Jordan Peterson Discusses IQ

Jordan Peterson over past year has become something of a internet phenomena and celebrity, his videos watched by hundreds of thousands of fans and have thousands of up-votes and positive comments. He also has some interesting videos about IQ.

The first video is spot-on:

Politicians, both for the ‘left’ and the ‘right’, in terms of constructing policy, default to the same tired, failed solutions that ignore the role of IQ. Peterson understands this.

The second is kinda iffy (I think he makes too many assumptions, and there is only paucity of data to support them, or there are too many confounding variables):

Having a high IQ raises economic mobility, all else being equal, but measuring the top 5% of IQ is hell of a lot easier than measuring the top 5% of wealth, because the latter is so hard to quantify. For the former, it’s as simple as taking an IQ test. For the latter, wealth is affected by a multitude of variables and varies depending on how you measure it: such as tax rates, location of residence, income, number of siblings, etc. Being the only child of a 3-person family that makes top 5% of national income and has top 5% of national wealth, while living a low-cost neighborhood, is a lot better than growing up in a 10-person household in a very high-cost-living neighborhood also making top 5% of income. A person who has a $300k home paid-off and makes $20k/year (bottom 5% of income) is ‘wealthier’ than someone who makes $150k a year (top 5%) but has no home equity and a negative monthly cash flow due to large family, car, and other upkeep expenses. A person who makes $25k a year for 30 years strait and pays minimal taxes will be wealthier than someone who makes $100k for only three years and pays half of that in taxes.

The part about longer life expectancy and better health is suspect…Those people on the “world’s oldest” lists, who live to 110-115, never strike me as being terribly bright…usually they are just simple, average or below-average IQ people. Yes, the IQ/life expectancy correlation is about averages, not extremes, but an explanation for the possible diminishment between IQ and life expectancy is that average-IQ jobs in the past tended to involve manual labor and difficult work environments, but many of those jobs have been replaced by technology and thus occupational hazards have lessened. Also, medical technology, which benefits people of all IQs, is improving and is attainable by everyone, regardless of ability to pay. I would like to see a study of IQ for the very oldest of people; my hypothesizes is that high IQ is not overrepresented among the exceptionally aged (>90 yrs). And of course, there is also the confounder of race regarding IQ and life expectancy.

Regarding industriousness, smarter people are able to work smarter by finding shortcuts to compensate for possibly not working as hard. They understand the subtleties that elude the less intelligent, although this is no guarantee of success. A smart person who tries to invent a perpetual motion machine, is doomed to failure, no matter how hard he tries or how smart he is. The problem is when smart people rationalize ‘dumb’ things, as you often see with professors who espouse Marxian/Foucault dogma. The part about abstract ability (such as choosing specific letters in a string of random letters) is correct.

I was unable to find any info to corroborate the part about adult head size and IQ, although there are a handful of studies involving children. Microcephaly, characterized by a head circumference of two standard deviations or more below average, is almost certainty associated with mental impairment, and is often congenital and thus diagnosed very early in life.

Also agree that ‘multiple intelligences’ theory is rubbish…by creating enough types of ‘intelligences’, anyone can be a genius at something.