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.

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

  1. I have often laughed at how critical gender theorists will point to a statistic that shows disparity between the sexes and say that it proves that sexism is at work. I haven’t ever heard a peep from critical gender theorists about the fact that 90% of all incarcerated persons happen to be male.

    I’m not saying that sexism is at work. I’m just saying that the silence is deafening.

    • PraetoR says:

      Here in Europe the radical feminists love to speak about these statistics, pointing out the aggresive and evil nature of males. They pursue the theory that society run by women would be more peaceful.

      • Well, I must admit that maybe it would be a good idea to give the women a shot at running things. The problem is, the women who want to run things aren’t usually the women that I want running things.

        That said, I would like to see some society give it a shot. Lets face it, most women are inherently more nurturing and conflict-avoiding than most men. Absolutely no women have the small-penis syndrome that causes police abuse and half of the fuckin wars we get in.

        So, I don’t dig the feminazi hypocrisy, but I’m not willing to dismiss the idea of giving women the keys to the car for a little bit.

        • AnonymousThomas says:

          I’m strongly for equality but every feminist I’ve ever spoken to for long enough eventually expose that their feminist belief is more about the selfishness of superiority or revenge than true and absolute equality. Of course, making such a claim will drag you into the circular argument that you are sexist. But after all, if they were true to the cause they would surely be “Equalitists” not feminists. I’m for equality, I’m not for this bs that masquerades as feminism.

          As for letting women “run the show”; if you think women are some kind of alternative superhuman devoid of jealousies, selfishness, bitterness, greed, ambition, hatred etc. etc. then, quite simply, you’re a bloody idiot. Male and female are equally susceptible to the same faults. I can’t believe I even had to say that. Quit dreaming you damned fantasists.

  2. craig says:


    How is that not sexism at work? Is the rate at which women use drugs significantly lower than the rate at which men use drugs? Seeing as how so many people are in jail on drug charges, it would seem strange that men would be so disproportionately represented in the system.

    And what about domestic violence? Do men really hit women at a significantly higher rate then women hit men? While I will grant you that a man hitting a woman is more likely to lead to serious bodily injury, and therefore is more likely to lead to actual jail time, I think this is an interesting topic as well. How many women kill their husbands, claim abuse after the fact, and are acquitted? How many men sucessfully make such a claim after killing their wives?

    I am all for equality. Cleavage and tears should not negate traffic tickets. “Poor little ole me” claims should not negate more serious crimes.

    • J DeVoy says:

      Two thoughts on women and domestic violence, even if men are abusers far more often than they are abused:

      1) Women do hit men; MTV broadcasted one girl beating up her baby’s father on the show Teen Mom (but blocked out the heavily advertised scene of some guy punching out Snookie on Jersey Shore).

      2) As the Tiger Woods episode (and John Bobbitt incident as well) show us, women may abuse their husbands less, but use things far more deadly than fists when they do.

      • Nonymo says:

        You’re one naive dude. You really think that your two anecdotes, spread out over two decades, mean spousal abuse by women usually involves “things far more deadly than fists”?

        • J DeVoy says:

          It’s not conclusive, and I haven’t looked at the data to see, but women do tend to use ridiculous instruments against men more than men use tools to hurt women. Take a look at this story involving three women, one guy and his genitals.

          Do you think three men would ever do that to a woman playing all of them simultaneously?

          • Nonymo says:

            Of course some men would. Men do horrific things to women all the time, and your third anecdote doesn’t change that at all. I’ve seen horrible stories involving all sorts of instruments used against women. From what I’ve seen, stories of men torturing their domestic partners are way, way more prevalent.

            But like you, I have no real evidence regarding whether men or women are more inclined to use tools when they commit domestic violence. Lacking evidence (as you and I both are), the logical baseline assumption is that men and women use tools in equal proportion.

      • ResIpsaLAC says:

        Actually, the number one cause of death among pregnant women in this country is murder. So, think about that.

        Though it is certainly true that male victims of DV are spoken about much less than they deserve, it’s probably because 80% or more of the violence is directed at women in basically every studied context.

        If you’d like a bunch of statistics about domestic violence and murder that contain gender comparisons, check what the ABA has compiled here:

        • Did you know that 100% of the parents who were lied to about their paternity were men? I will find the statistical backup for that somewhere, but I am pretty sure that there was a study, and that study showed that EVERY parent who later found out that their kid was not really theirs was a man.

          My point, the sexes are bitchy to each other in equal parts. Dogs bite people, people kick dogs. No dogs ever kick people. People don’t bite dogs. We do mean things to each other, limited by our power to do them, and dialed in to the target of our cruelty.

          I’m sorry if your dad or your ex was mean to you, but take that whiny shit elsewhere. Thanks. Bye.

    • I am not saying that it is *not* sexism at work – nor am I saying that it is. I wanted to shine a light on the limited issue of the hypocrisy of the critical gender theory douchebags.

    • craig says:

      I think that the bigger deal is not what those women did, but how the system dealt with them. I do not believe that a man who applied glue to a woman’s genitals would ever walk on a disorderly conduct charge and no jail time.

  3. Nonymo says:


  4. matt says:

    This is the dumbest two paragraphs I’ve ever read. All I can really say in response is this: criminals are not criminals because they think they are not going to be caught.

    In relation to all the IQ talk: intelligence is not the property of an individual but emerges from a situation

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