Cuba’s anomalously high National IQ

[update: Unknown to me at the time of writing this post, Richard Lynn and Gerhard Meisenberg had already published a paper which utilized the referred to surveys in making national IQ estimates.]

For unknown reasons, Richard Lynn disregarded a number of regional tests when estimating national IQs. I pointed out previously that achievement test estimates can be made for 11 African nations that Lynn did not give achievement data for.

Following his methodology, I was able to estimate National IQs for an additional 7 Latin American countries (Cost Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic), based on the 2006 Second Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study (SERCE).

Column D below lists the averaged math and reading SERCE score for the countries. Column E lists Lynn’s school achievement estimates. Column F the differences, with an average of 74. Column G, the adjusted scores following the methodology of L & V (2012) page 17. Column H, the estimated IQ, using 500 as the international mean and 100 as the international standard deviation. Column I and J, Lynn’s direct scale achievement and final IQ estimates, respectively. And column K, Altinok & Murseli’s IQ equivalent estimates.

It can be seen that my estimated national IQs are reasonably in accordance with either or both Lynn’s and Altinok & Murseli’s. (Estimates based on one or even half of a dozen data points should not be reified. There is a large margin of error here.) With regards to Lynn’s estimates the major outlier is Cuba. Altinok & Murseli give a similarly high score based on the 1997 Latin American Laboratory for Assessment of the Quality of Education (LLECE). This estimated high National IQ accords with the findings discussed in the educational research literature.

Apparently neither communism nor a lack of non-Eurasian ancestry necessitates low national IQs, at least as indexed by achievement tests.


Factores asociados al logro cognitivo de los estudiantes de América Latina y el Caribe

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17 thoughts on “Cuba’s anomalously high National IQ

    • You can find the technical manual here:
      As with other such tests, It was organized by the UN.

      You should understand these results as ball park figures. Also, the method used (what Lynn calls “direct transformation”) is prone to “cultural bias” in the sense that by this method scores are more influenced by school level differences. See the discussion here (section 2.6):

      “Two methods were employed to scale the 500/100 metric
      of the scholastic assessments to the 100/15 IQ metric. In one
      method, the average score of Britain was adjusted to 100 and
      the within-country standard deviation of 85 was adjusted to
      15. These scores show the actual performance on the school
      assessment tests relative to Britain. The main difference
      between IQ and EA in this transformation is a 48.6% greater
      standard deviation for EA, based on the 86 countries that have
      scores for both. This means that relative to within-country
      differences, international differences are greater for EA than
      for IQ. In this sense, EA is more “culturally biased” than IQ. A
      likely reason is that the quality of schooling is generally lower
      in low-IQ countries, and this has a greater effect on school
      performance than on IQ (Lynn, Meisenberg, Mikk, &Williams,
      2007). Conversely, the quality of schooling is generally higher
      in high-IQ countries, and this has a greater effect on school
      performance than on IQ.”

  1. I seem to recall a lot of Cubans (or those who claim to have been Cuban, including one I have met personally) who look very white.

  2. I remember being skeptical about this (Cuba, North Korea, and to a lesser extent China, are suspect when national stats are overly impressive). Lynn lists a large study for Cuba in IQ&tWoN and IQ&GI, giving an estimate closer to what you would expect. However it is another example of a curious omission from the latest book. I have this study and a similar one that is more recent, however they are both in Spanish.

    Sample sizes are small but the GSS suggests a familiar gap between white and multiracial Cubans, while Add Health might even suggest a slight multiracial advantage.

    • Do you know of any other national or international tests from which we can derive National IQs? For example, using NAEP explorer (grade 8, main) I was able to derive test IQs for Puerto Rico (75) and the US virgin islands (85) in addition to Guam (can’t remember off hand) and American Samoa (can’t remember off hand). These might not be super reliable — but they’re better then nuttin’.

      The major holes in Lynn’s national IQs now — after adding the regional data — are South east asia, the caribbean, and west asia (the rest of the -stans).

      Also, would you mind looking into this:

      It should be really easy, you just need to copy and past the scripts into google translate. I just don’t have my windows CD so can’t add complex scripts.

  3. GSS 2010

    White // Black+Other
    98.82 (N=17) // 81.45 (N=8)

    Add Health

    White // Black+Other
    96.31 (N=29) // 99.94 (N=16)

    (Better to check the full sample)

    • Don’t be unduly silly, Jason.

      As has been said a million times over, Wordsum and the Add health’s PPVT are about as correlated with g as are ordinary achievement tests. So you can just as well as look at the latter — for example the NAEP Main data, which breaks scores down by Hispanics nationalities (e.g., cuban, mexican, etc.). Just cross tab school reported race with student reported Hispanic nationality and see what you get. Try SDRACE by BD21101.

  4. It’s more “making do” than silliness, I suppose. But I was not aware there were a few different nationalities in the NAEP, thanks.

    I looked at math and reading scores for 2009, grades 4-12:

    Whites White Cubans
    100 91.3

    Blacks Black Cubans
    86.8 80.8

    I couldn’t find the sample sizes, unfortunately. Like all other data, this certainly does not suggest Cubans are teh genius. The B-W gap is somewhat smaller among Cubans than non-Cubans (0.70 vs 0.88), although the genetic gap is probably smaller as well. Cubans performed worse than expected.

  5. Cuba was long a star of Latin America, which was one reason why Castro’s Revolution was a such an irritant to Washington: Cuba was a sophisticated role model for lesser Spanish-speaking countries like the Dominican Republic and Honduras.

    Even with all the brain drain from Cuba to Miami and Cuba’s present poverty, Cuba still seems to do pretty well in health care metrics.

  6. Pingback: HVGIQ: Cuba | Human Varieties

  7. Cuban americans born in the u.s. are more likely to have college degrees than white non hispanic americans and generally make much more money.

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