VEDANTAM: Well, we’ve known for a very long time that family income really matters. This could be because schools in richer neighborhoods are better schools. But it could also be that rich parents are able to give their children more learning opportunities outside of school. ...No, that is not the most obvious explanation. It would not even be in my top ten.
The researchers find there’s a very strong correlation between family income and these non-cognitive skills. ...
VEDANTAM: Yes. And the question of course is why is this happening? Why are children from richer families demonstrating more of these skills? The most obvious explanation, David, is that poverty creates stresses in people’s lives. If you have Mom or Dad working two jobs to make ends meet, it’s going to be harder for Mom and Dad to be spending time helping children develop these kinds of non-cognitive skills.
Many richer families have Dad and Mom both working full time jobs, and often high-stress jobs. I would expect stressed kids to have better non-cognitive skills, all other things being equal.
The most obvious explanation is that the non-cognitive skills are heritable.
Maybe the NY Times is similarly misguided, as a recent essay started:
Talent is equally distributed.Facebook and Google are investing in Africa because:
"We live in a world where talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not. Andela's mission is to close that gap," Zuckerberg said in a statement.A new book, Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, by some authors who should know better, argues that everyone has the talents to excel at anything. For proof, he says that some top football players were not drafted in the first round, and some top scientists had low IQ. As examples, he gives R.P. Feynman (of quantum electrodynamics fame) and Jim Watson (of DNA fame).
No, they did not have low IQ. Successful scientists do not brag about their IQ, just as successful NBA basketball players do not brag about their height. They want to be credited with their superior performance, and not with their innate talents.
The NFL teams are actually quite good at picking the college players with the best potential. Sometimes they get it wrong when a very good player becomes a drug addict and drops out, as what happens in the book's biggest example. The man probably would have been a fine player, if the team could have kept him away from drugs.
The book furthermore claims that studies show that IQ has no relation to success in science. They say that scientists tend to have high IQ, because they have to pass exams to get into the field and those exams are correlated with IQ, but once someone passes the exams, his IQ is of no help at all.
Malcolm Gladwell has also written best-selling books with related themes.
I don't know how these guys could write such nonsense. Do you really think that you could have been Tom Brady or RP Feynman if only you had the right training? Nope. So why do they say this stuff? Because it sells books, I guess.