Saturday, July 31, 2010

Infections Cause Low IQ in South Asia, Africa?

It has long been known that IQ scores vary by regions. The lowest average IQ scores in mid-60s have been measured in the African nations of Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Mozambique, Gabon, and highest scores of over 100 found in the nations of Singapore, South Korea, China, Japan, and Italy. South Asian and North African IQ scores are in mid 80s. However, the research surrounding intelligence assessment has been highly controversial and tainted by pseudosciences such as craniometry that was used by the Nazis to "prove" the white “race” as the most intelligent.

Here is some published data on average IQ scores of people from different races:

Richard Lynn, "Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis" 2006 Table 16.2 (indigenous populations) Estimated average IQ
Arctic Peoples 91
East Asians 105
Europeans 100
Native Americans (north & south) 86
Southern Asian & Northern Africans 84
Bushmen (southern Africa) 54
Africans (subsaharan) 67
Native Australians (aboriginals) 62
Southeast Asians 87
Pacific Islanders 85

Apparently, this is a compilation of data from "credible sources" and published in respected journals such as American Journal of Psychology. The neutrality and factual accuracy of these studies and data have been questioned by many researchers and scientists. The most common criticisms are that these studies and tests are developed in the European context and they measure mainly problem-solving capability and skills, not innate intelligence.

For those who are curious, Pakistanis are included along with Indians in Southern Asia with an average IQ of 84, about 16 points below Europeans' average and almost 21 points behind East Asians' average. East Asians include Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. However, a quick look at the overlapping distribution curves above shows that the differences in intelligence scores within each race are much greater than the difference between races.

Recent data, published by the University of New Mexico and reported by Newsweek, shows that there is a link between lower IQs and prevalence of infectious diseases. Comparing data on national “disease burdens” (life years lost due to infectious diseases) with average intelligence scores, the authors found a striking inverse correlation—around 67 percent. They also found that the cognitive ability is rising in some countries than in others, and IQ scores have risen as nations develop—a phenomenon known as the “Flynn effect.”

According to the UNM study's author Christopher Eppig and his colleagues, the human brain is the “most costly organ in the human body.” The Newsweek article adds that the "brainpower gobbles up close to 90 percent of a newborn’s energy. It stands to reason, then, that if something interferes with energy intake while the brain is growing, the impact could be serious and longlasting. And for vast swaths of the globe, the biggest threat to a child’s body—and hence brain—is parasitic infection. These illnesses threaten brain development in several ways. They can directly attack live tissue, which the body must then strain to replace. They can invade the digestive tract and block nutritional uptake. They can hijack the body’s cells for their own reproduction. And then there’s the energy diverted to the immune system to fight the infection. Out of all the parasites, the diarrheal ones may be the gravest threat—they can prevent the body from getting any nutrients at all".

On the question of nature versus nurture, here are some data points on minorities tested in North America and Europe:

In the detailed data for South Asians, there is a distinct smaller cluster between 90 and 100, and another bigger cluster between 80 and 90, closer to 90. But then there are a bunch of scores that go as low as 75 which bring down the average to 84.

There are some who argue that there is an inverse correlation between IQ scores and religiosity as shown in the above graph. The big exception to this argument is the United States where about 60% people say religion is important to them, and the average IQ is fairly high at 98. The IQ scores are lower in India and Pakistan where, according to a Pew survey on religion, 92% and 91% respondents respectively say religion is important to them.

The results of the UNM research study point to the need for fighting infectious diseases in the developing world with greater urgency. Reduction in infectious diseases like diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia and tuberculosis can help improve the cognitive capabilities, and with it, the intelligence and the quality of life of billions in Africa and South Asia.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Mensa Pakistan

Are People of Color Less Intelligent?

Human Development Slipping in South Asia

IQ Challenge

Student Performance By Country and Race

India Shining and Bharat Drowning

South Asian IQs

IQ and Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen

IQ and Religion

Why Do IQ Scores Vary By Nation?

Flynn Effect

The Elementary DNA of Dr. Watson


Mayraj said...

South Asians do better than whites in Colleges and grad school. and look at what African immigrants students deliver.
Immigrant Blacks More Likely to Attend Elite Colleges
The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers
The Dangerous Drift Back Towards Segregated Schools
Racial Segregation Fuels Early Black-White Achievement Gap, Data Suggest
'The Shame of the Nation': Separate and Unequal
Jonathan Kozol: Shame of the Nation
Kozol: Segregated Schools are the Shame of the Nation
Study: Teachers choose schools according to student race

Anonymous said...

Riaz, Something wrong with this blog. I can't post via my AIM account.

All these IQ tests are engineered. You can train people to boost IQ in a reasonable time. In fact a study in US proved how easy it is to increase IQ.

Also you seem to talk from both sides of mouth. Sometime back I asked you whether you agree with Chinese that they are the smartest race and you said you don't believe in racial superiority. Then why this post?

IQ means jackshit when it comes to achievement. Most of the modern achievement is by whites who have less IQ than chinese.

Even within South Asians, we all know citizens of which country has achieved far more in education and related services.


Anonymous said...

"South Asians do better than whites in Colleges and grad school. and look at what African immigrants students deliver."

Actually Indians alone earned fantastic reputation in US schools, along with Chinese (who are even better).

In UK a study showed Indians to do better in education than even whites. Of course Bangladesis and Pakistanis were far below. It was not deemed politically correct to publish it and a leak of it came out.


Anonymous said...

The last message was by me (about Study in UK)


Riaz Haq said...

Mayraj: "South Asians do better than whites in Colleges and grad school. and look at what African immigrants students deliver."

The immigrants in the West, particularly the US, are not necessarily representative samples of the overall populations in Africa or South Asia.

I wrote a post "Are People of Color Less Intelligent" which shows a chart with a broader spread of IQ scores for south Asians than other races. There is a distinct smaller cluster between 90 and 100 and another bigger cluster between 80 and 90. But then there are a bunch of scores that go as low as 75 which bring down the average to 84.

I think it has to do with nurture and Flynn effect that impact IQ scores depending on access to education and health care.

anoop said...

The emphasis should be to make sure our children dont suffer from disease or malnutrition early on in their childhood. It does affect brain growth. It is also about the kind of environment that a child grows in that determines growth. I have observed Indians have excellent memory but lack the capacity to follow complex instructions the first time. But, we are great lingual abilities. Every Indian knows a minimum of 2 to 3 languages,especially people from the South as they will have to learn English and Hindi in addition to the local language. Booming Cinema industry in each state has ensured that one knows more than 3 languages through popular Cinema.

Let me point out proudly that the #1 ranking in Chess,by far the most intellectually challenging game is an Indian, to add icing on the cake from South India.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent Newsweek column by Sharon Begley on "limits of reason"

Women are bad drivers, Saddam plotted 9/11, Obama was not born in America, and Iraq had weapons of mass destruction: to believe any of these requires suspending some of our critical--thinking faculties and succumbing instead to the kind of irrationality that drives the logically minded crazy. It helps, for instance, to use confirmation bias (seeing and recalling only evidence that supports your beliefs, so you can recount examples of women driving 40mph in the fast lane). It also helps not to test your beliefs against empirical data (where, exactly, are the WMD, after seven years of U.S. forces crawling all over Iraq?); not to subject beliefs to the plausibility test (faking Obama’s birth certificate would require how widespread a conspiracy?); and to be guided by emotion (the loss of thousands of American lives in Iraq feels more justified if we are avenging 9/11).

The fact that humans are subject to all these failures of rational thought seems to make no sense. Reason is supposed to be the highest achievement of the human mind, and the route to knowledge and wise decisions. But as psychologists have been documenting since the 1960s, humans are really, really bad at reasoning. It’s not just that we follow our emotions so often, in contexts from voting to ethics. No, even when we intend to deploy the full force of our rational faculties, we are often as ineffectual as eunuchs at an orgy.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a piece from gatesnotes attributed to Bill Gates:

For Bill personally and for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, improving global health is a way to fight poverty as well as to save lives. The role of health in social and economic development is highlighted by new research on infectious disease and IQ.

Central to our work in global health has been the effort to reduce infectious diseases such as diarrhea and malaria in developing countries. Because these diseases no longer affect the rich world, they haven’t received the attention they should given their truly devastating impacts on poor communities, where they’re prevalent.

Infectious diseases in developing countries are important not only because of the tragic toll they take in human lives lost, but also because of the tremendous social and economic costs associated with them.

Recently I read an article in The Economist, which looks at growing evidence that disease and intelligence are connected in ways that are pretty shocking and troubling. Although more studies are needed, the evidence makes me even more convinced that we need to get after malaria and diarrhea – and many other diseases far too common in the developing world – in a big way.

Specifically, new research by University of New Mexico researchers has found that cognitive ability (IQ) is generally lower in places where infectious diseases are widespread, i.e., poor countries.

People are just now realizing this. It’s a huge scandal and yet another reason why it’s so critically important to fight infectious disease, which takes a huge toll on people’s ability to learn and climb out of poverty.

What’s going on is that fighting off parasites and microbes associated with things like diarrhea and malaria takes away energy that the body needs for brain development. This is especially true among children and infants. Newborns use almost all their metabolic energy for their rapidly developing brains. Analyzing IQ and epidemiological data from around the world, the UNM researchers found that the burden of infectious disease plays a much bigger role in depressing IQ than other possible explanations that have been talked about.

There’s also clinical evidence. For example, research in Uganda found that children who survive cerebral malaria, which affects more than a half-million African children every year, continue to suffer significant cognitive impairments, mainly memory and attention deficit, even two years later. The Ugandan researchers found that these children can be helped by weekly sessions where they use cognitive training software on PCs. But this is an expensive, intensive and only partially effective approach to a problem that could have been prevented to begin with.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a piece from gatesnotes attributed to Bill Gates (Contd):

The cognitive problems created by malaria are another strong reason why our foundation has made fighting it a priority. We’re trying to help develop a safe, highly effective and affordable malaria vaccine, while also supporting efforts to improve treatment, diagnostics and other malaria control measures.

Widespread infectious disease may even impair kids who don’t get sick themselves. Adults who are ill are less productive; farmers grow less food, for example. Less food means less energy available for their kids and their kids’ brain development. An article in The Lancet medical journal estimates that because of malnutrition, poverty and poor health, over 200 million children under five years are not fulfilling their developmental potential.

In the past, some people have suggested that poor countries are poor because the people there have lower IQs. But it’s really the other way around. Poverty breeds disease, which can affect brain development, which reinforces poverty. Improving global health is a way to break this cycle.

Anonymous said...

The suggestion that infection can alter IQ is refreshing! Many negroes in Africa live in Mud-Dung huts and often use No TP or Water to Clean themselves after deficating...Negroes also have the lowest racial IQ Worldwide and live in poverty or prison in greater proportion than all other race's...Pablo

Riaz Haq said...

A US NIH funded study published in Lancet says over 200,000 Indians die of Malaria among 1.3 million infectious disease deaths reported in the country, according to a report by the BBC:

he number of people dying from malaria in India has been hugely underestimated, according to new research.

The data, published in the Lancet, suggests there are 13 times more malaria deaths in India than the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.

The authors conclude that more than 200,000 deaths per year are caused by malaria.

The WHO said the estimate produced by this study appears too high.

The research was funded by the US National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

The new figures raise doubts over the total number of malaria deaths worldwide.
Difficult diagnosis

Calculating how many people die from malaria is extremely difficult. Most cases that are diagnosed and treated do not result in fatalities.

People who die of extremely high fevers in the community can be misdiagnosed and the cause of death can be attributed to other diseases and vice versa.

As most deaths in India occur at home, without medical intervention, cause of death is seldom medically certified.

There are about 1.3 million deaths from infectious diseases, where acute fever is the main symptom in rural areas in India.

In this study, trained field workers interviewed families, asking them to describe how their relative died. Two doctors then reviewed each description and decided if the death was caused by malaria. This method is called verbal autopsy.

Some 122,000 premature deaths between 2001 and 2003 were investigated.

The data suggests that 205,000 deaths before the age of 70, mainly in rural areas, are caused by malaria each year.

Riaz Haq said...

I have received some racist comments from readers claiming that Brahmins have much higher IQs in the range of 115-120 than the rest of South Asians.

Richard Flynn is a recognized expert in IQ measurements and these Flynn's findings.

Flynn has reported that animal proteins (meat) given to children raises the IQs significantly based on experiments done in Guatemala.

Since Brahmins do not eat meat, and 50% of Indians suffer from iodine deficiency, one would expect their IQ to be lower than Pakistanis.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some comparisons of disease burdens in India and Pakistan as published by the World Health Organization in 2009:


DALYs/1000 cap.......65........58
(disability-adjusted life years)


Percent Total Burden...24%.....22%


Haris said...

"In UK a study showed Indians to do better in education than even whites. Of course Bangladesis and Pakistanis were far below. It was not deemed politically correct to publish it and a leak of it came out."

I'm not sure which study your referring to, but I live in the UK and there have been countless studies which prove your point, so i'm not sure which political correctness your referring to. You also seem to leave out the fact that Chinese do better then all (including Indians) ethnicities in the UK. While I can't speak for Bangladeshis as for Pakistanis its well documented that most hail from the Mirpur region of Kashmir with some speculating its as high as 70% so its not surprising that most people (with all due respect) from that region came with little to no education, it can't really be considered an overall analysis of Pakistanis in the UK.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a little trivia in response to the worst of the right-wing caste-ist Hindu racists and bigots who claim higher levels of intelligence:

According to Lynn's worldwide IQ data published by Webster Online dictionary, Pakistanis avg IQ rose from 81 in 2002 to 84 in 2006, while Indians's avg IQ increased by just one point from 81 to 82.

A recent UNM study linking IQs and disease burdens can be the basis for rationalizing it.

Looking at the situation in South Asia, it appears from the WHO data that Pakistan is doing a bit better than India in 12 out of 14 disease groups ranging from diarrhea to heart disease to intentional injuries, and it is equal for the remaining two (Malaria and Asthma).

Poverty, hunger, unsanitary or unsafe conditions and inadequate health care in South Asia's developing nations are exposing their citizens to high risk of a variety of diseases which may impact their intelligence. Every year, World Health Organization reports what it calls "Environmental Burden of Disease" in each country of the world in terms of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) per 1000 people and total number of deaths from diseases ranging from diarrhea and other infectious diseases to heart disease, road traffic injuries and different forms of cancer.

In the range of DALYs/1000 capita from 13 (lowest) to 289 (highest), WHO's latest data indicates that India is at 65 while Pakistan is slightly better at 58. In terms of total number of deaths per year from disease, India stands at 2.7 million deaths while Pakistani death toll is 318, 400 people. Among other South Asian nations, Afghanistan's DALYs/1000 is 255, Bangladesh 64 and Sri Lanka 61. By contrast, the DALYs/1000 figures are 14 for Singapore and 32 for China.

Riaz Haq said...

India politicians in Karnataka seek God's mediation, according to the BBC:

Two arch political rivals in the Indian state of Karnataka have decided to resolve their political differences before a Hindu god.

The state chief minister and his opposition rival - a former chief minister - agree that a divine showdown will resolve their dispute.

On 27 June they are due to present their arguments in a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Manjunatha.

He is the deity who arbitrates on land and property disputes.

The BBC's Habib Beary in the state capital Bangalore says that Manjunatha will seldom have been called on to adjudicate between two such high-profile litigants.

Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa has been accused by opposition leader HD Kumaraswamy of corruption.

Mr Kumaraswamy has threatened to expose land scams allegedly committed by Mr Yeddyurappa, in addition to accusing the chief minister of trying to "buy" his silence on the matter through intermediaries.

In reply, Mr Yeddyurappa has rubbished the allegations as "humbug", and has challenged his rival to stand before Lord Manjunatha and repeat his charge. Mr Kumaraswamy has accepted the challenge.

The former chief minister is so convinced as to the strength of his case that he has declared his willingness not only to testify before God but also before an inquiry.

"I am even prepared to undergo the truth serum test," Mr Kumaraswamy said.

In an open letter to his opposition rival, the chief minister said: "I believe in God. I hope you are also a believer in God. Therefore I am throwing you a challenge... If you have the courage to stick to your allegations in front of the Almighty, I will appreciate your courage."

However the chief minister's party colleagues are unhappy over the oath challenge.

Karnataka Health Minister Sreeramalu said that God should not have to arbitrate in the state's political disputes.

"Such actions would only affect the religious sentiments of people," he said.

A senior Congress leader, Motamma has also described the oath challenge as childish.

"The chief minister has lowered the image of the high office he holds," she said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Russian analyst Anatol Karlin on India's prospects and its comparison with China:

It is not a secret to longtime readers of this blog that I rate India’s prospects far more pessimistically than I do China’s. My main reason is I do not share the delusion that democracy is a panacea and that whatever advantage in this sphere India has is more than outweighed by China’s lead in any number of other areas ranging from infrastructure and fiscal sustainability to child malnutrition and corruption. However, one of the biggest and certainly most critical gaps is in educational attainment, which is the most important component of human capital – the key factor underlying all productivity increases and longterm economic growth. China’s literacy rate is 96%, whereas Indian literacy is still far from universal at just 74%.
The big problem, until recently, was that there was no internationalized student testing data for either China or India. (There was data for cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai, but it was not very useful because they are hardly representative of China). An alternative approach was to compare national IQ’s, in which China usually scored 100-105 and India scored in the low 80′s. But this method has methodological flaws because the IQ tests aren’t consistent across countries. (This, incidentally, also makes this approach a punching bag for PC enforcers who can’t bear to entertain the possibility of differing IQ’s across national and ethnic groups).
Many Indians like to see themselves as equal competitors to China, and are encouraged in their endeavour by gushing Western editorials and Tom Friedman drones who praise their few islands of programming prowess – in reality, much of which is actually pretty low-level stuff – and widespread knowledge of the English language (which makes India a good destination for call centers but not much else), while ignoring the various aspects of Indian life – the caste system, malnutrition, stupendously bad schools – that are holding them back. The low quality of Indians human capital reveals the “demographic dividend” that India is supposed to enjoy in the coming decades as the wild fantasies of what Sailer rightly calls ”Davos Man craziness at its craziest.” A large cohort of young people is worse than useless when most of them are functionally illiterate and innumerate; instead of fostering well-compensated jobs that drive productivity forwards, they will form reservoirs of poverty and potential instability.

Instead of buying into their own rhetoric of a “India shining”, Indians would be better served by focusing on the nitty gritty of bringing childhood malnutrition DOWN to Sub-Saharan African levels, achieving the life expectancy of late Maoist China, and moving up at least to the level of a Mexico or Moldova in numeracy and science skills. Because as long as India’s human capital remains at the bottom of the global league tables so will the prosperity of its citizens....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Wall Street Journal India Realtime piece:

Justice Markandey Katju, a former Supreme Court Justice turned chairman of the Press Council of India, has done it again. Already known for his recent views of the journalists he oversees – they “are of a very poor intellectual level” – he has widened the focus of his condemnation to include approximately 1.08 billion anonymous Indians.

That’s our calculation based on India’s estimated total population, but we made it after Mr. Katju stated in an Indian Express op-ed Monday that he was presenting us with an “unpleasant truth: 90 per cent of Indians are fools.” He was humble enough to attribute a “great defect” to himself, too, though it was one couched in virtue: “ I cannot remain silent when I see my country going downhill. Even if others are deaf and dumb, I am not. So I will speak out.”

And speak out he did.

His first example for reaching his controversial conclusion: “When our people go to vote in elections, 90 per cent vote on the basis of caste or community, not the merits of the candidate. That is why Phoolan Devi, a known dacoit-cum-murderer, was elected to Parliament — because she belonged to a backward caste that had a large number of voters in that constituency.”

Example no. 2: “90 per cent Indians believe in astrology, which is pure superstition and humbug. Even a little common sense tells us that the movements of stars and planets have nothing to do with our lives. Yet, TV channels showing astrology have high TRP ratings.”

Example no. 3: “Cricket has been turned into a religion by our corporatised media, and most people lap it up like opium. The real problems facing 80 per cent of the people are socio-economic — poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, price rise, lack of healthcare, education, housing etc.”

Example no. 4: “I had criticised the media hype around Dev Anand’s death at a time when 47 farmers in India were committing suicide on an average every day for the last 15 years… In my opinion, Dev Anand’s films transported the minds of poor people to a world of make-believe, like a hill station where Dev Anand was romancing some girl.”

Example no. 5: “During the recent Anna Hazare agitation in Delhi, the media hyped the event as a solution to the problem of corruption. In reality it was, as Shakespeare said in Macbeth, “…a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing.”

Mr. Katju says his intention behind his harsh critique is very noble. “When I called 90 per cent of them fools my intention was not to harm them, rather it was just the contrary. I want to see Indians prosper, I want poverty and unemployment abolished, I want the standard of living of the 80 per cent poor Indians to rise so that they get decent lives,” he writes....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a TOI story of dearth of research in India:

NEW DELHI: At a time when India is being looked at as the next big knowledge superpower, this could come as a shocker. Just 3.5% of global research output in 2010 was actually from India. In most disciplines, India's share in global research output was actually much below this overall average count.

Sample this - India's share of world research output in clinical medicine was a meagre 1.9% in 2010, 0.5% in psychiatry, 1.4% in neurosciences, 1.8% in immunology, 2.1% in molecular biology and just 3.5% in environmental research.

In mathematics, India's share of world output stood at around 2% in 2010 while it was 17% for China. In case of materials sciences, India's share of world research stood at 6.4% in 2010 while China's stood at 26% -- a rise from 5% in 1996.

While India's research on physics stood at 4.6% in 2010, China's stood at 19%.

In 2010, India's largest shares of world research output were in chemistry (6.5%), materials science (6.4%), agricultural sciences (6.2%), pharmacology and toxicology (6.1%), microbiology (4.9%), physics (4.6%) and engineering (4.2%).

India is often referred to as the next big place for computer sciences. But the figures on its research is abysmally low. Only 2.4% of global research on computer sciences was from India in 2010 while the world share moved to three emerging research economies - China 15%, Korea 6.3% and Taiwan 5.7%.

India's global share of research in economics stood at 0.7% in 2010 while in social sciences it was worse - 0.6%.

The biggest declines in volume of research between 1981 and 2010 were in plant and animal sciences (-2.2%) and agricultural sciences (-1.6%). The most significant expansions were in pharmacology and toxicology (+4.2%), microbiology (+3.2%) and materials sciences (+3.1%).

These are the findings of the study on India's research output and collaboration conducted by Thomson Reuters and recently submitted to the department of science and technology.

"India has been the sleeping giant of Asia. Research in the university sector, stagnant for at least two decades, is now accelerating but it will be a long haul to restore India as an Asian knowledge hub. Indian higher education is faced with powerful dilemmas and difficult choices - public/private, access/equity, uncertain regulation, different teaching standards and contested research quality," the report said.

According to it, India's share of world output in engineering fell from 4.3% in 1981 to 2.2% by 1995. India later regained its lost share, increasing to 4.25 by 2010. However, even then, India was overtaken by China (16.4%), Korea (5.4%) and Taiwan (4.4%).

India, where agriculture dominates economic standards, had quite a large share in agricultural sciences which averaged 7.45% over the 1981 to 1995 period, well ahead of other emerging research economies. Its share, however, fell to 6.2% in 2010. Even in the field of plant and animal sciences, the global research output fell from 6.1% in 1981 to 3.9% in 2010.

The report said, "India has a long and distinguished history as a country of knowledge, learning and innovation. In the recent past, however, it has failed to realize its undoubted potential as a home for world class research."

It added, "During the 1980s and 90s, the output of India's research was almost static while other countries grew rapidly, particularly in Asia. China expanded with an intensity and drive that led it rapidly to overtake leading European countries in the volume of its research publications. India is just beginning on this gradient."

Riaz Haq said...

The latest 2012 IQ data published by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen puts mean IQ of Pakistanis at 84 and of Indians at 82.2, and Bangladeshis at 81.

Each country has big std deviations and large positive outliers.

The highest IQs are reported for East Asia (100+) and the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (just over 70).

Riaz Haq said...

Recent studies have suggested that India’s traditional caste system remains surprisingly intact despite the country’s economic surge. A 2011 report, for instance, found that in “40 percent of the schools across sample districts in Uttar Pradesh—India’s most populous state, with 199 million people—teachers and students refuse to partake of government-sponsored free midday meals because they are cooked by dalits (once known as untouchables).” It's also certainly still a factor in the country's politics, as shown by the emergence of the controversial Dalit politician Mayawati.
But when did the caste system actually begin? One team of researchers believes the country’s genetic history holds the key. In a recent paper published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, researchers from Harvard, MIT, and the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad assembled what they call the “most comprehensive sampling of Indian genetic variation to date,” using samples collected from 571 individuals belonging to 73 “well-defined ethno-linguistic groups.” The data allowed the authors to trace not just the genetic mixture between these groups but how long ago this mixture occurred.
Five thousand years ago, the ancestors of modern Indians were comprised primarily of two groups: ancestral North Indians, who related to people of Central Asia, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Europe, and ancestral South Indians, who are not closely related to groups outside the subcontinent. The mixture between these two groups and their many subcategories happened mostly between 4,200 and 1,900 years ago, according to the study. The authors note that this period is significant as it was a "time of profound change in India, characterized by the deurbanization of the Indus civilization, increasing population density in the central and downstream portions of the Gangetic system, shifts in burial practices, and the likely first appearance of Indo-European languages and Vedic religion in the subcontinent.”
Around 1,900 years ago, the mixture largely stopped, as Indian society moved toward endogamy—the practice of avoiding intermarriage or close relationships between ethnic groups—which reached its most extreme form in the creation of the caste system. As one of the study’s authors told the Times of India, "the present-day structure of the caste system came into being only relatively recently in Indian history."
How long it will last into the future is another question.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a TOI story on link between low IQ and poverty:

Poverty and the all-consuming fretting that comes with it require so much mental energy that the poor have little brain power left to devote to other areas of life, according to the findings of an international study published on Thursday.

The mental strain could be costing poor people up to 13 IQ (intelligence quotient) points and means they are more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions that amplify and perpetuate their financial woes, researchers found.

"Our results suggest that when you are poor, money is not the only thing in short supply. Cognitive capacity is also stretched thin," said Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan, part of an international team that conducted the study.

In a series of experiments, researchers from Harvard, Princeton and other universities in North America and from Britain's University of Warwick found that pressing financial worries had an immediate impact on poor people's ability to perform well in cognitive and logic tests.

Far from signalling that poor people are stupid, the results suggest those living on a tight budget have their effective brain power, or what the researchers called "mental bandwidth", dramatically limited by the stress of making ends meet.

On average, someone weighed down by money woes showed a drop in cognitive function in one part of the study that was comparable to a 13 point dip in IQ, and similar to the performance deficit expected from someone who has missed a whole night's sleep.

"Previous views of poverty have blamed (it) on personal failings, on an environment that is not conducive to success," said Jiaying Zhao, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

"We are arguing that the lack of financial resources itself can lead to impaired cognitive function," she said. ...
The researchers studied two very different groups - shoppers at a mall in New Jersey in the United States, and sugar cane farmers in rural India.

In the mall study, they gathered dozens of low and middle-income shoppers and subjected them to a battery of tests to measure IQ and impulse control.

Half of the participants were first asked to think about what they would do if their car broke down and the repair cost $1,500 - designed to kick off worries about money. It was among these people that performance dipped significantly.

In India, the researchers found that farmers had diminished cognitive performance before getting paid for their harvest compared to afterwards, when their coffers have been replenished.

"One month after the harvest, they're pretty rich, but the month before - when the money has run out - they're pretty poor," Mullainathan said in a report of the research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science.

"What we see is that IQ goes up, (when they are rich)... errors go way down, and response times go way down."

He said the effect in India was about two-thirds the size of the effect in the mall study - equal to around nine or 10 IQ points difference from one month to the next.

Anonymous said...

Indian IQ might be as low as 74:

India also has not participated in a recent student assessment study, with the exception of the states of Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Both states have advanced education and income levels (Suryanarayana, Agrawal, & Prabhu, 2011, Table 1, p. 16). If there is any divergence from the Indian average, test scores in both states should be higher than the national average. Nevertheless, the low raw results (327–345 SAS points, or 74–77 IQ) are astonishing. To address the likely higher than average scores in the above states, we cautiously correct the results by subtracting 10 SAS points (equal to d = 0.10 or 1.50 IQ). [Source:Coyle, T R (2013), Spearman's Law of Diminishing Returns and national ability, Personality and Individual Differences, vol:55 iss:4 pg:406 -410]

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a review of Nicholas Wade's book "Troubled Inheritance" written by Matt Ridley:

Humans are not all the same under the skin
Matt Ridley
The Times
Monday May 12, 2014
There are genetic variations between races, but they don’t matter. It is co-operation that brings progress to our species.
Is it necessary to believe that racial differences are small and skin-deep in order not to be a racist? For the first half of the last century, science generally exaggerated stereotypes of racial difference in behaviour and assumed that they were innate and immutable. For the second half, science generally asserted that there were no differences — save the obvious, visible ones — and used this argument to combat prejudice.
Yet that second premise is becoming increasingly untenable in the genomic era as more details emerge of human genetic diversity. We will have to justify equal treatment using something other than identity of nature. Fortunately, it’s easily done.
Human evolution did not cease thousands of years ago; it has been “recent, copious and regional”, in the words of Nicholas Wade, a veteran New York Times science writer and the author of A Troublesome Inheritance, an eloquent but disturbing book on genes, race and human history, which was published last week. ...
Perhaps people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent have high average IQs because for centuries their ancestors worked almost exclusively in professions such as money-lending, where exceptional literacy and numeracy were rewarded with greater fecundity. Or perhaps Chinese people show greater conformity because for centuries those who could stomach Confucian rote-learning and obedience got to have more surviving children. These are no more far-fetched arguments than to suppose that ancestral Inuit with genetic adaptations for coping with the cold had more offspring.
Nor is it implausible that over millennia of settled, agricultural and urban living, with the execution or ostracism of “skull-cracker” misfits, selection took place for tameness in the natives of Europe or India compared with say, New Guinea or the Amazon. Thanks to “soft sweeps” — where multiple existing gene variants change in frequency — evolution can work a lot faster than we used to think. ...
So Wade is absolutely right that the old assumption that human behaviour did not evolve much after the divergence of human races at the end of the old Stone Age has to be wrong. The comforting message that biologists sent to social scientists in the 1960s — that they were sure there was no biological basis for race, which could instead be regarded as a social construct — is bunk.
True, the boundaries of races are blurred, and the differences between individuals dwarf those between average members of different races, but differences there are, and not just in skin pigment. The more we look, the more genetic variation we will find between races, as well as between individuals, so we had better get ready to deal with such discoveries, if only for medical reasons. Some diseases afflict certain races more; some drugs work differently in different races.
However, I part company with the next step in Wade’s argument. He tries to explain too much of human history by gene changes. The industrial revolution started in Europe and not China, he suggests, partly because Europe had been preconditioned by genetic evolution for the sort of economic openness that sparked accelerating innovation. ...

Riaz Haq said...

Beyond the Flynn effect: new myths about race, family and IQ?

He (James Flynn) tells me of research showing that “when American troops occupied Germany at the end of the second world war, black soldiers left behind half-black children and white soldiers left behind all-white. By 11, the two groups had identical average IQs. In Germany, there was no black subculture.”


Flynn: “I have shown – this wicked person who actually looks at the evidence – that blacks gained 5.5 IQ points on whites between 1972 and 2002. There’s been no changes in family structure [the incidence of single-parent families], no gains in income. I suspect it’s an improvement in parenting. But I can’t prove it.”

In the garden of a terraced house in Oxford, on the hottest, sunniest day of the year, I meet Professor James R Flynn, an American-born academic who is a hero to many people. More than 30 years ago, he discovered a phenomenon that revolutionised the study of IQ and seemed finally to settle the argument over nature versus nurture. He showed that, across the world, average IQs had risen by roughly three percentage points every decade since at least 1930, and probably much longer.

Since evolution doesn’t work fast enough to produce genetic upgrading on that scale, it seemed that environment must be the dominant influence. According to Flynn, rising IQs went hand-in-hand with modernisation, which involves more years of education and more jobs that require analytic abilities and abstract thinking. The belief that better schooling, and positive discrimination in favour of disadvantaged children, could make a difference was seemingly vindicated.


If we are all getting brighter and better at moral reasoning, how does Flynn account for Donald Trump? “The rise of visual culture means far fewer people read serious novels and history. They live in a bubble of the present, believing what they are told because they have nothing to position it against. Improved analytic abilities do not make you a better citizen.”

Riaz Haq said...

Flynn Effect, named after researcher James Flynn, says that IQ depends on both nature and nurture.

Better education, nutrition and health are known to increase IQ.

Study in post war Germany where both white and black American GIs left many children born to white German girls.

Here's what Flynn said about it: “when American troops occupied Germany at the end of the second world war, black soldiers left behind half-black children and white soldiers left behind all-white. By 11, the two groups had identical average IQ"

It's also known that high disease burdens force children in poor nations to use up all of their resources in fighting disease. This impairs their cognitive development.

It's also known that lack of iodine in diet causes mental retardation. Similarly, exposure to lead and other toxins also causes lower IQ.

Infections cause low IQ University of New Mexico

Riaz Haq said...

#Indians have smaller #brains, reveals study. “Indian brains are smaller in size when compared to MNI (Montreal Neurological Institute) template used as the standard, created using Caucasian brains" #India #neuroscience #brain via @timesofindia

This will help in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other brain ailments.

The research has been published in Neurology India, a peer-reviewed publication.

Riaz Haq said...

Condoms 'too big' for #Indian men. A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that #condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of men in #India.

The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms.

It has led to a call for condoms of mixed sizes to be made more widely available in India.

The two-year study was carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Over 1,200 volunteers from the length and breadth of the country had their penises measured precisely, down to the last millimetre.

The scientists even checked their sample was representative of India as a whole in terms of class, religion and urban and rural dwellers.

Riaz Haq said...

But there is reason to believe Mr. Johnson’s I.Q. score was mistakenly inflated.

J. Gregory Olley, a celebrated scholar of intellectual disability, first heard of Mr. Johnson’s case years after his conviction, when his defense team asked Dr. Olley to evaluate their client.

Dr. Olley is a psychologist and a clinical professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and has spent his career researching and publishing extensively in his area of expertise, including the chapter on intellectual disability and the criminal justice system in the latest edition of the American Psychological Association’s Handbook of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. His evaluation of Mr. Johnson included an in-depth review of his educational and testing records, and hours of interviews with Mr. Johnson, his friends, family, and associates, many of whom had never been approached by Dr. Cornell.

When Dr. Olley reviewed Mr. Johnson’s files, he spotted a flaw. I.Q. tests measure intelligence relative to an age-based reference group. And because I.Q. scores have risen over time — a curious fact observed by the intelligence researcher James Flynn — older versions of various tests will yield inflated results because they reflect a comparison with population norms from many years ago instead of today. Adjusting for the so-called Flynn effect is common practice among clinicians reviewing I.Q. test results obtained from older tests.

Riaz Haq said...

Countries by IQ - Average IQ by Country 2023

Bhutan: 87.94 Rank 68 among 199 countries

Sri Lanka: 86.62 Rank 79

Pakistan: 80 Rank 120

India: 76.24 Rank 143

Bangladesh: 74.33 Rank 150


Here are the 10 countries with the highest IQ:

Japan - 106.48
Taiwan - 106.47
Singapore - 105.89
Hong Kong - 105.37
China - 104.1
South Korea - 102.35
Belarus - 101.6
Finland - 101.2
Liechtenstein - 101.07
Germany - 100.74


Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a measure of human intelligence. People who want to have their IQ measured take standardized tests and receive a score that ranks their intelligence level. The higher one's IQ score, the more intelligent that person is considered to be.

IQ and Education: Two Sides of the Same Coin

IQ scores typically reflect the quality of education and resources available to people in their local geographic region. Areas of the world with lower IQ scores are typically poorer and less developed, particularly in the area of education, compared to countries with higher IQ scores. Many researchers also use IQ to determine the smartest countries in the world. The IQ map above shades each country depending on how high the average IQ score is. A darker shade of violet indicates a lower IQ score. Conversely, countries with a higher average IQ score appear red-orange in color.

Riaz Haq said...

Richard Lynn: A controversial author with racist takes on South Asian intelligence

Areas of the world inhabited by people with lower IQ scores are typically poorer and less developed, particularly in the area of education, compared to countries with higher IQ scores, according to a report titled "Average IQ by Country 2022", co-authored by Richard Lynn.

According to the report, which was published by the World Population Review, the top 10 countries with the highest average IQ include mostly white and Southeast Asian nations.

The views exhibited through Richard's works have often been critiqued as "eugenicist" and frankly, "racist".

His "unapologetic" yet blatant show of sexism and white supremacy even cost him the emeritus title as psychology professor at Ulster University back in 2018.

Richard Lynn is notoriously infamous as an English psychologist and author who believes that nations with high average IQs must subjugate or eliminate lower-IQ groups in order to preserve their dominance.

His "Average IQ by Country 2022" report lists Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong (China), China, South Korea, Belarus, Finland, Liechtenstein, Netherlands and Germany as the top 10 countries with the highest average IQ.

On the other hand, he has ranked Southeast Asian nations lowest in this very list, implicating a pejorative discrimination between the Southern and South Eastern ethnicities.

The report named Nepal as "the worst intelligent nation" among 199 countries with an IQ score of 42.99.

According to the study, Bangladesh ranked 150th on the global list with an average IQ of 74.33 points.

India stood at the 143rd position in the list with a score of 76.74. Pakistan ranked 120th with a score of 80. Sri Lanka stood at the 79th position with a score of 86.62.

Afghanistan stood at 103rd place with a score of 82.12. Bhutan with an average score of 87.94 stood at 68th place. Myanmar stood at 52th position with a score of 91.18.

However, the World Population Review, on which the study was published leaves a footnote reading, "It bears mentioning that Lynn's studies, while comprehensive, tend to spark considerable debate.

"Some researchers dispute the techniques Lynn employs to calculate estimates when hard data is lacking.

"Others claim Lynn, an unabashed eugenicist, misinterprets his data to support conclusions that are both scientifically inaccurate and supportive of white supremacy."