Tag Archives: IQ

Kings College London study: Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life

5 Feb

Human Intelligence has a very good summary of the Bell Curve book:

The Bell Curve, published in 1994, was written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray as a work designed to explain, using empirical statistical analysis, the variations in intelligence in American Society, raise some warnings regarding the consequences of this intelligence gap, and propose national social policy with the goal of mitigating the worst of the consequences attributed to this intelligence gap. Many of the assertions put forth and conclusions reached by the authors are very controversial, ranging from the relationships between low measured intelligence and anti-social behavior, to the observed relationship between low African-American test scores (compared to whites and Asians) and genetic factors in intelligence abilities. The book was released and received with a large public response. In the first several months of its release, 400,000 copies of the book were sold around the world. Several thousand reviews and commentaries have been written in the short time since the book’s publication….
The Bell Curve, in its introduction, begins with a brief description of the history of intelligence theory and recent developments in intelligence thought and testing, through the eyes of the authors. The introduction concludes with six important assumptions that the authors build much of the Bell Curve’s case upon. These six assumptions regarding the validity of “classical” cognitive testing techniques include:
There is such a difference as a general factor of cognitive ability on which human beings differ.
All standardized test of academic aptitude or achievement measure this general factor to some degree, but IQ tests expressly designed for that purpose measure it most accurately.
IQ scores match, to a first degree, whatever it is that people mean when they use the word intelligent, or smart in ordinary language.
IQ scores are stable, although not perfectly so, over much of a person’s life.
Properly administered IQ tests are not demonstrably biased against social, economic, ethnic, or racial groups.
Cognitive ability is substantially heritable, apparently no less than 40 percent and no more than 80 percent.
The authors proceed to explain, using classical cognitive test results primarily, to explain how lower levels of measured intelligence impact an individual’s, or indeed an entire class or group of individual’s life in American society. The rest of the book is divided into four major parts. http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/bellcurve.shtml

Needless to say, this book ignited a firestorm.

Cam Soucy wrote an excellent summary of IQ tests for the Livestrong site in the article, What Is the Definition of IQ Test?

History
French psychologist Alfred Binet developed the the first IQ-style tests at the beginning of the 20th century. The first tests were designed only to assess the intelligence of children. The U.S. military relied on intelligence testing to assess and place recruits during World Wars I and II. Psychologist David Wechsler used the military IQ tests as a model in devising his own test in 1949. Today, a group of tests derived from Wechsler’s work are the most widely used IQ tests.
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Tests
The fourth version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, the WISC-IV, was released in 2009. A companion test, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, targets people 16 and older. Other frequently used IQ tests include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the Das-Naglieri Cognitive Assessment System and the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children.
Elements
IQ tests commonly assess the taker’s logical reasoning, math ability, spatial-relations skills, short-term memory and problem-solving skills.
Scoring
IQ tests originally were scored by dividing the subject’s “mental age,” as determined by which questions she answered correctly on the test, by her “chronological age,” her actual age in years, then multiplying that quotient by 100. For example, an 8-year-old child with a mental age of 12 would have an IQ of 125, with the calculation being 12/8 = 1.25, and 1.25 x 100 = 125. A person whose mental age precisely matched his actual age would have an IQ of 100, so a 100 IQ was defined as “average.”
Modern IQ tests no longer use such a formula. They simply compare a person’s test results with those of everyone else in the same age group, on a scale where 100 is defined as average intelligence.
Criticism
Criticism of IQ tests focuses on the content of the tests–that is, the type of questions they ask–and their application. Such areas as vocabulary and “logic” can be strongly influenced by culture and socioeconomics. For example, consider a test that asks what word goes best with “cup”: saucer, plate or bowl. The test may intend “saucer” to be the correct answer. However, a test-taker who grew up in a home where tables weren’t set in a formal fashion might not know what a saucer is. He may be just as “intelligent” as the next person, but his score will suffer because of cultural factors. Authors of IQ tests are continually refining tests to address such concerns; some tests have removed verbal elements entirely.
Even test creators argue that the results are only one tool for assessing a person’s abilities, and that “intelligence” in a person is not a fixed quality, but changeable–even from day to day. In reality, however, people and institutions tend to put great weight on IQ scores. Students have been labeled “learning disabled” based on the outcome of IQ tests alone. As authors revise their tests, they also are revising their instructions to stress the tests’ limited application
http://www.livestrong.com/article/130019-definition-iq-test/

Daniel Willingham, cognitive scientist and a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” His next book, “When Can You Trust The Experts? How to tell good science from bad in education,” http://www.danielwillingham.com/books.html Willingham’s research is crucial for understanding IQ.

Science Daily reported in Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life:

New research shows adults who develop psychotic disorders experience declines in IQ during childhood and adolescence, falling progressively further behind their peers across a range of cognitive abilities. The researchers from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States found falls in IQ start in early childhood, and suggest educational interventions could potentially delay the onset of mental illness.
Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are severe mental illnesses affecting 1-3% of the UK population that cause a range of abnormalities in perception and thinking. The study, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, is the first to track IQ scores and cognitive abilities throughout the entire first two decades of life among individuals who develop psychotic disorders in adulthood.
Dr Josephine Mollon from King’s IoPPN, now with Yale University, said: ‘For individuals with psychotic disorders, cognitive decline does not just begin in adulthood, when individuals start to experience symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, but rather many years prior — when difficulties with intellectual tasks first emerge — and worsen over time. Our results suggest that among adults with a psychotic disorder, the first signs of cognitive decline are apparent as early as age 4.’
Previous studies have shown that deficits in IQ begin many years before hallucinations and delusions first appear in patients with psychotic disorders, but the timing of when these IQ deficits emerge has not been clear. The new study provides the clearest evidence to date of early life cognitive decline in individuals with psychotic disorders.
The study included 4322 UK-based individuals who were followed from 18 months to 20 years old. Those who developed psychotic disorders as adults had normal IQ scores in infancy, but by age 4 their IQ started to decline, and continued to drop throughout childhood, adolescence and early adulthood until they were an average of 15 points lower than their healthy peers… https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180131133348.htm

Citation:

Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life
Date:
January 31, 2018
Source:
King’s College London
Summary:
New research shows adults who develop psychotic disorders experience declines in IQ during childhood and adolescence, falling progressively further behind their peers across a range of cognitive abilities. The researchers found falls in IQ start in early childhood, and suggest educational interventions could potentially delay the onset of mental illness.
Journal Reference:
1. Josephine Mollon, Anthony S. David, Stanley Zammit, Glyn Lewis, Abraham Reichenberg. Course of Cognitive Development From Infancy to Early Adulthood in the Psychosis Spectrum. JAMA Psychiatry, 2018; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4327

Here is the press release from King’s College:

Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life
Posted on 01/02/2018
New research shows adults who develop psychotic disorders experience declines in IQ during childhood and adolescence, falling progressively further behind their peers across a range of cognitive abilities. The researchers from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States found falls in IQ start in early childhood, and suggest educational interventions could potentially delay the onset of mental illness.
Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are severe mental illnesses affecting 1-3% of the UK population that cause a range of abnormalities in perception and thinking. The study, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, is the first to track IQ scores and cognitive abilities throughout the entire first two decades of life among individuals who develop psychotic disorders in adulthood.
Dr Josephine Mollon from King’s IoPPN, now with Yale University, said: ‘For individuals with psychotic disorders, cognitive decline does not just begin in adulthood, when individuals start to experience symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, but rather many years prior – when difficulties with intellectual tasks first emerge – and worsen over time. Our results suggest that among adults with a psychotic disorder, the first signs of cognitive decline are apparent as early as age 4.’
Previous studies have shown that deficits in IQ begin many years before hallucinations and delusions first appear in patients with psychotic disorders, but the timing of when these IQ deficits emerge has not been clear. The new study provides the clearest evidence to date of early life cognitive decline in individuals with psychotic disorders.
The study included 4322 UK-based individuals who were followed from 18 months to 20 years old. Those who developed psychotic disorders as adults had normal IQ scores in infancy, but by age 4 their IQ started to decline, and continued to drop throughout childhood, adolescence and early adulthood until they were an average of 15 points lower than their healthy peers.
As well as falling behind in IQ, individuals who developed psychotic disorders lagged increasingly behind their peers in cognitive abilities such as working memory, processing speed and attention.
IQ scores fluctuate among healthy individuals, and not all children struggling at school are at risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders. Senior author Dr Abraham Reichenberg, Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and with King’s IoPPN said: ‘It is important to bear in mind that many children will experience some difficulties with schoolwork or other intellectual tasks at some point in their lives, and only a small minority will go on to develop a psychotic disorder.’
The results suggest that adults who develop psychotic disorders do not go through a deterioration in cognitive function, but instead they fail to keep up with normal developmental processes. Early interventions to improve cognitive abilities may potentially help stave off psychotic symptoms from developing in later life.
‘There are early interventions offered to adolescents and young adults with psychosis,’ said Dr Reichenberg. ‘Our results show the potential importance of interventions happening much earlier in life. Intervening in childhood or early adolescence may prevent cognitive abilities from worsening and this may even delay or prevent illness onset.’
The researchers are now examining changes in the brains of individuals who go on to develop psychotic disorders, as well as potential environmental and genetic risk factors that may predispose individuals to poor cognition.
The study was funded by the Medical Research Council, and the data was drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
Notes to editors
Paper reference:
‘Course of Cognitive Development From Infancy to Early Adulthood in the Psychosis Spectrum’ by Mollon et al., JAMA Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4327
To contact the authors, or for further media information, please contact: Robin Bisson, Senior Press Officer, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, robin.bisson@kcl.ac.uk / +44 20 7848 5377 / +44 7718 697176. +45 87165358

Here are some key findings of Intelligence: New Findings and Theoretical

Developments. American Psychologist. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026699 which deal directly with the Bell Curve:
Stress, Intelligence, and Social Class
One factor that Neisser and colleagues (1996) did not deal with extensively is stress. Chronic, continuous stress—what can be considered as “toxic” stress—is injurious over time to organ systems, including the brain. Chronically high levels of stress hormones damage specific areas of the brain—namely, the neural circuitry of PFC and hippocampus—that are important for regulating attention and for short-term memory, long-term memory, and working memory (McEwen, 2000). Although the extent to which the effect of early stress on brain development and stress physiology may affect the development of intelligence is not currently known, we do know that (a) stress is greater in low-income home environments (Evans, 2004) and (b) a low level of stress is important for self-regulation and early learning in school (Blair & Razza, 2007; Ferrer & McArdle, 2004; Ferrer et al., 2007). Research suggests that part of the Black–White IQ gap may be attributable to the fact that Blacks, on average, tend to live in more stressful environments than do Whites. This is particularly the case in urban environments, where Black children are exposed to multiple stressors. Sharkey (2010), for example, has recently found that Black children living in Chicago (ages 5–17) scored between 0.5 and 0.66 SD worse on tests (both the WISC-Revised and the Wide Range Achievement Test-3) in the aftermath of a homicide in their neighborhood. Sharkey’s data show that debilitating effects were evident among children regardless of whether they were witnesses to the homicide or had simply heard about it. An impressive study by Eccleston (2011) indicates that even stress on the pregnant mother may have enduring effects on her children. The children born to women in New York City who were in the first six months of pregnancy when 9/11 occurred had lower birth weights than children born before 9/11 or well after it, and the boys at the age of six were more than 7% more likely to be in special education and more than 15% more likely to be in kindergarten rather than first grade. Oddly, girls’ academic status was unaffected by mothers’ stress. Investigation of relations between early stress and intelligence thus seems an important direction for future research. A particularly important issue concerns the degree to which the effects of stress on the brain are reversible. These five unresolved issues are merely examples of some of the important contemporary paradoxes and unknowns in intelligence research. It is to be hoped that as much progress on these and other issues will be made in the next 15 years as has been made on some of the paradoxes and unknowns since the time of the Neisser et al. (1996) review.

IQ is not a simple concept and this newest research points to more questions than answers.

Children will have the most success in school, if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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University of California Santa Barbara study: Environmental intervention can raise general intelligence, but the effects aren’t permanent

20 Mar

Because of changes in family structure and the fact that many children are now being raised by single parents, who often lack the time or resources to care for them, we as a society must make children and education a priority, even in a time of lack. I know that many of the conservative persuasion will harp on about personal responsibility, yada, yada, yada. Moi promotes birth control and condoms, so don’t harp on that. Fact is children, didn’t ask to be born to any particular parent or set of parents.

Jonathan Cohn reported about an unprecedented experiment which occurred in Romanian orphanages in the New Republic article, The Two Year Window. There are very few experiments involving humans because of ethical considerations.

Nelson had traveled to Romania to take part in a cutting-edge experiment. It was ten years after the fall of the Communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, whose scheme for increasing the country’s population through bans on birth control and abortion had filled state-run institutions with children their parents couldn’t support. Images from the orphanages had prompted an outpouring of international aid and a rush from parents around the world to adopt the children. But ten years later, the new government remained convinced that the institutions were a good idea—and was still warehousing at least 60,000 kids, some of them born after the old regime’s fall, in facilities where many received almost no meaningful human interaction. With backing from the MacArthur Foundation, and help from a sympathetic Romanian official, Nelson and colleagues from Harvard, Tulane, and the University of Maryland prevailed upon the government to allow them to remove some of the children from the orphanages and place them with foster families. Then, the researchers would observe how they fared over time in comparison with the children still in the orphanages. They would also track a third set of children, who were with their original parents, as a control group.

In the field of child development, this study—now known as the Bucharest Early Intervention Project—was nearly unprecedented. Most such research is performed on animals, because it would be unethical to expose human subjects to neglect or abuse. But here the investigators were taking a group of children out of danger. The orphanages, moreover, provided a sufficiently large sample of kids, all from the same place and all raised in the same miserable conditions. The only variable would be the removal from the institutions, allowing researchers to isolate the effects of neglect on the brain….

Drury, Nelson, and their collaborators are still learning about the orphans. But one upshot of their work is already clear. Childhood adversity can damage the brain as surely as inhaling toxic substances or absorbing a blow to the head can. And after the age of two, much of that damage can be difficult to repair, even for children who go on to receive the nurturing they were denied in their early years. This is a revelation with profound implication—and not just for the Romanian orphans.

APPROXIMATELY SEVEN MILLION American infants, toddlers, and preschoolers get care from somebody other than a relative, whether through organized day care centers or more informal arrangements, according to the Census Bureau. And much of that care is not very good. One widely cited study of child care in four states, by researchers in Colorado, found that only 8 percent of infant care centers were of “good” or “excellent” quality, while 40 percent were “poor.” The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has found that three in four infant caregivers provide only minimal cognitive and language stimulation—and that more than half of young children in non-maternal care receive “only some” or “hardly any” positive caregiving. http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/magazine/97268/the-two-year-window?page=0,0&passthru=YzBlNDJmMmRkZTliNDgwZDY4MDhhYmIwMjYyYzhlMjg

Because the ranks of poor children are growing in the U.S., this study portends some grave challenges not only for particular children, but this society and this country. Adequate early learning opportunities and adequate early parenting is essential for proper development in children.

Science Daily reported in IQ and fade-out effect: Environmental intervention can raise general intelligence, but the effects aren’t permanent:

Scientists have long agreed that we humans are a complex combination of our inherited traits and the environments in which we are raised. How the scales tip in one direction or the other, however, is still the subject of much debate.

To better understand the nature versus nurture question, UC Santa Barbara psychologist John Protzko analyzed an existing study to determine whether and how environmental interventions impacted the intelligence levels of low birth weight children.

The key finding: Interventions did raise intelligence levels, but not permanently. When the interventions ended, their effects diminished over time in what psychologists describe as “the fadeout effect.” The research is highlighted in the journal Intelligence.

“Certain environmental interventions can raise general intelligence,” said Protzko, a postdoctoral scholar in the META (Memory, Emotion, Thought, Awareness) Lab in UCSB’s Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences. “It’s not just pushing scores around on a test; it’s deep changes to underlying general intelligence. The fadeout effect, however, applies the same way.” Scientists make a distinction between IQ scores, a quantitative measure of intelligence, and general intelligence, which reflects underlying cognitive abilities.

Protzko reviewed the results of the Infant Health and Development Program involving 985 children, all of whom experienced an intense and cognitively demanding environment during the first three years of their lives. Three main interventions had been employed to ameliorate the negative effects of being born at low birth weight.

At age 3, the children were given the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales as a baseline measure of their intelligence. At ages 5 and 8 — at least two years after the interventions had ended — they were again given intelligence tests.

The results showed that the interventions had raised the children’s general intelligence at age 3. However, by age 5 the increases were no longer evident. According to Protzko, this demonstrates that the fadeout effect applies to general intelligence…..                                                                             https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160314151645.htm

Citation:

IQ and fade-out effect: Environmental intervention can raise general intelligence, but the effects aren’t permanent

Date: March 14, 2016

Source: University of California – Santa Barbara

Summary:

A psychologist shows that while environmental intervention can raise general intelligence, the effects aren’t permanent.

Journal Reference:

  1. John Protzko. Does the raising IQ-raising g distinction explain the fadeout effect? Intelligence, 2016; 56: 65 DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2016.02.008

Here is the press release from UC Santa Barbara:

Nature Versus Nurture

A psychologist shows that while environmental intervention can raise general intelligence, the effects aren’t permanent

By Julie Cohen

Monday, March 14, 2016 – 10:15

Santa Barbara, CA

Scientists have long agreed that we humans are a complex combination of our inherited traits and the environments in which we are raised. How the scales tip in one direction or the other, however, is still the subject of much debate.

To better understand the nature versus nurture question, UC Santa Barbara psychologist John Protzko analyzed an existing study to determine whether and how environmental interventions impacted the intelligence levels of low birth weight children.

The key finding: Interventions did raise intelligence levels, but not permanently. When the interventions ended, their effects diminished over time in what psychologists describe as “the fadeout effect.” The research is highlighted in the journal Intelligence.

“Certain environmental interventions can raise general intelligence,” said Protzko, a postdoctoral scholar in the META (Memory, Emotion, Thought, Awareness) Lab in UCSB’s Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences. “It’s not just pushing scores around on a test; it’s deep changes to underlying general intelligence. The fadeout effect, however, applies the same way.” Scientists make a distinction between IQ scores, a quantitative measure of intelligence, and general intelligence, which reflects underlying cognitive abilities.

Protzko reviewed the results of the Infant Health and Development Program involving 985 children, all of whom experienced an intense and cognitively demanding environment during the first three years of their lives. Three main interventions had been employed to ameliorate the negative effects of being born at low birth weight.

At age 3, the children were given the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales as a baseline measure of their intelligence. At ages 5 and 8 — at least two years after the interventions had ended — they were again given intelligence tests.

The results showed that the interventions had raised the children’s general intelligence at age 3. However, by age 5 the increases were no longer evident. According to Protzko, this demonstrates that the fadeout effect applies to general intelligence.

He also noted that this difference in intelligence at ages 3 and 5 underscored another issue: causality. One theory regarding the development of intelligence suggests that the trait can be correlated between two ages because there is a causal connection: Intelligence at one age causes intelligence at another age.

“However, my analysis starts to bring evidence to the idea that intelligence may not be the causal factor we suppose it to be from the correlation work — at least not in children,” Protzko explained. “It’s unlikely that given an increase in intelligence, I would live my life any differently than I do right now. This work will have to be done in adults to really pull that apart, but I think that this analysis starts to bring evidence against that idea of causality.”

This is the second of two papers Protzko has published on the fadeout effect. Both highlight the unidirectional reaction model, which suggests that intelligence can adapt to meet increased environmental demands but when those demands are no longer present, it returns to its previous level.

“Raising IQ is not an instance of raising test scores with no concomitant effects on the latent underlying intelligence,” Protzko said. “While both IQ scores and general intelligence can be raised through targeted environmental interventions, any gains are not permanent and fade over time.

Nonetheless, he noted, his analysis doesn’t indicate that interventions aimed at enhancing intellectual development are useless or doomed to fail. “I believe it is still a good thing to intervene and try to change the trajectory for these children,” he said.

Contact Info: 

Julie Cohen
(805) 893-7220
julie.cohen@ucsb.edu

– See more at: http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2016/016561/nature-versus-nurture#sthash.qVhkHruG.dpuf

Moi has never met an illegitimate child, she has met plenty of illegitimate parents. People that are so ill-prepared for the parent role that had they been made responsible for an animal, PETA would picket their house. We are at a point in society where we have to say don’t have children you can’t care for. There is no quick, nor easy fix for the children who start behind in life because they are the product of two other people’s choice, whether an informed choice or not. All parents should seek positive role models for their children. For single mothers who are parenting boys, they must seek positive male role models to be a part of their son’s life. Boys and girls of all ages should think before they procreate and men should give some thought about what it means to be a father before they become baby daddy.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Columbia University study: Common household chemicals link to drop in child IQ

14 Dec

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. Science Daily reported in Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ:

Children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of two common chemicals found in the home–di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) and di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP)–had an IQ score, on average, more than six points lower than children exposed at lower levels, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The study is the first to report a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and IQ in school-age children. Results appear online in the journal PLOS ONE.

DnBP and DiBP are found in a wide variety of consumer products, from dryer sheets to vinyl fabrics to personal care products like lipstick, hairspray, and nail polish, even some soaps. Since 2009, several phthalates have been banned from children’s toys and other childcare articles in the United States. However, no steps have been taken to protect the developing fetus by alerting pregnant women to potential exposures. In the U.S., phthalates are rarely listed as ingredients on products in which they are used.

Researchers followed 328 New York City women and their children from low-income communities. They assessed the women’s exposure to four phthalates–DnBP, DiBP, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, and diethyl phthalate–in the third trimester of pregnancy by measuring levels of the chemicals’ metabolites in urine. Children were given IQ tests at age 7.

Children of mothers exposed during pregnancy to the highest 25 percent of concentrations of DnBP and DiBP had IQs 6.6 and 7.6 points lower, respectively, than children of mothers exposed to the lowest 25 percent of concentrations after controlling for factors like maternal IQ, maternal education, and quality of the home environment that are known to influence child IQ scores. The association was also seen for specific aspects of IQ, such as perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed. The researchers found no associations between the other two phthalates and child IQ.

The range of phthalate metabolite exposures measured in the mothers was not unusual: it was within what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observed in a national sample.
“Pregnant women across the United States are exposed to phthalates almost daily, many at levels similar to those that we found were associated with substantial reductions in the IQ of children,” says lead author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School.
“The magnitude of these IQ differences is troubling,” says senior author Robin Whyatt, DrPH, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and deputy director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School. “A six- or seven-point decline in IQ may have substantial consequences for academic achievement and occupational potential.”

PSYBLOG lists common household items in 8 Household Items Newly Found to Lower Children’s IQ Significantly:

Avoiding phthalates
While it is impossible to avoid phthalates completely, they are found in these common products, amongst others:
• Hairspray.
• Plastic containers used for microwaving food.
• Lipstick.
• Air fresheners.
• Dryer sheets.
• Nail polish.
• Some soaps.
• Recycled plastics labelled 3,6 or 7.
http://www.spring.org.uk/2014/12/8-household-items-newly-found-to-lower-childrens-iq-significantly.php

Citation:

Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ
Date: December 10, 2014

Source: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

Summary:
Children exposed during pregnancy to elevated levels of two common chemicals found in the home — di-n-butyl phthalate and di-isobutyl phthalate — had an IQ score, on average, more than six points lower than children exposed at lower levels, according to researchers. The study is the first to report a link between prenatal exposure to phthalates and IQ in school-age children. While avoiding all phthalates in the United States is for now impossible, the researchers recommend that pregnant women take steps to limit exposure by not microwaving food in plastics, avoiding scented products as much as possible, including air fresheners, and dryer sheets, and not using recyclable plastics labeled as 3, 6, or 7. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141210140823.htm
Persistent Associations between Maternal Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates on Child IQ at Age 7 Years
• Pam Factor-Litvak mail,
• Beverly Insel,
• Antonia M. Calafat,
• Xinhua Liu,
• Frederica Perera,
• Virginia A. Rauh,
• Robin M. Whyatt
• Published: December 10, 2014
• DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114003

Abstract
Background
Prior research reports inverse associations between maternal prenatal urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and mental and motor development in preschoolers. No study evaluated whether these associations persist into school age.
Methods
In a follow up of 328 inner-city mothers and their children, we measured prenatal urinary metabolites of di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP), butylbenzyl phthalate (BBzP), di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP), di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate and diethyl phthalate in late pregnancy. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition was administered at child age 7 years and evaluates four areas of cognitive function associated with overall intelligence quotient (IQ).
Results
Child full-scale IQ was inversely associated with prenatal urinary metabolite concentrations of DnBP and DiBP: b = −2.69 (95% confidence interval [CI] = −4.33, −1.05) and b = −2.69 (95% CI = −4.22, −1.16) per log unit increase. Among children of mothers with the highest versus lowest quartile DnBP and DiBP metabolite concentrations, IQ was 6.7 (95% CI = 1.9, 11.4) and 7.6 (95% CI = 3.2, 12.1) points lower, respectively. Associations were unchanged after control for cognition at age 3 years. Significant inverse associations were also seen between maternal prenatal metabolite concentrations of DnBP and DiBP and child processing speed, perceptual reasoning and working memory; DiBP and child verbal comprehension; and BBzP and child perceptual reasoning.

Conclusion
Maternal prenatal urinary metabolite concentrations measured in late pregnancy of DnBP and DiBP are associated with deficits in children’s intellectual development at age 7 years. Because phthalate exposures are ubiquitous and concentrations seen here within the range previously observed among general populations, results are of public health significance. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0114003

Saundra Young of CNN wrote about toxic chemicals in ‘Putting the next generation of brains in danger.’

According to Young there are several types of chemicals which pose a danger:

The best example of this, he said, is cosmetics and phthalates. Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products from cosmetics, perfume, hair spray, soap and shampoos to plastic and vinyl toys, shower curtains, miniblinds, food containers and plastic wrap.
You can also find them in plastic plumbing pipes, medical tubing and fluid bags, vinyl flooring and other building materials. They are used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.
In Europe, cosmetics don’t contain phthalates, but here in the United States some do.
Phthalates previously were used in pacifiers, soft rattles and teethers. But in 1999, after a push from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American companies stopped using them in those products.
“We certainly have the capability, it’s a matter of political will,” Landrigan said. “We have tried in this country over the last decade to pass chemical safety legislation but the chemical industry and their supporters have successfully beat back the effort.”
However, the Food and Drug Administration said two of the most common phthalates, — dibutylphthalate, or DBP, used as a plasticizer in products such as nail polishes to reduce cracking by making them less brittle, and dimethylphthalate, or DMP used in hairsprays — are now rarely used in this country.
Diethylphthalate, or DEP, used in fragrances, is the only phthalate still used in cosmetics, the FDA said.
“It’s not clear what effect, if any, phthalates have on human health,” according to the FDA’s website. “An expert panel convened from 1998 to 2000 by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), part of the National Institute for Environmental Safety and Health, concluded that reproductive risks from exposure to phthalates were minimal to negligible in most cases….” http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/14/health/chemicals-children-brains/

See, Helping to protect children from the harmful effects of chemicals http://www.who.int/ipcs/highlights/children_chemicals/en/

Children will have the most success in school, if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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Promoting positive peer pressure: The Posse Foundation

7 Jun

Moi wrote in It’s the culture and the values, stupid:
Every week in the Seattle Stranger there is a column I, Anonymous , which gives one reader the chance to rant anonymously about any topic or person that has provoked such a reaction that venting and a good old fashion rant is necessary. Sometimes, the rants are poetic or touching. Most of the time, they are just plain hilarious. This is a past rant, which is from a teacher, not an educator:

I say hello with a big smile every morning as you shuffle in the door, but I secretly seethe with hatred for almost each and every one of you. Your stupidity and willful ignorance know no bounds. I have seen a lot of morons in my 10 years of teaching high school, but you guys take the cake. Your intellectual curiosity is nonexistent, your critical thinking skills are on par with that of a head trauma victim, and for a group of people who have never accomplished anything in their lives, you sure have a magnified sense of entitlement. I often wonder if your parents still wipe your asses for you, because you certainly don’t seem to be able to do anything on your own.
A handful of you are nice, sweet kids. That small group will go on and live a joyful and intellectual life filled with love, adventure, and discovery. The vast majority of you useless fuckwits will waste your life and follow in the footsteps of your equally pathetic parents. Enjoy your future of wage slavery and lower-middle-class banality.
Amazing how teachers are blamed for the state of education in this country. Look what you give us to work with. I am done trying to teach the unteachable.

Moi doesn’t blame most teachers for the state of education in this country, but puts the blame on the culture and the unprepared and disengaged parents that culture has produced. Moi also blames a culture of moral relativism as well which says there really are no preferred options. There are no boundaries, I can do what I feel is right for ME. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/04/its-the-culture-and-the-values-stupid/

Carolee J. Adams reported in the Education Week article, Posse program puts social motivation to good use:

The Posse Foundation chooses diverse groups of high school seniors from nine major cities who have strong leadership skills and academic potential but who may not have stellar test scores and could be overlooked in the traditional college-selection process. Besides New York, the cities involved are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, and Washington. The selected students are given full-tuition scholarships by one of 51 elite partner institutions, including Vanderbilt University in Nashville; Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and the University of California, Berkeley. Last year, 15,000 students were nominated by their schools for 670 scholarships, which are not need-based.
It’s a sought-after scholarship, in part because of the results. While typical college-graduation rates hover around 57 percent, about 90 percent of Posse scholars finish in four years. And nearly 80 percent of Posse scholars have either founded an organization or been the president of an existing organization on campus.
The foundation has basked in some high-level attention of late. President Barack Obama mentioned the success of a Posse scholar in this year’s State of the Union Address and highlighted the foundation’s work at the recent White House summit on college access for disadvantaged students.
Rooted in Research
Research shows that cohort models and learning communities can help students academically and socially.
“Students who share an experience together, especially an educational one, tend to do better together,” said Vincent Tinto, the author of “Completing College: Rethinking Institutional Action” and a professor emeritus at Syracuse University, in New York. It’s critical to focus efforts on helping students get off to a solid start in the beginning of college, said Mr. Tinto. Of all students who leave college before getting a degree, nearly half do so before the start of the second year, he added.
The Posse Foundation is one of many initiatives that use social levers to motivate students. The nonprofit College for Every Student, based in Essex, N.Y., works with 20,000 students in 24 states to promote student success through peer mentoring and leadership training. The St. Paul, Minn.-based College Possible helps groups of low-income students navigate the college-application process together and extends that support with coaches through the first year of college. And, in an effort to retain students, campuses are trying peer-mentoring programs, among other interventions, to nurture perseverance…. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/06/05/34peerpower.h33.html?intc=EW-DPCT14-EWH

Here is a bit about the Posse Program:

College Access and Leadership Development
Founded in 1989, Posse identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. Posse extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—Posses—of 10 students. Posse partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships.
A worthwhile investment
For 25 years, Posse partner colleges and universities have welcomed Posse Scholars onto their campuses. They have awarded an incredible $687 million in leadership scholarships to these young people and have seen their success not only as leaders on campus, but in these students’ 90 percent persistence and graduation rate. Posse’s partners are investing time, energy and resources in the promotion of equity in education and social justice. They believe in the intelligence, talent and dreams of young people who might not always show up on their radar screens, and are giving them a chance to excel. http://www.possefoundation.org/about-posse

Here is a bit about the career component:

Preparing Scholars to excel in the workforce
One of the primary aims of The Posse Foundation is to train the leaders of tomorrow. The Career Program provides Posse Scholars with the tools and opportunities needed to secure the most competitive and career-enhancing internships and jobs. In order to achieve this, Posse partners with exceptional companies and organizations worldwide. The Career Program has three core components: 1) The Internship Program, 2) Career Services, and 3) The Alumni Network.
Internship Program
The Career Program is a powerful way for industry-leading companies and organizations to make a significant contribution to the development of tomorrow’s leaders. Posse partners with these organizations, which in turn provide meaningful internship opportunities to Posse Scholars. These internships are essential to Scholars’ professional development and success. Many of these Career Partners offer a comprehensive program involving mentorship, professional development opportunities and performance evaluations. Posse currently has more than 175 career partners.
SCHOLARS
To apply for the Posse Summer Leadership Award, visit the Posse Job/Internship Board to review the guidelines for your Posse city. You will need to upload your resume and a completed PSLA application form onto the Posse Job/Internship Board for your application to be complete.
Career Services
Career Services offers career planning assistance to Posse Scholars. The Career Program develops workshops that focus on resume writing, interviewing skills and other professional development areas. These sessions are offered during the summer and winter breaks. This component aims to educate Posse Scholars about potential careers and to guide them through the process, from targeting an industry to securing a job.
Alumni Network
Posse alumni remain actively involved with the Foundation. As leaders, they are succeeding in a variety of fields in the workforce. Posse alumni are doctors, teachers, engineers, graduate students, lawyers, social workers and bankers. Of Posse alumni with two or more years of professional experience, 41 percent have a graduate degree or are currently pursuing a graduate degree. Posse alumni also act as an excellent resource for each other and for current Posse Scholars. http://www.possefoundation.org/our-career-program

In Paul E. Peterson will piss you off, you might want to listen, moi said:
Moi has been saying for decades that the optimum situation for raising children is a two-parent family for a variety of reasons. This two-parent family is an economic unit with the prospect of two incomes and a division of labor for the chores necessary to maintain the family structure. Parents also need a degree of maturity to raise children, after all, you and your child should not be raising each other.

Moi said this in Hard truths: The failure of the family:
This is a problem which never should have been swept under the carpet and if the chattering classes, politicians, and elite can’t see the magnitude of this problem, they are not just brain dead, they are flat-liners. There must be a new women’s movement, this time it doesn’t involve the “me first” philosophy of the social “progressives” or the elite who in order to validate their own particular life choices espouse philosophies that are dangerous or even poisonous to those who have fewer economic resources. This movement must urge women of color to be responsible for their reproductive choices. They cannot have children without having the resources both financial and having a committed partner. For all the talk of genocide involving the response and aftermath of Katrina, the real genocide is self-inflicted. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/hard-truths-the-failure-of-the-family/ It is interesting that the ruling elites do not want to touch the issue of unwed births with a ten thousand foot pole. After all, that would violate some one’s right to _____. Let moi fill in the blank, the right to be stupid, probably live in poverty, and not be able to give your child the advantages that a more prepared parent can give a child because to tell you to your face that you are an idiot for not using birth control is not P.C. https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/paul-e-peterson-will-piss-you-off-you-might-want-to-listen/

It will not be popular on many fronts to acknowledge that motivation and effort are also part of the academic achievement solution.

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Report: Motivation and study key elements in math learning

1 Jan

Moi has written about the importance of motivation in student learning. In Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, moi wrote:

Moi often says education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. A series of papers about student motivation by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) follows the Council on Foreign Relations report by Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein.

https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/research-papers-student-motivation-an-overlooked-piece-of-school-reform/

See, Motivation is increasingly researched as a key ingredient in student achievement https://drwilda.com/2012/10/02/motivation-is-increasingly-researched-as-a-key-ingredient-in-student-achievement/

CEP’s report is Student Motivation: School Reform’s Missing Ingredient.

Here is a portion of the press release:

Student Motivation: School Reform’s Missing Ingredient

CEP Report Summarizes Research on Understanding, Spurring Motivation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 22, 2012 – A series of papers by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) underscores the need for teachers, schools, parents and communities to pay more attention to the role of student motivation in school reform. While there is no single strategy that works to motivate all students, or even the same student in all contexts, the many different sources reviewed by CEP suggest various approaches that can help improve student motivation, the report finds.

For example, programs that tailor support to individual students who are at risk of losing motivation, that foster “college-going” cultures in middle and high schools, or that partner wit low-income parents to create more stimulating home learning environments can increase motivation, the report notes, but only if they incorporate factors that research has shown to be effective.

The CEP report, Student Motivation—An Overlooked Piece of School Reform, pulls together findings about student motivation from decades of major research conducted by scholars, organizations, and practitioners. The six accompanying background papers examine a range of themes and approaches, from the motivational power of video games and social media to the promise and pitfalls of paying students for good grades… The summary paper, six background reports, and an appendix table outlining the major theories of motivation are available for free at http://www.cep-dc.org. For further information, contact Ali Diallo at 301-656-0348 or ali@thehatchergroup.com.

Summary Paper – Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform (PDF format, 598 KB) *
Background paper 4 – What roles do parent involvement, family background, and culture play in studen (PDF format, 155 KB) *
Background paper 2 – Can money or other rewards motivate students? (PDF format, 188 KB) *
Background paper 3 – Can goals motivate students? (PDF format, 247 KB) *
(PDF format, 172 KB) *
Background paper 5 – What can schools do to motivate students? (PDF format, 237 KB) *
Background paper 6 – What nontraditional approaches can motivate unenthusiastic students? (PDF format, 244 KB) *
Appendix – Theories of motivation (PDF format, 69.4 KB) *
Press Release (PDF format, 41.3 KB) *

The report discusses the role of parents.

Tia Ghose of LiveScience writes in the article, Math Skills In Children Attributed To Motivation And Study Techniques–Not IQ Score, Study Shows which was posted at Huffington Post.

Looks like Tiger Mom had it half-right: Motivation to work hard and good study techniques, not IQ, lead to better math skills, a new study shows. 

But there’s a catch: The findings, published this month in the journal Child Development, show that keeping children’s heads in the math books by force probably won’t help.

The analysis of more than 3,500 German children found those who started out solidly in the middle of the pack in 5th grade could jump to the 63rd percentile by 8th grade if they were very motivated and used effective learning strategies, said lead author Kou Murayama, a psychology researcher at the University of California Los Angeles.

“The growth in math achievement was predicted by motivation and learning strategies,” Murayama told LiveScience. “Given that IQ did not show this kind of effect, we think this is impressive.”

Math on the brain

Just how innate math skills are is a controversial question. Some studies show that math skills emerge in babies, while others show that culture plays a huge role in shaping those skills.

For instance, men consistently outperform women on standardized math tests. But those differences may be due to math anxiety, or cultural influences, other studies have shown.

And in opinion surveys, people in Eastern countries often rate effort as most important to math ability, while Westerners typically say math ability is inborn. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/30/math-skills-children-motivation-study-iq_n_2382036.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education

Citation:

Predicting Long-Term Growth in Students’ Mathematics Achievement: The Unique Contributions of Motivation and Cognitive Strategies

  1. Kou Murayama1,*,
  2. Reinhard Pekrun1,
  3. Stephanie Lichtenfeld1,
  4. Rudolf vom Hofe2

Article first published online: 20 DEC 2012

DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12036

© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.

Additional Information(Show All)

How to CiteAuthor InformationPublication HistoryFunding Information

  1. This study was supported by an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship (to K. Murayama) and four grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG; to R. Pekrun, Project for the Analysis of Learning and Achievement in Mathematics, PALMA; PE 320/11-1, PE 320/11-2, PE 320/11-3, PE 320/11-4).

It will not be popular on many fronts to acknowledge that motivation and effort are also part of the academic achievement solution.

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IQ might not be the best measure of intelligence

29 Dec

Moi wrote about IQ tests in After the Bell Curve: Research starts the conversation about IQ, again:

Cam Soucy has written an excellent summary of IQ tests for the Livestrong site in the article, What Is the Definition of IQ Test?

History

French psychologist Alfred Binet developed the the first IQ-style tests at the beginning of the 20th century. The first tests were designed only to assess the intelligence of children. The U.S. military relied on intelligence testing to assess and place recruits during World Wars I and II. Psychologist David Wechsler used the military IQ tests as a model in devising his own test in 1949. Today, a group of tests derived from Wechsler’s work are the most widely used IQ tests.

Download Free White Paper on assessment and teaching from CTB/McGraw-Hill CTB.com

Tests

The fourth version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, the WISC-IV, was released in 2009. A companion test, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, targets people 16 and older. Other frequently used IQ tests include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the Das-Naglieri Cognitive Assessment System and the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children.

Elements

IQ tests commonly assess the taker’s logical reasoning, math ability, spatial-relations skills, short-term memory and problem-solving skills.

Scoring

IQ tests originally were scored by dividing the subject’s “mental age,” as determined by which questions she answered correctly on the test, by her “chronological age,” her actual age in years, then multiplying that quotient by 100. For example, an 8-year-old child with a mental age of 12 would have an IQ of 125, with the calculation being 12/8 = 1.25, and 1.25 x 100 = 125. A person whose mental age precisely matched his actual age would have an IQ of 100, so a 100 IQ was defined as “average.”
Modern IQ tests no longer use such a formula. They simply compare a person’s test results with those of everyone else in the same age group, on a scale where 100 is defined as average intelligence.

Criticism

Criticism of IQ tests focuses on the content of the tests–that is, the type of questions they ask–and their application. Such areas as vocabulary and “logic” can be strongly influenced by culture and socioeconomics. For example, consider a test that asks what word goes best with “cup”: saucer, plate or bowl. The test may intend “saucer” to be the correct answer. However, a test-taker who grew up in a home where tables weren’t set in a formal fashion might not know what a saucer is. He may be just as “intelligent” as the next person, but his score will suffer because of cultural factors. Authors of IQ tests are continually refining tests to address such concerns; some tests have removed verbal elements entirely.
Even test creators argue that the results are only one tool for assessing a person’s abilities, and that “intelligence” in a person is not a fixed quality, but changeable–even from day to day. In reality, however, people and institutions tend to put great weight on IQ scores. Students have been labeled “learning disabled” based on the outcome of IQ tests alone. As authors revise their tests, they also are revising their instructions to stress the tests’ limited application. http://www.livestrong.com/article/130019-definition-iq-test/

Daniel Willingham, cognitive scientist and a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” His next book, “When Can You Trust The Experts? How to tell good science from bad in education,” will be published in July. He is written an interesting summary of his latest IQ study for the Washington Post.

In IQ: Willingham on the newest thinking, Willingham makes the following comments:

The importance of the environment for IQ is established by the 12 to 18 point increase in IQ observed when children are adopted from working-class to middle-class homes. In most developed countries studied, gains on IQ tests have continued, and they are beginning in the developing world Sex differences in some aspects of intelligence are due partly to biological factors and partly to socialization factors. The IQ gap between blacks and whites in the United States has been reduced by 0.33 standard deviations in recent years. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/iq-willingham-on-the-newest-thinking/2012/05/12/gIQAB9J9JU_blog.html

Here is the citation and abstract of the work Willingham is commenting about:

Nisbett, R. E., Aronson, J., Blair, C., Dickens, W., Flynn, J., Halpern, D. F., & Turkheimer, E.

(2012, January 2). Intelligence: New Findings and Theoretical Developments. American Psychologist. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026699

http://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Nisbett-et-al.-2012.pdf

We review new findings and new theoretical developmentsin the field of intelligence. New findings include the following:

(a) Heritability of IQ varies significantly by social class. (b) Almost no genetic polymorphisms have been discovered that are consistently associated with variation in IQ in the normal range. (c) Much has been learned about the biological underpinnings of intelligence. (d) “Crystallized” and “fluid” IQ are quite different aspects of intelligence at both the behavioral and biological levels. (e) The importance of the environment for IQ is established by the 12-point to 18-point increase in IQ when children are adopted from working-class to middle-class homes. (f) Even when improvements in IQ produced by the most effective early childhood interventions fail to persist, there can be very marked effects on academic achievement and life outcomes. (g) In most developed countries studied,gains on IQ tests have continued, and they are beginning in the developing world. (h) Sex differences in aspects of intelligence are due partly to identifiable biological factors and partly to socialization factors. (i) The IQ gap between Blacks and Whites has been reduced by 0.33 SD in recent years. We report theorizing concerning (a) the relationship between working memory and intelligence, (b) the apparent contradiction between strong heritability effects on IQ and strong secular effects on IQ, (c) whether a general intelligence factor could arise from initially largely independent cognitive skills, (d) the relation between self-regulation and cognitive skills, and (e) the effects of stress on intelligence. https://drwilda.com/2012/05/13/after-the-bell-curve-research-starts-the-conversation-about-iq-again/

IQ is not a simple concept and this newest research points to more questions than answers.

Michelle Castillo of CBS News reports about IQ in IQ scores not accurate marker of intelligence, study shows:

Could IQ scores be a false indicator of intelligence?

Researchers have determined in the largest online study on the intelligence quotient (IQ) that results from the test may not exactly show how smart someone is.

“When we looked at the data, the bottom line is the whole concept of IQ — or of you having a higher IQ than me — is a myth,” Dr. Adrian Owen, the study’s senior investigator and the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at the university’s Brain and Mind Institute said to the Toronto Star. “There is no such thing as a single measure of IQ or a measure of general intelligence.”

More than 100,000 participants joined the study and completed 12 online cognitive tests that examined memory, reasoning, attention and planning abilities. They were also asked about their background and lifestyle.

They found that there was not one single test or component that could accurately judge how well a person could perform mental and cognitive tasks. Instead, they determined there are at least three different components that make up intelligence or a “cognitive profile”: short-term memory, reasoning and a verbal component.

Scientists also scanned participants’ brains with a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine and saw that different cognitive abilities were related to different circuits in the brain, suggesting that the theory that different areas of the brain control certain abilities may be true.

Researchers also discovered that training one’s brain to help perform better cognitively did not help….

For some reason, people who played video games did better on reasoning and short-term memory portions of the test.

However, aging was associated with a decline on memory and reasoning abilities. Those who smoked did worse on short-term memory and verbal portions, while those with anxiety did badly on short-term memory test components.

“We have shown categorically that you cannot sum up the difference between people in terms of one number, and that is really what is important here,” Owen told the CBC…

The study was published in Neuron on Dec. 20.

Here is the citation:

Neuron, Volume 76, Issue 6, 1225-1237, 20 December 2012
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
10.1016/j.neuron.2012.06.022 

Authors

Adam Hampshiresend email, Roger R. Highfield, Beth L. Parkin, Adrian M. OwenSee Affiliations

  • Highlights
  • We propose that human intelligence is composed of multiple independent components
  • Each behavioral component is associated with a distinct functional brain network
  • The higher-order “g” factor is an artifact of tasks recruiting multiple networks
  • The components of intelligence dissociate when correlated with demographic variables

Summary

What makes one person more intellectually able than another? Can the entire distribution of human intelligence be accounted for by just one general factor? Is intelligence supported by a single neural system? Here, we provide a perspective on human intelligence that takes into account how general abilities or “factors” reflect the functional organization of the brain. By comparing factor models of individual differences in performance with factor models of brain functional organization, we demonstrate that different components of intelligence have their analogs in distinct brain networks. Using simulations based on neuroimaging data, we show that the higher-order factor “g” is accounted for by cognitive tasks corecruiting multiple networks. Finally, we confirm the independence of these components of intelligence by dissociating them using questionnaire variables. We propose that intelligence is an emergent property of anatomically distinct cognitive systems, each of which has its own capacity.

The traditional way of looking at intelligence may be limited.

Sarah D. Sparks has written a good synopsis of the report, Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century in the Education Week article, Study: ’21st-Century Learning’ Demands Mix of Abilities:

The committee found these skills generally fall into three categories:

  • Cognitive skills, such as critical thinking and analytic reasoning;

  • Interpersonal skills, such as teamwork and complex communication; and

  • Intrapersonal skills, such as resiliency and conscientiousness (the latter of which has also been strongly associated with good career earnings and healthy lifestyles).

Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond, who was not part of the report committee, said developing common definitions of 21st-century skills is critical to current education policy discussions, such as around Common Core State Standards.

Unless we want to have just a lot of hand-waving on 21st-century skills,” Ms. Darling-Hammond said, “we need to get focused and purposeful on how to learn to teach and measure these skills, both in terms of research investments and in terms of the policies and practice that would allow us to develop and measure these skills.” http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2012/07/study_deeper_learning_needs_st_1.html

The National Research Council has published the report, Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century which looks at transferable knowledge and skills.

The goal is to recognize those who can contribute to society in a positive manner no matter what their raw IQ score happens to be.

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After the Bell Curve: Research starts the conversation about IQ, again

13 May

Human Intelligence has a very good summary of the Bell Curve book:

The Bell Curve, published in 1994, was written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray as a work designed to explain, using empirical statistical analysis, the variations in intelligence in American Society, raise some warnings regarding the consequences of this intelligence gap, and propose national social policy with the goal of mitigating the worst of the consequences attributed to this intelligence gap. Many of the assertions put forth and conclusions reached by the authors are very controversial, ranging from the relationships between low measured intelligence and anti-social behavior, to the observed relationship between low African-American test scores (compared to whites and Asians) and genetic factors in intelligence abilities. The book was released and received with a large public response. In the first several months of its release, 400,000 copies of the book were sold around the world. Several thousand reviews and commentaries have been written in the short time since the book’s publication….

The Bell Curve, in its introduction, begins with a brief description of the history of intelligence theory and recent developments in intelligence thought and testing, through the eyes of the authors. The introduction concludes with six important assumptions that the authors build much of the Bell Curve’s case upon. These six assumptions regarding the validity of “classical” cognitive testing techniques include:

There is such a difference as a general factor of cognitive ability on which human beings differ.

All standardized test of academic aptitude or achievement measure this general factor to some degree, but IQ tests expressly designed for that purpose measure it most accurately.

IQ scores match, to a first degree, whatever it is that people mean when they use the word intelligent, or smart in ordinary language.

IQ scores are stable, although not perfectly so, over much of a person’s life.

Properly administered IQ tests are not demonstrably biased against social, economic, ethnic, or racial groups.

Cognitive ability is substantially heritable, apparently no less than 40 percent and no more than 80 percent.

The authors proceed to explain, using classical cognitive test results primarily, to explain how lower levels of measured intelligence impact an individual’s, or indeed an entire class or group of individual’s life in American society. The rest of the book is divided into four major parts. http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/bellcurve.shtml

Needless to say, this book ignited a firestorm.

Cam Soucy has written an excellent summary of IQ tests for the Livestrong site in the article, What Is the Definition of IQ Test?

History

French psychologist Alfred Binet developed the the first IQ-style tests at the beginning of the 20th century. The first tests were designed only to assess the intelligence of children. The U.S. military relied on intelligence testing to assess and place recruits during World Wars I and II. Psychologist David Wechsler used the military IQ tests as a model in devising his own test in 1949. Today, a group of tests derived from Wechsler’s work are the most widely used IQ tests.

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The fourth version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, the WISC-IV, was released in 2009. A companion test, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, targets people 16 and older. Other frequently used IQ tests include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the Das-Naglieri Cognitive Assessment System and the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children.

Elements

IQ tests commonly assess the taker’s logical reasoning, math ability, spatial-relations skills, short-term memory and problem-solving skills.

Scoring

IQ tests originally were scored by dividing the subject’s “mental age,” as determined by which questions she answered correctly on the test, by her “chronological age,” her actual age in years, then multiplying that quotient by 100. For example, an 8-year-old child with a mental age of 12 would have an IQ of 125, with the calculation being 12/8 = 1.25, and 1.25 x 100 = 125. A person whose mental age precisely matched his actual age would have an IQ of 100, so a 100 IQ was defined as “average.”
Modern IQ tests no longer use such a formula. They simply compare a person’s test results with those of everyone else in the same age group, on a scale where 100 is defined as average intelligence.

Criticism

Criticism of IQ tests focuses on the content of the tests–that is, the type of questions they ask–and their application. Such areas as vocabulary and “logic” can be strongly influenced by culture and socioeconomics. For example, consider a test that asks what word goes best with “cup”: saucer, plate or bowl. The test may intend “saucer” to be the correct answer. However, a test-taker who grew up in a home where tables weren’t set in a formal fashion might not know what a saucer is. He may be just as “intelligent” as the next person, but his score will suffer because of cultural factors. Authors of IQ tests are continually refining tests to address such concerns; some tests have removed verbal elements entirely.
Even test creators argue that the results are only one tool for assessing a person’s abilities, and that “intelligence” in a person is not a fixed quality, but changeable–even from day to day. In reality, however, people and institutions tend to put great weight on IQ scores. Students have been labeled “learning disabled” based on the outcome of IQ tests alone. As authors revise their tests, they also are revising their instructions to stress the tests’ limited application

http://www.livestrong.com/article/130019-definition-iq-test/

Daniel Willingham, cognitive scientist and a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” His next book, “When Can You Trust The Experts? How to tell good science from bad in education,” will be published in July. He is written an interesting summary of his latest IQ study for the Washington Post.

In IQ: Willingham on the newest thinking, Willingham makes the following comments:

The American Psychological Association created a panel of eminent researchers to write a summary of what was known about intelligence, which would presumably contradict many of these claims. The panel published the article in 1996, a thoughtful rebuttal of many of the inaccurate claims in “The Bell Curve,” but also a very useful summary of what some of the best researchers in the field could agree on when it came to intelligence.

Now there’s an update. A group of eminent scientists thought the time was ripe to provide the field with another status-of-the-field statement. They argue that there have been three big changes in the 15 years since the last report:

(1) we know much more about the biology underlying intelligence; (2) we have a much better understanding of the impact of the environment on intelligence, and that impact is larger than was suspected; (3) we have a better understanding of how genes and the environment interact.

Some of the broad conclusions are listed below (note that these are close paraphrases of the article’s abstract).

The extent to which genes matter to intelligence varies by social class (genetic inheritance matters more if you’re wealthy, less if you’re poor).

Almost no genetic polymorphisms have been discovered that are consistently associated with variation of IQ in the normal range. “Crystallized” and “fluid” intelligence are different, both behaviorally and biologically.

The importance of the environment for IQ is established by the 12 to 18 point increase in IQ observed when children are adopted from working-class to middle-class homes. In most developed countries studied, gains on IQ tests have continued, and they are beginning in the developing world Sex differences in some aspects of intelligence are due partly to biological factors and partly to socialization factors. The IQ gap between blacks and whites in the United States has been reduced by 0.33 standard deviations in recent years.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/iq-willingham-on-the-newest-thinking/2012/05/12/gIQAB9J9JU_blog.html

Here is the citation and abstract of the work Willingham is commenting about:

Nisbett, R. E., Aronson, J., Blair, C., Dickens, W., Flynn, J., Halpern, D. F., & Turkheimer, E.

(2012, January 2). Intelligence: New Findings and Theoretical Developments. American Psychologist. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026699

http://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Nisbett-et-al.-2012.pdf

We review new findings and new theoretical developmentsin the field of intelligence. New findings include the following:

(a) Heritability of IQ varies significantly by social class. (b) Almost no genetic polymorphisms have been discovered that are consistently associated with variation in IQ in the normal range. (c) Much has been learned about the biological underpinnings of intelligence. (d) “Crystallized” and “fluid” IQ are quite different aspects of intelligence at both the behavioral and biological levels. (e) The importance of the environment for IQ is established by the 12-point to 18-point increase in IQ when children are adopted from working-class to middle-class homes. (f) Even when improvements in IQ produced by the most effective early childhood interventions fail to persist, there can be very marked effects on academic achievement and life outcomes. (g) In most developed countries studied,gains on IQ tests have continued, and they are beginning in the developing world. (h) Sex differences in aspects of intelligence are due partly to identifiable biological factors and partly to socialization factors. (i) The IQ gap between Blacks and Whites has been reduced by 0.33 SD in recent years. We report theorizing concerning (a) the relationship between working memory and intelligence, (b) the apparent contradiction between strong heritability effects on IQ and strong secular effects on IQ, (c) whether a general intelligence factor could arise from initially largely independent cognitive skills, (d) the relation between self-regulation and cognitive skills, and (e) the effects of stress on intelligence.

Here are some key findings of the study which deal directly with the Bell Curve:

Stress, Intelligence, and Social Class

One factor that Neisser and colleagues (1996) did not deal with extensively is stress. Chronic, continuous stress—what can be considered as “toxic” stress—is injurious over time to organ systems, including the brain. Chronically high levels of stress hormones damage specific areas of the brain—namely, the neural circuitry of PFC and hippocampus—that are important for regulating attention and for short-term memory, long-term memory, and working memory (McEwen, 2000). Although the extent to which the effect of early stress on brain development and stress physiology may affect the development of intelligence is not currently known, we do know that (a) stress is greater in low-income home environments (Evans, 2004) and (b) a low level of stress is important for self-regulation and early learning in school (Blair & Razza, 2007; Ferrer & McArdle, 2004; Ferrer et al., 2007). Research suggests that part of the Black–White IQ gap may be attributable to the fact that Blacks, on average, tend to live in more stressful environments than do Whites. This is particularly the case in urban environments, where Black children are exposed to multiple stressors. Sharkey (2010), for example, has recently found that Black children living in Chicago (ages 5–17) scored between 0.5 and 0.66 SD worse on tests (both the WISC-Revised and the Wide Range Achievement Test-3) in the aftermath of a homicide in their neighborhood. Sharkey’s data show that debilitating effects were evident among children regardless of whether they were witnesses to the homicide or had simply heard about it. An impressive study by Eccleston (2011) indicates that even stress on the pregnant mother may have enduring effects on her children. The children born to women in New York City who were in the first six months of pregnancy when 9/11 occurred had lower birth weights than children born before 9/11 or well after it, and the boys at the age of six were more than 7% more likely to be in special education and more than 15% more likely to be in kindergarten rather than first grade. Oddly, girls’ academic status was unaffected by mothers’ stress. Investigation of relations between early stress and intelligence thus seems an important direction for future research. A particularly important issue concerns the degree to which the effects of stress on the brain are reversible. These five unresolved issues are merely examples of some of the important contemporary paradoxes and unknowns in intelligence research. It is to be hoped that as much progress on these and other issues will be made in the next 15 years as has been made on some of the paradoxes and unknowns since the time of the Neisser et al. (1996) review.

IQ is not a simple concept and this newest research points to more questions than answers.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©