West Hunter: Scientists deny the obvious

There is a new paper out in Nature Neuroscience, mainly by Kimberly Noble, on socioeconomic variables and and brain structure: Family income, parental education and brain structure in children and adolescents. They found that cortex area went up with income, although more slowly at high incomes. Judging from their comments to the press, the authors think that being poor shrinks your brain.

Of course, since intelligence is highly heritable, and since people in higher social classes, or with high income, have higher average IQs (although not nearly as high as I would like), you would expect their kids to be, on average, smarter than kids from low-income groups (and have larger brains, since brain size is correlated with IQ) for genetic reasons. But I guess the authors of this paper have never heard of any of that – which raises the question, did they scan the brains of the authors?…

  • Brett_McS

    I’m vaguely aware of the H+ movement, where I believe things like gene therapy are discussed as a way to improve human intelligence. Since the correlation between peacefulness and intelligence is very high (eg blacks:violent, Asians:peaceful) it’s probably something worth keeping an eye on.

  • Tom Forsythe

    If you assume that poverty is something that is caused, rather than the natural state of Man, your study is doomed from the start.

  • Everyone Else

    Cheers to you Frau Katze for reminding everyone that correlation is not causation. I don’t think there’s a journalist on the planet who keeps it in mind.

    • Justin St.Denis

      DITTO that.

    • Xavier

      Everyone knows wet sidewalks cause rain!

      • Ghost of Ed

        And trailer parks cause tornadoes!

        • Everyone Else

          Studies have shown that rich people have stocks and bonds, so the secret to being rich is getting lots of stocks and bonds.

  • kkruger71

    I find it sad that most any and every “study” that comes out has these glaring omissions, or methodology errors, or structural biases. When someone such as myself who is just an average person can spot these basic errors in 90% of them, the other 10% can not be trusted either.

  • Xavier

    Don’t you think there should be an IQ tax?

    • Brett_McS

      That would just be another form of jizya.

  • simus1

    So that would explain why coastal Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese existing in poverty and hardship for thousands of years suddenly blossomed when ……………….?
    The British told them to ……..?