Tag Archives | IQ

The Taboo of IQ

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Michael Pineda (36) (5709266340)

Michael Pineda

Why We Sidestep Stupidity, and Why We Sometimes Shouldn’t

In the 2nd inning of his fourth start of the 2014 baseball season, New York Yankees’ pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected, and subsequently suspended, for using pine tar on his pitching hand.

Though technically an illegal substance, pine tar’s use is an open secret due to the offsetting advantages it affords adversaries. In raw, cold conditions such as those endured that April evening in Boston, pine tar provides pitchers with a more reliable grip on a baseball while having little, if any, effect on its flight. The pitcher gains a grasp more in line with warmer weather and, in return, the batter is less likely to be summarily plunked by a runaway 95-mph fastball. In exchange for no harm, no foul is called so long as the rule is bent with gentlemanly discretion.

Michael Pineda displayed no such guile. Instead, he smeared a generous glob of the shiny, sticky stuff on his naked upper neck.… Read the rest

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Trace Amounts of Arsenic In Drinking Water Can Make You Stupid

PIC: Aramgutang (PD)

PIC: Aramgutang (PD)

According to researchers at Columbia University, even small amounts of arsenic in your drinking water can lower children’s IQ. If you’re wondering if your local water supply has arsenic in it, then wonder no more: Just about every water system – private or public – does. The study suggests that 5 or more parts per billion can impact children’s cognitive abilities. The EPA standard for acceptable arsenic levels is 10 parts per billion or less.

Via Press Herald:

Scientists from Columbia University and the University of New Hampshire recently completed a five-year study of 272 schoolchildren in Maine who had been exposed to arsenic in well water. They found that even at low levels, 5 or more parts per billion, the exposure could correlate to lower intelligence, as much as five to six points on IQ tests.

“Everyone was a little taken aback by that,” said professor Amy Schwartz of the University of New Hampshire, who coordinated the testing of Maine children.

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Financial Insecurity Causes Temporary IQ Drop Of 13 Points

moneyHow poverty impacts people, via the Seattle Times:

People worrying about having enough money to pay bills tend to lose temporarily the equivalent of 13 IQ points, scientists found when they gave intelligence tests to shoppers at a New Jersey mall and farmers in India.

Dealing with financial strain consumes so much mental energy that people struggling to make ends meet often have little brainpower left for anything else, leaving them more susceptible to bad decisions that can perpetuate their situation, according to the new study.

Mullainathan and colleagues tested the same 464 farmers in the sugar-cane fields of India before and after the harvest and their IQ scores improved by 25 percent when their wallets fattened. Before the harvest, the farmers take out loans and pawn goods. After they sell their harvest, they are flush with cash.

In the New Jersey part of the study, the scientists tested about 400 shoppers at Quaker Bridge Mall, presenting them with scenarios that involved a large and a small car-repair bill.

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Flame-Retardant Chemicals May Be Linked to Lower IQs in Children

Picture: PD

Picture: PD

Chemicals once used to make furniture more resistant to flame has been implicated in childhood neurological deficits, including lower IQs and hyperactivity:

Via Scientific American:

The researchers tracked children through the first five years of their lives, looking at a battery of tests for IQ and behavior. They found that children of mothers who had high PBDE levels during their second trimester showed cognition deficits when the children were five years old as well as higher rates of hyperactivity at ages two to five. If the mother’s blood had a 10-fold increase in PBDEs, the average five-year-old had about a four-point IQ deficit. “A four-point IQ difference in an individual child may not be perceivable in…ordinary life. However, in a population, if many children are affected, the social and economic impact can be huge due to the shift of IQ distribution and productivity,” says lead author Aimin Chen, an assistant professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

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Scientists Debunk the IQ Myth

(I’m not surprised by this at all. I myself had middling experiences with IQ testing as a child. One year I was flagged as “gifted”, and then a few years of trouble at home and problems fitting in at a different school and suddenly I was in need of “special education”. – Editor)

Via ScienceDaily:

After conducting the largest online intelligence study on record, a Western University-led research team has concluded that the notion of measuring one’s intelligence quotient or IQ by a singular, standardized test is highly misleading.

The findings from the landmark study, which included more than 100,000 participants, were published Dec. 19 in the journal Neuron. The article, “Fractionating human intelligence,” was written by Adrian M. Owen and Adam Hampshire from Western’s Brain and Mind Institute (London, Canada) and Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, Science Museum Group (London, U.K).

Utilizing an online study open to anyone, anywhere in the world, the researchers asked respondents to complete 12 cognitive tests tapping memory, reasoning, attention and planning abilities, as well as a survey about their background and lifestyle habits.

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