People in Low-IQ Countries Not Very Intelligent, Study Finds

I do not think much of academia, but thankfully there still are a few based researcher around who ask the questions most do not dare to ask. One such person is Heiner Rindermann, one of the world’s leading researchers on the topic of intelligence. In hist most recent paper, Surprisingly low results from studies on cognitive ability in developing countries: are the results credible?, he tackles the uncomfortable question if people in supposedly low-IQ countries really are as stupid as the results seem to imply. The alternative hypothesis, favored by fervent leftists, is that there is something wrong with the data or the concept of intelligence itself. To me, it is not quite clear what this alternative hypothesis is based on, other than wishful thinking, considering that there is no clear discrepancy between the achievements of low-IQ societies and the individuals in these countries.

Rindermann opens strongly. He writes:

Developing countries (also called the Third World, emerging economies, or the Global South) achieve surprisingly weak results in international studies of cognitive competence. The values are about one to two standard deviations below the average norm-values obtained in Western countries. Some of the results are so poor that they are hard to believe.

Yes, they are indeed hard to believe, if you have never been exposed to such people. Rindermann has first-hand exposure, so he knows better than mainstream academia. On that note, in primary school I had the pleasure of enjoying the company of a Somali kid. He was put into the third grade for about two weeks and we all thought that he was retarded. Even first-grade arithmetic exercises, such as counting with your fingers, were beyond his abilities.

Mainstream academia really struggles to come to terms with reasonably objective data like IQ test results. As Rindermann points out, one of the more nuanced positions in academia is that perhaps the IQ scores of those people really are as low as they are, but most certainly an IQ of 70 in the context of sub-Saharan Africa cannot possibly mean the same as in an European context. Well, perhaps this is not correct. Perhaps, the numbers have the same meaning, regardless of the ethnicity of the test takers. To claim otherwise would invalidate the concept of IQ testing, and if we go that far then we probably need to abolish psychology as a field of study because psychometrics is the most scientific subdiscipline in this field.

Arthur Jensen, as cited by Rindermann, found out that low-IQ blacks are akshually smarter than low-IQ whites:

In social and outdoor play activities… black children with IQ below seventy seldom appeared as other than quite normal youngsters—energetic, sociable, active, motorically well coordinated, and generally indistinguishable from their age-mates in regular classes. But this was not so for as many of the white children with IQ below seventy. More of them were somehow ‘different’ from their white age-mates in the regular classes. They appeared less competent in social interactions with their classmates and were motorically clumsy or awkward.”

The explanation is interesting:

While in white children an IQ of 70 or less is caused by a severe neurological disability leading to general mental retardation, in black children the low IQ is due to a more normal deviation from the mean.

Thus, is it really the case that there should be two different interpretations for IQ, i.e. “objectively normal and completely OK” in the case of blacks versus “definitely retarded” in the case of whites? I have some doubts whenever I come across attempts at redefining concepts, more commonly referred to as “pulling the wool over someone’s eyes”. Rindermann comes to the rescue and opts for a quantitative and qualitative assessment, with the goal of determining whether it really is the case that low-IQ people in low-IQ countries behave in low-IQ ways. I am not mocking this approach at all. In fact, I am very happy that Rindermann wrote this paper as it opposes the mainstream narrative that blacks and other underperforming groups may have a low-IQ but IQ akshually means something entirely different when we are talking about blacks.

Speaking of leftist objections to the validity of IQ tests I have a more general suggestion. IQ tests have an interesting history. They were first designed in order to identify children who were “slow learners”. Later on, companies and institutions used standardized testing in order to more adequately and quickly determine intellectual ability. This makes sense, for instance, if you have 20 positions to fill but receive 5,000 applications. Yet, if leftist social scientists want to dispute that the concept of IQ does not have any merit, one could certainly also come up with a real-life collection of practical tests, which would immediately link low IQ to poor performance in practical tasks. For instance, let someone describe how a simple gadget works. Countless such tasks could easily be identified. Whether someone is “energetic” or “active” should probably not be part of such an assessment. (I wonder what these euphemisms are even supposed to mean in the context above.) We could also very easily correlate the results of those tests with IQ tests, and thus clearly show that IQ tests have significant predictive power. Obviously, this would be a completely superfluous exercise and even if someone did it, you would have the usual leftist academics come up with another set of bullshit reasons for why the presented results are not nearly as reliable as they are purported to be.

I do not think anyone without an ulterior motive seriously doubts the methodologies behind low-IQ scores in low-IQ countries because too much would be at stake otherwise. I do not mind that a lot of data is discussed in the paper instead of just referenced. In fact, without such data, leftists academic trolls would probably lazily write that the paper is just a collection of anecdotes. Then again, they would write that anyway, no matter what evidence is presented. In the end, however, life is the biggest and most valid IQ test there is, both for an individual and society. As Rindermann writes, “there is no way around looking at actions in everyday life. Life, not test results, is the ultimate criterion for validity.” I thus want to highlight some of the anecdotes.

First, we have India #1:

A team of researchers who visited schools in India… found some teachers who kept schools closed or nonfunctional for weeks or months at a time, drunken teachers, and a headmaster who expected the students to perform domestic chores and babysitting.

There is probably a sound reason for that. I bet those students were so outstanding that they could spend their time at home or doing chores for the headmaster, without it affecting their grades negatively. According to a footnote in the paper, there are a lot of hospitals in India where doctors are simply absent. Perhaps they have figured out how to treat patients via telekinesis.

Rindermann does acknowledge unusual skills of some indigenous people in Brazil, for instance by highlighting their incredible ability to find their way around in dense jungles. He adds the caveat that “none of this is measured by our cognitive tests, which require mostly abstract thinking (and language and knowledge in student achievement tests and in tests of crystallized intelligence)”. I had to chuckle at that point because my impression was that he had only added this part in order to present a somewhat balanced view. He quickly gets to the core of the problem, though, i.e. low-IQ people having a hard time with any kind of abstract reasoning.

Cubans he asked, in Spanish:

“Imagine”, I pointed to my analogue wristwatch with dial and hands, “a clock is broken. It no longer works. It shows the same time all day long. How many times a day does it show the correct time?”

He furthermore adds:

This question relates to daily life in Cuba because, as mentioned earlier, many clocks did not work. Of a sample of about 20 people, 75% said, “this clock never shows the correct time”, 15% said “once” and 10% “twice”. A Cuban teacher with better command of Spanish than me came in her survey to a similar distribution. I was perplexed and did not understand. Why can’t they understand such an easy task?

This seems to be a rhetorical question. I have dealt with this problem at a much higher level, for instance by trying to explain mathematical concepts to others. To my surprise, even some women who make it through high school do not seem to properly understand relatively simple concepts such as fractions or compound interest. In such situations I similarly asked myself how it was possible that they do not understand this.

Rindermann gives further examples of the underdeveloped reasoning skills of Cubans, based on a questionnaire he administered himself. People made contradictory statements and did not care, or seemed to not have mastered even basic arithmetic. In the end, he concludes that an IQ of 83 to 89 would be appropriate for Cubans, based on real-life performance of abstract reasoning tasks. This contradicts the “muh brainz” narrative of the Cuban government, which massages data so much that standardized tests show an average of 100.

Because research on the IQ in Africa is a hot-button issue and nothing that can be undertaken without putting one’s employment in academia at risk, Rindermann discusses the similarly gifted Ecuadorians:

Unlike in the case of Africa, however, there have never been any protests from the scientific camp or from certain political circles against studies on cognitive abilities and their results in Latin America. Latin American scientists have even conducted intelligence testing studies themselves and no doubts have been raised.

The expressions of low Ecuadorian IQ I found rather enlightening. Let me just go through them:

In a hotel in Baños de Agua Santa there was a note at the reception: “I Come back in 15 min.” (“Regreso en 15 minutos. Gracias.”) Of course, this information does not help. The only thing that was certain was that someone would come back between 0 and 15 min (if the statement were true).

This is clearly a low-IQ move. From this, you can extrapolate how difficult it must be to get anything done. I encounter similar nonsense in my work, which involves dealing multinational teams. My favorite is getting contradictory estimations, for instance when the India #1 fraction tells me that multiple tasks would take one week, apparently not realizing that I am talking about the cumulative effort needed. If tasks A, B, and C supposedly take one week each then it cannot also be the case that all of them will be done in one week. Of course, the bigger issue is that they seemingly just want to give you the answer they think you want to hear in the moment, only to let you know, when you are asking for a status update in a few days that, “my good sir, this is taking longer than expected and we need more time.”

Subsequently, Rindermann details his observations from a conversation with a taxi driver, as he had to spend a significant amount of time traveling this way, up to one day, if I understood it correctly:

As far as politicians and their evaluation were concerned, he only expressed sympathy and antipathy. There was no statement about their political positions and the like.

He claimed in the car while driving (not before deciding to go with him), the car had air conditioning. I was sitting next to him during this. But his car did not have air conditioning.

He claimed the rain would stop in 15 min, he said this every half hour.

He claimed the day before that we would drive to the Rio Napo. I checked that with the help of a map. In my opinion, that was way too far. Then at 3 p.m. on the day of the ride, he said it was too far. But this is not a completely clear example. He could have said it the day before, just to get me as a customer, and not because he could not cognitively assess time and distance appropriately.

He called a (traffic) policeman “comisario”. However, a “comisario” is no regular traffic cop, but either a senior police officer or someone who investigates crime.

He called a red banana “hierba”, herb or grass.

He did not buckle up with the seat belt, only in cities with possible police contact. In his opinion, that car passengers do not have to wear seat belts (for safety reasons), but only in the event of a check (to avoid a penalty).

He parked the car in the middle of the path. As a result, he obstructed others coming after him and then had to move his car. Moreover, he made this mistake twice in a row.

He did not know a single bird by name, although he made many trips with tourists to rainforest areas.

At the end of the day, he complained that there had been no lunch. But at the same time he had never driven us to an inn or everywhere we asked there was nothing.

Ecuadorian society was clearly built on this foundation. Look at this:

In Guayaquil, on a Sunday, I could not withdraw money from several ATMs (no money came out), but it was debited from my accounts.

In general, it is often too noisy: On the bus, the movies and music are too loud. Also, the movies shown on the bus for all passengers, including children, are often too violent (…). Buses, trucks, cars and motorcycles are sometimes extremely noisy. There is a lot of honking and often you can hear car alarms. (…) People speak loudly. Houses do not have soundproof windows, even on roads, only single-pane windows. (…) None of this seems to be a problem for them. However, research shows a negative impact of noise on cognition [64].

Finally, this was the first time in my life that I have witnessed a racist insult: In the La Marín bus station in Quito, a “half-black” man, about 25 years old, said to a darker black girl (also mixed race) about 5 years old, “Your mom is black and ugly, black as oil.” How can an adult say such a thing to a child?

In three different public swimming pools near Quito, no one could be observed who could swim professionally (for example, breaststroke or crawl).

I can most relate to the noise low-IQ people make. Schopenhauer complained about this already centuries ago, and little has changed. Arguably, the need to make noise or subject oneself to a cacophony of noise, is the most obvious sign that you are dealing with a low-IQ crowd. Interestingly, an alternative explanation is that various ethnic groups in Europe are so fond of noise primarily in order to demonstrate their “power”. I am not sure if this is correct because it certainly is not the case that these doctors and engineers spent days and nights studying at the university library before they embarked on the journey to Europe.

As Rindermann rightly concludes, it seems to be the case that people in low-IQ countries really behave as if they have a low IQ. Again, this might seem like a tautology, but this kind of obvious and self-evident truth gets relentlessly attacked by the woke mainstream. From what I gather, Rindermann’s paper has already elicited a strong negative reaction from the usual corners. On the plus side, his paper has spread like wildfire, getting over 20,000 views in less than a week. Yet, on the other hand I do not think that his critics will want to honestly engage with his findings. Nonetheless, I think that “Surprisingly low results from studies on cognitive ability in developing countries: are the results credible?”  is an important paper as it is highly relevant to the contemporary political and societal discourse.

9 thoughts on “People in Low-IQ Countries Not Very Intelligent, Study Finds

  1. Prof. Rindermann alerted me that the publisher is “investigating concerns” that were raised by an undiscerning Twitter user, and placed a corresponding notification on the paper. The publisher is furthermore hiding access figures. By now, the paper above is probably already in the top 1% of psychological research papers in terms of views, six days after its publication. For context, in academia there is the supposed joke that most papers have more authors than readers.

    1. Heh, she’s outright lying about his paper (or didn’t even read it). His anecdotes make up a page and a half out of 24 (22 if we exclude the references).

      Might have been better if he hadn’t included the anecdotes. Leftists will hang their PC complaints on any hook they can find.

      If anyone wants to see a real life example of low IQ-behavior, check out this clip of African-American streamer IShowSpeed being bitten by a dog in Korea:

      Now he’s a streamer doing silly antics for views, so his behavior in the beginning up until the bite is actually not unreasonable, as weird as it seems. But notice his reaction to being bitten: he starts behaving like a dog at first, and then repeats the same few things over and over and over…

      This is very common behavior among African-Americans. Go look at a few videos of confrontations involving African-Americans, and you’ll often find them repeating the same sentence or few sentences over and over.

      They don’t seem to realize that you have to adjust your communication to the context, either: they’ll do this whether it’s in an argument with another customer in the line at McDonald’s, or while being threatened with arrest by the police.

    2. That woman is a leftist activist with a professorship at one of the absolutely worst universities in the UK. Her Twitter page is full of pretty harebrained takes. Your comment was in the moderation queue and I really wonder why. Surely it cannot have had anything to do with you mentioning blacks and the algorithm not liking that.

    3. Ah, I must have spoken too out of turn for the algorithm. In the future I shall try to remember to only speak of our esteemed urban gentlemen. 😀

    4. This is actually a deep comment. Currently, the mainstream is telling us that “information work” will soon be taken over by AI, but I would not keep my hopes up. There is no intelligence in ChatGTP and other chat bots, even if you removed their query-wokification steps. Obviously, the much more primitive AI WordPress uses flags comments that mentions “blacks”, but can’t understand what “urban gentlemen”, “joggers” or “birdwatchers” are. Understanding context and intent is difficult even for a lot of humans. Someone without an IQ of about 110 or so probably reliably fails at this task. Anyway, I just wanted to write this down before commencing my daily study of the torah.

    5. Ah, very happy to see another intelligent person skeptical of AI! You’d think the whole world had drunk the Kool-Aid.

      Yeah, I find AI to be very limited. On top of the reasons you give, it seems to have a very poor level of self-correction.

      I once asked ChatGPT to give me restaurants serving a specific food item in Stockholm. It gave me a list of restaurants. Some of them were real, some of them were just made up. None of them served the food item I wanted. I pointed out its errors, it apologized for its errors, and gave me a new list.

      Same errors: some fake, some real but not with the item I wanted. Pointed out its errors again, and it gave me a third list.

      Not only did I get the same errors a third time, it even repeated some of the fake restaurants it had apologized for including the first time! 😀

      I’ve also tested both ChatGPT and Claude with basic legal (Swedish and EU law) questions, and both gave insanely wrong results.

      When it comes to information-gathering, it seems to be no more than a glorified search engine. The main use for it at present seems to be drafting outlines for documents, research papers, proposals, etc., though you still have to proofread and edit the drafts a lot, based on what I’ve heard.

      (Also worth noting that it seems the modern AI chatbots are still fundamentally based on the technology from the 2012 AlexNet model. Advancement since then appears to have been more because of increased computing capacity rather than actual development of new technology. So we’re just running a refined version of a 12 year old model on high speed, yet the AI buffs keep talking about replacing all kinds of human professions with AI in the near future…)

  2. You might probably want to download the paper before it gets retracted or deleted from the website, since the following note just appeared on the page:

    “27 May 2024 Editor’s Note: Readers are alerted that concerns have been raised about the content of this article. Appropriate editorial action will be taken once these concerns have been investigated.”

  3. Ecuadorian people are considered the blackest from Latin America, not counting the Caribbean islands or Belize. I thought it relevant information. 😀

    The origins of the problems in LatAm are very hard to pinpoint. One doesn’t know where they started: with extreme nepotism and corruption that enables such low-IQ lemming in a position of authority, or whether average low-IQ gestates all the corruption. Any ruler needs loyal lackeys, but those are often not the brightest minds, so it’s a fine line to tread; even the best European kings used to struggle with that sometimes.

    Either way, the testimony above speaks of a low-trust society, which admittedly wasn’t the case with the Western whites when comparing the same eras.

    1. The US will get there. You have to be a corporate sell out to become president. Look at our current leader. And no, I wasn’t impressed with the orange blow hard like so many. You don’t have any underdog stories anymore. That’s one of the reasons why I like Richard Nixon. He was born on a simple orchard in Orange County. His replacement was never even elected VP, had no idea what he was doing, and submitted to the lobbyists. We haven’t had a good president since.

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