Only In America: Cold Winters Theory, Race, IQ, And Well-Being

Bryan J. Pesta
Peter J. Poznanski, Cleveland State University


ColdWinters Theory (CWT; Lynn, 1991) offers a viable explanation for race differences in intelligence. It proposes that IQ gaps exist because of different evolutionary pressures faced by the ancestral humanswho left Africa, comparedwith thosewho remained. Support for CWT comes by showing correlations between national temperature and IQ. Here we test whether temperature correlates with IQ (and other well-being variables) across the 50 U.S. states. Although human evolution is recent, copious and regional (Wade, 2014), insufficient time has passed for it to have operated on non-native residents of the USA. Instead, CWTmust predict no difference—or remain agnostic—on the existence of state-level correlations between temperature and IQ. Nonetheless, even after controlling for race, temperature strongly predicts state: IQ, religiosity, crime, education, health, income and global well-being. Evolution is therefore not necessary for temperature and IQ/well-being to co-vary meaningfully across geographic space.