Diminishing returns as a function of disturbance

PeerJ. 2020 Jul 3:8:e9490. doi: 10.7717/peerj.9490. eCollection 2020.


According to Spearman's law of diminishing returns (SLODR), IQ test scores are more g saturated among those with low, compared to those with high, ability. The present simulation shows that such difference in saturation can be observed if test scores are affected by a disturbing factor, for example, low motivation, illness, or linguistic confusion, that varies in magnitude between individuals. More contemporary criteria of SLODR can also be satisfied if test scores are affected by disturbance, especially if the disturbance variable is negatively skewed. This indicates a possible threat against the validity of findings supporting SLODR and points at the importance for researchers to try to eliminate the influence of such disturbing factors from their studies.

Keywords: Differentiation hypothesis; Disturbance; Performance; Simulation; Spearman’s law of diminishing returns; Validity.

Grants and funding

The authors received no funding for this work.