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Books and Music That Make You Dumb (wsj.com)
33 points by iamwil 3040 days ago | hide | past | web | 14 comments | favorite



Hello, selection bias! There are books that make you dumber than not having reported reading any books at all? How about, there are books and music that correlate with being underprivileged, and being the likely product of a crappy school system?


Presumably, most of the effect is due to socioeconomic correlation and I'm sure Virgil understands that.

It's interesting how big the correlation is. I might have expected only a few percent WRT music.

I want to see the correlation between Ayn Rand books and number of friends.


I agree. This quote from him makes it explicit. “Of course there is the whole correlation is not causation thing, but, I mean, duh,”


The "but" seems to imply that he nonetheless thinks that intelligence is effecting taste. I don't know. I've been shocked by some relatively intelligent people with atrocious taste in things, but it wouldn't be a shocker if the idiots really did like "Lil Wayne" because they're idiots. I mean, jesus fucking christ:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owwSHg1fivM


I read it in the opposite way: it's so obvious that this is just a correlation and not causation that he feels silly explicitly stating it.


You think music is a weaker socioeconomic correlate than books? I think it's trickier to name a stronger one. Music is entirely subjective and subject to peer pressure.


I would have expected music to be more weakly correlated with intelligence than books. Smart people can enjoy low-brow music as well as high-brow music. But smart people rarely read low-brow books, and dumb people rarely read high-brow literature.

However, I guess he wasn't looking at their whole collection but just the stuff they mentioned on facebook, which reflects their social aspirations. So, for example, I have both Lynyrd Skynyrd and Chopin in my iTunes collection. But people who mention one of those in their facebook profile are probably very different from those who mention the other.


I just finished Atlas Shrugged(one hour ago) :-D


The SAT has been accused of bias itself (to get the analogy runner:marathon::oarsman:regatta, you need to know what a regatta is -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAT#Bias ) and this is pretty well-known. That's why it's a small part of an entire applicant's college submission.

To correlate against the SAT is an implicit bias.


I would like to see the critics of the SAT present actual bivariate plots ("scatterplots") of all the SAT scores found at each self-reported family income band for SAT test-takers. As it is, looking closely at the charts shown in the same link kindly shared above

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAT#Bias

suggests a rather disturbing issue about what preparation students bring into the testing room when they take the SAT. The lines on the charts (you can click on them to see them at a more readable size) by ethnic group are from a College Board report that was apparently only issued in that format once, so disturbing are the implications of the differences among test-takers shown there. College Board gathers that information every year, but it's not presented in such convenient visual form in the official College Board reports.

The repetition of the "runner:marathon::oarsman:regatta" question item (which is based on a whole question type that has not been on the SAT for years now) as an example is suspect too. When I took the SAT, far inland, I had certainly never seen a regatta, because I had never seen a coast. But I had read about a lot of things I had never seen. (I had never seen a marathon either, but I knew what one was from reading.) In general, why should a college actively prefer a student who scores lower rather than higher on the SAT?

But maybe this kind of serious discussion of issues is just what the submitted article was NOT meant to elicit. Some of the comments seem to be missing the evidently humorous point of the man mentioned in the submitted article. He's having fun with ideas that people get very worked up about.


When I worked in college admissions we'd get a report from one of the standardized testing companies every year that basically showed that black and hispanic people scored lower than whites and asians across the board, everywhere. You hear about this stuff on the news and assume it's true. But then you see graph after graph after graph displaying the gulf and it's a still a shocker. We'd probably not have standardized tests anymore if the average Joe was able to see at a glance how much worse blacks and hispanics do on them in every part of the country and under every possible set of testing conditions.

That said, I'm white, and I also learned about regattas by reading about them in a book somewhere. I was bummed out when they got rid of analogies on the SAT. I studied hard to learn new words so i could do well on that part, which I found difficult.


Preliminary experiments, but there's something some people are called the Obama Effect. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/education/23gap.html?_r=1&...

I heard about it on a podcast..I think it's either "How stuff works--stuff you should know" or "RadioLab", and they cited a study where they had a golf test for blacks and whites. The only variable was in telling them what it measured. When the experimenters told them it measured athletic intelligence, the blacks did worse, and the whites did better. When the experimenters told them it measured natural talent, then the vice versa happened.


The website seems to be down, are there any mirrors available? The article title seems to be linkbait, the interviewer explicitly mentions that correlation isn't causation





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