The dumb blonde jokes never were about natural blondes

They’re not ‘dumb blondes’ after all: Women with the natural hair colour are MORE intelligent than brunettes and redheads
The study showed that blonde-haired women had an average IQ of 103.2
This was compared to 102.7 for brunettes and 101.2 for those with red hair

That does pose a puzzle since the average IQ of any population is, by definition, 100, thus who are the dumb birds?

But the point about dumb blondes was never about natural hair colours. It was always about those who dyed their hair that colour to play (or be) the bimbo.

47 thoughts on “The dumb blonde jokes never were about natural blondes”

  1. Well if 100 is the average for the population as a whole, the implication is that it is the men dragging down the average

  2. As Alastair says, there aren’t any in the Brave New World. It’s the blokes dragging down the average.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    This was compared to 102.7 for brunettes and 101.2 for those with red hair

    In fairness this result probably would have surprised Hitler.

    Although it does explain both the SNP and Fianna Fail.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    The study showed that blonde-haired women had an average IQ of 103.2. This was compared to 102.7 for brunettes and 101.2 for those with red hair

    And what is the natural variation among women as a whole? We don’t use the full 103.2. You would have to be dead to have an IQ of 0. But we use a reasonable range. What is the error margin? People get different results if they take the test on different days. Not always big differences, but differences.

    This looks like being within the margin of error and most likely to be just noise.

    Although no doubt Rusty will be along in a minute to claim that IQ tests are hate crimes.

  5. Trivial variation. Don’t even need to wheel out this one but I will: “a mean without a standard deviation is meaningless”.

  6. Average IQ doesn’t have to be exactly 100 – the test gets rebased from time to time. Nor does average IQ have to be the same in every age group.

    I wonder what the hair colour is of the person who tried unsuccessfully to find three pictures of natural blondes to illustrate the Mail article.

  7. Firstly, IQ tests are dubious. Secondly, who didn’t turn up. Thirdly, the dumb blonde thing isn’t so much about intelligence as education and ignorance. Plain girls work harder. They can’t just flutter their eyes and get blokes to do everything for them. It’s why beauty queens often crash and burn later. They can’t manipulate men any longer and have no skills.

  8. 95% is 2 standard deviations, so that would make the SD for IQ (assuming normal distribution and a mean of 100) to be 15.

    Which makes (intellectual – there are other sorts) genius (usually quoted as IQ > 150, although that is way too simplistic) around 0.2% of the population.

  9. “So it’s OK to test IQ against hair colour but absolutely taboo to do it for other genetic markers?”

    Not at all. You can compare it to genetic markers all you like. Your results will almost certainly be completely lost in random noise just like these ones though. Intelligence is partly genetic but the effect is too much to measure over the dozen or so generations we’ve got good records for.

  10. >It was always about those who dyed their hair that colour to play (or be) the bimbo.

    I don’t think that’s true.

  11. Look, the differences reported here are tiny. Even if the results really can be extrapolated to the rest of the population, which they most likely can’t, then all they tell us is that blondes, on average, have a very slightly higher IQ than other women. The difference is so small that it would be undetectable in anything other than an artifical test situation, and would have no practical ramifications whatsoever, even if IQ is as important as some people think it is.

    Another thing to note is that this is in all likelihood a self-selecting group of blondes. Your stereotypical dizzy blonde bimbo isn’t going to be applying to the Armed Forces.

  12. So Much For Subtlety

    Any study that is so bad it produced agreement among me, BiG, SJW and Matty is an exceptionally bad study.

    Anon – “Firstly, IQ tests are dubious.”

    Only because people don’t like their results. They are still the best predictor of study and work place success we have.

    Matthew L – “Not at all. You can compare it to genetic markers all you like. Your results will almost certainly be completely lost in random noise just like these ones though.”

    Which is interesting but of course rubbish. The results for IQ tests are strongly correlated with genetic markers. Those for having darker skin for instance. Take this listing of IQ by nation for instance:

    http://www.eutimes.net/2009/11/iq-by-country/

    We can make a pretty good assumption about the colour of the hair of the population in countries with IQs under 80. There is not much change when that measurement is done on people descended from people from those countries but now in richer First World countries.

    Cal – “Your stereotypical dizzy blonde bimbo isn’t going to be applying to the Armed Forces.”

    Hey, don’t destroy the dream. It was Goldie Hawn’s best film

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    I admit that “hate fact” is not quite the right phrase:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_and_Global_Inequality

    But it is not far off. Development is strongly linked to higher IQs. Now which is cause and which is effect? It may be that aristocratic societies allowed better fed nobs to become smarter, driving science and industrialisation, so that over time the majority of the population also improved their IQs.

    But it hardly matters. As Africa is screwed any way. If it is genetic they are clearly not blessed. If it is nutrition, they have no way of producing a well fed and hence intelligent population that can modernise the continent for the rest – African Socialism has made sure of that. And it may well be disease. We are only now finding out about Zika. Which affects brain development and appears to be surprisingly common in countries with low IQs.

    Africa’s only hope is to import higher IQ people from elsewhere. As in South Africa and during the colonial period. Or now, the Chinese.

  14. Your stereotypical dizzy blonde bimbo isn’t going to be applying to the Armed Forces.

    a. You’d be surprised!

    b. That wasn’t the point – they took a wider sample (the NLSY79) but used the Pentagon’s test as a known baseline and put the whole sample through it.

  15. So Much For Subtlety

    Tom Fuller – “I think it’s called the Flynn effect. IQs have been rising steadily and I believe the median is now about 107 or something similar.”

    It is regularly re-normed so it always stays at 100.

    I believe England’s average is now declining but that might just be a rumour. Sweden’s schools are declining and they admit it is immigration. Well, some of them.

  16. “b. That wasn’t the point – they took a wider sample (the NLSY79) but used the Pentagon’s test as a known baseline and put the whole sample through it.”

    Okay, I’ve had a look at the actual paper now, and yes, it wasn’t Army recruits, but a large sample of randomly chosen 14-21 year olds in 1979, all given an IQ test (the purpose of which was to establish a national IQ baseline that the Armed Forces could use — the Armed Forces angle is actually irrelevant to the results and shouldn’t have been mentioned in media reports).

    The results from this survey are actually a lot more robust than you might think. It’s a large sample with care taken to minimize the unrepresentativeness. Zagorsky has just pulled the data straight out of this survey. It’s a stronger result than I first thought from reading it in The Daily Mail article that Tim linked to.

    The result that blondes have pretty much the same IQ on average as non-blondes isn’t that surprising, but I thought that perhaps there was more of a spread with them — ie. more blondes at the higher and lower ends, and less in the middle. But apparently this isn’t true either.

  17. “Your stereotypical dizzy blonde bimbo isn’t going to be applying to the Armed Forces.”

    She could, accidentally, by being dizzy.

  18. Maybe they’ve confounded mode and mean. If males have a fat tailed distribution (seems so, from genius inventions, etc) then average mode could be lower in men than women.

  19. I like the statement in The Mail that Marilyn Monroe was “said to be a shrewd business woman”. This is from the trivia section at IMDB on Some Like It Hot:

    Marilyn Monroe required 47 takes to get “It’s me, Sugar” correct, instead saying either “Sugar, it’s me” or “It’s Sugar, me”. After take 30, Billy Wilder had the line written on a blackboard. Another scene required Monroe to rummage through some drawers and say “Where’s the bourbon?” After 40 takes of her saying “Where’s the whiskey?”, ‘Where’s the bottle?”, or “Where’s the bonbon?”, Wilder pasted the correct line in one of the drawers. After Monroe became confused about which drawer contained the line, Wilder had it pasted in every drawer. Fifty-nine takes were required for this scene and when she finally does say it, she has her back to the camera, leading some to wonder if Wilder finally gave up and had it dubbed.

    I wonder if anyone made an blonde quips during those 59 takes?

  20. Matthew L

    Charles Murray and the APA would disagree

    “Richard Herrnstein and I wrote that cognitive ability as measured by IQ tests is heritable, somewhere in the range of 40% to 80% [pp. 105–110], and that heritability tends to rise as people get older. This was not a scientifically controversial statement when we wrote it; that President Sands thinks it has been discredited as of 2016 is amazing.

    You needn’t take my word for it. In the wake of the uproar over The Bell Curve, the American Psychological Association (APA) assembled a Task Force on Intelligence consisting of eleven of the most distinguished psychometricians in the United States. Their report, titled “Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns,” was published in the February 1996 issue of the APA’s peer-reviewed journal, American Psychologist. Regarding the magnitude of heritability (represented by h2), here is the Task Force’s relevant paragraph. For purposes of readability, I have omitted the citations embedded in the original paragraph:

    If one simply combines all available correlations in a single analysis, the heritability (h2) works out to about .50 and the between-family variance (c2) to about .25. These overall figures are misleading, however, because most of the relevant studies have been done with children. We now know that the heritability of IQ changes with age: h2 goes up and c2 goes down from infancy to adulthood. In childhood h2 and c2 for IQ are of the order of .45 and .35; by late adolescence h2 is around .75 and c2 is quite low (zero in some studies) [p. 85].”

    http://www.aei.org/publication/an-open-letter-to-the-virginia-tech-community/

  21. Bloke in Costa Rica

    According to Jensen, A. R., & Reynolds, C. R. (1983), figures were mean of 101.41 with a standard deviation of 13.55 for women and 103.08 with a standard deviation of 14.54 for men. So there is a significantly higher fraction of high IQ men in the tails compared to women. Assuming these really are normally distributed the ratio, PDF-wise, is about 1.21 at IQ 120. At 130, which is the threshold for ‘gifted’ the ratio is 1.55. The same goes for the real thickoes on the other side, of course. IQ isn’t really normally distributed out in the tails (log-normal is a better fit) but it’s still fairly close to the case that 68% of people are within one S.D. of the mean and 95% within two. The reference standard for IQ when it’s renormalised is mean 100, S.D. 15.

    Even though the most robust statistic yielded by an IQ test is how good someone is at taking IQ tests, the correlation between it and life outcomes is very strong. In particular, it is the single best predictor of socioeconomic status in adulthood. It also poses a conundrum for those who insist everyone should go to university. The cut-off to make a decent fist of an honours degree course in an academically-rigorous course is about 125. CDF of μ = 100, σ = 15 is 0.908, which means only about 9% of people fall into this category. To act as if this is not the case is magical thinking.

  22. If IQ is related to any genetic factor that implies a possibly different cultural background, how are we normalising for the educational differences that suggest? Or to put it another way, are we saying that someone who due to where they were born (say Glasgow or western Ireland – I note red hair comes bottom of the pile in the report…) has worse English skills is actually less intelligent or simply less adept at understanding the questions due to their languge comprehension?

    And language is too complex to be sure an IQ test in one language is directly comparable to another language as well. So I am dubious we can make any statements about IQ tests comparing people of different origins other than that it is logical that immigration would reduce figures, but not perhaps actual intelligence.

    That said, I’m happy to believe that being forced to learn a religion by rote from a young age is hardly going to help with any measure of intelligence…

  23. @ SMFS
    “Only because people don’t like their results. They are still the best predictor of study and work place success we have.”
    In that case the other predictors for work place success must be awful. When I was a kid ICI ran an IQ test for all its office staff and then compared the results with perceived success at work to see whether IQ was a useful indicator. Having assessed the results, it dropped IQ tests and did not subject applicants to an IQ test.
    The actual performance at school and university, to which IQ is a contributing factor, seemed to be better at predicting workplace success than IQ itself.

  24. “The study showed that blonde-haired women had an average IQ of 103.2. This was compared to 102.7 for brunettes and 101.2 for those with red hair.”

    So the range of these scores, top to bottom, is 2.0? This tells me that all three scores are statistical equals.

    That’s because the standard error is about 3.87 for IQ scores, which is larger – in fact much larger – than the range. In other words, all three IQ scores fall within the standard error of measurement, and are therefore statistically equal.

    (Standard error is the square root of the standard deviation, which for IQ scores is 15. The square root of 15 ar about 3.87).

  25. @ John Fembup
    THey are not equals. What it means is that they probably are different but that the data is not enough to satisfy the reader *beyond reasonable doubt* that they are different.

  26. @Theophrastus

    Ecksy makes some most excellent rants, full of passion and intelligence, though not always.

  27. So Much For Subtlety

    Theophrastus – “What SMFS said, throughout the thread.”

    I don’t know. Even I think I made some pretty far out there statements. After all, Bird on a Wire is pretty good too.

    Mind you, she needs to apologise for normalising Rape Culture in Overboard

  28. @john77 – actually, they are statistical equals. What “the reader” may conclude if otherwise, reflects the reader’s personal preference not the mathematics.

    The measurements obviously differ. But the fact is, they are statistically equivalentm They do not confirm a difference in the actual IQ’s measured. That’s because the three measurements are within the standard error of estimate for the IQ statistic.

    This is similar to election polling. When poll results are close, we ask what Is the “confidence interval” or the margin of error, or the error of estimate in the poll i.e., in the sample. If the poll results are within the error of estimate, we consider the poll shows the race is a statistical draw.

    The IQ measurements are a statistical draw.

  29. Bloke in Costa Rica

    John Fembup: standard error is not the square root of the standard deviation. It is the standard deviation divided by the square root of the sample size. For sufficiently large samples, even small differences in mean and standard deviation can be considered statistically significant (e.g. rejecting the null hypothesis that they are the same at the 95% confidence interval, for example, or inferentially from Student’s t-test).

  30. Bloke in Costa Rica

    That’s sample standard deviation, natch, not population standard deviation (which is generally unknown).

  31. So Much For Subtlety

    Ted S. – “Somebody needs to see Cactus Flower.”

    Well Goldie Hawn was gorgeous. She really deserved that Oscar. But that film relies on the assumption that a lying, cheating womanizer does not notice the even more gorgeous Ingrid Bergman who happens to work in his office and really loves him.

    Some suspensions of disbelief are just too great.

    Ms Hawn is an interesting example of someone who has built a career making the ditsy blonde stereotype work for her. Although I doubt she is stupid at all.

  32. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “Possibly, although she was pregnant so you’d think not,”

    The Fifties were a different time. She was probably taking Thalidomide.

    Pregnancy paranoia only came afterwards

  33. I’m sorry, but noone seems to have made this very clear point.

    100 is the average IQ for White British people.

    The dilution of that IQ by foreign invaders (who have no diversity of hair colour) would certainly explain some of the advantage that blondes have IQ wise.

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