Monday, May 16, 2011

Poor Kanazawa. Warning: Racism

There he goes again, this time with a Psychology Today blog post which argues that black women, on average, are uglier than other women. This, finally, was too much even for the happy-go-lucky-if-it-means-extra-clicks Psychology Today, the bargain bin of Freud and Jung and Kanazawa! And so poor Kanazawa's post got deleted.

But worry not! It's still available for your perusal. Not that I recommend such perusal. You should just stay here with me and remind yourself that Kanazawa's research has been found a bit flawed in the past, and a quick glance through the deleted post makes me suspect that this particular piece is more flawed than just a bit. For instance, Kanazawa writes:
At the end of each interview, the interviewer rates the physical attractiveness of the respondent objectively on the following five-point scale: 1 = very unattractive, 2= unattractive, 3 = about average, 4 = attractive, 5 = very
attractive. The physical attractiveness of each Add Health respondent is measured three times by three different interviewers over seven years.
That's objective??? What makes it objective? Using a scale? I'd call that silly. I could make up a scale and use it on Kanazawa's research, for instance, but I bet he wouldn't regard that as objective.

Let's not forget that we are not being shown all the data in whatever Kanazawa has been doing. We don't know the average age, sex and race distributions of the respondents, we don't know the age, race or sex of the interviewers, and we can't follow his steps in the factor analysis. Knowing all that is relevant if one wishes to critique Kanazawa's work.

But it doesn't really deserve that. Because there is no "objective" measure of physical attractiveness, if by "objective" we mean something that would not vary by time and place.

Kanazawa has touched upon this topic before, by the way. This time he went too far, even for the bargain bin of psychology.
This is a good critique of Kanazawa's post.