July 26, 2006

Whew. You Can Still Be Rich And Stupid.

I was just in Las Vegas, and so I have a hard time believing there was a connection between income and IQ. But apparently, there is.

Some recent studies of twins and adopted kids that also factored in family socioeconomic status are reconfiguring the whole nature/nurture axis for explaining kids' potential intelligence and how/whether they achieve it.

It's all kind of complicated, but basically, it boils down to this: poverty is a drag on IQ development, but once you get up a ways on the income scale, the variations of IQ can be explained almost entirely by genetics.

Of course, it's not income itself: "A familys social standing is only a proxy for the time and energy needed to keep a youngster mentally engaged, as well as the social capital that helps steer a child to success." But there does seem to be a bare minimum of environmental support and parental involvement, that kids born in poverty aren't getting. And once that's met, all the Baby Einstein videos in the world don't help one bit.

Meanwhile, here's a quote from one of the researchers, UVA professor Eric Turkheimer, We often joke in behavior genetics that everybody is an environmentalist until they have their second child. HAHA, great stuff. Turkheimer will be at Caesar's Palace Aug. 29-31.

After The Bell Curve [nyt via kottke]
Nature or Nurture? Eric Turkheimer interview [oscar.virginia.edu]

1 Comment

you are so cool.

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