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Old 02-21-2005, 11:09 PM
Carnac the Magnificent! Carnac the Magnificent! is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Netherfield Park
Posts: 3,021
"Regression toward the mean." What implications re: intelligence, athleticism?

Over time, statistical outliers converge toward the mean. But what confuses me are this concept's very-long-term implications re: human intelligence, physiology/health and athletic performance.

Regression toward the mean seems to allow for backward extrapolation. As a thought experiment, then, IF we could isolate for nature's inputs (in the nature vs. nurture debate), can we safely assume a greater incidence of very high and very low IQs in the general population, say, 15,000 years ago? Can regression toward the mean possibly suggest that the proportion of genius IQs in the general population is slowly decreasing, over a period of centuries and millennia? How does one reconcile this statistical concept vis-a-vis athletic performances of the last, say, 100 years? Is this too short a time frame? Are environmental factors too confounding?

Carnac is way over his head. Please elucidate.