Wednesday, January 24, 2018

IQ: Matzo with sauce get it nearly right

The journal abstract:

The paradox of intelligence: Heritability and malleability coexist in hidden gene-environment interplay.

Sauce, Bruno; Matzel, Louis D.


Intelligence can have an extremely high heritability, but also be malleable; a paradox that has been the source of continuous controversy. Here we attempt to clarify the issue, and advance a frequently overlooked solution to the paradox: Intelligence is a trait with unusual properties that create a large reservoir of hidden gene–environment (GE) networks, allowing for the contribution of high genetic and environmental influences on individual differences in IQ. GE interplay is difficult to specify with current methods, and is underestimated in standard metrics of heritability (thus inflating estimates of “genetic” effects). We describe empirical evidence for GE interplay in intelligence, with malleability existing on top of heritability. The evidence covers cognitive gains consequent to adoption/immigration, changes in IQ’s heritability across life span and socioeconomic status, gains in IQ over time consequent to societal development (the Flynn effect), the slowdown of age-related cognitive decline, and the gains in intelligence from early education. The GE solution has novel implications for enduring problems, including our inability to identify intelligence-related genes (also known as IQ’s “missing heritability”), and the loss of initial benefits from early intervention programs (such as “Head Start”). The GE solution can be a powerful guide to future research, and may also aid policies to overcome barriers to the development of intelligence, particularly in impoverished and underprivileged populations.



The above article is in the Psych. Bulletin, a top journal in psychology which is devoted to surveying the research literature on a particular subject and attempting a theoretical integration of it.  Sauce & Matzel, however, don't come up with much. Their concept of gene–environment (GE) networks is really just a rehash of the well-known finding that to maximize your  final IQ you need good environmental influences on top of your genetic given. 

Considering that the article is a research summary, it is however interesting how high the genetic given is rated.  They say that measured IQ is 80% genetic. Around 70% is the figure that has mostly been quoted in the past and people who hate the idea of IQ have on occasions put the figure as low as 50%.

The authors are aware that an enriched (stimulating) environment from early childhood on can bump up IQ but they are also aware that the gain is not permanent once the enrichment fades out. Headstart kids, for instance, test as brighter while in the program but revert to an IQ similar to their peers when they get into normal schooling.

But what the authors conclude from that is, I think, too optimistic.  They seem to think that the environmental enrichment should be kept up into much later life.  What they overlook is that all environmental influences tend to fade out  as maturation goes on and by about age 30 environmental influences seem to zero out entirely.  Identical twins reared apart will have very similar IQs at whatever age that is measured but the greatest similarity occurs when it is measured around age 30.

So growing up is a process of your genetics coming to the fore and the advantages/disadvantages of your environment fading out.  So enriching the environment throughout childhood is pissing into the wind.  What you are trying to manipulate will have less and less influence as maturation goes on and it will have NO final influence.


Trump’s enemies blunder

Schumer chose illegal aliens over the American people, and it BACKFIRED

IN THE staring match that gripped Washington DC over the weekend, it was the Democrats who blinked first.

Senate Democrats chose to push the US government into a shutdown — smack bang on the anniversary of Donald Trump assuming the presidency. The hope was that the move would embarrass the commander-in-chief, and strongarm Republicans into protecting the Dreamers, more than 700,000 illegal immigrants who came to the country when they were children.

Forcing a shutdown is a risky political move. Last time it happened in 2013 over Obamacare, the Republicans copped the blame. This time around, it’s not yet clear who voters will punish.

Regardless, the Democrats have given in just three days after taking the nuclear option — and they’ve got next to nothing to show for it.

They wanted a deal on the Dreamers. All Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has pledged is that it is his “intention” to deal with immigration issues in the Senate over the next three weeks. They received no commitment on whether House Republicans would get on board

The Republicans would have been forced to deal with the Dreamers soon enough, because Mr Trump gave the Congress a March 5 deadline to resolve their status once and for all.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Democrats’ position was “indefensible” and that, in the end, they agreed to everything that was in the original continuing resolution.

Mr Trump said he was “pleased” the Democrats had “come to their senses” but added that “we will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country”. He tweeted at the weekend that the shutdown was a “nice present” on his one-year anniversary.



The most unpopular president on record - but here's why Trump could win again in 2020

Donald Trump ends his first year as the most unpopular president on record.

He is the only US president since Harry Truman to have a negative net approval rating after 12 months in the White House - some 24 points below Barack Obama at the same time in his presidency.

The year since Mr Trump's inauguration has been packed with controversy and intrigue - during which there have been persistent allegations over Russian connections. He has fired the head of the FBI, launched tirades against the media, failed to push through healthcare reform and has escalated his rhetoric surrounding North Korea.

All of this led to a slump in approval ratings, with Mr Trump achieving a majority disapproval rating in a record of just eight days since his inauguration.

In the run-up to this year's US mid-term elections, this might be enough to worry him - particularly after Trump-backed Roy Moore faced a shock defeat in Republican-leaning Alabama last year.

But this overall unpopularity may not matter that much - after all, Mr Trump was unpopular when he was elected America's 45th president.

When we dig into the figures, few people seem to have really changed their minds about him - and this is how the president still stands a chance in 2020.

While there has been an overall drop in public opinion, the president's approval ratings have remained relatively stable since July, even experiencing a small uptick following his handling of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, and Hurricane Irma. The polarisation of America's politics is so extreme that his popularity among Democrats can't really drop any further, while Republicans seemingly refuse to desert him, no matter what he does.

Mr Trump's approval rating hasn't dropped much among those who voted for him

Back in January 2016, Mr Trump claimed that he could shoot somebody and not lose any votes. He seems to have largely been correct in this estimation, with his approval rating among those who voted for him last November standing at 90pc.

Among those who self-identify as being conservatives - although not necessarily Republicans - his approval rating is actually marginally higher than it was at the start of the year while, importantly, he is liked better by people who are registered to vote. His approval rating among registered voters hasn't dropped below 40pc all year.


This doesn't mean that there isn't cause for concern for Mr Trump among these ratings. Although his electoral college victory was significant, he lost the overall popular vote, and his election was secured by around 100,000 voters in key swing states.

It is therefore potentially significant that the demographic that has gone off Mr Trump most since the start of the year is of those who self-identify as being moderates.

Among these middle-ground voters - who make up 29pc of the population - Mr Trump's approval score slipped from a three-poll average of 40.5pc in January 2017 to 30.7pc this January.

Could he in again? Given that Mr Trump managed to win last year despite being unpopular among swathes of America, the impact of his waning popularity on his chances of a second term are not clear-cut.

Additionally, a US presidential election isn't conducted on a national level, so national polling is only of limited use when assessing his chances.

In a race for electoral college votes, a presidential election is essentially divided into 50 separate votes in each of America's states - a lesson Hillary Clinton bitterly learned as last year's results trickled out.

Consequently, we must look at state-level data to gain a full picture of how he is performing compared to this time last year, especially in the states that turned red in 2016.

Mr Trump had a positive net approval rating in 17 states during 2017, all of which he won in the 2016 presidential election.

Some 33 states had a negative net approval rating. This includes all six states that swung to him in the 2016 election. He had an average negative approval rating in each of these states in 2017. A negative net approval rate in these states may not bode too well for a potential 2020 run for the Republican president.



Feds planning massive Northern California immigration sweep to strike against sanctuary laws

U.S. immigration officials have begun preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities in which federal officers would look to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state, according to a source familiar with the operation.

Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, declined to comment Tuesday on plans for the operation.

The campaign, centered in the Bay Area, could happen within weeks, and is expected to become the biggest enforcement action of its kind under President Trump, said the source, who requested anonymity because the plans have not been made public.

Trump has expressed frustration that sanctuary laws — which seek to protect immigrants and persuade them not to live in the shadows by restricting cooperation between local and federal authorities — get in the way of his goal of tightening immigration.

The operation would go after people who have been identified as targets for deportation, including those who have been served with final deportation orders and those with criminal histories, the source said. The number could tick up if officers come across other undocumented immigrants in the course of their actions and make what are known as collateral arrests.

Under the Trump administration, ICE has repeatedly warned that if the agency can’t detain people from local jails, it will be forced to arrest them in the communities that hold such policies.



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1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

"The most unpopular president on record"

OK, why do we believe this? Have the polling organizations changed their procedures significantly since they totally failed to predict the 2016 election? I haven't read anything to indicate that. And until I do, I have to suspect that the numbers they produce are just as bogus.

Furthermore, DID Her Shrillness, Hillary the would-be-First win the popular vote? We know that many Democrat held areas have, in the past, had significant problems with vote fraud. Did she win the popular vote, or did she win the graveyard vote?