dennis put an interesting post up yesterday — well, all of dennis’ posts are interesting, this one is just particularly so! (^_^)
he describes a paper published in Intelligence last year titled: The social and scientific temporal correlates of genotypic intelligence and the Flynn effect. i haven’t read it, but something dennis said about it caught my eye:
“[S]ome of Woodley’s main points include: IQ rose among European populations from the Middle Ages to the present, reaching a 105 average in 1850, and has since declined….”
i can well believe the second point about the decline! =/
regarding the first point — that iq among europeans (specifically northern europeans, afaics) began to increase in the middle ages — well, i wondered about this possibility before. specifically, i wondered if the prevailing economic system of the day in northern europe — manorialism — might’ve selected for bright individuals because you had to be bright to make a go of working the land as a tenant on a manor (i.e. tenants weren’t slaves — they had to be successful at farming their holding or run the risk of losing their tenancy, at least at some points during the middle ages) — AND the brightest farmers very likely would’ve married the brightest hausfraus. and these bright tenant farmers would, presumably, have left behind plenty of bright little tenant farmers in succeeding generations.
yesterday, i read something in A Millenium of Family Change:Feudalism to Capitalism in Northwestern Europe that might back up that idea [pgs. 38-39]:
“Inheritance for peasants did not normally extend beyond the next of kin, and an eligible heir had to be produced on each holding or there was a risk of reversion to the lord. The feudal mode of production was thus characterized by a strong linkage of landholding to marriage and marriage to procreation. Those without land could not easily marry, and those with land had to marry and produce offspring to keep the holding productive and in the family. Only legitimate offspring (i.e., those sanctified by wedlock) could succeed to a holding. The timing of marriage was normally dependent on entry to a holding, and marriage was the principal social regulator of fertility. The land-poor therefore tended to marry later than well-established peasants, and to raise fewer children. The poorest stratum did not reproduce their own numbers in most periods. The population grew by means of a molecular process of downward mobility engendered within peasant families. Those young adults who were not favoured by inheritance and lost out in the scramble for established village holdings became the mass labour force of the system’s extensive growth, moving to the periphery and clearing new land.”
that is selection, my friends. (if that’s how it was.)
that “moving to the periphery and clearing new land” refers to the ostsiedlung which also could’ve selected for all sorts of neat traits/behaviors in these new settlers in the east, the germans. some of them i can imagine are: hard-working, smarts, and possibly a preference for “Ordnung” and authority since these settlers were not independent freeholders but tenants on manors. working for The Man, those who did not rock the boat too much perhaps succeeded better.
(note: comments do not require an email. the peasants are revolting!)