linkfest – 03/10/13

Low-hanging fruit?“We need to go beyond intelligence and look at genetic differences that may underlie variation in personality traits, regulation of emotions, time orientation, and so forth. There is more to being human than just intelligence. – yes!! (^_^) – from peter frost.

this is kinda old (from jan) but i just came across it: Variants at serotonin transporter and 2A receptor genes predict cooperative behavior differentially according to presence of punishment“We show that variants at the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) and serotonin 2A receptor gene (HTR2A) predict contributions to the public good in economic games, dependent upon whether contribution behavior can be punished.”

Genetic Influences on the Overlap Between Low IQ and Antisocial Behavior in Young Children“Genetic influences common to both phenotypes explained 100% of the low IQ–antisocial behavior relation in boys.” – via race/history/evolution notes.

Monkeys Stay Away from Mean People“Capuchin monkeys show biases against humans who deny help to others.”

Genetic study of house dust mites demonstrates reversible evolution

Do species exist? – from steve sailer.

Fungus, Get Off My Lawn!“Virginia wildrye, common on U.S. prairies and rangelands, often plays host to a fungus that helps this grass grow. But the plant pays a price. Researchers have discovered that infected plants produce less pollen than their noninfected counterparts. Instead, the fungus causes the rye grass to make extra seeds, which transmit the fungus to the next generation and new locations. This is the first time a fungus has proven capable of manipulating plant reproduction.” – manipulator!

E. O. Wilson vs. Jerry Coyne: The Group Selection Wars Continue – from helian.

Pathogens: Cause or Effect of Social Variation?

Can People’s Personalities Change?“[P]ersonality was the strongest predictor of satisfaction with life. This is well-established and helps explain why some people have everything and are never satisfied and some people have next-to-nothing and seem quite happy with life. It’s not just what you have that makes you satisfied (or not), it’s how you think about it. And those habits of thought are heavily influenced by personality.”

Difficult Thoughts“It’s depressing to see how irrational we are so much of the time, but there it is.” – from malcolm pollack.

The Shape of History“Ian Morris, historian on a grand scale.”

bonus: Mystery bug found in Antarctica’s Lake Vostok“There is something alive in Lake Vostok, deep beneath the East Antarctic ice sheet, and we don’t know what it is. Water samples from the lake contain a bacterium that does not seem to belong to any known bacterial groups….”

bonus bonus: The Dark Enlightenment and the Eco Fringe – paleo retiree goes all hippie on us. (~_^) (i’ll confess right now to being a tree hugger myself.)

bonus bonus bonus: foseti’s drunken rant – i love drunken rants! (~_^) (this one actually makes sense!)

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Only the toughest would survive on Tatooine worlds – h/t hbd bibliography!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Butt munchers“[S]ea cucumbers can eat through their anuses.”

(note: comments do not require an email. sea cucumber – i don’t know if that’s the front end or the back….)

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38 Comments

  1. Dear HBD chick:
    Can you (or some of your readers) kindly advise on the info
    on the question of “Malleability of IQ”.
    I have certain work-related need of this info.

    From what I read, it is malleable in this sense:
    one takes blacksmith’s hammer and hits a person with high IQ on head,
    thus changing IQ in the direction of making it lower.

    Your F.r.

    Reply

  2. Look into physical exercise, nootropics, n-back and The Abecedarian Project. You might be able to raise a specific ability like verbal or memory but not all of the abilities that make up the whole IQ score. I don’t think the increase would last very long though (fade out effect).

    Reply

  3. FL Resident:

    From what I read, it is malleable in this sense:
    one takes blacksmith’s hammer and hits a person with high IQ on head,
    thus changing IQ.

    You’re working a hypothesis I hope?

    Reply

  4. why do all of your linkfest links open in new windows? don’t want us getting away from you?

    Reply

  5. Life satisfaction is overrated. Would Wagner and Verdi have written all that wonderful music if they were satisfied with their lives? Sure, conscientious people are very satisfied, but they are content with having a cup of tea and watching Greys Anatomy. Their idea of excitement is finishing fifth in a frisbee golf tournament. Oh well, each to his own I guess…

    Reply

  6. @soxy – “Dont treating iron deficiency anemia improve IQ?”

    i don’t know about iron deficiency, but definitely adding iodine to the diet where it is lacking increases iq. malnutrition in general is probably pretty bad as far as iq goes.

    @florida resident – “From what I read, it is malleable in this sense: one takes blacksmith’s hammer and hits a person with high IQ on head, thus changing IQ in the direction of making it lower.”

    heh. yes, traumatic brain damage is probably not good for iq, either.

    afaik, iq doesn’t appear to be extremely malleable once all environmental influences are taken care of (like proper diet for expectant mothers and infants/children). got to feed the developing brain properly, otherwise it won’t develop properly.

    other stuff, like early childhood education (making sure your kid gets into the BEST nursery school!), doesn’t seem to matter one jot. again, extreme neglect is not good, though.

    Reply

  7. @avi – “Tree huggers always seem to be people without children, or at most one, and still young.”

    i spent half of my childhood up a tree and the other half wishing i was up one. (^_^)

    i remember at one point when i was small, my grandfather had to burn the ticks out of my stomach with a cigarette (he died when i was six, so i must’ve been pretty young). i was told in the strongest of terms to stay out of the trees, but when i was found to be full of ticks again, they realized i wasn’t going to obey that command. (~_^) was always lathered up with some horribly smelling insect repellent after that….

    so i’ve been a tree hugger my whole life. (^_^) love trees. (and animals.) the neighbors, otoh — tree haters. last year they chopped down all the trees on the border between our property and theirs (along all their borders, actually). =( i hate tree haters.

    Reply

  8. Jason Malloy kindly provided me with this reference:
    http://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Protzko-et-al.-2012.-DORI-young-child.pdf
    “How to Make a Young Child Smarter:
    Evidence From the Database of Raising Intelligence”

    Now, after I read the paper (but not the references therein),
    my main concern is the same as Jason Malloy’s:

    1) On the influence of LC-PUFA Supplementation on IQ, there are a lot of studies in this meta-analyses, which date as early as 2001, several on 2003,some 2008 and 2009. Most of them show positive influence. But none of them (repeat, _NONE_ ) have a 2013 (i.e. about a decade later), or any other date, follow-up study.

    2)The studies of “early interventions” have dates 1968, 1971, 1972, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1990, 2001, etc. Those studies
    2a) did not show very definite effect,
    2b) in all those years passed none (repeat, _NONE_ ) of them have follow-up study of “fade effect”.

    Sigh.
    Respectful greetings to HBD chick.
    F.r.

    Reply

  9. Compare to Dr. Charles Murray’s short 1998 brochure
    “Inclome Inequality and IQ”,
    http://www.mega.nu/ampp/murray_income_iq.pdf
    It is baled on NLSY, ie.
    National Longitudinal Study of Youth.
    By the very meaning of the word “Longitudinal”,
    that study had about 1979 through 1993 follow-up.
    Read it and make your own conclusions.

    Reply

  10. To Soxy:
    Yes, the article suggested by Jason Malloy repots positive influence of iron supplementation (e.g. 1993, 1997, 2003, 2006, …).
    But again, no follow-up study.

    Reply

  11. @florida resident – you have a blog, don’t you, florida resident? you’ve written about the “warrior gene,” iirc. what’s your blog again? i don’t think i have you in my blogroll (!).

    Reply

  12. No, I do not have a blog.
    I tried to have fun on “Amazon.com”:
    http://www.amazon.com/forum/history/ref=cm_cd_pg_pg1?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx33HXI3XVZDC8G&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQ9S8KTFXXWLH
    Discussion “Human Biodiversity, history and modernity: Murray, Sailer, Derbyshire.”,
    which I started upon the publication of Derbyshire’s “We Are Doomed”,

    I kept the discussion until Amazon banished me. I am OK with it.
    Best wishes,
    your F.r.

    Reply

  13. @florida resident – “No, I do not have a blog.”

    ah! ok. thanks! (^_^)

    hmmmm? i shall have to try to remember who i’m thinking about then….

    Reply

  14. “Life satisfaction is overrated. Would Wagner and Verdi have written all that wonderful music if they were satisfied with their lives?”

    Guess somebody cares more about their own satisfaction than theirs.

    Reply

  15. I think ‘regulation of emotions, time orientation, and so forth’ depend on the ability to: detach oneself from animal desires; envision alternative plans of action while evaluating the likelihood of them succeeding; imagine the resulting situation for any particular plan of action in a variety of time frames, evaluate the plan with the greatest realistic chance of achieving the aim. Last, and most important, is the ability to keep in mind what it is you care about the most (the preferred good) while you’re making a decision; and to do that you need a powerful working memory.

    Re. Tatoonine – “Khan: [shouts] THIS IS CETI ALPHA FIVE! Ceti Alpha Six exploded six months after we were left here. The shock shifted the orbit of this planet and everything was laid waste. ‘Admiral’ Kirk never bothered to check on our progress. It was only the fact of my genetically-engineered intellect that allowed us to survive.”

    Reply

  16. Re, Difficult thoughts. Ian Morris has successfully predicted what exactly? (it will be claimed he has, the Wikipedia article on Paul Kennedy’s ‘ The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers’ says he predicted the decline of the USSR. Well, actually the book said it was absurd to think the USSR would collapse as it had lots’o scientists and engineers. Ha!) .

    Anyway, Morris is a half-wit. “If you buy his projections—based on the conservative assumption that social development continues at 20th-century rates”. That won’t happen based on history, for one thing immigration means the population of the west will be completely different peoples in a hundred years; nothing can stop that now.

    Morris says a nuclear standoff prevented major war in the latter 20th century. It may be true that nuclear mutually assured destruction did abolished conventional war but the superpowers certainly didn’t act as if they believed it. The Warsaw Pact and NATO faced each other with plenty of nuclear weapons but spent far more on tanks. The USSR didn’t really believe the US would go Nuclear (‘the threat of an incredible action is not a credible deterrent’).

    Contrary to what they tried to make the Soviets think, America would not have used nukes to stop a Soviet attack; that would have initiated a nuclear war. The reason the Soviets didn’t try to conquer western Europe (assuming they’d desired to do so) was because they could never have hoped to win a world-wide conventional conflict with the US, the world’s most powerful economy. When Reagan became president, Kissinger gave him a confidential briefing on the facts of life in regard to nuclear weapons, and advised no first use under any circumstances.

    John Gray (the philosopher) has a good track record with predictions..

    Reply

  17. Re. Group selection wars. E. O. Wilson is kind of ignoring the way humans can construct cultural group selection because they can detect cheating or defection, and aren’t genetically constrained to treat their closest relatives altruistically; if those relatives aren’t playing the game and taking the allotted role they might be the victim of an honour killing. That will be counter productive from a genetic view I suspect. Indeed, Nowak is of the opinion that ‘altruistic punishment’ is somewhat of a misnomer, as it tends to hurt everyone in the group.

    I think the important thing about humans is they can devise cultural group selection strategies that do not work, but are enforced nonetheless.

    Reply

  18. I can’t add up, but I know a man who can. Nowak in his Supercooperators p.108 says the kind of calculations you do at that link are based on certain assumptions: no selection (‘near neutrality’); all interactions are additive and pairwise; virtually static population structure. (‘ We are now in a utopia called inclusive fitness land’ where individuals working in pairs are part of a special population structure and where selection hardly operates at all. We found that in this special world where inclusive fitness theory works, the calculationsyeild up exactly the same prediction as standard natural selection theory. Casting a pronlem in terms of inclusive fitness is like having to undergo elaborate and time consuming initiations to join an elite club, unly to end up with nothing in the way of privileges’).

    Helping a same sex sibling may not pay off; especially where cousin marriage is common, because nepotism may mean you are helping a competitor for the best of a limited number of marriagable cousins when you help a close relative. Surely there is selection for the best looking, best connnected, richest ect

    What people in traditional societies are concrned with is the reputation of their family. In Ethiopia ‘Bloodied sheets are still nailed to brides’ fathers’ doors.Traditional Christian families in Ethiopia still display this sheet on the door of a bride’s father’s house for several days after her wedding as an advertisement of his family’s honor — i.e., that they delivered an intact bride in exchange for her brideprice ‘. Honor killing must have a lot to do with that kind of concern for reputation.

    Reading your site makes me think an inclusive fitness perspective may be more important than Nowak says, and maybe tied into group selection. Reputation is super-important nonetheless. The proof of that is- as Nowak says- gossiping about others is the main thing people talk about.

    Reply

  19. @sean – “Nowak in his Supercooperators p.108 says the kind of calculations you do at that link are based on certain assumptions: no selection (‘near neutrality’); all interactions are additive and pairwise; virtually static population structure.”

    nowak, et al.’s, calculations — in which they supposedly debunked inclusive fitness — ignored the genetic relatedness between the individuals!!:

    “Scientists Square Off on Evolutionary Value of Helping Relatives”

    “… A number of scientists strongly disagree, though. ‘This paper, far from showing shortcomings in inclusive fitness theory, shows the shortcomings of the authors,’ said Frances Ratnieks of the University of Sussex.

    “Dr. Ratnieks argues that the Harvard researchers cannot rule out kinship as a driving force in social evolution because their model is flawed. It does not include how closely related animals are.

    “It would be as if a team of researchers carried out a study on the effects of diet and exercise on health. Their subjects get different amounts of exercise but stay on the same diet. In the end, the experiment might show that exercise makes people more healthy. But it would not make any sense to also conclude that diet plays no role.

    “‘If you don’t vary something you cannot say how important it is,’ said Dr. Ratnieks.

    “Andy Gardner, an evolutionary biologist at Oxford, said bluntly, ‘This is a really terrible article.’ One problem Dr. Gardner points to is the Harvard team’s claim that the past 40 years of research on inclusive fitness has yielded nothing but ‘hypothetical explanations.’

    “‘This claim is just patently wrong,” Dr. Gardner said. He points to the question of how many sons and daughters mothers produce among the many insights inclusive fitness has brought.

    “In most species, the balance is 50-50. But there are exceptions. In some ant species, for example, the ratio is around three daughters for every son. That is because the sterile female workers invest more into female larvae than males. Inclusive fitness theory predicts just this situation, since the workers are more closely related to their sisters than to their brothers.

    “Dr. Gardner and a number of other biologists have co-authored a reply that they will be sending to Nature to challenge the new paper.”

    ignoring the relatedness between individuals when thinking about inclusive fitness is REALLY missing the point.

    Reply

  20. martin nowak is a roman catholic (not that there’s anything wrong with that! (~_^) ). and i don’t mean to cast aspersions on his scientific capabilities — he’s obviously a very smart man. but i think he’s probably also a very nice (and religious) man and probably doesn’t like the view of nature as “red in tooth and claw” and all that, and would rather view us all as nice SuperCooperators.

    maybe he’ll be proven right and we’ll discover that inclusive fitness is all a bunch of baloney — i dunno. but it doesn’t sound to me (and i can’t do the math either!) that he’s successfully debunked inclusive fitness so far.

    again, i don’t mean to say that he’s a lousy scientist or anything like that. we all have our biases, and i think this might be his. (fwiw, mine is probably assuming nature is ALL competition while failing to leave room for anything else. dunno what that says about me….)

    Reply

  21. @sean – “Re. Tatoonine – “Khan: [shouts] THIS IS CETI ALPHA FIVE! Ceti Alpha Six exploded six months after we were left here. The shock shifted the orbit of this planet and everything was laid waste. ‘Admiral’ Kirk never bothered to check on our progress. It was only the fact of my genetically-engineered intellect that allowed us to survive.””

    (^_^) (^_^) (^_^)

    Reply

  22. I don’t do even basic maths stuff. My reading of Supercooperators pages 108-111 is that Nowak does accept inclusive fitness if there is ‘ conditional behaviour based on kin recognition’. About the ignoring of relatedness between individuals: Nowak says there was no evidence for ants being able to recognise their relatives, and the essential point is whether a social gene is selected for and ‘that question is entirely based on standard natural selection theory’. Nowak uses the word tautology about Price’s brand of IR.

    According to Novak the IR crowd have never constructed a proper equation of inclusive fitness with population structure and costs verses benefit that exist in real world interaction. He seems to think studies measuring genetic relatedness prove nothing without that equation.

    Helping kin who may then decrease your reproductive fitness by becoming reproductive competitors is just one instance of those questions Nowak says remain and I don’t know enough to even guess whether he is right. Trying to put it into a real world context:- with humans,who know who they are related to. Risking my life to save my Pakistani brother might be a big mistake, if he has his eye on the same female relative. A Pakistani Haldane might be better off not risking his life for a brother, yet wise to risk his life for one cousin – if that cousin happened to be the nubile daughter of a multi-millionare.. But then, is he risking his life for a relative, or just doing what any man might do for a damsel (‘a young unmarried woman of noble birth’) in distress ?

    Reply

  23. @sean – “Nowak says there was no evidence for ants being able to recognise their relatives….”

    but ants do recognize their relatives. e.o. wilson says so. -?-

    in any case, if you’re trying to show that inclusive fitness doesn’t count, you need to do your calculations with relatedness included because that’s the whole point.

    Reply

  24. @sean – “According to Novak the IR crowd have never constructed a proper equation of inclusive fitness with population structure and costs verses benefit that exist in real world interaction.”

    well, if that’s true, that’s no good, i agree.

    Reply

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