December 16, 2013

Graph of most and least accurate media sites on IQ

Psychologist James Thompson has graphed one bit of the new survey of psychometricians by Rindermann, Coyle and Becker:
Now, obviously, iSteve is #1 relative only to a rather short list of mostly well-known outlets. In my blogroll, I link to specialist sites that are significantly better than mine at covering this difficult field, some of which even publish their own new research.

One reason that New York Times coverage of testing isn't very good these days (barely over a 4 on a 1 to 9 scale, while I scored about a 7) is because it's generally not assigned to the Science and Medicine staffs, which have a lot of solid veteran reporters. It seems like the beat is usually covered by a combination of Education, National, Opinion, Business, Legal, and Local writers, few of whom know much about this complex subject.

The Local kindergarten IQ test stories are probably consistently the best testing coverage that the NYT does, because subscribers want the straight scoop on how to get their kids into a $40,000 per year kindergarten.

On most else, however, subscribers just seem to want to know what the right kind of people think so that they can think the same thing too. Knowing what you are supposed to think makes conversations go much more smoothly at fundraising receptions for parents of toddlers who got into expensive kindergartens that use the Wechsler IQ test for admissions.

Beyond all that, there's the issue of mastery. Personally, I find cognitive testing to be cognitively challenging to understand. I'm just barely intelligent enough to write about intelligence. It takes a lot of work to move from the point where you have to rely upon fluid intelligence to where you can skate by on crystallized intelligence. It's not surprising that people who drop in on the subject briefly during their quick stint at the Education desk seem particularly baffled. 


Glanton said...

Frankly I'm surprised that intellectual heavyweights like Slate and Gawker didn't top the list.

Anonymous said...

Neutered boy. Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

"It seems like the beat is usually covered by a combination of Education, National, Opinion, Business, Legal, and Local writers, few of whom know much about this complex subject."

Or they know but don't want us to know.

If a scientist says something that is blatantly false, it's egg on his face.
But non-science fields are about spin-n-win than speak-the-truth. Outside science, there is no obligation to deal with facts and speak the truth.

Anonymous said...

Independent vs. Dependent media?

Anonymous said...

American TV shows are shaping how foreign ELITES see America?

My head hurts.

Anonymous said...

"Despite enormous casualties, including members of U.S. law enforcement, the turmoil in Mexico does not receive nearly the level of scrutiny or attention from the U.S. government that conflicts in other countries do. During six hours of presidential debate in the 2012 campaign, for example, there was not a single direct mention of Mexico."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The decline in judged accuracy of mainstream outlets is striking. Unfortunately, because of the small response size, it's difficult to tell whether this is because the mainstream sources really have gotten worse, or because the respondents in this survey were not representative.

Pat Boyle said...

Please, no more of the ersatz humility.

I read your column-blog because you are smart. Like Barack Obama you refuse to publish your relevant test scores but I suspect that you are at least a triple niner and maybe a quad sigma-er. Fess up.

I also don't think IQ is a particularly difficult subject. I'm not completely sure as to how to measure how mentally challenging various subjects are and how to rank them. But you may figure that one out - you're smart.

Let me give you some hints. I was an econ major in college for awhile. I make it a point of reading a book or two on economics every year. But I'll admit some econ books are beyond me or at least my capacity to suffer more learning. They are much less easy to understand than anything written by Jensen or Rushton.

I took a lot of statistics in college and grad school. I also took some more stat classes at Berkeley years later. I taught stat for years. But I found that I couldn't follow all the arguments on the 'Climate Audit' website. Steve McIntyre's stat was just so much better than mine.
I've never felt anything like that reading your blog.

I'm interested in genetics but not particularly well informed. Last week I read a column by Gregory Cochran which revealed to me that I had always fundamentally misunderstood the concept of genetic bottleneck. Oops.

I don't think I can be surprised like that about anything to do with IQ. I went into psychology because I thought it was easy and had a lot of girls. Right on both counts. IQ is about the only real concept in academic psychology. But it's only one idea and it's not that tricky.

I remember sitting on the lawn in the sunshine at San Francisco State and deciding not to get a Masters in Psychology. I realized way back then that there was more than enough evidence for everyone to believe in the IQ differences among the races. No new discoveries were needed. It wasn't a matter of rolling back ignorance. It was overcoming resistance. The public resisted understanding IQ - resisted hard.

You score so high in that IQ journalism study because you simply recount the bald facts - not because IQ is such a difficult issue and you have been the only one smart enough to master it.

The quality you are looking for in your self is not brains but rather balls. `

I started up a weekly video series a few months ago. I wanted to express my views on controversial subjects. I found that I was afraid of the exposure. I procrastinated about mounting my little video on the Tuskegee Airmen for weeks. I lacked the moral courage to say in public what I knew to be true. It was only with the greatest effort that I could manage to post that video.

That surprised me. I thought I was tougher than that.

I don't think what you do is easy but I don't think it's so intellectually difficult that you are in danger of not being up to the mark.


Anonymous said...

Good reporting on intelligence research is rare because intelligence research relies so heavily on statistics. You can't know what you're talking about in this field if you rely solely on natural-language explanations, for example. (Which is also one reason why Gould's claim that psychometrics and factor analysis are just a con game has been so long-lived. People WANT to believe that stuff they don't understand is not worth understanding.)

carol said...

It doesn't matter if you're accurate, as long as you are helpful.

Anonymous said...

2Degrees said...

It seems that your blog is now a little less of a niche outlet that we illuminati read on the sly. Expect some very personal, very unpleasant vilification very soon. I hope you have a thick skin.

Anonymous said...

Sailer did say once that if he could do it all again, he would not use his name. If he does suddenly get a lot of criticism, he should heatedly accuse his critics of racism and insist they apologize to him. They won't have any idea what to do.