Psilocybin, IQ, and the Stoned Ape Hypothesis

A while back, I wrote a post discussing the potential for psychedelics to increase intelligence. There are many reasons this is of particular interest. For one, we have been looking for an “IQ pill” for a long time now with no luck. The main choices are nootropics like modafinil, Adderall, etc. Unfortunately, these don’t seem to work too well. Second, there are obvious benefits to a higher IQ, particularly in the labor market (Gwern, 2016; Strenze, 2015; Salgado and Moscoso, 2019). Third, as I will talk about shortly, even a very small, but significant increase in intelligence due to psilocybin may have some interesting implications for the so-called Stoned Ape hypothesis.

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Does Cannabis Legalization Decrease Productivity?

One particular concern with cannabis legalization or drug legalization in general is that it may reduce the amount of productivity. The classic story goes like this: people use drugs, particularly cannabis which has more sedative effects than the other drugs up for consideration, and they become addicted to them, become lazier, somtimes leaving their jobs, going on welfare, etc. and getting sucked into a life of drugs. Perhaps this is a more extreme version of the argument. If so, I am also disagreeing with the moderate version. Anyways, does it hold up?

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Are Presidents More Controversial in Their Second Term?

An interesting study idea I had. Would not be difficult to do. Essentially, the hypothesis is that presidents are more controversial in their second term because they don’t have to worry about re-election. One additional prediction could be that this association increased after FDR’s presidency because it was made law that presidents couldn’t take more than two terms. A reason this might not be as strong is that George Washington’s precedent was strong enough to dissuade anyone else from taking more than two terms anyways.

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On Single Motherhood and Crime

So, the most popular option offered by conservatives to explain race differences in crime or criminology in general is single motherhood. Some popular pundits who expunge this theory are Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, and Charlie Kirk. Overall, this theory is strongly flawed.

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Getting rid of traffic laws

After getting a (second) speeding ticket today, I decided to revisit an interesting topic: open roads. Essentially, this has been done in a few European countries. It is a system where there are really no traffic laws. The roads are shared by bikers, pedestrians, and cars (in some cases), and things like speed limits, traffic lights, etc. are done away with. To drivers like me, this is paradise. But is it sustainable?

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What is the proper interpretation of the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study?

The Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study was a long project dedicated to directly measuring the influence of shared environment on the racial gaps in intelligence. The original paper about it came out in 1976 and the authors hypothesized that socialization in favorable environments would significantly reduce the racial gap in IQ (Scarr and Weinberg, 1976). At that point, the data did suggest an environmentalist hypothesis regarding race differences, however it was revisited by the authors in 1992, an event which caused much more controversy regarding the results. While the authors still supported an environmentalist position (Weinberg et al., 1992), their data brought a number of replies. In this post, I am going to summarize the main arguments used by the authors and review the replies as well as the authors’ responses to those replies.

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Psychedelic Usage May Boost Intelligence

Recently, I posted a couple studies on Twitter which suggested long-term ayahuasca use increased intelligence.

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Percent Black and Crime

An interesting predictor of local crime rates is the percent of the region examined that is black. Some may point to this and say that this is a result of discrimination. This is unlikely, as Rubenstein (2016) finds “Victim and witness surveys show that police arrest violent criminals in close proportion to the rates at which criminals of different races commit violent crimes.” Other reasons could include socioeconomic standards in the neighborhood, race differences in IQ, and underlying genetic differences in crime-committing-variables (aggression, ASB, etc.). Whatever the cause, the evidence for the association is documented in this blog post.

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