Sunday, August 23, 2015

Your toddler's vocabulary at age TWO can predict their success in later life

Early speech acquisition and large vocabulary are strongly correlated with high IQ so these results are another confirmation of the wide-ranging effects of IQ, and its status as just one feature of biological good functioning

Your child's vocabulary at age two could reveal their future success, researchers have claimed.

They found children with better academic and behavioural functioning when they started kindergarten often had better educational and societal opportunities as they grew up.

They say children entering kindergarten with higher reading and math achievements are more likely to go to college, own homes, be married, and live in higher-income neighbourhoods as adults.

Gaps in oral vocabulary were evident between specific groups of children as young as age 2.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Pennsylvania State University, the University of California, Irvine, and Columbia University, who analysed nationally representative data for 8,650 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, and appears in the journal Child Development.

Two-year-olds' vocabularies were measured via a parent survey, and their academic achievement in kindergarten was gauged via individually administered measures of reading and math.

Kindergarten teachers independently rated the children's behavioural self-regulation and frequency of acting out or anxious behaviour.

Researchers took into account a wide range of background characteristics (such as sociodemographics) and experiences (such as parenting quality) to more fully isolate the role of vocabulary growth.

They looked at whether 2-year-olds with larger oral vocabularies achieved more academically and functioned at more optimal levels behaviourally when they later entered kindergarten.

Gaps in oral vocabulary were evident between specific groups of children as young as age 2, with children from higher-income families, females, and those experiencing higher-quality parenting having larger oral vocabularies than their peers.

Children born with very low birthweight or from households where the mother had health problems had smaller oral vocabularies.

When the researchers examined the children three years later, they found that children who had a larger oral vocabulary at age 2 were better prepared academically and behaviourally for kindergarten, with greater reading and maths achievement, better behavioural self-regulation, and fewer acting out or anxiety-related problem behaviours.

This oral vocabulary advantage could not be explained by many other factors, including the children's own general cognitive and behavioural functioning and the families' socioeconomic resources.

'Our findings provide compelling evidence for oral vocabulary's theorized importance as a multifaceted contributor to children's early development,' said Paul Morgan, associate professor of education at the Pennsylvania State University, who led the study.

Adds George Farkas, professor of education at the University of California, Irvine, who coauthored the study: 'These oral vocabulary gaps emerge as early as 2 years. 'Early interventions that effectively increase the size of children's oral vocabulary may help at-risk 2-year-olds subsequently enter kindergarten classrooms better prepared academically and behaviourally. 'Interventions may need to be targeted to 2-year-olds being raised in disadvantaged home environments.'

Farkas is an opinionated idiot.  These differences are inborn so no "intervention" is likely to have any lasting effect -- as has repeatedly been shown.  Note the abject failure of "Head Start", for instance.  Farkas neither presents any evidence for his assertions nor is interested in any -- JR


Friday, August 21, 2015

High IQ people better looking

This is actually an old finding but it again shows how pervasive the influence of IQ is.

Our strongest personality traits can be deduced simply from our facial features, scientists believe.  Research shows those with higher IQs are usually good-looking, while those with wider faces are usually perceived as being more powerful and successful.

There is even evidence that sexual deviancy can be picked up from facial features, with paedophiles more likely to have minor facial flaws.

The new evidence means the judgments we make when we meet strangers - which is usually concluded in less than a tenth of a second - are often accurate.

Mark Fetscherin, professor of international business at Rollins College, Florida, has recently found a link between company profits and the shape of its chief executive's face.

In his new book, CEO Branding, Mr Fetscherin describes how the executive tended to have wider faces than the average male.

A wider face means that the person is viewed as dominant and successful, Mr Fetscherin said. He also found a positive link between that shape face and the profits of the company.

He told The Sunday Times: 'Facial width-to-height ratio correlates with real world measures of aggressive and ambitious behavior and is associated with a psychological sense of power.'

Elsewhere, scientists also believe people can decipher negative attributes from a person's face. At Cornell University, scientists showed subjects mugshots of those who were guilty and innocent and found the majority could tell them apart.

Researchers have also found that those with a high IQ tend to be better looking. An example is Kate Beckinsale, who won poetry awards as a teenager, then studied Russian literature and English at Oxford.

Actress Natalie Portman also graduated with a psychology degree from Havard in 2003. 

Leslie Zebrowitz, professor of social relations at Brandeis University, near Boston, said the trend was due to the high quality of DNA, with few mutations, that those people have inherited.  [Zeb gets it -- JR]


Monday, August 17, 2015

More evidence of IQ as just one aspect of physical good functioning

IQ has a large range of physical correlates.  Odd for something that Leftists say does not exist

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, a study reveals.

Researchers at the Center for Healthy Aging and the Department of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen have studied the association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent physical performance, aged 48-56. The study comprised 2,848 Danish males born in 1953 and in 1959-61, and the results have just been published in the scientific Journal of Aging and Health.

"Our study clearly shows that the higher intelligence score in early adulthood, the stronger the participants' back, legs and hands are in midlife. Their balance is also better. Former studies have taught us that the better the results of these midlife tests, the greater the chance of avoiding a decrease in physical performance in old age", says PhD student Rikke Hodal Meincke from the Center for Healthy Aging

With a 10-point increase in intelligence score, the results revealed a 0,5 kg increase in lower back force, 1 cm increase in jumping height - an expression of leg muscle power, 0.7 kg increase in hand-grip strength, 3.7% improved balance, and 1.1 more chair-rises in 30 seconds.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Your genes WON'T make you wealthy: Becoming rich is more about nurture than nature, study finds (?)

I add some skeptical comments at the foot of the report below.  The usual finding is that high IQ people tend disproportionately to be high income earners.  And IQ is of course highly hereditary

If your parents are rich, then you’re more likely to be wealthy too.

Scientists have long debated whether this is down to genetics or the culture in which children are raised.  Now, a new study claims to have finally settled the debate; nurture, it says, is far more important that nature when it comes to amassing wealth.

‘Innate biology is only a small factor in wealth’, Kaveh Majlesi, a professor of economics at Lund University in Sweden and co-author of the study told

Previous studies have attempting to find a ‘rich gene’ which might explain how genetic characteristics that cause people to be wealthy are passed down.

The latest research, however, found that the wealth of an adopted child – before receiving an inheritance – is similar to that of their adoptive parents, rather than their biological ones.

The study included data from 2,519 Swedish children who were adopted between 1950 and 1970.

The researchers then compared this to data on adults’ overall wealth in Sweden between 1999 and 2007. This allowed scientists to compare the wealth of the adult adoptees to the wealth of potential biological and adoptive parents.

The biological parents were tended to be younger, poorer and less-educated than the adoptive parents.

Researchers found the adoptive parents had 1.7 to 2.4 times more of an effect than the biological parents did on the adopted child’s adult wealth.


I hate to rubbish a very carefully and laboriously done study but it is important to note that this is a study of WEALTH, not income. It is derived from data collected by the Swedish government for the purposes of its wealth tax. 

I have read the whole original study ("Poor Little Rich Kids? The Determinants of the Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth") and note that it showed great statistical care. 

It does not show much knowledge of people however.  It covers gifts in the form of bequests but otherwise omits the issue of gifts altogether.  The authors seem quite unaware that well-off people tend to give their kids money on various occasions and for various reasons.  My son, for instance, does well every birthday.

And since the adoptive parents in the study above were richer than the natural parents, it is almost certain that the adopted kids got more gifts -- thus accounting entirely for the finding that those kids had more wealth.  The study therefore tells us nothing about any biological effect -- including the influence of genes.

I might add the general point that wealth taxes of any kind are quite like other taxes in that they provoke avoidance (legal)  and evasion (illegal).  And the standard way of avoiding wealth taxes is to transfer funds to later generations in the form of gifts.  Gift taxes hinder but do not prevent that. So the fact that the data originate from official Swedish wealth tax statistics is rather unfortunate for this study.  It guarantees that a LOT of intergenerational giving did go on.  So the findings in this study would seem to be largely an artifact of Swedish law.

The data of the study is therefore not capable of supporting the conclusions of the study.  I can't say I am surprised by social scientists who know nothing about people.  I had a lot of fun pointing out the follies of my fellow social scientists during my own 20-year research career.  But I guess I shouldn't laugh!

Friday, August 7, 2015

IQ as a symptom of general biological fitness again

People with poor thinking skills may be at higher risk of heart attack or stroke, a study has shown. Scientists made the discovery after monitoring the progress of almost 4,000 individuals with an average age of 75 for three years.

At the start of the study, participants had their high-level thinking skills evaluated by tests and were graded accordingly.

Those in the lowest test score group were 85% more likely to have a heart attack and 51% more likely to have a stroke than members of the highest group.

Lead researcher Dr Behnam Sabayan, from Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, said: 'These results show that heart and brain function are more closely related than appearances would suggest.  'While these results might not have immediate clinical translation, they emphasise that assessment of cognitive function should be part of the evaluation of future cardiovascular risk.'

Dr Sabayan added: 'Performance on tests of thinking and memory are a measure of brain health. Lower scores on thinking tests indicate worse brain functioning.

'Worse brain functioning in particular in executive function could reflect disease of the brain vascular supply, which in turn would predict, as it did, a higher likelihood of stroke.

'And, since blood vessel disease in the brain is closely related to blood vessel disease in the heart, that's why low test scores also predicted a greater risk of heart attacks.