So I’ve once again decided to turn to the mail bag, from which I got the following email:


I am nearly 50 of English and German descent. A Puerto Rican woman of 36 wishes to have my child; she has a lovely heart and I am considering the situation. I discovered that she receives Social Security payments for a learning disability. This surely means she scored below 70 on an IQ test, and her life history would indicate low general intelligence. 

She left school around grade 10 and informed me that she largely taught herself to read. She is able to read and write, but I notice that she uses phone voice commands and prefers to seek solutions via YouTube rather than reference articles. I have seen her complete forms and other similar materials; she has had a job as a notary (to be sure there are many types of notary scenarios, I doubt she would be able to cover them all). She has zero awareness of politics and I am quite certain little knowledge of world history and even basic geography. She has been employed but I think her few jobs have come and gone because she experiences frustration; but there is not enough data to make concrete observations (to be sure she did very well at her last job where she needed to work fast and work with the computer interface). She becomes very jealous of other women interacting with me, even in a professional context; I assume this could be related to low intellectual functioning and an internal need for resource protection. Her brother is highly dysfunctional, her mother allowed an abuser to live in her childhood home (infer as you may), and her romantic partners have all been dysfunctional. She has five children, none of whom are in her custody, but she is trying to regain co-parenting with two (however, her rate of accomplishment on that front is slow. Under circumstances that most of us cannot relate, she fell into benzodiazepine addiction, which pretty much sent it all tumbling, prior to that she had one man in her life since High School. All of this sounds bad, and it is bad, but this woman has a lovely heart and survived a lot of childhood trauma (on a plus, she has made a few witty jokes). Needless to say she is looking for a man to care for her; this is bad on the one hand, but for a man my age, it’s better than a fat boss bitch. She has also made a few dinners that require independent functioning and the proper array of timings (not easy, so no sign of a true sub-70 IQ. One thought: it is possible that she is dim, but not a true sub-70 IQ and her parents simply gamed the system for cash but I don’t know when benefits began paying: Disability Benefits for Low IQ | Nolo). She is able to take animals to the vet, go shopping, and do tasks independently. However, she is largely incapable of planning ahead – (gets a job and gets a massive car payment). 

Regarding me, I have no kids and am very intelligent. I am not sure how high is my IQ, but my profitable young company is very sophisticate and there is a good chance it can spiral quite well. Let’s say that I have an IQ of 130 and the woman has an IQ of either 70 or 85. What would be the likely IQ range for our child? I do not want to introduce a child into the world with an IQ lower than 112. I recall reading that more genes for intelligence are coded with the mother’s DNA; I don’t know if that is accurate. I also read on r/hapas that Asian men/white female couples produce more amazing children than the opposite pairing, so that would indicate may men play a larger genetic role; or maybe it’s just that more outstanding Asian men get white females and lower white men get Asian women. One thing I can say is that her sister used a sperm bank and chose a South Asian donor and she reports her nephew is super bright. I want to make this woman happy, she has historical issues, but those don’t bother me. It is surely an adaptation to partner with someone possessing a lesser intellect, but I have the web and my work for intellectual discourse; what I don’t have is fun. I see a lot of smart people in miserable situations with unfun wives who get fat and bitch. I am guessing regression to the mean would be from the Puerto Rican average and not from her score because low IQ could result from gestational insult (although her dim brother is cause for concern). My father is 99% percentile ASVAB and my mother graduated from a top 15 law school. My aunts and uncles are mostly very bright (lawyers, Colonels, Doctors, but then the oddball). 

Any insights into what I could use to make a general assessment of her intelligence? I am wondering if there is a 10 question exam that is highly g-correlated. I could then slip a few questions here and there. This all sounds terrible, but I just don’t want to burden a child should they not be bright enough to make it in the coming world. 

Tough question. My guess is that she’s just using you for your money so I would not even move in with her, let alone father her kids, because depending on the laws in your state, she might be able to claim half your wealth, especially since she’s considered disabled.

I share your skepticism over whether she even is. Another possibility is that she outgrew her impairment. Because the long-term stability of IQ might be as low as 0.7, people who test in the mentally retarded range in childhood or even age 18 should typically regress up (progress) to their population mean in later adulthood assuming they’re not segregated.

As for the IQ of any children you might have, as far as I know the father’s IQ and the mother’s IQ both correlation 0.45 with the offspring’s IQ. However because the IQs of father’s and mother’s correlate 0.45 with one another, the independent effect of both is reduced:

0.31(dad’s Z score) + 0.31(mom’s Z score)

Let’s say you’re about +2 standard deviations (SDs) for a white male, and she’s -1 SD for a Puerto Rican female. Then your kids would be expected to be:

0.31(+2 SD) + 0.31(-1 SD) = 0.62 SD – 0.31 SD = +0.31 SD = +5 IQ points above the mix of both ethnic groups.

Now the average white American has an IQ of 103 (U.S. norms) and the average Puerto Rican is 15% Native American (IQ 91) , 21% pure black (IQ 83) and 64% white (IQ 103), so in theory there IQs should average IQ 97 (they actually average 90); thus the offspring of white and Puerto Rican couples should average exactly at the U.S. mean defined as 100 (could have saved myself a lot of time by ignoring race and just treating you both as just Americans)

Thus your kids should average about 5 points above this mean so IQ 105 on average (but there’s a lot of error around this estimate) . As for a quick test, for measuring your wife, I would use the PATMA. In my limited experience, it gives results within 10 points of the person’s true IQ.