Pareto Linked List

Here is a huge list of resources that are recommended for one to develop a deeper understanding of human intelligence research. Pieces on Neuroscience, Psychology, and Education can also be found because they provide useful context towards considering Intelligence and the endless war between Nurture and Nature. 

This list will continue to grow and change as I continue to read more interesting and worthwhile pieces. 

WARNING: you will be far more unpopular contrarian after reading this.

Before you read anything else:

You need to have a basic understanding of Standard Deviation, Variance, Correlation, Heritability, Shared Environment, and Non-Shared Environment to know what these papers actually mean.

Standard Deviation if you don’t know what it means: . If you have 25 coins with either +1 or -1 on their faces and you flip all of them. If the standard deviation is 5, then on average when you flip all of these coins you will get +5 or -5 as your score, not the average score which is 0.

Wikipedia gives a nice description of heritability:

This is a great overview of correlation, variance, and how they can be so misleading.

I have made a generalized visualization of r and r^2 values here: (link coming soon)

This site is also a fun way to make you familiar with r values and how insignificant small ones are: (see if you can beat my highscore of 51)

Great background of Human Intelligence Research: – 1996 APA Intelligence Review – written in response to the firestorm that The Bell Curve created. The APA got together and tried to compile everything they knew about intelligence at the time. Many of the findings are still relevant today. Reading it provides a great framework for future reading and a good bullshit detector. – The 2012 APA Intelligence Review – an extension and update to the original piece. More interesting information and summary statistics.

Human Intelligence in the real world (aka how much IQ matters): – looking at a unique population of geniuses that are all Ashkenazi Jews. – further exploring this relationship. – again exploring it even further looking at Laszlo Polgar and his daughters in particular. – review/summary of the fascinating book, Hive Mind which tries to explain the relationship between national IQ and GDP. & – Smart Fraction Theory. Is able to find a very powerful correlation between IQ and the GDP per capita of countries. Seems to quantify the effects explained in the he Hive Mind book review. – The Genetics of Success: How Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Associated With Educational Attainment Relate to Life-Course Development. A recent paper that shows the power of polygenic scoring for predicting life outcomes. This prediction power will only rise with time. – The Effects of Education, Personality and IQ on Earnings of High Ability Men. Uses Lewis Terman data to perform an economics oriented review of the internal rate of return of education. Also looks at the contribution of IQ and Big 5 personality traits towards educational attainment and future income. Personality seems to matter a lot and is something I want to research more, in particular how fluid it is.

Discussions of Intelligence Enhancement: – interesting list of ideas for all the possible ways in which we might boost human intelligence in the short or long term. Every single one of these deserves orders of magnitude more research and every day discussion than it current has. – Gwern gets hardcore into nootropics testing and assessment. Sample size of one but still very interesting to read about the range of possible nootropics we can consume and their different effects. – Dual n’ Back as a way to boost working memory (which correlates highly with g factor)? This piece is long and seems to be inconclusive. Still important to be aware of. – intelligence enhancement through efficient memorization devices. Meditation and spaced repetition are the two things that I know are good for me but I consistently fail to have the willpower to actually use… – gwern argues that MOOCs are inevitable but will in fact be a net negative because they place more weighting than that which already exists on conscientiousness rather than IQ. This will mean fewer creative, brilliant people get the credentials they need to have an impact. Instead those who are boring and can slog through work will be the scientists etc. I disagree with this conclusion but the analysis is fascinating. – article on the correlations between IQ and all other desirable social traits. Selecting for IQ genes is likely to not be a tradeoff, but then why are these genes not more common place?

Artificial Mechanisms (crazy but cool): – a very dense but fascinating analysis of the legitimacy behind embryonic selection to boost human IQ.

Natural Mechanisms (not so crazy but very promising and effective): – hugely compelling way to boost IQ. The most iodine deficient areas have a 13 point deficit. This can be corrected for through iodized table salt which costs $0.05 per person per year. A significant proportion of the world currently lacks iodine levels sufficient for the general population, a ridiculous proportion sufficient for pregnant mothers. This includes the US and a huge swathe of Europe. – great piece on every kind of nutrition that matters towards conceiving, growing, and caring for an embryo/fetus/baby.

The immutability and heritability of IQ: – very eye opening piece to the idea that we may in fact fail to significantly raise intelligence ever, or at least within our own lifetimes. This is all due to tradeoffs and evolution already picking all the low hanging fruit. Bad news for seemingly too good to be true interventions like nootropics, TMS and tDCS. – even worse news for nootropics. – article on scientific studies supporting the conclusion that shared environment is irrelevant for IQ, proving this by looking at abused children. – This paper did not teach me much that was new but served to really drive home the basic findings in a very compelling and empirical way. The amount of statistical backing behind these findings is very compelling. It was also interesting to read thoughts on why, during our time of replication crisis and false positives, these findings and the field as a whole is so reliable.

Assault on fluffy traditional education: – a summary of studies on the effectiveness of teachers. – a takedown of growth mind-set dogma. – contrarian and compelling thoughts about education, its purpose, and the potential for getting $8,000 per year, every year, sweat free, for the rest of your life instead of having public schooling.

Personality: – Really solid summary of the Big 5 as a whole, the heritability of personality traits, how they change over time and in different ways. – a great meta-analysis of personality findings. Interesting charts showing personality change over time.

Calling out bullshit psychology: – Scott tears down “voodoo” psychology which has publication bias and is just silly in hindsight. It is amazing how much general consensus there is around un-replicated or poorly proven findings. – the power and futility of psychology. This will make you think twice about every social justice claim you have ever heard.

Neuroscience: – fascinating theory of mind. Bayes theorem in our unconscious mind working from top to bottom and bottom to top. Explains a huge number of things which back up the chance this theory is getting some things right.

Misc. : – great guidelines for what we must do in order to have more valid scientific findings. Really raises the crisis with current scientific validity.