Regression toward the mean

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Regression toward the mean refers to the mathematical fact that, following an extreme random event, the next random event is likely to be less extreme because the mean outcome is simply much more likely than an extreme outcome (at least if the outcomes accumulate around the mean which is the case in most psychometric variables).

Regression toward the mean was first described by Francis Galton. Galton found that offspring of tall parents were still tall but shorter, than what common sense would suggest. Basically couples that are giants tend to reproduce slightly smaller giants. Also, offspring of shorter parents were still short but also taller, than what common sense would suggest. Basically midget couples tend to reproduce slightly taller midgets. The more heritable a trait is, the less it is expected to regress in the offspring. One example of regression toward the mean is that none of the great English poets (Addison, Keats, Shelley, Milton, Shakespeare, Goldsmith, Johnson) had exceptional children. German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss even forbid his sons to enter the sciences out of fear they would tarnish their family name.[1]

Incels[edit | edit source]

Shortcels and uglycels can hope their physical appearance was some outlier/extreme event and that the offspring will be better looking and/or taller. Physical attractiveness in particular "only" has a heritability of 50% to 70%,[2] so it is not unlikely the offspring will be a bit better looking.

Chads & stacies[edit | edit source]

Conversely, Chads and Stacies are not unlikely to have less attractive offspring than themselves!

Embarrassment[edit | edit source]

The mediocre offspring of high-achieving individuals is often an embarrassment.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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