You may recall that I promised in November last year that young Woodley would counter-attack his tormentors, who have now been caught startled, without their gum shields. Vicious uppercuts are battering the proffered chins of his adversaries, the redoubtable Mighty Champion Jim Flynn, a grizzled New Zealand pugilist, mentored by the great Jensen himself; the Australian Ted Nettlebeck, sun-bleached and hardened by the toil of 20 years of inspection time; the experienced Silverman, a quieter fighter, with a good solid punch, the original collector of historical reaction times; and the formidable Russian Dodonov and Dodonova duo, an unusual husband and wife combination of legendary aggression.
After a long wait, in a burst of pent up energy and a flurry of punches, Woodley, te Nijenhuis and Murphy break free, and in a phrase made current by D Day commemorations “all hell breaks loose”.
The Woodley gang argue that, once they have done a complete re-analysis to respond to the points raised against their original “Victorians” paper, their new results reveal a seemingly robust secular trend towards slowing reaction time in these two countries, which translates into a potential dysgenics rate of −1.21 IQ points per decade, or −13.9 points in total between 1889 and 2004. We conclude by arguing that the best way forward is to test novel predictions stemming from our finding relating to molecular genetics, neurophysiology and alternative cognitive indicators, thus shifting the research focus away from the purely methodological level towards the broader nomological level. We thank our critics for helping us to arrive at a much more precise estimate of the decline in general intelligence.
Michael A. Woodley, Jan te Nijenhuis, Raegan Murphy. Is there a dysgenic secular trend towards slowing simple reaction time? Responding to a quartet of critical commentaries. Intelligence
I highlight Table 1 which shows how the Wechsler subtests relate to simple reaction times and inspection times. What interests me is that the most substantial of the rather low correlations is with Information at 0.3, which does not immediately make sense, unless of course you see reaction time as a measure of crystallized verbal intelligence, which the other correlations with Arithmetic and Vocabulary would tend to confirm. Inspection Time, on the other hand, relates most strongly to Object Assembly 0.393 and Coding 0.351 and Block Design 0.306 which are all Performance subtests. Of course, this table is particularly interesting because of the g loading and heritability data.
I am heartily glad to see this paper published, because I have been sitting on it for many months, awaiting the final permission from the authors, who in turn were waiting for the conclusion of the peer review process, which is intended to achieve a quality standard, which it often achieves. It is not intended to delay the timely publication of academic work, a malign outcome it certainly achieves. A great pity.