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Does the Downing Effect have a role in the IQ-criminality relationship?

By J. DeVoy

Several studies have shown and shown again that criminals have lower-than-average IQ.  The Downing Effect describes the tendency of people with low IQ to overestimate their IQ, while people with high IQ underestimate theirs, and is related to the Dunning-Kruger Effect, observing that people without a particular skill set view themselves as above average in possessing it, while those who are above average underrate their abilities.  There is also a gender component to this, as men tend to overestimate their IQ by 5 points while women underestimate theirs by 5 points, which may contribute to why men are incarcerated at a rate 10 times that of women. (Maybe radical feminists will incorporate this into their ongoing crusade for “equality”?)

The hypothesis is thus: Low-IQ people, but especially men, assume they are smarter than law enforcement and will not be caught.  Other factors contribute to this, such as the low future-time orientation correlated with low IQ, but the hubris explained by the Downing Effect may have some role in driving low IQ people who overestimate their intellectual prowess — especially men — to commit the vast majority of crime in the United States.  It’s unlikely that people would act criminally if they believed they would likely be caught, regardless of IQ.

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