The Son Also Rises

Greg Clark has a new book out, The Son Also Rises. His thesis, in short, is that moxie has high heritability. Most studies show fairly high social mobility from one generation to the next – but Clark finds (using surname analysis) that paternal lineages that were over-represented (or under-represented) in measures of status (such as education or wealth) can be still be over-represented (or under-represented)  in high-status groups several hundred years later.  Both statements are true.  In the short run, from one generation to the next, luck plays a big role.  In the longer run, the fact that the subpopulation being examined has a different genotypic average, one more likely to result in high status, means that regression to the mean of the general population is slow for the subgroup, essentially caused by gradual change in its average genotype, change produced by intermarriage with individuals who on average have a less favorable genotype.  Other than high heritability, the other prerequisite for this pattern is highly assortative mating for moxie. If two groups have different average amounts of moxie, complete endogamy (as in Indian castes) would ensure that the between-group difference would continue indefinitely,  disregarding selection.

We All Are Tall!

Here’s a simple example.  Take a group of NBA players – they’re a good deal taller than average.  Assume that they all marry WNBA players ( it’s a thought experiment, ok?). The kids will be taller than average, and probably some get into the NBA (far more than average) , but most don’t. There’s a lot of change in status from one generation to the next.  Have them continue to marry among themselves: they stay that tall, and each generation is  over-represented in the NBA. In any generation, kids in a particular family   are gaining or losing NBA status, but people in this clan are regressing to a higher mean.

Now instead, imagine that 10% marry out each generation.  The people they marry are probably not as as tall, but even more important,  they are, on average,  genetically shorter. Keep up this admixture for generations and our NBA/WNBA clan will eventually converge to the population mean.

Where did  Clark and his students see this this pattern of slow long-term social mobility?

Everywhere they looked. England, Sweden, Japan, Korea, China, Chile.  In England, Norman surnames are still 25% over-represented at Oxford and Cambridge, but then it’s only been 947 years. The Japanese upper class is something like half Samurai (5% of the population when they lost their special privileges, 143 years ag0).

Assuming that is in fact a genetic phenomenon, such slow convergence also requires pretty low paternal uncertainty – but then paternal uncertainty is in fact low, at least in the populations we have looked at. I talked to Clark about this: he hadn’t really looked at it yet and had heard that the rate was around 10%.  Where do people get these notions?  Now he knows better.

It’s not in the book (ongoing work) but it turns out that the long-term pattern is the same if you look at matrilineal descent. As it should be, if it’s genetic.

It turns out that you can predict a kid’s social status better if you take into account the grandparents as well as the parents – and the nieces/nephews, cousins, etc. Which means that you’re estimating the breeding value for moxie – which means that Clark needs to read Falconer right now. I’d guess that taking into account grandparents that the kids never even met, ones that died before their birth, will improve prediction.  Let the sociologists chew on that.

Adoption – turns out most of the kid’s status is due to genetic factors, rather than family environment.  At least for reasonably normal environments: this may not be the case if you’re raised in a barrel and fed through the bung-hole.

Often groups with a different average genotypic value are generated by a process of biased leaving and/or joining – like upper and lower classes or the Amish.  Natural selection can also do this, in an endogamous group.   Of course, you can do the same thing by importing a population that already has a higher or lower average.  As long as it doesn’t mix much, it can stay different (higher or lower) for a long time.

If culture was the driver, a group could just adopt a different culture (it happens) and decide to be the new upper class by doing all that shit Amy Chua pushes, or possibly by playing cricket. I don’t believe that this ever actually occurs.  Although with genetic engineering on the horizon,  it may be possible.  Of course that would be cheating.

It is hard to change these patterns very much. Universal public education, fluoridation, democracy, haven’t made much difference.  I do think that shooting enough people would. Or a massive application of droit de seigneur, or its opposite.

Clark finds that windfalls don’t make much difference in the long run. Back in 1830, they kicked the Cherokee out of Georgia and distributed the land by lottery in 1832. One-fifth of the adult male white Georgians were winners, with a value of something like $150,000 in 2014 dollars.  But by 1880, their descendants were no more literate, their occupational status no higher.  Sounds like modern lottery winners, or NBA players, yes?  The major exception must be extreme poverty: a windfall that keeps you from starving to death must have long-range effects on your descendants.

If moxie is genetic, most economists must be wrong about human capital formation.   Having fewer kids and spending more money on their education has only a modest effect: this must be the case, given slow long-run social mobility. It seems that social status is transmitted within families largely independently of the resources available to parents. Which is why Ashkenazi Jews could show up at Ellis Island flat broke, with no English, and have so many kids in the Ivy League by the 1920s that they imposed quotas.  I’ve never understood why economists ever believed in this.

Moxie is not the same thing as IQ, although IQ must be a component. It is also worth remembering that this trait helps you acquire  status – it is probably not quite the same thing as being saintly, honest, or incredibly competent at doing your damn job.

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77 Responses to The Son Also Rises

  1. JayMan says:

    Greg Cochran: The Man Among Men.

    “If moxie is genetic, most economists must be wrong about human capital formation. Having fewer kids and spending more money on their education has only a modest effect: this must be the case, given slow long-run social mobility. It seems that social status is transmitted within families largely independently of the resources available to parents.”

    Wait until my upcoming post… 😉

  2. jamesd127 says:

    I do think that shooting enough people would. Or a massive application of droit de seigneur, or its opposite.

    1. What is the opposite of Droit de Seigneur?

    2. We don’t need to shoot them, just need to take them out of the reproductive pool. Everyone who hits up welfare should get sterilized after a little while.

    3. We are already getting the situation where a small number of men are fathering a large proportion of all children. Unfortunately, they seem to be mostly low IQ petty thugs.

    • gcochran9 says:

      No, we’re not. Where do people get these ideas?

      • Cloudswrest says:

        My wife is a county child support attorney in California. She’s always complaining about the dudes making $10/hr (if they have a job) and criminal records, with half a dozen kids from multiple women. Most of my yuppie neighbors have about two kids average.

  3. Aaron Gross says:

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding Clark’s argument, but it seems his only evidence supporting a genetic cause is findings on the heritability of SES in 20th- and 21st-century societies. All the regression to the mean stuff and the biased joining/leaving could be explained just as well by “family culture” as by genes, right? So, how strongly does today’s heritability suggest anything about heritability in pre-modern societies? Seems to me it’s at most just speculation. Or is there some reason that it’s stronger than just speculation?

    By the way, I see the same conflation of past and present heritability in this post, for instance, “If moxie is genetic,” not “was genetic.”

    • gcochran9 says:

      Yes, you are misunderstanding his argument. And you show no sign of having read anything I said, either. Jesus, he’s talking about status persistence over centuries .

      Find a subpopulation with traceable surnames that had significantly higher-than-average status hundreds of years ago. In the case of the Normans, almost a thousand years ago. Trace those surnames. Their holders continued to have higher-than-average status for hundreds of years. Decreasingly so, with time, but the over-representation is still there today. How in Hell did you manage to turn this into “findings on the heritability of SES in 20th- and 21st-century societies”? Do you think that the Normans just stepped off the boat? You have heard of the Norman Conquest, right? 1066 and all that?

      Read it again, not that it’s likely to do any good.

      • Aaron Gross says:

        I got the bit about current adoption studies from Clark’s op-ed in the New York Times about a month ago:

        A number of studies of adopted children in the United States and Nordic countries show convincingly that their life chances are more strongly predicted from their biological parents than their adoptive families. In America, for example, the I.Q. of adopted children correlates with their adoptive parents’ when they are young, but the correlation is close to zero by adulthood. There is a low correlation between the incomes and educational attainment of adopted children and those of their adoptive parents.

        These studies, along with studies of correlations across various types of siblings (identical twins, fraternal twins, half siblings) suggest that genetics is the main carrier of social status.

        That’s what I meant when I said “findings on the heritability of SES in 20th- and 21st-century societies.” Maybe I’m wrong (I didn’t take your advice and re-read the NYT op-ed), but I think that was the only supposed evidence Clark gave for a genetic cause. And I don’t think he gave any argument for going from “is” to “was.”

        That was my whole question. Persistence of status over centuries is not in itself evidence of a genetic cause (nor is Clark claiming that it is), and Clark cited current heritability studies as evidence, so how can one bridge from current heritability to centuries-long history?

        If I’m still totally misunderstanding this, then I could ask a more general question: Forget about Clark’s appeal to current heritability studies. What evidence is there suggesting that this persistence of status has a genetic cause?

      • Sandgroper says:

        Surnames.

      • harpend says:

        Greg, Aaron Gross is exactly right. Quit bullying. This does bring up a kind of meta-issue that is with us all the time. Many of us simply assume a quantitative genetic model for all sorts of social phenomena, while the strong default for much of contemporary behavioral science is that genetics just ain’t there. We are often met with suggestions that we “need” to demonstrate a genetic basis for one thing or another.

        My own personal view is that I usually don’t care very much one way or the other, it doesn’t matter. For thousands of years farmers bred for backfat on hogs with no knowledge at all of the genes involved, not to mention Mendel’s principles. The costs and benefits of (a) breeding better hogs versus (b) giving them better food were determined empirically. My view (personal again) is that much of social science is a fraud and blunder fully comparable to other great 20th century intellectual blunders like Marxist political theory, Freudian psychology, Fascism, and so on. All we can do is generate models and test predictions.

        The attraction of ignoring genetics is that quantitative genetics has real, often strong, predictions behind it. Social science appeals because in practice one simply describes something and then makes up an explanation. Why did Japan recover so rapidly from WWII? Getting bombed. Why did eastern Europe recover so slowly? Getting bombed too. And so on.

        In the case of persistent social class, how can we test a genetic hypothesis versus a hypothesis of cultural transmission? We can’t, because there is no extant hypothesis of cultural transmission out there that I know. A committed culturalist can make anything up. Perhaps we can posit a simple cultural model, a simple genetic model, then compare how well they fit what we see in the world. Will post a quick shot at such a test in a next post.

      • Aaron Gross says:

        Thanks, Mr. Harpending, but I consider it an honor to be bullied by Gregory Cochran. It’s like being called a “hockey puck” by Don Rickles. Who would pass that up?

        As far as ignoring genetics, Clark himself cast that die, so it can’t be ignored by anyone engaging his argument as a whole. Clark was careful to use the right words when making his genetics claim (“suggests”, “is” [present tense]), but it still looks like he was trying to cheat. Either that, or he actually didn’t see the logical error.

        My prediction is that once Clark’s story gets vulgarized on the race realist sites and elsewhere, it will become something like, “Social status by surname persisted over centuries, therefore social status is heritable.” That’s backwards, of course – Clark’s (fallacious) inference about genetics is actually from the present to the past, not from the past to the present – but I think that’s how it will get vulgarized. And I think that even Clark himself is hinting at that in his op-ed.

      • melendwyr says:

        Shouldn’t the culturalists be expected to prove their point as well? Obviously cultural forces can ruin performance, but can they offer even a single example of inculturation massively boosting the performance of people with normal and healthy social environments?

        The “give me a child until he is seven” boast is concerned with ideological identification, not intellectual performance. Wasn’t it BF Skinner who claimed he could turn a child into a doctor or bricklayer or a thief as he chose? I’m sure a sufficiently smart person could be equally successful as a doctor or as a thief, but I’d like to have seen Skinner turn an 85 IQ dim bulb into someone capable of making it through med school.

      • Anthony says:

        melendwyr: can they offer even a single example of inculturation massively boosting the performance of people with normal and healthy social environments?

        The performance of American blacks through the mid 1960s versus the performance of their source stock in Africa through the same period. Both were placed in a subordinate social and economic position by laws enforced by a different racial group; however, in the U.S., they acculturated towards white standards, while in Africa, they preserved much more of their native culture.

  4. spandrell says:

    If the Norman surnames are still overrepresented among the upper class, how is that genetic? Were the Norman conquerors that superior over the Anglo Saxons?

    I take it that upper class families are able to attract women from better families, but still.

    Japan has a long tradition of adopting males into the family if there is no suitable heir. I wonder to what extent the European upper class had husbands of their daughters adopt their surname in order to inherit the property.

  5. harpend says:

    A paper we have a in press, mentioned in an older post, is pretty close to exactly the relevant genetic theory. A draft (Greg, we should post the final version) is at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/163075/Oakland.roughdraft.pdf

  6. dave chamberlin says:

    “Moxie is not the same thing as IQ, although IQ must be a component.”
    I can see that. Some people avoid stress at all costs while others seem attracted to it, that this should be in part genetic and in part independent of IQ doesn’t seem too surprising.
    “Clark needs to read Falconer right now.”
    Falconer wrote a book on “Quantitative Genetics.” I’m assuming what Cochran is saying is Greg Clark who is an historical economist could have and should have researched quantitative genetics better than he did before he wrote this book.
    In 1000 years of genetic mixing Norman Surnames are still over represented by 25% at Oxford and Cambridge. That is amazing, simply amazing. I would have assumed that regression to the mean would have evened out this discrepancy a very long time ago. Am I right to assume that it could have continued through approximately 40 generations only if assorted mating counterbalanced regression to the mean?
    We believe a strong class system does not exist in the United States like it does in England but how about this fact. The last president whom did not graduate form Yale or Harvard was Ronald Reagan. Every member of the supreme court graduated from either Harvard or Yale Law school. The last one that did not was Sandra Day O’Conner. Just thought I’d throw that in there to taunt Cochran because he hates those ivy League snobs.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Not for being snobs, but for being incompetent and pluperfectly wrong about everything under the Sun.

      • Toddy Cat says:

        True enough. It’s hard to think of any major issue since 1989 on which the American leadership class has been right, and since most of them were sure that the USSR was a permanent fixture on the international scene, one may have to go back farther than that. The New Look Defense Posture? Containment? The Marshall Plan? Dewey in Manilla Bay?

      • dave chamberlin says:

        I guess you are right. Who cares if they are snobby, that just goes with the territory. The elite private schools have an air about them that I can only describe as like The Forbidden City in Bejing. You know you have left the real world far behind on those campuses. Those schools might do a fine job of teaching you to tend Daddy’s fortune but for preparing our next generation of actual decision makers they do an awful job.

  7. PF says:

    Slightly OT question: what is better for the expected IQ of your offspring, marrying an average Jewish girl (~115 IQ) or an outlier from a European population (~130 IQ)? How does one go about doing this calculation, assuming we know nothing about parents and grandparents?

    Hope I chose right. ;D

    • Frank Swift says:

      For the offspring of the goy you’re looking at 18/93 STR 16, DEX 16, CON 15, INT 6, WIS, 13 CHA, which isn’t bad, but you’ll need some help on your saving throws. The Jewish kid would be more like 13 STR 15 DEX 14 CON 18 INT 15 WIS 11 CHA, so it depends on what role you see your kid playing on a dungeon crawl.

      Seriously, people.

    • Look at the IQs of the girls’ relatives as well.

    • Erik says:

      Since when was the Jewish average 115?

      As a crude approximation in the absence of other data, I’d suppose their contribution component to the kids’ intelligence will regress halfway towards the mean, so the Jewish girl will have kids halfway between 115 and whatever the Jewish average is, while the European outlier will have kids halfway between 130 and whatever the European average is. As far as I know, the Jewish average is 100 (ashkenazi subgroup average is higher) and European average is also 100 so you’re better off with the European.

    • Anthony says:

      Depends on your IQ. If you have IQ=115, as I understand it, the expected value of your offspring’s IQ are about 110.5 if your spouse is an average Ashkenazic Jew, and about 109 if your spouse is a European with IQ 130 (and not known to be from a family of generally high IQ). If your IQ is 100, the expected mean is 107.5 with the same Jewish mother, and 106 with the same bright European mother. If your IQ is 130, and you don’t have a family of generally high IQ, the results are: Jewish mother: 113.5, bright European mother, 112. So not a lot of difference.

      I’m misusing statistics badly here, but I’m basing this on 40% correlation between parental and child IQ, which I’m misinterpreting as expected value of child IQ equal to the average of both parents’ (parental group baseline IQ + 40% of difference between parent and group baseline).

  8. Nyk says:

    I’m watching this otherwise very informative Teaching Company Asian history course, but the one thing that frustrates me is that the history prof talks about all those ancient people: the Kushan, the Xiongnu, the Harappa, etc., without telling us who those people really were and what clues are there as to why they disappeared. Is there any universal ancient history book out there that incorporates genetic and climatological data? I don’t think anyone can really understand history without these crucial additions. Anyone knows why the dinosaurs went extinct, but few if any people know why the Harappa or Maya abandoned their cities – and I think the latter would be even more important for us to know.

    • Jim says:

      Only Highland Maya cities were “abandoned”. At such sites temples and monuments show signs of deliberate destruction. Probably this is a sign of internal rebellion since there is little archaeological evidence of a large intrusion of an invading population. There is however evidence of the spread of new religious beliefs and cults originating in the Valley of Mexico about this time.

      The Lowland Maya cities were still going strong at the time of the Spainish Conquest. There is however evidence that parts of the Yucatan may have been temporarily conquered by Toltecs.

  9. Patrick Boyle says:

    So Mr. Cochran you don’t much like economists. You are in good company there I think.

    I once mistakenly attended a lecture at the Lawrence Hall of Science by the famous TV environmentalist David Suzuki. He had seemed pleasant enough on TV but in a room full of his admirers he felt free to rip into economists. He used the term ‘economist’ rather the way normal people use the term ‘Nazi’. His brand of enviro-whackos thinks of economists as hyper-rational cold and evil conspirators who want to shoot Bambi and then pee in the creek.

    I was briefly an economics major as an undergraduate. But I discovered the terrible truth – economists aren’t very happy people. Later in grad school I found the same thing is true for urban planners. Planning journals are filled with articles bemoaning the fact that no one gives them any respect. My observation is that the softer the social science the more miserable the practitioners.

    Be that as it may I just read three books – and have started a fourth – this last month by Vaclav Smil – the energy-environment economist. His books on a variety of subjects are very dense with facts and very light on ideology. Yet even he seems to be confined to only the official set of explanatory variables that economists are allowed to consider. For example in his catastrophe book he quantifies the risk of a large set of natural and man made events but when he discusses earthquakes he overlooks the genetics of the population above the fault.

    There were two large earthquakes recently. One in Japan and one in Haiti. Japan is one of the best organized societies on earth and Haiti has to be one of the worst. Yet Smil – by some secret code of economists – is not allowed to consider such a fact. Anyone can look up the Richter score and the death rates of these two quakes in Wikipedia. But economists must turn their eyes from any speculation about the effect of the respective populations.

    • DrBill says:

      Yet Smil – by some secret code of economists – is not allowed to consider [that Japanese are genetically more awesome than blacks]

      There is no secret code. And the very un-secret code applies just as much to middle managers, chemists, and psychologists as to economists. If he “went there” in his book, then he would risk having whatever other points he was making (you know, the points he actually cares about) dismissed out of hand and having his social life generally impaired.

      Economists are like other groups. Some of them are smart and critical enough that they know the score and keep their mouths shut, and some of them are PC retards. The worst are the ones right on the cusp between being PC retards and knowing the score. Any old thing which comes along and reminds them of the tension in their self-image as “an anti-racist whose beliefs are purely determined by facts and logic” may set them off on a two minute hate.

  10. dearieme says:

    What is “moxie” intended to mean in this post? Is it used consistently? Where can I buy a moxiemeter?

    • Sandgroper says:

      It is not well recognised that ‘moxie’ is a contraction of ‘moxibustion’, the ancient and therefore ineffably mysteriously wise traditional Chinese medical practice of burning mugwort on the skin, as a well proven cure for general wimpery and high time preference. Alternatively, I understand that in America you can buy stuff in bottles which contains that other mysteriously powerful and effective traditional active ingredient, gentian root.

    • Aaron Gross says:

      I think you have to be of a certain age to have heard the word “moxie.” Was Moxie was one of the Andrews Sisters or something?

      • Aaron Gross says:

        Re N-Gram for “moxie”: Surprising! But as a sanity check I looked at the N-Gram for “lousy” over the same time period. It also shows a big rise over the last decades as well, though not as much as “moxie.”

        So I really doubt that N-Gram tells you much at all about everyday usage. It’s hard to believe that “lousy” was used in everyday speech twice as often in 2000 as in the 1950s.

      • James Hedman says:

        I’m old enough to remember it as a Runyonesque term back in the 1950’s. A phrase one might here spoken in a Thin Man movie. Perhaps its revival reflects the popularity of Boardwalk Empire on TV although I certainly don’t have access to the scripts.

      • James Hedman says:

        Oh my! No editing allowed. 😦

    • L says:

      I have no clue what it is… but I like it!
      You know…for kids = p

  11. Jim says:

    Henry – It may be the default hypothesis for contemporary behavioral science that genetics is not involved. But this is a very bizaare hypothesis. Human behavior is a biological phenomenon and for any biological phenomenon it is virtually certaim that genetics is involved.

    • melendwyr says:

      “for any biological phenomenon it is virtually certaim that genetics is involved.”

      Yes, but in any sense beyond the trivial there are vast hordes of people willing to deny that – and they are a very significant power in the realm of social discourse. If you want to go about saying that the Emperor’s wardrobe isn’t there, you have to be able to support the claim very strongly.

      • Sandgroper says:

        Seems to me (just idly pondering) that there might be a ‘not even wrong’ quality to a strict separation of genes and culture, in the same way as ‘nature and nurture’.

        The Anglo-Saxons spent the night before the Battle of Hastings in carousing. The Normans spent it knelt in prayer. Allegedly. Not that I’m suggesting they were nice guys. But there were some clear cultural differences. The Normans had previously tried to teach the Saxons about the use of cavalry, but they were not interested.

        To insist that genes play no part at all in human behaviour is to ignore overwhelming evidence everywhere. The fact that vast hordes of people do so only when it suits them, while accepting it without question at other times, just means they are ideologically driven.

  12. Maciano says:

    “What evidence is there suggesting that this persistence of status has a genetic cause?”

    Aaron, check this list of Dutch Patrician families on Wikipedia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dutch_patrician_families

    Patricians differ from nobility, because they must prove their social standing to remain part of “The Patriciaat”. If a generation doesn’t produce high achievers, their family will no longer be part of future listings. If you look at the Wiki, you see family names of Dutch people that keep coming back as businemen, politicians, clergymen, journalists and artists today. These are the descendants of families that rose to prominence during the Industrial Revolution.

    How can that be anything but some sort of heritable character type?

    • Aaron Gross says:

      If you’re talking about Holland in the last century or so, it probably is heritable. That’s probably a reasonable inference for two reasons: (1) because social standing in the Patriciaat (by your description) is like the SES that behavioral genetics studies measure, and (2) because you could probably extrapolate behavioral genetics findings to that society. Neither of those assumptions necessarily holds for the history Clark is talking about.

  13. Konkvistador says:

    We do know rich people are healthier, smarter and nice to be around. But I think you make a very good point when you say status doesn’t always correlate with nice things.

    What are the components of Moxie besides IQ and Conscientiousness? What consistently floats on top if you pour humans in a bucket? I would expect machiavelianism and attractiveness. Anything that helps with people hacking.

    Moxie might just be lack of genetic load, that would make you better at anything a society throws at you too. Which means it likely isn’t because you would have hinted at it if you thought it could work . So I’m going to ask the stupid question and take my well deserved beating:

    Could Moxie be low genetic load?

    • Maciano says:

      How can conscientiousness & Machiavellianism be high in one person?

      • DrBill says:

        You find it hard to imagine someone working hard to get better at manipulating people?

      • Maciano says:

        Conscientiousness = high moral character, ethical
        Machiavellian = amoral reasoning, manipulative for selfish reasons

        That seems contradictory to me. Moxie or drive/social competence/skills could work well with either conscientiousness or Machiavellianism, but I doubt all three character traits are found in one person.

        I sure don’t see Machiavellianism as a sign of low mutational load, rather the opposite: it’s a tool to abuse/delude the left side of the Bell Curve. A well-balanced, tough, mentally strong person — good genes — will probably be less vulnurable for manipulators/deceivers & try to prevent them from doing evil for selfish reasons.

      • Maciano says:

        Machiavellianism analysis (amoral reasoning) is probably a sign of intelligence. The skill to understand other people’s motives & to work succesfully within the power structure as is rather than against it. But it lacks moral conviction.

      • JayMan says:

        @Maciano:

        “How can conscientiousness & Machiavellianism be high in one person?”

        Simple. Use the HEXACO. Under that model, which factors in the Dark Triad/Tetrad, Machiavellianism is under the H (honesty-humility) dimension, which conscientiousness is its own. A person can be diligent and deceitful. Think about about psychopaths in high places.

    • Sandgroper says:

      Moxie is defined: (1) backbone, determination and fortitude; (2) initiative or skill.

    • Konkvistador says:

      @Maciano:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscientiousness
      “Conscientious people are efficient and organized as opposed to easy-going and careless.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machiavellianism#Psychology
      “Machiavellianism is also a term that some social and personality psychologists use to describe a person’s tendency to be unemotional, and therefore able to detach him or herself from conventional morality and hence to deceive and manipulate others”

      Quite easily.

    • Konkvistador says:

      Sandgroper: I assumed Cochran wasn’t speaking of literal moxie? Thought it may very well be a big part. Maybe I misunderstood?

    • JayMan says:

      New child and all, so I haven’t had the opportunity to keep up with comment thread.

      Low genetic load might improve a bunch of traits, and it makes sense that genetic load is related to low IQ, but an explicit attempt to find this turned up nothing. It’s hard to see how this could be, there we are anyway.

      • James Hedman says:

        “We do know rich people are healthier, smarter and nice to be around.”

        You don’t know many rich people then. They may be healthier, but smarter? I know quite a few counter-examples and they definitely are not any nicer to be around than the average white person. There are quite a few drunkards and drug addicts among the trust fund set.

  14. Toddy Cat says:

    “We do know rich people are healthier, smarter and nice to be around.”

    I’ll give you healthier and (on the whole) smarter, but nice to be around? You must know nicer rich people than I do.

    • Colmainen says:

      They are nice to be around among themselves. They don’t have to be nice to be around people below their social standing.

      • James Hedman says:

        There is nothing quite as boring as a conversation over drinks in the men’s locker room after a round of golf unless it is one with ladies present in the clubhouse during dinner.

  15. Chuck says:

    Greg,

    What do you think of the method employed in the paper below? If you have 10 minutes free, could you review it?

    http://www.openpsych.net/forum/showthread.php?tid=16

  16. James Hedman says:

    The etymology of Moxie: it’s a soda pop!

    http://www.metnews.com/articles/2005/reminiscing111705.htm

    Ted Williams used to pitch it!

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  20. Mark says:

    Moxie would be something like ambition, right?

    • JayMan says:

      Ambition … and ability.

      • James Hedman says:

        No, I think you distort it’s traditional meaning of courage and toughness. I suppose one must have a certain ability to stand up for oneself and to persevere in a prize fight (moxie being a term often used to describe fighters like Joe Frazier) but it doesn’t necessarily imply exceptional ability, just exceptional spirit.

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