Monday 28 April 2014

LCI14 Conference proceedings Kenya Kura

(Here is the abstract, as promised, and I will attempt to get the fuller presentation later).

Learning Without Questioning –Why Asians do not win Nobel prizes

Kenya Kura1

1Faculty of Economics and Information, Gifu Shotoku Gakuen University, Japan

Asians (Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese) are supposed to have higher IQs (about 105 on average) than North Europeans (100), while sciences have been developed overwhelmingly by Europeans and their offshoots. Why Asians are lacking in scientific success might relate to two factors:

1. Low curiosity, which is expressed by lower Openness to experience (-.59 SD) as shown in various cross-cultural personality comparisons.

2. Collectivism, which is captured by various individualism-collectivism indices such as the Hofstede individualism index (IDV), or Hofstede and Triandis individualism index (about -2 SD). The genetic underpinnings for these traits, such as DRD4, 5HTTLPR, and OPRM1 have also become increasingly apparent.

To integrate these psychological traits, a “q” factor is constructed by factor analysis on measures of Openness and Collectivism, which are then correlated with variables measuring academic achievements and also student assessments. It is found that IQ scores coupled with “q” factor scores neatly predict racial scientific achievements and also world-wide student assessments. 


  1. Japanese scientists have done pretty well in terms of Nobel prizes recently, with eleven winners since 2000. It's the Chinese who are really underperforming.

  2. Koreans haven't won a single Nobel science prize. That's pretty terrible, too. Japanese have been getting Nobels since 1949, and with an accelerating pace recently. Japan Westernized before the rest of East Asia, so perhaps the Chinese and Koreans will start doing top-level research once they have developed a Western-style research infrastructure.

  3. What is the LCI14 Conference exactly? Does it have a website with abstracts and papers? Google shows nothing.

    1. This was the first time it was run, by invitation and without prior publicity. I hope to repeat it next year.

  4. Isn't it merely due to the fact that they're not far enough down the pipeline yet? We'll know better about Koreans and Chinese in one generation from now. They finally have enough of an educated class is mostly just coming out of college now. Nobel Prize winners are old.

  5. The Japanese have done quite well in mathematics in the twentieth century. Certainly comparable on a per capita basis to most European countries. While there have been very outstanding Chinese and Indian mathemticians in the twentieth century the numbers have been far below European on a per capita basis.

    The contributions of Ashkenazi Jews to twentieth century mathematics have been extraordinary. It might be interesting in comparing scientific achievements between Europeans and East Asians to compare East Asians with non-Ashkenazi Europeans and Ashkenazi Europeans separately.

    I think that the personality differences mentioned here, conformity for example, play an important role but lumping Ashkenazi Europeans with non-Ashkenazi Europeans distorts the picture.