Nice to see an occasional reader around here making waves elsewhere.
Elite universities are failing to recruit working-class students because IQ is, on average, determined by social class, according to an academic.
Bruce Charlton, a reader in evolutionary psychiatry at Newcastle University, claims that the greater proportion of students from higher social classes at highly selective universities is not a sign of admissions prejudice but rather the result of simple meritocracy.
No, I\’ve not read the paper but why should that stop me pontificating?
I think though that the report is being a little unfair to his ideas. It isn\’t that IQ is determined by social class, rather, that IQ itself determines economic class. And as social classes are (more than they used to be at least) determined by economic class, thus we see this outcome.
It doesn\’t really matter what IQ itself is here, whether it\’s measuring something immutable or something which is appropriate for success in our current societal structure. All we need for this mechanism to operate is that it both be heritable (which to a large extent it is) and that it determine, even if only in part, economic success.
Both of which contentions I think are really quite supportable.
There\’s also a rather impish corollary. We certainly did used to have a society in which life chances were a great deal more regulated by position of birth than is true now. When these restrictions were relaxed in the post war years, we saw a great deal more social mobility than before or indeed since. Using this IQ idea we could interpret this as being that society did indeed hold people back from the position that their IQ would have preited….but that once that age cohort had risen through the system, there isn\’t a pool of high IQ people in the next generation being unfairly held back. The parents that handed on such IQs to them are already middle class and thus the movement stops.
I have to admit that I\’m not 100% convinced either by the original contention (I\’m sure it\’s true in part, how much is the important bit) nor my corollaries but fun to speculate all the same, eh?