> Of the 677, we were unable to find 27 males and 15 females in our Internet searches (we could not confirm their identities in our contact-information database). Given our method and criteria (Table 1), however, we believe it is unlikely that we missed an individual with a truly illustrious career. ... Our reasoning was that, if someone were truly eminent, then that person should be publicly conspicuous and therefore discoverable through online searches.
And a finalist for the irony in naming things award:
> We used Publish or Perish software (Harzing, 2007) to collect information on each participant’s number of publications, number of patents, and h-index.
rather doubtful, for a variety of reasons, but probably unlikely to affect their numbers
I have "stealth wealth", most of it from savings and stock market investments. I don't like to draw attention to myself.
"stealth wealth" is not impact.
It's like, say, bringing up your Mensa membership in a job interview.
It occurs to me that the Fortune 500 is not the S&P 500, so I would question whether information about them is necessarily even as accessible as with a public company.
I'll add it to the gradient of life, but I'm more interested in socioeconomic movement
This seems to measure people who have bought into "the system" in a particular way, rather than measuring exceptional people.
Paul Graham's essay today (http://paulgraham.com/lesson.html) seems especially apt. These people have learned to hack certain standardized tests.
But it's 30% research/academic work, 70% playing the system.
From my friends with PhDs, it seems like it's about 30% doing real stuff, 10% fucking around with grant funding paperwork and 60% trying to turn a single result into as many papers as possible in order to maximize impact scores and other metrics.
Statistically most of them just aren’t that bright.
As measured by standardized tests?
What should not be learned from this is that there are high caliber people, but instead that these traits call be learned, and I'm certain that there are schools teaching them, but I assume that those are quite foolishly only offered to specific subsets of people here, and that we will see further advancement in other societies as they find solutions to that exact problem by advancing educational practice through scientific experimentation on a national scale.
If you can solve that you can have your nation of smart people.
One very simple way of increasing IQ is to repeatedly take IQ tests. There is a noticeable uptick in recorded score for people who take the same type of test the second time within a twelve month period.
The success in this paper is the equivalent of the Forbes 30 under 30 rankings except it's when you're 48. There will be genuinely eminent people who run a fortune 500 company, illustrious careers in academia, but the methodology of simply searching for someone years later has clear problems.
What if you were to win a Nobel prize at age 55 or 60 (very common). You may have contributions earlier but didn't meet the criteria.
On the reverse, like with Forbes 30 under 30, there are always people who master personal branding and PR over substance. Lot's of news articles about you doesn't equate to being eminent in the usual definition of the world- just well known.
FYI, I'm not disputing their thesis or suggesting their results are wrong, I just find it odd that evaluating people at age 48, they couldn't find an algorithm much better than Forbes 30 under 30 which we all know has a lot of BS.
I'd be curious to the results at age 75.
"Eminent individuals were defined as those who, by age 50, had accomplished something rare: creative and highly impactful careers (e.g., full professors at research-intensive universities, Fortune 500 executives, distinguished judges and lawyers, leaders in biomedicine, award-winning journalists and writers)."
I have met my fair share of Fortune 500 executives, the majority are borderline braindead. Equally, I am unclear what "award-winning" journalist/writer might mean...it clearly doesn't mean success in any general way..."eminent" is just a very weird definition. Equating "eminent" with "highly impactful" and "creative"...dear God, are the authors actually human?
What is especially bizarre is this is a paper from psychologists who, presumably, should understand that equating success with other people thinking you are successful (which "eminence" clearly measures) is a fairly dysfunctional habit...the irony never ends.
Absolutely every single person who achieves age 50 has done something rare.
The authors of the study (as professors themselves) simply measure their own biases here.
I’d love to watch you have a conversation with my Bangladeshi mom.
But I've gotta say, this is starting to seem like some variant of the good ole' days fallacy.
I had brown parents who spent countless hours teaching me maths, and stressing me out quite thoroughly when I didn't get it and when I had less than stellar grades.
Now an adult, and under medication to manage ICD/ADHD, I realize how all for naught all that stress was. More than that, I attribute my issues of having intimate healthy relationships to my eager brown parents who were never afraid to hand it to me when I fell short.
Sure, many people would say that's better or sufficient or whatever, but who calls that "success" who is not contrasting it with the grubby alternative of fame and fortune?
To me, you have defined basic mental health and implied that Americans don't value it, which is silly and offensive.
Could you share examples of such cultures that still exist?
Nowadays the anti-establishment is bigger and richer than the actual establishment, which is why we all wear t-shirts to work and sneer at those who have to wear suits.
Are there groups that exist outside both the establishment and anti-establishment? Sure, but they’re weird and scary and if you join them you’ll definitely be banned from polite society.
I can thank George for helping us to understand why our 'eminent' leadership have been so remarkably silent about the many pressing issues of our time. Silence and eminence have always been such good buddies.
If anything I see selection for wealth: the samples in one of the bigger studies selected from “the 15 best STEM graduate training programmed”, which is broadly a proxy for wealth.
More over they don’t have negative samples: afaict their “study” was to take the top X% of students from some already wealth biased institutes and compare their performance to the overall average for everyone. What they should have done is compare the performance of the X% of the class they sampled from with the performance of the remainder of that class.
Then we could compare more similar starting points.
Obviously we would generally expect some correlation between skill when younger to 35 years later, but I would expect the entire group to do significantly better than the general average. Eg a person who got into Harvard because of their family history, and gets a C, is likely to do better than a person with a 4.0 from a state university. (General averages, obviously there can be outliers in every direction)
Is there a correlation between SMPY eligibility and getting into elite universities? Probably, but it doesn’t seem like an improper one. Is there a correlation between elite universities and life outcome? Sure.
Does that make the longitudinal study from age 11/12 into adulthood useless or content-free? Not in my opinion.
Only Study 2 was done on cohort 5, which was selected as grad students already at elite universities.
I also realized that SAT scores are heavily impacted by SAT specific training/tutoring that costs a reasonable amount (because as far as I can tell - as a foreigner - the SAT tests rely more on having been taught the exact way - and tricks - to answer SAT questions in the time available. Honestly if your test is good it should not have any real time pressure for the vast majority of participants)
"From 1981 to 1990, three separate analyses of all the prior studies were published in peer-reviewed journals. They found a coaching effect of 9 to 25 points on the SAT Verbal and of 15 to 25 points on the SAT Math. In 2004, Derek Briggs, using the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988, found effects of 3 to 20 points for the SAT Verbal and 10 to 28 points for the SAT Math. Donald Powers and Donald Rock, using a nationally representative sample of students who took the SAT after its revisions in the mid-1990s, found an average coaching effect of 6 to 12 points on the SAT Verbal and 13 to 18 points on the SAT Math. Many studies tell nearly identical stories. On average, coaching raises scores by no more than a few dozen points, enough to sway college admissions in exceedingly few cases."
The extent of my tutoring was a public school guidance counselor explaining to our whole class who was taking the test that there was statistically no penalty for guessing and how the “A is greater, B is greater, C means equal, D means indeterminate” questions worked. That was 30 minutes at most.
High SAT scores are evidence of high SAT score.
It's difficult to realize something that isn't true. The effects of training on SAT scores have always been negligible, less than the measurement error associated with taking the test one time.
When I was in high school, I would check out whichever ones were available at the time and would photocopy the whole book. I drilled myself on the tests until I scored 1600s every time. Shows how flawed they are as a testing vehicle.
That is evidence in favor of the test's quality, not against it. There's no paying to win.
There is no reason to control for those, and doing so would be an 'Everest regression': "controlling for altitude, Mount Everest is actually warm today". What you are asking for is like reading about IQ and income and saying "ah, but did they control for education?" Controlling is not magic pixie dust.
that thing that literally raises the measured IQ number?
you know that practice can raise your score, right
The point stands however: controlling for educational background is a thing you can do in such a study as according to the factors I pointed to, and gwern's glib comment is wrong
Your suggestion - with this fringe talk about "the sociologist's fallacy - is to eliminate any explanation from any study which does not assign success to invariant psychological metrics.
Then what exactly do you think you are doing when you rant about how they didn't control for it?
> Your suggestion - with this fringe talk about "the sociologist's fallacy - is to eliminate any explanation from any study which does not assign success to invariant psychological metrics.
Nothing fringe about it, I'm afraid. This is well-understood in the statistics fields like causality you seem so loathe to actually learn about.
The point is: when you control for something and then go on to make causal claims, you are not making a minor tweak. You are assuming an extremely implausible causal model and making strong inferences from there about what are real causes and what are not. You have entirely failed to argue for a causal model which would justify simply controlling away family background etc, and it seems from how your comments handwave it away in favor of nothingburgers, you don't even understand what you're arguing for.
clearly we're talking about the impact on IQ of whatever factors we make up to describe IQ, and obviously, and provenly, education (and therefore the ability to get education) is in play here, which gwern's glib rebuttal ignores
And that's not relevant anyway. Are you trying to suggest people only get into SMPY because their parents made them practice the SAT? In the 1970s and 1980s, hardly anyone would have even heard of SMPY before their kids took the test in school.
and predict results pretty well too
Nor does zip code predict remotely as well as IQ.
Not everything is about wealth.
STEM graduate school doesn't select for wealth at all. Undergraduate admissions sometimes do, but essentially zero of the wealth-based admits major in STEM. In fact in my experience the effect is the exact opposite of what you say: STEM takes in whoever can do the work, regardless of wealth, and helps produce new wealth. In every institution I've been in, STEM people had the lowest average family wealth by far.
Though this is obvious, it wasn't obvious that the tests given were actually showing who had some amounts of skill. Though, this should more accurately be called "some amount of ability to become prominent in a field," as like you say things other than skill may cause both high scores and success later.
As a thought exercise, you can ask yourself: would you prefer that your doctor be from the former or the latter group?