Saturday, March 13, 2010

Poor Future Orientation, Poor Executive Function

Humans with an inability to postpone gratification for purposes of future profit tend to have poorer executive functioning of the frontal lobes of the brain. This mental deficit is reflected in adult life by a consistently lower personal net financial worth, than will be seen in other adults with better frontal lobe function.

Executive Function (EF) of the human frontal lobes has been found to be a better predictor of life success than a person's IQ score. EF reflects the person's ability to stick to a task until it is finished, and a person's ability to control his emotions in social settings. Delayed gratification for purposes of future gain is a very important aspect of healthy executive function of the brain.

Previous studies have suggested that EF is highly heritable. A recent study of net financial worth of women ages 36 to 49, compared by race, provides rough support for inheritance of EF as a partial explanation for wealth discrepancy.
In a groundbreaking report released Monday by a leading economic research group, social scientists turned a spotlight on the grave financial challenges facing an often overlooked group of women, many of whom could not take an unpaid sick day or repair a major appliance without going into debt.

"It's rather shocking," said Meizhu Lui, director of the Closing the Gap Initiative based in Oakland, Calif., who contributed to the report "Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth and America's Future."

Among the most startling revelations in the wealth data is that while single white women in the prime of their working years (ages 36 to 49) have a median wealth of $42,600 (still only 61 percent of their single white male counterparts), the median wealth for single black women is only $5. _Source

Executive Summary of report PDF

Full report PDF

In mainstream academic and media culture, there is no room for explanations that include inherited characteristics such as EF or IQ -- at least when it comes to deficiencies of people of colour. But in the real world of falsifiable science, it is criminal and corrupt not to look at genetic and heritable characteristics that may partially explain group differences.

Of course we are seeing a lot more corrupted science in these days of radical political correctness and engineered green leftist dieoff policies. Such policies are largely responsible for a diminished respect for science and academia.

There is a developmental window when executive function can be trained -- up to the age of 7. Children of all races and ethnic backgrounds could profit from such training. But if those with a heritable deficit in EF are not trained to maximise their EF, society itself is at fault. And every person in that society will pay for that neglect.


kurt9 said...

What is the difference between executive function (EF) and emotional quotient (EQ)? Are these two terms interchangeable?

al fin said...

Executive function derives from frontal lobe activity, and can be observed on fMRI. EF is heritable to the same degree as IQ. IQ is easier to measure via testing, but better ways to test EF are coming along.

Emotional intelligence or EQ, is an abstract concept cluster without very much empirical support.

Even so, EF overlaps with the concepts of EQ, just as EF overlaps with IQ.

Think of IQ as talent, EF as self discipline, and EQ as a way for Goleman to sell books. ;-)

kurt9 said...

That sounds about right. Thanks.