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Senior Vice-President for Research and Innovation, Professor of Theoretical Physics, Michigan State University

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ability, Effort, and Academic Achievement among Asian Americans

What accounts for the academic success of E. Asians? I would have guessed about equal parts cognitive advantage (ability) and hard work (grinding). The paper below tries to quantify this in more detail using data from two nationally representative cohort studies, comparing students of various of ethnicities who attend the same schools. Note the broad conclusion stated in the abstract applies better to Asian Americans (AAs) in aggregate, and less well to the E. Asian subpopulation alone -- see figures below.
Explaining Asian Americans’ academic advantage over whites (PNAS)

The superior academic achievement of Asian Americans is a well-documented phenomenon that lacks a widely accepted explanation. Asian Americans’ advantage in this respect has been attributed to three groups of factors: (i) socio-demographic characteristics, (ii) cognitive ability, and (iii) academic effort as measured by characteristics such as attentiveness and work ethic. We combine data from two nationally representative cohort longitudinal surveys to compare Asian-American and white students in their educational trajectories from kindergarten through high school. We find that the Asian-American educational advantage is attributable mainly to Asian students exerting greater academic effort and not to advantages in tested cognitive abilities or socio-demographics. We test explanations for the Asian–white gap in academic effort and find that the gap can be further attributed to (i) cultural differences in beliefs regarding the connection between effort and achievement and (ii) immigration status. Finally, we highlight the potential psychological and social costs associated with Asian-American achievement success.

While all four AA subpopulations showed positive differences relative to white students in academic achievement and effort, only the E. Asian subgroup had a cognitive advantage.

From the Supplement: for E. Asians, the academic achievement gap appears to be ~ 1/3 due to cognitive ability and ~ 2/3 due to academic effort, with large uncertainties. For the other subpopulations the results are quite different (and actually rather strange). Click for larger version.


Noah Carl said...

Did they disaggregate academic achievement by subject? One would presumably expect cognitive ability to explain more of the E. Asian advantage in math than in other subjects.

steve hsu said...

In fact if you read the paper their definition of academic achievement for higher grade levels is simply GPA and hence is very coarse. Some students are taking more difficult courses than others ...

This may help explain the inconsistencies in table S4 of regression coefficients among the different subgroups.

AG said...

So East Asians do not study as hard as other Asians? It is hard to believe. But data is data.

AG said...

Oops, I was wrong.

Shawn said...

To what degree do you think the ability and willingness to grind comes from genetics versus learned culture/behavior? Or maybe it can be put another way: to what extent is personality genetically determined?

Shawn said...

On the heritability of personality:


aseuss said...

One could invoke immigration patterns and Steve's cognitive threshold concept to show why cognitive explanations figure into East Asian achievement but not South and Southeast Asian achievement. Over the past few decades, professionals have made up a large proportion of total immigration from Asia. However, South and Southeast Asian immigrant populations display greater diversity in occupations than East Asians. Indians and Filipinos tend to be doctors (like CNN's Sanjay Gupta), and as everyone knows, many Indians in America are storeowners and franchisees. East Asians tend to be engineers (like Jeremy Lin's parents). True, many Indians are engineers, but there are probably just as many doctors and pharmacists in that group. Medicine and business are cognitively demanding, and there are many doctors and entrepreneurs that are smarter than your average engineer, but I'm willing to bet that Steve is correct in saying that fields like physics and engineering have clear cognitive thresholds, whereas no other profession shows such a nonlinear correlation between aptitude and success. It's reasonable to expect that the progeny of a group (S./S.E. Asian) displaying a host of professions might have cognitive ability explaining less of their success than the progeny of a group (E. Asians) that is rather uniformly represented in fields with cognitive thresholds. (Note: this could also be because a Taiwanese American kid (except for Jeremy Lin) might be more likely to work for HP (i.e., engineering, which has a cognitive threshold) while an Indian kid might be more likely to go into medicine (less of a clear threshold), hoping to knock Sanjay Gupta from his current perch at CNN.)

redddi said...

All this says is that even in the absence of cognitive difference, hard work makes asians get better grades. Doesnt say what would happen if the cognitive difference was actually found, as it has been in other studies.

steve hsu said...

Look more carefully at the figures.

redddi said...

Hmm.. I read the paper, didnt see the supplementary material. I don't get why they clubbed four different types of Asians together when the data on cognitive ability seems to mark them out as very distinct groups. The presented material in the body of the paper completely ignores the more important findings in Fig S4. Do you think there could have been some manipulation of selection criteria to ensure they found that beautiful cognitive equality for Fig 2?
South Asians seem to be both dumber and less hardworking than south-east Asians, and yet somehow manage to marginally out-achieve them. Apart from the questionability of the achievement metric, their measurement of effort was teacher ratings of student attentiveness. Sounds inaccurate to me.

Karen J said...

I have an honest question for the blogger: Why do you make these kinds of posts?

Not only is this post confusing and the meaning of the study poorly explained ( to the point that several of your super-smart commentators have had to check themselves and re-evaluate their prior comments),but it also appears to have no point except maybe to flatter the egos of asian (EAST asian, mind you!) readers.("Guess what,east asians in U.S. are smarter and work harder than other groups! Yippee, I'm so glad I'm a member of this successful American minority group!") Or, if you're unlucky enough to be a in group that's less successful (say black or hispanic) perhaps this post (or one of the many others like it) is intended to be kind of a downer. ("Gee, my race/gender/whatever only makes up 5% of Caltech physics students. Guess I'll give up on my dream of doing science and go major in communications instead!")

Either way...lame.

Yeah, I know what it says: you want to know what, exactly, accounts for asian success in academics. Is it 10% genetics and 90% hard work?Or is it (gasp) 11% genetics and only 89% hard work? Either way,who cares? Yes, asians are doing great and that's great. But there must be dozens of posts on this blog on this topic or something regarding asian superiority in academic fields. I can't understand why this topic is so worthy of discussion.

I'm not trying to be confrontational or a "troll". I have no doubt that the writer of the blog is far smarter than I am (I'm not a freaking Caltech physics phd genius, after all!), and I think there may be a great deal of value in studying the genetic component of intelligence. I'm also a relative newcomer to this blog, so maybe I'm missing something. But honestly, posts like this are disappointing. It makes me think the author is just really insecure and trying to make himself feel better by talking about how great his particular minority group is. I hope I'm wrong.

steve hsu said...

The authors of the study suggest that AA academic success could be all due to effort as opposed to cognitive advantage. This might even be the case -- one has to do a careful study to find out. I don't think the issue is fully resolved. Does that sound self-congratulatory?

Some of us want to know how the world actually works.

redddi said...

Hahaha, lady you need to do some reading about Steve Hsu before you start accusing him of being insecure in any way. And the fact that he is part of the fricking Beijing Genomics Institute project to unravel the genetic basis for high intelligence probably has something to do with his predilection for talking about intelligence and Asians. This man is the future, twenty years from now people will remember this blog the way we remember the Bell Curve.
I'm not East Asian, but I see nothing wrong in acknowledging the data on intelligence. And I'm sure Dr Hsu wouldn't deny that on average East Asian men are less cool, spontaneous and socially dominant than black men. And in America they get laid less often than white men. So what? Every race has its unique advantages and disadvantages, East Asian men make great physicists and engineers, while black men make good salesmen and football players. Work with nature, instead of fighting it every step of the way.

redddi said...

FYI "racist" is the second autocomplete suggestion when I type in Steve Hsu on google search. Hope your job is secure man, don't want you getting Richwined.

Bibibibibib Blubb said...

Hey Steve, just a question regarding this whole race stuff. How much is the fight actually over? Am I correct in saying 15% - non mental alleles - non naturally selected mental alleles - non important mental alleles - environmental effects?

Karen J said...

To answer your question: Yep, this post and the many others in the same vein do make you sound pretty self-congratulatory.
If you don't see that, imagine that there's another smart physicist blogger, say Gary. Half of Gary's posts are about cool stuff like supernovae or string theory. The other half of his posts are all Gary musing about why he is so damn smart. Is it because Gary's dad was also a physicist with dozens of published papers, thus indicating a genetic component? Or is it because Gary worked so much harder than all the other kids who went to his school..the "grinding" factor?..One or two posts about such a topic would be forgivable, but after a certain point I think "self-congratulatory" might be too nice a word. Oh wait, maybe he's just trying to figure out "how the world actually works."

The reason I have an issue with posts such as these is not that I think AA aren't worthy of respect for academic achievements. It's that they seem to subtly imply that other minorities aren't quite so suited for certain fields. Perhaps it's true that women or certain minorities take, on average, longer to learn physics or mathematics than men or other minorities. But if it's true, so what? We should still be encouraging all people to inquire about and take classes in these sciences because they are beautiful subjects worthy of study. Incessantly making posts comparing groups and pointing out that certain groups are inferior doesn't seem like a way to accomplish that goal. It just makes members of the "inferior" group feel less confident and more likely to give up. And I don't see what is gained for the "good" groups, aside from an ego boost.

redddi said...

Actually it makes all the difference in the world to explore these differences. Simple example - the flavor of the moment in the New York Times and other influential outlets is denouncing silicon valley for being "too white", and not enough black and hispanic. I put that in quotes here because those companies are NOT too white, what they really are is too Asian. Asians are over represented compared to their share of the population. Now, if NYT were to have its way, blacks and hispanics would be preferentially hired in silicon valley to increase "diversity". What does that necessarily lead to? Less whites? No, because whites form a smaller fraction of those companies workforces than their share of the general population. So any increase in blacks and hispanics will come at the cost of fewer Asians. Myself and my progeny will find it harder to get hired because of this bizarre belief held by the masses that all people are equally intelligent and hardworking, and therefore any difference in outcome is purely a result of Racism. I'm ignoring for now the inherently insulting position taken by the NYT that Indian Americans like me or East Asian Americans like Steve are not worthy of being considered diversity.

This battle is not some airy fairy way for East asians to pat themselves on the back, this is a real and important question that needs to be settled once and for all - to ensure that Asians don't become the target of exclusionary quotas, in the same way Jews were excluded from elite universities several decades ago. We know that Ashkenazi jews have higher IQs than average, so it's no longer considered some sort of nepotism to find jews over represented in elite universities, but back in the day jews were targeted for rejection from Harvard and Yale because people wanted those places to be "diverse".

redddi said...

come on steve you're blocking even my balanced, guarded comments. Granted, it's your blog, but do you at least have a comments policy post somewhere so I can tailor my comments to your liking?

redddi said...

It destroys the rationale for quotas and affirmative action. In that way, it serves the greater good.

Bibibibibib Blubb said...

Dude, seriously I am ultra Liberal and very likely to go murder racists and HBD people for trying to put me in some group, but even I think you are completely misunderstanding the article here.

steve hsu said...

Science works through the accumulation and careful examination of data. Large numbers of studies are usually required when dealing with complex social or biological phenomena, to which people (even scientists) bring strong priors or political agendas. I am trying to follow the results in this area to make up my own mind about what to believe. I think it is best to be epistemologically careful and not jump to conclusions.

See http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2008/10/intellectual-honesty-how-much-do-we.html

If actual researchers are willing to put in years of work to obtain results like those in the PNAS paper above, are you saying I shouldn't analyze them here? What would you tell the researchers -- should they quit?

You'll note I have written hundreds of blog posts on finance (i.e., derivatives, the credit crisis, risk, etc.) and economics -- more than the number on genetics (including on the technology of sequencing, cancer, evolution, medicine, etc.), and far more than on AAs. Should I quit after a few posts (because some reader is unhappy? my conclusions about, e.g., the banking system or the field of economics are often negative), or should I continue because there are new things to learn and think about in those areas?

Bibibibibib Blubb said...

Actually it does not do that either. Affirmative action will be even more needed because smart people from a lower average of smart people will have had it harder to get to that opportunity, than people from higher average of smart people. It also has to account for population. Then you would have to make sure people don't get discriminated against because of a statistic related to them by somebody else. Then you will have to account for the population, a bigger population of lower average can still have the same amount of smart people than a smaller population of higher average.

Who gets the right to determine an individuals identity for him/her based on anything? Some child somewhere gets put in a group because some scientist says so? How about no? Who gave you the right to investigate into someones genome, and then publish it? Invasion of privacy and individual freedom.

Bibibibibib Blubb said...

"Every race has its unique advantages and disadvantages"

No not really, the differences are shared, it is an average and its completely temporary. Depends on environment. This specific study is not in your favor either.

"East Asian men make great physicists and engineers, while black men make good salesmen and football players. Work with nature, instead of fighting it every step of the way"

Except its an average, people from both can be good at either. Depends on how much is environment, but either way nobody has to work with nature. They can change it simply by pulling their pants down and aiming their private parts in the right direction.

Also I'm pretty sure Steve Hsu would really not want this blog to be remembered like the bell curve is now.

I don't know why you HBD guys have this idea in your heads that this whole thing is somehow the final say like its some kind of holy unchangeable thing that everyone HAS to follow and agree to. Its not even confirmed yet how much is actually genetic.

redddi said...

You seem to think I am advocating negative discrimination, to say someone cannot do something because they belong to X or Y group. I am not. My point was that affirmative action, where even noticeably inferior candidates are selected purely to fill quotas for their race/sex, will have no rationale (because it might be that their lower representation in the university/company simply reflects a lower mean for their group's ability/effort, not racism/sexism on the company's part). A good performer from an underrepresented minority / sex would still be welcome, purely based on merit. No special treatment.
And simply having too many white males wouldn't land organizations in the soup for being "racist sexist bigots".

redddi said...

No, don't mischaracterize my position. I specifically mentioned averages in my comment. Did I ever say every single individual would follow these norms? On average leopards run slower than cheetahs. Does that mean there aren't individual leopards and cheetahs for whom the results are reversed?

And I didn't say it's immutable either.

The Bell Curve was a tour de force of intellectual fresh air blowing away the cobwebs in social science. It's still maligned because our intellectual culture remains overwhelmingly progressive, conformist and ideologically blinkered. The Bell Curve, Steve Hsu and others are moving the world towards an acknowledgement of the fact that we are NOT all created equal. We can choose to treat everyone equally, but that is a moral judgement made by our polity, not a scientific observation.

Darwin, Galileo and Copernicus were condemned for speaking out against the status quo, but their willingness to explore the facts without ideological prejudice led them to remake the world in their own way. HBD will do the same for the human sciences. While also delivering practical benefits by ending group-based affirmative action and the endless pouring of money down the drain to close the "gap" and bring down "glass ceilings". Maybe all the hullaballoo around getting "girls to code" is misdirected, maybe most girls really don't want to code.

And again, before you accuse me of being racist, I'm from India and my skin is darker than Obama's. I've been called a n****r on more than one occasion on account of my appearance. And I'm quite prepared to acknowledge that the data seems to suggest Indians have lower IQs than whites and East Asians - it's in the mid-80s. Them's the breaks. Clearly, it's merely an average, because my IQ is >100 in spite of belonging to the Indian genetic pool. I also allow for the possibility that improvement in nutrition and education can boost IQ, as Ron Unz claimed.

melonhead said...

As the ACLU says, "The answer to free speech is more free speech". I claim the philosophy behind science is the same. Scientists will plow ahead finding stuff out - they'll leave it to women like you to find interpretations that make everyone feel good about themselves.

redddi said...

" Is it 10% genetics and 90% hard work?Or is it (gasp) 11% genetics and only 89% hard work?"
What makes you so sure that the ability to do hard work is not partially or fully genetic?
ADHD is pretty much the anti-hard work behavioral phenotype. ADHD makes you inattentive, lazy and unmotivated. Over 75% of ADHD risk is believed to come from the genes.
So it would make sense if the opposite, being attentive, diligent and ambitious, is also significantly genetic in origin. Maybe a gene that makes you less prone to get bored by boring things like multiplication tables. I put my money on a dopamine enhancing or dopamine receptor-influencing polymorphism that works in the reward centers of the brain.

Bibibibibib Blubb said...

I refuted your specific statements. Read my reply again. I did not say you didn't say it wasn't an average, I did not call you a racist, but you very well can be regardless of how dark your skin is or how many times someone calls you nigger.

You can regardless of science choose that everyone is created equally. Two people with same IQ can be regarded unequal or equal scientifically it depends on what they are looking at and who is deciding. Look I can simply decide that genetically humans share too much to be divided into races. 0.1% difference in average alleles is too temporary and small to divide people. That is a scientific position. There is no argument against that.

This is not like Darwin, Galileo and Copernicus vs the world. The fight is nowhere near the same thing, never mind that the evidence is still unknown. What happens in 20 years if technology just does away with any difference? The differences between groups can be taken care of naturally too, simply by not caring.

Read the article again it is not on your side. There was another recent post that was also not on your side. There is plenty not on your side.

Also this is incorrect.
"On average leopards run slower than cheetahs" Pretty much every healthy cheetah can outrun a leopard.

redddi said...

Repeat: the derision directed at the Bell Curve is for the most part ideological and not scientific. Stephen Jay gould was the centerpiece of the movement against it, and we all know his credentials (or the lack of them). He was a paleontologist with no experience in psychology, and recently was also been found to have been falsifying his research on skulls.
I will not stop caring about differences between groups. I have a growing number of intellectual allies who will not stop caring. We will rub your faces in the inequality of humanity until you stop propagandizing these dangerous lies that any and all outcome differences between groups are a result of racism/sexism.

The era of the blank slate is ending. This is a revolution on the lines of the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions. It extends those two revolutions to their natural conclusions- if the earth is not the center of the universe, and humans were not made specially by a creator God, then it follows that humans are like any other species, with differing subspecies within the larger species differing from each other.

No one is arguing that pitbulls and chihuahuas are exactly equivalent for all tasks, are they? They are like races of dogs. Same thing for male and female animals of most mammalian species. They simply aren't the same, unless you spay and neuter them.

Advances in medical genetics will make the public ever more eager to learn about group differences, particularly the genetic ones. And people are increasingly fascinated by "men are from mars, women are from venus" sort of articles. Nobody cares about what makes us all more similar to each other, because that's not interesting. People crave to know about differences, it is inherent in our psychology to investigate differences. It makes no difference if all humans share 99% of their genes or whatever, it's the remaining 1% which matters. Heck we share 98% of our genes with chimpanzees, is anyone suggesting a chimp could solve differential equations?

All people of all races eat food and poop and sleep! Yawn no one cares.
Blacks are on average better at running sprints! Chinese are on average better engineers! Whoa that's fascinating!
Women are on average better at multitasking! Tell me more!

You want to work on genetic engineering to make everyone equal, be my guest. Until that day dawns, you can expect to hear MUCH more from HBDers.

Karen J said...

Let me respond to your questions from last to first. I'm certainly not trying to tell you what you can or can't write about on your blog- its' a free country after all! Post about whatever you want to. But I expect you want frank feedback from your readers and that is what I am trying to give you.

As far as research into inequities between racial or ethnic groups goes: of course this is a field worthy of study. There are huge,obvious inequities among groups that deserve investigation. I'm not arguing that nobody should ever study these issues.

But your posts on your blog regarding this topic strike me as being focused on "proving" that certain groups are superior to others (or that race is a real construct, and that certain races suck at math/science compared to others... and so on ) In a world full of racism (one commenter even admits being called epithets a few paragraphs below me!) these sorts of posts don't seem to accomplish much but to cause division and maybe help racist readers justify their own deeply held prejudices. Perhaps there's some hidden agenda here that I'm missing. But frankly, these sorts of inflammatory posts just seem unworthy of a highly trained physicists's blog.

redddi said...

If race is a social construct, are dog breeds also social constructs?

melonhead said...

You know you're somewhat right - there's always a motive for actions, what's the motive here? Probably selfish, aren't they always? Here'd be my reason though - the larger world does not acknowledge race differences (oh and by the way, you've apparently missed the memo, that race exists), and for many of us that's irritating, and always to be gnawed away at until it is. Steve here may be similarly gnawing, or, trying to narrow in on the details. Since it's denied by the mainstream, race realism takes more psychic maintenance (imo) - that's the only reason I can think of that I personally keep reading about it even though I was long ago convinced. Then, people like to know their place in the world. A body probably spends more time on the measures of 'place' that make them look good, understandable enough.

Now let's look at why you care so much about what Steve Hsu writes in his blog. Is it true, selfless empathy for Steve's image? Or do you just not want to have to face the loss of the very pleasant idea that everyone's the same, that success is controllable by human agency - hard work, good rearing, good nutrition, education etc? I admit that even beyond the loss of the pleasantness of that illusion, its end leaves a really difficult can of worms. Another, unflattering possible motive which seems to match your language (you're trying to shame him), is that you like the righteousness hit of being more moral than him, giving you a status boost.

nooffensebut said...

No one should ever brag about their intelligence. Maybe intelligence doesn't even exist. Now, when it comes to the ability to beat up another man, bragging like Muhammad Ali is the essence of a cultural icon. Asians aren't superior. They don't even deserve respect. If people just like you can set 16% as the admissions ceiling on Asians, and Asians still vote for the party whose attorney general says that type of treatment is just beginning, then really, have Asians earned your respect? Where's their confidence? Remember when that "stupid" Asian said, "Cancel Colbert"? That was about satire, right? That's why white comedians are always using the n-word. Even our humor is completely full of equality. That's why it's so funny.

aseuss said...

Actually, in "The Myth of American Meritocracy" Ron Unz, who is Jewish (probably Ashkenazi) and like the owner of this blog was trained as a physicist, shows that Jewish students are over-represented at a level that is not consistent with their achievement and perhaps ability. His central argument is that, conversely, Asians are under-represented according to their level of achievement (as shown by National Merit Scholarships and presence in various national math and science contests), implying that, in many cases, Asian students are more deserving of spots that are accrued to Jewish students. This concept is not new: Daniel Golden calls Asians, including Indians, "The New Jews," which is also the title for a chapter on his book on the un-meritocratic nature of university admissions. Steve Hsu actually blogged about this article early last year--Unz's diagrams are particularly helpful and serve to illustrate just how severe the discrimination against Asian applicants is at elite colleges.
By the way, since you mention the NYT, you should know that they published an opinion piece last summer which noted mild yet consistent discrimination against stellar Indian applicants to the University of California. I can't remember the name of the person who wrote it, but suffice it to say that she's no longer employed by the UC!

aseuss said...

Actually, what Dr Hsu posted was a peer-reviewed article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, whose overriding thesis was that academic achievement among Asians can be overwhelmingly attributed to hard work. Even when considering the small subset of East Asians, the contribution from differential cognitive ability is likely small if it exists at all. This is hardly inflammatory at all, and therefore Hsu's posting it is not inflammatory either. Even if Steve is accused of having some ulterior, self-congratulatory, motive, this charge is unfair for the simple reason that he provides material, composed by third parties, that shows different sides. This would include evidence that contradicts what some (like you) believe is his primary aim. At the very least, the hard evidence contained in the PNAS paper severely dampens any explanation based on genetics. (In other words, the true racists or hereditarians are surely going to be disappointed.) Again, hardly inflammatory. In fact, what is inflammatory is the response to such posts that somehow turn subtle, often contradictory points that scientists are still trying to figure out, into racist diatribes. On the other side, the true racists may use this to justify discrimination--a real concern, but an outcome that does not follow from the findings of researchers that Hsu cites or the findings that Hsu himself makes. At any rate, there were racists long, long before there was "science" or pseudoscience and these people are going to do what they are going to do because of their hateful agenda--they don't care about science. Research findings like those published in this PNAS paper actually do a service by quantifying things like achievement and demonstrating that it is difficult to conclusively attribute such phenomena (if at all) to things like ability. Again, this will disappoint the "racist readers" cited by the commenter.

Karen J said...

But what the study concludes, and what Dr. Hsu concludes in this blog post, are two very different things.

At the start of this post, Dr. Hsu is musing about why east asians are academically so much better than everybody else. He surmises that the reason is about
50% "cognitive advantage" (buzzword for smarter than the rest) and 50% hard work.He then looks at a study which ostensibly claims that hard work is responsible for asian-american success. From this, he concludes...that east Asian success is due to about 1/3 cognitive advantage and 2/3 hard work! With the caveat that the results for non-east asian subgroups are "strange".

So, yes, this is another post where Dr. Hsu concludes that the data supports East Asian-Americans being both smarter and more hard working than other groups.

What's wrong with that? It is not that taking pride in one's racial group is inherently a negative. After all, people take pride in their sports teams, their colleges, their countries...this can be a healthy thing to do. And the achievements of asian-americans are certainly worthy of more attention than they currently get in our media and culture. If I thought posts like these were intended just to highlight the achievements of east asians - a woefully neglected group- I would have no problem with them.

But instead, I find posts that not only emphasize how smart asians (and,yes, ashkenazi jews) are, but also how comparatively dumb other races are. Dr. Hsu seems intent on proving (or at least, providing lots and lots of evidence for) a kind of racial intellectual hierarchy, with east asians and jews at the top.and other groups-the dummies of the human race-filling out the bottom tiers. Reading through this blog, a quote from Gore Vidal comes to mind: "It is not enough that I succeed. Others must fail."No doubt these posts are very appealing to racists who relish the idea of having scientific backup for their derision of other minorities. ("Geez, that black guy down the street gets laid a lot. But at least my racial group makes way better mathematicians than his does! Man, that sure makes me feel better. ") My point is that, from my (admittedly outsider) perspective, these sorts of posts, and the discussion they engender,seem mean spirited and ultimately pointless.

dxie48 said...


"Narcissists or shameless self-promoters do better in job interviews than more modest personalities, a study by University of British Columbia researchers finds.

And that can mean candidates from more modest cultures, including the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese, do poorly in job interviews, suggests
the study led by Del Paulhus, a psychology professor at UBC."

"People from Western cultures seem to be more predisposed to telling how good they are, while people from more modest cultures like East Asia
seem to be very uncomfortable. They were raised to feel uncomfortable by bragging," Paulhus said.

nooffensebut said...

We must pretend that every group is above average because African Americans have brittle egos. People are people, and we evolved from the angels. No more model-minority myths and hate-graphs!

Hacienda said...

Really? You're going to blame black people for this too?

nooffensebut said...

Numbers are a racist conspiracy.

redddi said...

Karen, Steve's conclusions about the study are absolutely correct. You dont seem to have grasped the results in their entirety. While the abstract talks about "Asian American" success as being mostly due to hard work, they refer to a mix of four different Asian ethnic groups. In the supplementary figure they show the breakdown for these groups. For the East Asian subgroup alone, it does indeed seem that success is 1/3 cognitive advantage and 2/3 hard work. The other three Asian American subgroups have differing findings, with their cognitive ability actually lower than Whites.

Hacienda said...

RICO investigation over the entire Eurasian space! But jail the Indian subcontinent. The rest are accomplices.The Greeks weren't good with numbers. E.Asians are probably innocent.

lukelea said...

Nice lecture.

aseuss said...

Well, it does not take much to realize that intelligence and hard work are not mutually exclusive. Teasing out the two, finding which factor matters most--now that takes intelligence. Most laypeople probably understand the complexity of the issue, and that both factors matter a lot.
However, when it comes to EA success, according to the popular press it can only be that EA success is attributable to grit. The majority group, however, would like to attribute the success of its own members mostly to intelligence, with a little hard work thrown in.
Actually, it is likely that those who are intelligent can fully appreciate the importance of hard work. They are also those for whom hard work will provide the greatest returns.

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