IQ tests are useful, but people wrongly obsess over them

first_imgThis isn’t the first time that the president has spoken — and tweeted — about his apparently sky-high IQ.It’s hard to deny the grim entertainment value of the latest Trump spat.But the idea that an IQ score is just a bragging aid for egotistical politicians threatens to trivialize a genuine field of research.It doesn’t help, of course, that IQ tests hardly have a good reputation to begin with.Steeped in controversy, by far the most common reaction whenever the topic arises is the oh-so-droll refrain: “IQ tests only tell you how good you are at doing IQ tests!”In fact, IQ tests tell us much more than that, as a mountain of evidence from the fields of psychology, sociology, neuroscience, genetics and epidemiology attests.For instance, we know that people who do better at IQ tests tend to do better at school, in work and in terms of their physical and mental health. Second, nobody would argue that IQ is strictly biologically determined: The environment still has a crucial influence.Indeed, scientists don’t all share the fatalistic view of many IQ critics; rather, a great deal of IQ research is focused on how we might boost people’s abilities.For example, we know that factors like iodine deficiency are linked to lower IQ scores (a brilliant charity, the Iodine Global Network, is dedicated to doing something about this) and growing evidence appears to show positive effects of education on IQ.Research continues on whether improved physical fitness, among other influences, might help older adults stave off the decline of their mental abilities as they age.Another reason psychologists wince at self-satisfied crowing about IQ is that the tests can — in the right hands, and despite the immoral ways they have often been used in the past — serve a useful social purpose.After all, they were first invented to identify children in need of extra educational attention, and they can still serve that purpose.A terrific study from last year also illustrated how IQ tests can level the social playing field, finding that the use of objective cognitive tests — as opposed to referrals from parents and teachers, who aren’t always reliable at spotting talent in certain groups — improves representation of poor and minority children in gifted education programs.(The study is “Universal screening increases the representation of low-income and minority students in gifted education,” by David Carda and Laura Giuliano.) Categories: Editorial, OpinionMost scientists feel a certain nervousness when the topic they research appears in the news.Overstatement is par for the course, misunderstanding a near-inevitability. But what could be more cringe-worthy than the president of the United States engaging in a macho contest with his secretary of state over the area you research? I am, of course, talking about IQ testing.After Rex Tillerson allegedly called him a “moron,” Donald Trump this week suggested that he and Tillerson “compare IQ tests.”Naturally, Trump could “tell you who is going to win.” On average, they even live longer — and this doesn’t seem purely due to education or social class.Studies continually appear in top neuroscience journals linking MRI measures (such as the overall volume of the brain) to IQ scores, and some of the first IQ-related genetic variants are now being uncovered.Yet controversy around IQ tests and scoring remains.Some of it is due to the fear of immutability, or the worry that a low IQ score is set in stone, dooming a person to a life of failure and embarrassment.But this is misplaced.First, IQ is only one of a whole constellation of reasons, including hard work and sheer chance, why people get to where they end up in life.And as the writer Scott Alexander has recently noted, the findings discussed above are all averages and tendencies and trends at the group level: they absolutely don’t apply to every individual person who gets a particular score on the test.center_img Treating IQ as a frivolous, point-scoring game makes it easier to write off perfectly serious research and ignore the useful information we can get from cognitive tests.It contributes to the mistaken notion that, with IQ tests, psychologists are trying to sum up the worth of a person, rather than develop useful tools to understand the mind and identify different levels of ability.Most importantly, it fails to recognize what many scientists in this field already do: that the mere possession of a high IQ score isn’t what matters. We don’t admire history’s great scientists, mathematicians, composers and artists because they were intelligent per se; we do so because they used their intelligence to produce something worthwhile in the world.Those who would bandy around their high IQ as if it in itself entitled them to respect should take note.Stuart Ritchie is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Schumer: What I’m listening for in Trump’s State of the Union

first_imgSo Democrats will watch the State of the Union hoping that President Trump will change course — by emphasizing the need for a major, direct federal investment in infrastructure.Since the days of Henry Clay (who was a Whig, the predecessor of the modern Republican Party), the federal government has always put direct dollars into infrastructure. Clay proposed a program of “internal improvements” such as roads and canals to link together a growing America. The greatest expansion of the federal highway system occurred under Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Even President Ronald Reagan sought to keep federal investment in highways from decreasing.These Republicans understood that direct investment of federal resources was the best way to maintain and build our nation’s infrastructure. The same is true today. Only a plan with direct investments can properly address the scale of the challenge we face. Direct investment provides support for both new projects and ongoing ones. It helps all parts of America. And it allows for new construction without the need for profit sources such as tolls, or higher taxes and fees.Unfortunately, initial indications are that the president’s proposal will rely on capital from private companies or states and localities in lieu of real investment.Such a plan would have several flaws.It would leave out large parts of America, particularly rural America, where local governments don’t have the money or the traffic to attract private-sector investment. Small towns and cities throughout the heartland have waited too long for upgrades to their municipal water systems and schools and roads, as well as access to high-speed internet. Just as Franklin D. Roosevelt said that every rural house should have electricity in the 1930s, Democrats today believe every rural house should have access to high-speed internet. A private-sector-driven infrastructure plan wouldn’t get the job done.Even in the most populous areas, many projects would not move forward if they hinged on private-sector investment. A plan based on private-sector gimmicks and giveaways would also result in tolls — Trump tolls — across the United States. Hedge funds and wealthy investors will want projects that generate a profit by charging middle-class Americans hundreds of dollars a year in tolls, taxes and fees. Our nation’s roads, bridges and tunnels would become tools for wealthy investors to profit off the middle class rather than the job-creating public assets they ought to be.What would lead the president toward a plan like this instead of one consisting of real investments?The reason is that hard-right special interests, which have dictated much of the policy in the Trump administration, have the president in a vice. They hate spending any government money, even on something as time-honored as infrastructure, and they apply pressure not to increase the deficit — even though just a few months ago, the president and Republicans in Congress gave away $1.5 trillion to provide tax breaks for mammoth corporations and a handful of wealthy people. Imagine how much more productive it would be to put those resources into infrastructure instead.That’s why the president faces a choice: The hard right doesn’t want him to expend federal resources, but to effectively rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, he must.On Tuesday, if President Trump chooses a real, direct, federal investment in infrastructure, he will have a chance to pass an effective, bipartisan bill. We Democrats will gladly work with him on it. But if he caves to the hard right once again and proposes a scheme driven by private developers — a scheme that leaves out rural America and asks middle-class families to shoulder the costs — he’ll have squandered an immense opportunity.Democrats want to work with President Trump to rebuild America’s infrastructure. And we hope we can. But we shouldn’t ask the middle class to pay $1 trillion in new tolls and local tax increases to get there.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Categories: Editorial, OpinionWhen President Donald Trump addresses the nation in his first official State of the Union on Tuesday night, he should urge Congress to deliver a substantial investment in our nation’s infrastructure. On this issue, Democrats agree with the president: America’s physical infrastructure is the backbone of our economy, and we have fallen behind. If we do not quickly repair and modernize our infrastructure, we risk ceding the next century of global economic leadership to China or India.But the big question is: How do we do it?The president promised a trillion-dollar investment in our infrastructure on the campaign trail. But since he took the oath of office, Congress hasn’t heard much about his plan, and what we have heard isn’t promising. The president’s budget proposal slashed infrastructure investments, and, more recently, the proposals we’ve seen from the administration rely on private companies or states and localities to put up the lion’s share of the money. In turn, those entities would have to either charge local taxpayers new tolls or raise taxes and other fees to pay for the infrastructure.That would end up leaving out large parts of the country and most major, urgent projects.last_img read more

Does the IPD measure up?

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Retail

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Smyth bids to end Dunloe stalemate

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Home Counties’ comforts

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37% NAV rise for Grainger

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Pele depressed, reclusive because of poor health: son

first_imgPele’s public appearances have grown increasingly rare with age.Last April he traveled to Paris for a promotional appearance with French rising star Kylian Mbappe, but had to be hospitalized shortly after for kidney problems.In 2014, he was placed in intensive care for dialysis after contracting a severe urinary infection.The Brazilian great, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has only one kidney, after a broken rib during a match forced doctors to remove the other.He has also suffered a series of hip problems.Edinho said despite those issues his father is “doing well” physically. Pele, the pride of Brazilian football and the only player to win three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970), is considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time.He has been in and out of hospital in recent years for various health issues.He never fully recovered from one of his hip operations, leaving him dependent on a walker, Edinho said.”He’s doing a bit better than when he was in a wheelchair recently, but he still has a hard time getting around,” said Edinho, 49. Football legend Pele is experiencing “a kind of depression” and barely leaves home anymore because health problems have left him unable to walk normally, his son said in an interview published Monday.”He’s pretty fragile in terms of his mobility… and that makes him suffer a kind of depression,” Edinho said of his 79-year-old father, who has had a series of health problems in recent years.”Just imagine, he’s the ‘King,’ he was always such an imposing figure, and now he can’t walk normally. He gets very shy, very embarrassed about that,” his son said in an interview published on the sports news site Globoesporte.com.center_img Topics :last_img read more

PREMIUMOmnibus bill’s tripartite forum upsets labor unions

first_imgLog in with your social account Facebook As the government is insisting on keeping the provisions in the proposed omnibus bill on job creation on labor rights, another union has decided to leave a tripartite forum set up to support the deliberation process.Joining the other six unions that have abandoned discussions with representatives from the government and business, the National Workers Union (SPN) has decided to withdraw from the forum. The forum was initiated by the Office of the Economic Coordinating Minister to facilitate dialogue between the parties before passing the bill. The proposed bill contains articles about manpower and employment rights in Indonesia that are slated to be revised.Among other revisions, the proposed omnibus bill would revise the 2003 Manpower Law and regulate industrial relations, working hours, wages, job termination and regulations regarding the hiring of foreign workers.The minist… omnibus-bill omnibus-bill-on-job-creation omnibus-law labor-rights 2003-Manpower-Law labor-law Forgot Password ? Topics : Linkedin Google LOG INDon’t have an account? Register herelast_img read more

China’s Xi says Wuhan has ‘turned the tide’ against virus epidemic

first_imgBut the measure did not appear to loosen restrictions on Wuhan nor indicate if people could leave the province of 56 million people.State media also reported that the last of Wuhan’s 16 makeshift hospitals that were converted from public buildings during the worst of the outbreak had closed.”The spread of the novel coronavirus disease [COVID-19] has been basically curbed in Hubei province and its capital city Wuhan,” Xi said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.”Initial success has been made in stabilizing the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan,” he said. China’s progress against the outbreak stands in stark contrast with the growing global crisis, with cases now growing at a faster pace abroad, and Italy enacting its own nationwide travel restrictions.State media images showed Xi, who arrived by plane in Hubei’s capital, wearing a face mask as he spoke via video-link from a conference hall to frontline medical workers and patients who are at one of two field hospitals set up in the city.He then went to a residential community in Wuhan to speak with people quarantined, and community workers.China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong is usually a daily fixture in state media but he has stayed out of the spotlight for much of the crisis and assigned Premier Li Keqiang to oversee the response to the epidemic.But as the number of new cases has fallen in recent weeks, state media has played up Xi’s role in the fight against the outbreak, releasing a speech last month in which he said he had been giving instructions since early January.Hua Po, an independent Beijing-based political analyst, told AFP the trip’s timing indicated an “interim victory” for China.”His visit is to signal that the outbreak has been effectively curbed, and is an attempt to quieten external criticism of him not going to the frontlines,” said Hao.Authorities have faced rare and fierce criticism online over their handling of the virus, with local officials coming under particular scrutiny for punishing whistleblowers in an apparent attempt to cover up the outbreak in early January.”During the worst of the outbreak, Xi avoided the epicenter because he did not want to be blamed, but when the situation gets better, he shows up in order to receive praise,” said Bruce Lui, a senior lecturer in journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University.  Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that Wuhan has turned the tide against the deadly coronavirus outbreak, as he paid his first visit to the city at the heart of the global epidemic.Xi’s visit came as unprecedented quarantine measures that have sealed off Wuhan and the rest of central Hubei province since late January appear to have paid off, with new infections dropping dramatically in recent weeks.During Xi’s trip, Hubei announced it would ease travel restrictions to allow healthy people in low-risk areas to travel throughout the province. Global cases soar The death of doctor Li Wenliang, who died from the COVID-19 illness in February, sparked a wave of grief and anger online. He was among a group of people who had raised the alarm as early as December.A visit by Vice Premier Sun Chunlan to a Wuhan residential community last week was met with angry public heckling as people reportedly complained that she was being shown a “fake” delivery of food — showing how easily state propaganda efforts could backfire.The virus is believed to have emerged in December at a market that sold wild animals in Wuhan before ballooning into a national and then a global epidemic.More than 4,000 people have died and over 110,000 have been infected worldwide, with the majority in China.But China reported only 17 new cases in Wuhan on Tuesday, the lowest figure since it started publishing data on January 21, and two elsewhere that were imported from abroad.”Xi doesn’t want to be associated with the disaster, but with the recovery,” said Adam Ni, a researcher at the China Policy Centre in Canberra.”China has turned the corner now with COVID-19, and the party now wants to craft the most positive narrative despite early missteps.” Topics :last_img read more