Wednesday 16 September 2015

ISIR Conference in New Mexico 18-20 September


It is not too late to jump on a jet plane and head for Albuquerque, where the charming 1939 Hotel Andaluz will host the world’s intelligence researchers for 3 intense days of conferencing starting this very Friday. Will delegates succeed in getting themselves to the conference in time, a process I find pretty demanding? Will my choice of anti-mosquito shirt, short blue trousers and hiking sandals make a favourable impression? Will passers-by note the highly intelligent features of the delegates, or will they simply shrink back to avoid the pack of psychometricians traipsing through the brightly decorated corridors chatting amiably about correlated vectors and bumping into the furniture?

Perhaps celebrity watchers will cluster round Stephen Pinker, who will be talking about intelligence research and the craft of writing. Robert Plomin will be interviewed about his distinguished career, and in a separate talk will give the first results from the study of the genetics of genius. There will be talks by Roberto Colom, Rosalind Arden, Wendy Johnson, Heiner Rindermann, Helmuth Nyborg, Michael Woodley, Sophie von Stumm, Timothy Bates, Stuart Ritchie, Jelte Wicherts, Thomas Coyle and other luminaries. As “My Fair Lady” has it, “everyone who should be here is here” including most if not all of the stars I have celebrated at Psychological Comments. If a visitor could manage to get 5 minutes with each speaker they would know more about human intelligence than 99.9999% of the population. (That would assume that such a questioner would join the 7000 people who know a lot about intelligence. If one measures knowledge by publishing a paper on intelligence in a reputable journal then only about 1400 achieve that accolade. Of course, publishing one paper may be too generous an entry criterion. Perhaps 3 papers should be the minimum requirement. I digress, I digress, but real experts on the topic probably number less than 100 persons, and most of them will be present in New Mexico).

The weather in Albuquerque will be a sunny 30 degrees Centigrade, not that the conference delegates are likely to see any of that, starting intently in the windowless conference rooms at a glowing screen with small numbers which cannot be seen from the back of the hall.

I will keep you informed, one pearl of wisdom at a time.


  1. Albuquerque is lovely city. Enjoy the views of the Sandias in the morning and the Rio Grande flowing through the city. If you have the time, I suggest taking the Tram to the top of the Sandia mountain (or enjoy a nice 7 hour hike to the summit on the La Luz trail), and take in the spectacular view of the city, a true oasis in the desert.

  2. It's such a stroke of luck that the society wasn't named International Society for Intelligence Studies ;)

    But, seriously, lots of interesting abstracts there. For example, James Lee reports on 86 genome-wide significant GWAS hits on educational attainment and IQ.

  3. "a glowing screen with small numbers which cannot be seen from the back of the hall": and this is a conference about intelligence?

  4. I would make the trip down to Albuquerque but unfortunately I am neither a student/faculty member nor for that do I really have $600 in casual spending money. :)

  5. Incidentally are you and/or Rindermann plannig to do a repeat of that survey of psychometricians you once carried out? These expert polls can be very useful.

    1. I think the current periodicity is 30 years, but I believe a much shorter survey every 3 to 5 years makes more sense now, given the amount of genetic work on intelligence. Rindermann will publish in due course.