sat as close to a black confederate as a white one, as long as the scene was clean and orderly. Does this square with the whites-as-natural-haters meme that they would sit just as close to a strange black man as a white one?

H/T Jason Malloy

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Social science academics

The academic conference I'm attending is finishing up today. (My sell-out research paper was well-received). After three days of observing academics, it is clear to me that the social sciences attract precisely the wrong kind of people. They are I-want-to-help-and-thus-look-good people. In terms of personality, they are like sheep. Social science needs curmudgeons, but it gets womanly men and ideological women. I've never seen people so desperate to say the right thing. Cults have nothing on these folks.

Taxes and the breadwinner family

It's a good occasion to make a comment about income taxes. I spend much of my time fretting over the state and direction of the country, but I should focus on the bright side: I paid roughly negative $2000 to the federal government this year. And I didn't even have mortgage interest to deduct. How did I do it? By having four children and a wife who doesn't work outside the home. The government paid me! What a sweet deal. What a country. My thanks to all the childless rich people who make this possible. The status quo feels so good, maybe I'm going to have to vote for Obama in 2012.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Religiosity, sex, and contraception among teens

Add Health adolescents were asked if they had ever had sex. Here is the percent who answered yes by church attendance (whites, sample size = 5,555)

Percent who have had sex

Never attends 47.3*
Less than once a month 48.5*
Between once a month and less than weekly 42.4*
Weekly or more  30.8

*significantly more than "weekly or more"

The percentages are significantly higher for those going to church less often or never. But perhaps among kids who have sex, the religious ones fail to use protection.

Percent who used protection the first time

Never attends 66.1
Less than once a month 71.6
Between once a month and less than weekly 68.9
Weekly or more 65.0

The differences among these groups are all statistically non-significant.

Taxing fat cats

I see that the country is returning, once again, to the debate over taxing the rich. Many of the folks who live for this issue are the same ones who couldn't care less about abortion. "Are we, or are we not killing hundreds of thousands of humans every year? Yawn--who cares, what a bore." This is precisely my attitude about taxing fat cats. Really--25 percent, 45 percent--who gives a shit?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Family meals

According to this new study, eating breakfast and dinner more frequently with family members was unrelated to cognitive and behaviorial outcomes for kids from kindergarten to 8th grade. A parents-are-everything model would predict that family meals are important since it is a time when parents can encourage and instruct kids about school and behavior. (It is an opportunity for bonding as well. One of my fat friends associates food with his mom's love.)

My students absolutely refuse to believe that parenting has little effect on a child's IQ and personality. Citing research doesn't matter. The idea is repugnant to them. Americans hate genes.

For those of you who are more open: don't decide to not have kids because work takes up too much of your time. The truth is, you ain't that important. (Your genes are, on the other hand.)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Group solidarity among whites

MIDUS Study participants were asked how closely do they identify with their 1) ethnicity and 2) race; how much do they prefer to be with their own 1) ethnicity and 2) race; how important is it to marry someone of the same 1) ethnicity and 2) race; and how closely do they identify as an American.

I calculated the Pearson correlations for each possible pair of questions for whites only (sample size = 4,075).  All of the 21 correlations are positive, and the average is .30 which indicates a moderate, positive relationship. The strongest correlations are among the ethnicity items (around .60), and also among the race items. The weakest correlations are between the American question and other measures. The vast majority of study participants identify strongly as Americans so the lack of variation reduces the correlations.

Bottom line: whites either tend identify with groups at all levels or no groups at any level. To put it in exaggerated terms, ethnicists are racialists are patriots. Individualists are individualists are individualists.  

Friday, April 08, 2011

Racial identification among whites by ethnic group

MIDUS Study participants (all Americans) were asked how closely do they identify with their race. Answers were scored like this: very closely (4), somewhat closely (3), not very closely (2), not at all (1). I calculated the means for whites by ethnicity:

Mean racial identfication score (sample size = 4,088)

Greek 3.45
Mexican 3.40
Jewish 3.38
Polish 3.32
Dutch 3.29
Hungarian 3.27
Italian 3.26
Russian 3.23
Lebanese 3.20
Swedish 3.20
Irish 3.19

All whites 3.18

English 3.17
German 3.17
Scottish 3.16
French 3.11
Portuguese 3.00
Czech 2.92
Spanish 2.87

Looking at all whites, the typical person is somewhere between identifying somewhat closely and very closely with his race.  The difference between Greek and Spanish Americans is sixth-tenths of a standard deviation--a pretty big gap.

There might be a tendency for the pride among minorities like Greeks, Jews, and Mexicans to spill over into racial identification. Ethnic pride might facilitate racial pride.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Predictors of racial identification among whites

A question in the MIDUS Study shows that fewer than 10 percent of white Americans completely fail to identify with their race. Let's see which factors predict identifying closely with one's race among whites.

Standardized OLS Regression Coefficients (sample size = 3,499)

Age -.03
Female .10*
Education -.03
Church attendance .06*
Extraversion .05*
Agreeableness .04*
Negative emotionality .05*
Conscientiousness .05*
Openness to experience -.06*

* statistically significant

Except for age and education, all of the predictors are significantly related to identifying with one's race. These categories are associated with greater identification: females, churchgoers, those high on extraversion, agreeableness, negative emotionality, conscientiousness, and low on openness to experience. All of the relationships are weak.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Redistributionists vs. anti-redistributionists

TGGP directs us to an excellent GSS study by James Lindgren which shows that redistributionists (liberals) are more racist, angrier, less altruistic, and less happy than anti-redistributrionists (conservatives):

In debates over the roles of law and government in promoting the equality of income or in redistributing the fruits of capitalism, widely different motives are attributed to those who favor or oppose capitalism or income redistribution. According to one view, largely accepted in the academic social psychology literature (Jost et al. 2003), opposition to income redistribution and support for capitalism reflect an orientation toward social dominance, a desire to dominate other groups. According to another view that goes back at least to the nineteenth century origins of Marxism, anti-capitalism and a support for greater legal efforts to redistribute income reflect envy for the property of others and a frustration with one’s lot in a capitalist system.

In this paper I expand and test the social dominance thesis using sixteen nationally representative General Social Surveys conducted by the National Opinion Research Center between 1980 and 2004. Because few questions of interest were asked in most years or of most respondents, the sample sizes used for analyses vary from 535 to 15,743.

I first show that respondents who express traditionally racist views (on segregation, interracial marriage, and inborn racial abilities) tend to support greater income redistribution. Traditional racists also tend to oppose free-market capitalism and its consequences, wanting the government to guarantee jobs for everyone and fix prices, wages, and profits. Next, I report a similar pattern for those who express intolerance for unpopular groups on the fifteen Stouffer tolerance questions (regarding racists, homosexuals, communists, extreme militarists, and atheists). Those who express less tolerance for unpopular groups tend to favor income redistribution and oppose capitalism.

Then I present the results of six full latent variable structural equation models. The latent variables traditional racism (Model 1: r=.27) and intolerance (Model 2: r=.31) predict the latent variable income redistribution. Similarly, the latent variables traditional racism (Model 3: r=.33) and intolerance (Model 4: r=.36) predict anti-capitalism. Controlling for education, income (log), gender, and age (Models 5 and 6), the effects of the racism and intolerance predictors on redistribution and intolerance are reduced, but remain significant. Thus the preference against income redistribution, for example, is not just the result of income or education - rather, the data are consistent with racism and intolerance continuing to play a small, but significant role in explaining the support for income redistribution and anti-capitalism. The data are broadly inconsistent with the standard belief in the social psychology literature that pro-capitalist and anti-redistributionist views are positively associated with racism.

I then explore an alternative hypothesis, showing that, compared to anti-redistributionists, strong redistributionists have about two to three times higher odds of reporting that in the prior seven days they were angry, mad at someone, outraged, sad, lonely, and had trouble shaking the blues. Similarly, anti-redistributionists had about two to four times higher odds of reporting being happy or at ease. Not only do redistributionists report more anger, but they report that their anger lasts longer. When asked about the last time they were angry, strong redistributionists were more than twice as likely as strong opponents of leveling to admit that they responded to their anger by plotting revenge. Last, both redistributionists and anti-capitalists expressed lower overall happiness, less happy marriages, and lower satisfaction with their financial situations and with their jobs or housework.

Further, in the 2002 and 2004 General Social Surveys anti-redistributionists were generally more likely to report altruistic behavior. In particular, those who opposed more government redistribution of income were much more likely to donate money to charities, religious organizations, and political candidates. The one sort of altruistic behavior that the redistributionists were more likely to engage in was giving money to a homeless person on the street.

Evidence from sixteen national representative samples from 1980 through 2004 tends to suggest that Social Dominance Orientation has been in part misconceived. In the United States, segments of the academic community seem to have reversed the relationship between pro-capitalism and income redistribution on the one hand, and racism and intolerance on the other. Those who support capitalism and oppose greater income redistribution tend to be better educated, to have higher family incomes, to be less traditionally racist, and to be less intolerant of unpopular groups. Those who oppose greater redistribution also tend to be more generous in donating to charities and more likely to engage in some other altruistic behavior. The academic assumption that anti-capitalism and opposition to income redistribution reflect an orientation toward social dominance seems unwarranted.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Height and self-esteem

In the recent post on self-esteem, a reader suggested that Asians and Hispanics have lower levels because they are shorter.

Using Add Health data, I calculated the correlation between height and self-esteem for males and females (samples sizes = 3,101 and 3,297). It is .05 and significant for guys and .01 and not signifiicant for girls. Trivial for males, non-existent for females. 

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Religion and free speech

GSS respondents were asked if a person who is against churches and religion should be allowed to speak in your community. Here are the percentages who answered yes listed by religious affiliation:

Agrees that anti-religionists should be allowed to speak (sample size = 33,069)

Protestants 65.6
Catholics 73.0*
Eastern Orthodox 91.9*
Christian 76.1*
Nondenominational 84.6*
Jews 83.4*
Muslim 59.3
Hindu 73.9
Buddist 84.7*
No religion 88.7*

A majority in each group, Muslims included, is in favor of free speech. Most groups support it at a higher level than Protestants.  Although not shown, Jews, Orthodox, and those with no religion have significantly higher levels than Muslims.

In results not shown, more religious people (i.e., those who attend services frequently) are less likely to favor allowing the person to speak. This was true of all religions except for Buddhists and Orthodox Christians (three cheers for the Orthodox). The link was by far the strongest for Muslims: religious Muslims are much more likely to favor censorship.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Race and self-esteem

In The Perils of Diversity, Byron Roth challenges the multiculturist argument that minority groups must preserve their cultures to prop up self-esteem by citing research which failed to find group differences.

Let's look at the question with Add Health data. Students were asked how frequently do they feel they are just as good as anyone else. Answers ranged from "never/rarely" (0) to "most/all of the time" (3). Here are means:

Mean self-worth scores

Whites 1.98
Blacks 1.92
Asians 1.73*
Mexican Americans 1.61*

* significantly lower than whites

While blacks and whites--the two groups usually studied--don't differ significantly, Asians and Mexican Americans have lower averages.

Why? This is a sample of adolescents.  Blacks and whites are more likely to be popular. This seems to be due to greater athleticism, extraversion, and more interesting personalities. I also suspect that whites and black males are perceived as more attractive.  Self-esteem seems to be, in part, a reflection of reality. A Mexican American is more likely to have low self-worth because he doesn't compare well to others and lacks traits that are valued. It might be the case that whites and blacks get a self-esteem boost in schools with Mex-Am and Asian students. If I find time, I can test the hypothesis.

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...