United States' North-South Achievement Gap

June 28, 2010

As in Modern Europe, achievement in the USA since its founding has been concentrated in just a few places, which has created a North-South gap that correlates with economic and educational disparities observed today. Nordicists are quick to jump on this sort of thing elsewhere but ignore it in their own backyard, or try to blame it on minorities, like the South's large black population. But Charles Murray, in his book Human Accomplishment, doesn't fail to note the gap, and the fact that it exists within the white population:

The geographic distribution of significant figures from the United States reflects the rapidly changing settlement of the country. The East Coast dominates, inevitably, because hardly anyone lived anywhere else for much of the nation's history. If I could show you a map of America's significant figures in the last half century, it presumably would look much different from the first half of 20C, just because the population shifted so radically westward throughout 20C. With that in mind, the figure below is offered as a summary of the story from the founding to 1950.

The states that are colored represent the origins of 90 percent of the American significant figures. The small dark blue slice running in an arc from Portland, Maine, to the southern tip of New Jersey encompasses the origins of about 50 percent of them. The light blue wedge encompasses another 25 percent, and the gray fills out the remaining 15 percent. Even after factoring in the history of American expansion, the primary concentration along the northeastern coast of the United States and the secondary concentration in the belt stretching to the Mississippi is striking.

An even more striking aspect of the map is the white space covering the American South. Although more lightly populated than the North, the American South had a substantial population throughout American history. In 1850, for example, the white population in the South was 5.6 million, compared to 8.5 million in the Northeast. In 1900, the comparison was 12.1 million to 20.6 million. By 1950, the gap had almost closed — 36.9 million compared to 37.4 million. While it is understandable that the South did not have as many significant figures as the North, the magnitude of the difference goes far beyond population. The northeastern states of New England plus New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey had produced 184 significant figures by 1950, while the states that made up the Confederacy during the Civil War had produced 24, a ratio of more than 7:1.

The scatter plots on the following page show the way in which the American significant figures break down over the three half centuries from 1800-1950.

Brown-eyed Men Appear More Dominant

June 19, 2010

Eye color predicts but does not directly influence perceived dominance in men

Karel Kleisner et al. (2010)
Personality and Individual Differences


4. Discussion

In this study we found no effect of eye color on perceived dominance in women. On the contrary, we found a statistically significant association between the eye color and perceived dominance in men: brown-eyed men were perceived as more dominant. Furthermore, we show that iris color does not represent the trait that significantly influences perception of dominance in males. Hence, there must be some other facial characteristics responsible for the higher perceived dominance in brown-eyed males. It is evident, however, that the features standing for higher perceived dominance in males are correlated with presence of brown eyes; or alternatively, the features connected with higher perceived submissiveness in males with the blue eyes.

The question arises: why are brown-eyed males rated as more dominant than blue-eyed? Some facial features such as square jaws, thick eyebrows and broad cheekbones are linked with higher perceived dominance; facial submissiveness, on the other hand, is characterized by a round face with large eyes, smallish nose, and high eyebrows (Berry, 1990; Berry & Mcarthur, 1986; Cunningham, Barbee, & Pike, 1990; Mazur, Halpern, & Udry, 1994; Mueller & Mazur, 1997; Thornhill & Gangestad, 1994). The morphological differences between blue-eyed and brown-eyed males were visualized by deformation of thin-plate splines (Fig. 3). In contrast with blue-eyed males, brown-eyed males have statistically broader and rather massive chins, broader (laterally prolonged) mouths, larger noses, and eyes that are closer together with larger eyebrows. In contrast, blue-eyed males show smaller and sharper chins, mouths that are laterally narrower, noses smaller, and a greater span between the eyes. Especially the broader massive chin, bigger nose, and larger eyebrows of brown-eyed males may explain their higher perceived dominance.

Fig. 3. (a and b): Visualizations of shape regression on eye color in males by thin-plate spline deformation grids illustrating differences in facial shape between blue-eyed (a) and brown-eyed (b) males; the links connecting the landmarks are drawn for better imaging of differences in the shape of face. (c and d): Composite images of 20 photographs of each group unwarped to fixed landmark configuration predicted by shape regression of blue-eyed (c) and brown-eyed (d) male faces. The predictions are magnified three times for better readability. (For interpretation of the references to colour in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
However, it is not easy to explain how iris color, which is determined mostly by one or a few genes, can correlate with physiognomic dominance/submissiveness, which is determined by a combination of several independent morphological traits. Theoretically, the allele for brown eyes should "move" from "submissive physiognomy genotype" to "dominant physiognomy genotype" and back again from generation to generation due to genetic recombination and segregation.

In principle, there are three possible explanations for the higher perceived dominance of brown-eyed males, the pleiotropy hypothesis, genetic linkage hypothesis and social feedback hypothesis. The pleiotropy hypothesis presumes that the genes for iris color (such as HERC2 or OCA2) also influence other morphological traits associated with perceived dominance due to its pleiotropy effect. One can speculate, for instance, that the gene influences the production or metabolism of common precursors of adrenaline and melanin, e.g. DOPA or tyrosine.

The genetic linkage hypothesis presumes that the genes influencing iris color are in genetic linkage with genes influencing morphological traits associated with perceived dominance, for example the gene influencing the production of testosterone. If this is so, strong linkage disequilibrium between these loci should exist in the current Czech population. Repeating this study in other populations with polymorphism in eye color can test this hypothesis.

The social feedback hypothesis is based on the presumption that blue and brown-eyed subjects are treated differently within their social surroundings, e.g. by their parents and peers. Young children usually have blue eyes, while definitive iris color develops during the first years of life (Bito, Matheny, Cruickshanks, Nondahl, & Carino, 1997). It is possible that subjects with blue eyes are treated as a small child for a longer period than brown-eyed children. Such early social experience may have been literally "inscribed" into their faces, preserved until adulthood, and finally bring on the perception of higher submissiveness. Rosenberg and Kagan (1987, 1989) investigated the association between eye color and behavioral inhibition, revealing that children with blue eyes are more inhibited. Coplan et al. (1998) found a significant interaction between eye color and social wariness within preschoolers. Blue-eyed males were rated as more socially wary, i.e. being more temperamentally inhibited, displaying more reticent behavior and having more internalizing problems, than males with brown eyes, though there were no differences between blue- and brown-eyed females (Coplan et al., 1998). To test the third hypothesis, it would be necessary to perform a longitudinal study on preschool children to search whether the differences in perceived dominance (and social wariness) develops only after the transformation of iris color from blue to brown.

Link (PDF)

Euro 2008 Facial Composites

June 9, 2010

Morphs of the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship teams. Made by Altay using PsychoMorph software. Click the thumbnails for higher resolution images.

Swedish Dutch German
Swedish (19), Dutch (15), German (19)

Austrian Swiss Czech
Austrian (18), Swiss (14), Czech (23)

Polish Russian Croatian
Polish (22), Russian (21), Croatian (23)

Italian Spanish Portuguese
Italian (22), Spanish (20), Portuguese (15)

Romanian Greek Turkish
Romanian (22), Greek (22), Turkish (23)

Underperformance of Poor White British Boys

June 2, 2010

The GCSEs are national achievement exams in the U.K. that are similar to the international PISA tests Richard Lynn uses to "calculate" IQ and advance his theories about racial, ethnic and sex differences in intelligence. They're even referenced in one of his sources, but I wonder if he's aware of how badly poor white boys do on them, even compared to nonwhite students from similar disadvantaged, working-class backgrounds.

Here's a chart showing rates of underperformance on GCSE exams by ethnic group and economic status (free school meal eligibility), followed by excerpts from several related articles run by BBC News over the past few years:

Poor white boys struggle in GCSEs

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Poor, white, teenage boys in England have slipped further behind other youngsters in their GCSE exams, reveals a breakdown of this year's results.

The official figures show that fewer than one in five who qualified for free meals achieved the benchmark of five good GCSEs including English and maths.

Twice as many white boys from better-off homes, not eligible for free meals, achieved this level of results.


Girls are still outperforming boys in achieving the GCSE benchmark — 54.5% to 47.3% — but the gap has narrowed this year by 0.9 of a percentage point.

Black pupils have also improved their GCSE results at a rate that is faster than average — rising to 41.5%.

There has also been a narrowing of the difference between poorer pupils and those who are better off — as defined by eligibility for free school meals.

But this still remains a substantial divide — with 54.4% of pupils not eligible reaching the level of five good GCSEs including maths and English, while only 26.9% of free school meal pupils achieved this.

The results show the intersection of different factors — gender, race, English as a second language and poverty.

But the group of white boys who qualify for free meals is unusual for falling further behind.

The gap between these pupils and their classmates who do not receive free meals has widened from 29.8% to 31.6%.

These results echo findings last month from an analysis of primary school results which found that poor white boys had fallen below almost every other category of pupil.


Poor white boys do worst in tests

Thursday, 19 November 2009

White boys from poorer homes now do worse in primary school tests in England than any other main group, latest figures show.

Only 48% of white British boys eligible for free school meals achieved the expected level in English and maths.

The average for all pupils was 71.8% — and that gap, 23.8 percentage points, was up from 23.1 points last year.

Attainment varied between ethnic groups with Chinese, Irish, Indian and mixed white and Asian children doing best.


Last year 52.5% of white British boys and girls together had the worst performance, though the girls' attainment was 55.4%.

This year, as a group, white British pupils again did worst.

Again it was the boys' performance that was weaker than the girls'. While 55% of girls achieved the expected level they were outperformed by the next nearest group — Pakistani girls (57.4%).


There are almost 200,000 white British boys, of whom 31,237 (16%) were from homes poor enough to qualify them for free school meals.

In the past, poor black boys have tended to have the weakest performance.

But this year 51.6% of black boys on free meals made the grade and the gap in their attainment compared with the national average, 20.2, was down from 21.8 in 2008.

Attainment was 49.7% among the weakest group of black boys, those from Caribbean backgrounds.

This left the white British boys on free school meals at the bottom. Even worse for the government is the fact that the attainment gap widened.

This has been a persistent problem for ministers.

Research shows that even children from affluent families who started out in the bottom ability group as toddlers overtake those from the poorest backgrounds who started out in the top ability group, by the time they are six or seven.


• All pupils: 53.3%
• White British boys: 48%
• Black Caribbean boys: 49.7%
• Asian boys: 58.7%
• White British girls: 55%
• Pakistani girls: 57.4%


Poor white boys still lag behind

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Five out of six poor white boys in England did not meet the government's target of at least five good GCSEs including English and maths this year.

This compares to 25% of black boys and 32% of Asian boys of similar backgrounds, the new figures show.

Only one group performed worse — Gypsy/Romany pupils on free school meals.

Schools minister Jim Knight said the groups where children were doing well often shared a belief in the "value of family and education".


Liberal Democrat children's spokesman David Laws said: "Over half of poor Chinese boys achieve the five A*-C standard.

"Urgent questions must be asked about why white boys from similarly deprived backgrounds are falling behind."


White working class boys failing

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Government figures show only 15% of white working class boys in England got five good GCSEs including maths and English last year.

Among white boys from more affluent homes — 45% achieved that level of qualification.

Poorer pupils from Indian and Chinese backgrounds fared much better — with 36% and 52% making that grade respectively.


"To have 85% of white boys from poor families failing to achieve five good GCSEs including English and maths is truly shocking."


Low attainers 'poor white boys'

Friday, 22 June 2007

Most of the persistent low achievers in England's schools are poor and white, and far more are boys than girls, a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study says.

Chinese and Indian pupils are most successful. Afro-Caribbean pupils do no worse than white British from similar economic backgrounds, results suggest.


The authors, Robert Cassen and Geeta Kingdon, analysed official data, focusing on four measures of low achievement:

• no passes at all in GCSE/GNVQ exams
• no result better than grade D
• no pass in either English or maths GCSE
• not getting five GCSEs including English and maths at any grade

Prof Cassen also visited schools and colleges and interviewed educationists and council officials.

The chief characteristic of low achievers is that they come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

They are more likely to qualify for free school meals, live in areas of high unemployment, and have single parents who themselves have poor qualifications.


White boys 'trailing at school'

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Boys from white working-class backgrounds are doing worse at school than black teenagers, according to a Conservative Party report.

The document from the party's social justice policy group says only 17% of white male students gained five or more A*-C grade GCSEs.

That compares with 19% for boys of Caribbean origin, Tories suggest.


It compared the exam performance of boys in receipt of free school meals from different ethnic backgrounds.

It suggests that social issues, such as a lack of parental support, peer pressure and family breakdown are contributing to white working-class teenagers' poor exam results.

But the report adds that black teenage boys are affected by similar factors, yet are performing marginally better at school.


"The fact that poor children from Chinese and Indian backgrounds, where family structures are strong and learning is highly valued, outscore so dramatically children from homes where these values are often missing, suggests that culture not ethnicity or cash is the key to educational achievement."