Category: Psychometrics (Page 2 of 3)

The Bell Curve, 20 years after

Or nearly so. I was planning to publish that blog article for the 31th December 2014. As you can see, I failed in this task, and didn’t finish in the right time. Anyway, I wrote this article, mainly because I am bothered that when people cite The Bell Curve the typical opponent responds with a link toward Wikipedia, specifically the part related to the “controversy” of The Bell Curve. It goes without saying that these persons did not read the books written in response to The Bell Curve. In fact, they have certainly read none of them. It is ridiculous to cite a book you didn’t read, but apparently, it does not bother many people, as I see.

For the 20 years of the book, I found appropriate to write a defense of the book. Or more precisely, a critical comment on the critics. I have decided to read carefully one of these books I can have access, and for what I have read here and there, it is probably the best book ever written against The Bell Curve. I know that Richard Lynn (1999) has already written a review before. But I wanted to go into the details. The title of the book I’m reviewing is :

Devlin, B. (1997). Intelligence, Genes and Success: Scientists Respond to the Bell Curve. Springer.

In fact, I have read that book some time ago, but didn’t find the need to read everything in detail. And I was unwilling to write a lengthy review. But I have changed my mind because of some nasty cowards.
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MH’s book review of Deafness, Deprivation, and IQ (Braden 1994)

Jeffery P. Braden. (1994). Deafness, deprivation, and IQ. Springer.

See also. The study of deaf people since Braden (1994). Human Varieties.

The book is a compilation of studies on deaf people, which concludes that cultural deprivation due to deafness lowers verbal IQ but not nonverbal IQ. Braden sought to prove Arthur Jensen wrong about his conclusions on the genetic component in racial differences in IQ. At the end, his research culminated in a trauma well known to scientific history, namely, his perfectly good theory was ruined by his data. Being born deaf does not affect g. And genetic theories are the most powerful arguments to account for the pattern of the data.
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The Elusive X-Factor, or Why Jonathan Kaplan Is Wrong about Race and IQ

Philosopher Jonathan Kaplan recently published an article called Race, IQ, and the search for statistical signals associated with so-called “X”-factors: environments, racism, and the “hereditarian hypothesis,” which can be downloaded here. His thesis is that the black-white IQ gap could plausibly be due to racism and what he calls racialized environments. He presents simulations in support of this argument. He also argues that “given the actual state of the world there is no way to generate any reasonably strong evidence in favor of the hereditarian hypothesis.”

I have written a detailed critique of his claims. In short, he is wrong. Here’s the abstract of my article:

Jonathan Michael Kaplan recently published a challenge to the hereditarian account of the IQ gap between whites and blacks in the United States (Kaplan, 2014). He argues that racism and “racialized environments” constitute race-specific “X-factors” that could plausibly cause the gap, using simulations to support this contention. I show that Kaplan’s model suffers from vagueness and implausibilities that render it an unpromising approach to explaining the gap, while his simulations are misspecified and provide no support for his model. I describe the proper methodology for testing for X-factors, and conclude that Kaplan’s X-factors would almost certainly already have been discovered if they did in fact exist. I also argue that the hereditarian position is well-supported, and, importantly, is amenable to a definitive empirical test.

The PDF is available at Open Differential Psychology. You can also read the article below the cut. Continue reading

Multiple Regression, Multiple Fallacies

It goes without saying that multiple regression is one of most popular and applied statistical methods. Thus, it would be odd if most practitioners among scientists and researchers do not understand and misapply it. And yet, this provocative conclusion seems most likely.

Because a simple bivariate correlation does not disentangle confounding effects, the multiple regression is said to be preferred. The technique attempts to evaluate the strength of an independent (predictor) variable in the prediction of an outcome (dependent) variable, when controlling, i.e., holding constant, every other variables entered (included) as independent variables into the regression model, either progressively step by step or altogether at the same time. The rationale is to get the effect of an independent variable that only belongs to it. But this is a fallacy.
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Structural relationship between g, parental SES, and Achievement : Investigation of the g nexus

The present analysis, using the NLSY97, attempts to model the structural relationship between the latent second-order g factor extracted from the 12 ASVAB subtests, the parental SES latent factor from 3 indicators of parental SES, and the GPA latent factor from 5 domains of grade point averages. A structural equation modeling (SEM) bootstrapping approach combined with a Predictive Mean Matching (PMM) multiple imputation has been employed. The structural path from parental SES to GPA, independently of g, appears to be trivial in the black, hispanic, and white population. The analysis is repeated for the 3 ACT subtests, yielding an ACT-g latent factor. The same conclusion is observed. Most of the effect of SES on GPA appears to be mediated by g. Adding grade variable substantially increases the contribution of parental SES on the achievement factor, which was partially mediated by g. Missing data is handled with PMM multiple imputation. Univariate and multivariate normality tests are carried out in SPSS and AMOS, and through bootstrapping. Full result provided in EXCEL at the end of the article.

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Flynn contra Rushton on principal component analysis : A failed replication

While Rushton (1999) demonstrates, using PCA, that g and black-white differences were related, with Flynn Effect (FE) gains over time showing no relationship with the aforementioned variables, Flynn (2000) has challenged Rushton in arguing that Wechsler’s subtest loadings on the Raven test, an universally recognized measure of fluid g, showed positive correlations with both black-white differences and FE gains. Up to now, Flynn’s estimates of g fluid (Gf) has not been scrutinized. I will show presently that the Flynn’s g-fluid (call it, fluid reasoning) and Rushton’s g-crystallized (call it, consolidated knowledge) anomaly was solely due to a single statistical artifact, namely, g_Fluid vector unreliability. By adding additional samples, I created a new, updated Wechsler’s subtest Gf loadings. The present analysis comes to the conclusion that g_Fluid was not in fact correlated with FE gains. Furthermore, this Gf variable has been correlated with other variables as well, such as, heritability (h2), shared environment (c2), nonshared environment (e2), adoption IQ gains, inbreeding depression (ID), and mental retardation (MR). I will also discuss these findings in light of Kan’s (2011) thesis against the hereditarian hypothesis.

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An Analysis of the NLSY79 and NLSY97 Full Sibling Correlations by Race

In his classic work, Educability and Group Differences, Arthur Jensen presented a number of lines of evidence in defense of his thesis that the Negro-White difference in psychometric intelligence had a congenital component. On the basis of full sibling correlations and relations, Jensen offered the following arguments:

(a1) The full sibling correlations for Blacks and Whites are comparable; (a2) unshared environmental hypotheses, such as nutritional ones, would predict otherwise (pg. 338-339).

(b1) The full sibling correlations for Blacks and Whites are comparable; (b2) a shared environmental hypothesis of group differences would predict otherwise, assuming that the within population heritablities were the same (pg. 108-109).

(c1) The average absolute difference between full siblings is no greater for Blacks than for Whites; (c2) unshared environmental hypotheses, such as nutritional ones, would predict otherwise (pg. 338-339).

(d1) When matching Blacks and Whites on IQ, one sees differential sibling regression, a differential regression which does not decrease with increasing IQ; (d2) an environmental hypothesis of group differences would not predict this (pg. 118-119). Continue reading

A few New Analyses

Hu (2013, September, 5; 2013, July, 5; 2013, August, 18) has raised some interesting points. I will comment on a few of them here and present several new analyses.

Cultural Loading, Heritability, and the BW gap

As Meng Hu noted, Kan et al. (2011) showed that subtest cultural-loadings, as they estimated them, correlated both with the magnitude of the B/W subtest gaps and with subtest heritability estimates. The authors interpreted these associations as support for a GxE hypothesis of individual differences and offered a model similar to that proposed by Flynn and Dickens (2001). Moreover, Kan et al. (2011) saw the associations between cultural-load and heritability and between cultural-load and the magnitude of the BW gap as problematic for what they termed a biological g model. Below, I will show that g-loadings fully mediate the association between cultural loadings and the two other variables noted and therefore that what is in need of explanation is only the association between cultural-loadings and g-loadings. I will then proceed to offer an account for this.

First, I looked to see if g-loadings mediated the association between the BW gap and cultural loadings. They did. Then I looked to see if cultural-loadings mediated the association between the BW gap and g-loadings. They did not fully. The results are shown below. As reliability estimates were not presented for all subtests, I ran the analysis with and without reliability corrections. Continue reading

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