Thursday, July 19, 2007

Temperamental differences by race

Excerpted from: Solving The African IQ Conundrum : "Winning Personality" Masks Low Scores
By J. Philippe Rushton
August 12, 2004

Over a century ago, Sir Francis Galton initiated research into individual and race differences in intelligence and temperament. He was the first to propose the study of human twins and of selective breeding in animals to disentangle the effects of heredity and environment. And it was Galton—who spent several years exploring in what is now Namibia as a young man—who first contrasted the talkative impulsivity of Africans with the taciturn reserve of American Indians, and the placidity of the Chinese.

Galton further noted that these temperament differences persisted irrespective of climate (from the frozen north through the torrid equator), and religion, language, or political system (whether self-ruled or governed by the Spanish, Portuguese, English or French).

Anticipating later studies of transracial adoptions, Galton observed that the majority of individuals adhered to racial type even after being raised by White settlers.

In my book Race, Evolution, and Behavior, I review the evidence accumulated since Galton’s pioneering studies. This shows that his views were largely correct. Twin and adoption studies (such as those of identical twins raised apart by Professor Thomas J. Bouchard Jr. at the University of Minnesota) show that traits like Extraversion and Neuroticism are substantially heritable.

Temperamental differences, measured objectively by activity recorders attached to arms and legs, show up in babies. African babies are more active sooner and develop earlier than White babies who, in turn, are more active than East Asian babies. Motor behavior is a highly stable individual difference variable. Even among Whites, activity level measured during free play shows highly significant negative correlations with IQ: more restrained children average higher intellects.

Parallel results are found in four- to six-year-olds using teacher ratings. One study carried out in Quebec, Canada, had teachers rate immigrant children in French language preschools. The teachers reported more outgoing temperament among children of African descent than among those of European descent, and especially than in those of East Asian descent.

The racial differences in temperament are also found on standardized personality tests. Blacks consistently score more outgoing, active, socially dominant, and impulsive than do Whites, while Whites consistently score more active and socially dominant than do East Asians.

It may be surprising to learn that Blacks also have higher self-esteem than Whites and East Asians. This is true even when Blacks are poorer and less educated. In one large study of 11- to 16-year-olds, Blacks rated themselves as more attractive than did Whites. Blacks also rated themselves higher in reading, science and social studies (but not in mathematics).

The Blacks said this even though they knew they had lower actual academic achievement scores than White children.

In contrast, East Asian students, even though they score higher in academic achievement than Whites, often score lower in self-esteem.

What I am suggesting then, is that Blacks have a self-assured "bright" talkative, personality, which leads many people to over-estimate their abstract reasoning ability. East Asians provide a "compare and contrast" case study with people under-estimating their IQ because of their quietness and otherwise "subdued" personality profile. East Asians who average higher than Whites on IQ tests (107 versus 100) have often been described to me as seeming "dull and uncreative" compared to Whites, achieving what they do only through unimaginative rote learning, imitation, and memorization.

The relative restraint of East Asians contrasted with the noisiness of Africans is apparent to anyone visiting their home continents. When the New York Yankees played the first game of the 2004 baseball season before a packed stadium in Tokyo, Japan, the announcers noted how very much quieter the crowd was than those at games in the U.S. But it was a more tranquil disposition, not a lack of interest in the game, which hushed the stands.

Because of the time difference, people all over Japan regularly get up at two in the morning to view games broadcast from the U.S. featuring American teams which include Japanese-born stars.

Like any other group, Whites look upon themselves as the norm. Whites tend not to speak up if they don’t know the answer to a question. Nor do they like to intrude on the privacy of others. They erroneously assume that, because Africans are talkative, they must know what they are talking about.

The flipside is the reticence and reserve of East Asians. In the realm of behavior, English traditionally uses the same term, "dumb," both for being unable to speak and for being stupid or silly (though both usages are quite Politically Incorrect these days). In the case of the average mental ability of East Asians, dumb is hardly dumber!

The converse is that the greater talkativeness of Blacks does not indicate brightness—it often masks a low ability to reason abstractly.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Evolution Occurs in the Blink of an Eye

By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer

A population of butterflies has evolved in a flash on a South Pacific
island to fend off a deadly parasite.

The proportion of male Blue Moon butterflies dropped to a precarious 1
percent as the parasite targeted males. Then, within the span of a mere 10
generations, the males evolved an immunity that allowed their population
share to soar to nearly 40 percent-all in less than a year.

"We usually think of natural selection as acting slowly, over hundreds or
thousands of years," said study team member Gregory Hurst, an evolutionary
geneticist at the University College London. "But the example in this study
happened in a blink of the eye, in terms of evolutionary time."

The scientists think the males developed genes that hold a male-killing
microbial parasite, called Wolbachia, at bay.

The results, detailed in the July 13 issue of the journal Science,
illustrate the power of positive natural selection on "suppressor" genes
that thwart the lethal bacteria, allowing the male butterflies to bounce back.

Male killers

Sylvain Charlat of the University of California, Berkeley, and the
University College London, along with colleagues, studied the sex ratios of
Hypolimnas bolina butterflies on the Samoan islands of Upolu and Savaii,
where males had dwindled to 1 percent of the populations in 2001.

The likely culprit was a male-killing parasite, Wolbachia, which lives
inside the butterfly's reproductive cells, preferably female sex cells.
With a female host, Wolbachia can hitch a ride to the next generation
aboard the mother's eggs. Since males are "useless" for the bacteria's
survival, the parasite kills male embryos.

But the male butterflies found a way to stealthily overcome the parasites.
At the beginning of 2006, the scientists found the males made up about 40
percent of Upolu's butterfly population.

On Savaii, females still dominated the Blue Moon butterfly population (99
percent) at the start of 2006, but by the year's end, males made up nearly
40 percent.

Secret weapon

The team ran genetic analyses to see if the parasite had somehow vanished.
It hadn't. Wolbachia was still present in butterflies from both islands.
Other lab experiments indicated the males had evolved suppressor genes to
shield against the parasite.

Unlike genetic tweaks that alter wing color or antennae length, mutations
that affect a population's sex ratio can have a significant impact on the
biology of a species, the scientists say.

"The suppressor gene allows infected females to produce males," Charlat
said. "These males will mate with many, many females, and the suppressor
gene will therefore be in more and more individuals over generations."

The study was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.K.
Natural Environment Research Council and the Natural Sciences and
Engineering Research Council of Canada.

© 1999-2007 Imaginova Corp. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Study finds wives have greater power in marriage problem-solving behavior

Men may still have more power in the workplace, but apparently women really are "the boss" at home. That's according to a new study by a team of Iowa State University researchers.

The study of 72 married couples from Iowa found that wives, on average, exhibit greater situational power -- in the form of domineering and dominant behaviors -- than their husbands during problem-solving discussions, regardless of who raised the topic. All of the couples in the sample were relatively happy in their marriages, with none in counseling at the time of the study.

Associate Professor of Psychology David Vogel and Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Megan Murphy led the research. The ISU research team also included Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Ronald Werner-Wilson, Professor of Psychology Carolyn Cutrona -- who is director of the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research at Iowa State -- and Joann Seeman, a graduate student in psychology. They authored a paper titled "Sex Differences in the Use of Demand and Withdraw Behavior in Marriage: Examining the Social Structure Hypothesis," which appeared in last month's issue of the Journal of Counseling Psychology -- a professional journal published by the American Psychological Association.

Wives have the marriage power

"The study at least suggests that the marriage is a place where women can exert some power," said Vogel. "Whether or not it's because of changing societal roles, we don't know. But they are, at least, taking responsibility and power in these relationships. So at least for relatively satisfied couples, women are able to take some responsibility and are able to exert some power -- but it's hard for us to say why that's so."

"Women are responsible for overseeing the relationship -- making sure the relationship runs, that everything gets done, and that everybody's happy," said Murphy, "And so, maybe some of that came out in our findings in terms of women domineering and dominating -- that they were taking more responsibility for the relationship, regardless of whose topic was being discussed."

The researchers solicited participation from married couples in and around the Iowa State campus. On average, spouses were around 33 years of age and had been married for seven years. Most participants were European Americans (66%), followed by Asian (22%), Hispanic (5%), and African-American (4%) -- with the final three percent representing other nationalities.

Each spouse was asked to independently complete a questionnaire on relationship satisfaction and an assessment of overall decision-making ability in the relationship. Each spouse also was asked to identify a problem in their relationship -- an issue in which he or she desired the most change and which could not be resolved without the spouse's cooperation. Spouses were then asked to answer some questions about their chosen topics, including the type of problem-solving behaviors that generally take place when this topic arises, and the importance of the topic. Couples were then brought together and asked to discuss each of the problem topics for 10 minutes apiece -- discussions that were videotaped. The researchers did not participate in the discussion.

"We actually just asked them to start talking about the issue, and then we left the room," said Vogel. "And so they were all by themselves in the room talking. We were as non-obtrusive as possible. We just came back at the end of the period of time, and asked them to talk about the other topic."

At the end of the discussions, couples were separated again. Each spouse was then debriefed and discussed his or her feelings and reactions to the study.

The researchers reviewed and coded the videotapes of couples' interactions using a widely-accepted interaction rating system. The system consists of five dimensions to calculate demand and withdraw behaviors -- avoidance, discussion, blame, pressure for change, and withdraws.

Not all talk and no action

The researchers concluded in their paper that wives behaviorally exhibited more domineering attempts and were more dominant -- i.e., more likely to have their partner give in -- than husbands during discussions of either spouse's topic. That refuted their initial premise that sex differences in marital power would favor husbands.

Vogel said that wives weren't simply talking more than their husbands in discussions, but actually were drawing favorable responses from their husbands to what they said.

"That's what I think was particularly interesting," he said. "It wasn't just that the women were bringing up issues that weren't being responded to, but that the men were actually going along with what they said. They (women) were communicating more powerful messages and men were responding to those messages by agreeing or giving in."

"There's been research that suggests that's a marker of a healthy marriage -- that men accept influence from their wives," said Murphy.

The study was funded, in part, by the National Institute of Mental Health, along with ISU. Vogel and Murphy hope to expand upon this research through a future study.

Source: Iowa State University