[ExI] The downsides of high IQ

James Clement clementlawyer at gmail.com
Wed Apr 15 16:46:21 UTC 2015

On Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 6:58 AM, Tara Maya <tara at taramayastales.com> wrote:

> The other thing that it seems ought to be distinguished are those things
> that cause intelligent people trouble only because they are surrounded by
> stupid people, versus those problems that intelligence either makes worse
> or at least doesn’t improve.
> I compared the article about how Beauty also had its downsides, for
> instance. Beautiful people have some of the same advantages as smart
> people, but presumably for different reasons. For instance, both beautiful
> people and smart people are likely to make more money, but presumably for
> different reasons. Both beautiful and smart people are likely to suffer
> from the jealousy of less endowed rivals (for pretty people, more so if
> they are the same sex).
> But there the symmetry ends. Because if you made job hiring/performance a
> double-blind test, where the employer and coworkers can’t see how beautiful
> a person is, the jealousy would disappear, but so would the “beauty
> advantage.” That’s because it exists ONLY in the perception of other others
> and ONLY in the comparison between individuals.
> If you if you made job hiring/performance a double-blind test, where the
> employer and coworkers is not allowed to see a person’s IQ, the advantage
> of a high IQ would still exist. Indeed, it would be hard to hide, if it
> resulted in consistently better performance. Furthermore, without jealousy
> of the coworkers, the intelligent person could continue to work just fine,
> and probably better. In fact, if all their coworkers were also smart, they
> would do even better.
> So for everyone in society to become more intelligent would be a net gain.
> Intelligence in many respects is its own reward and an overall more
> intelligent society would benefit everyone.
> This is where the limits of intelligence versus “wisdom" become important.
> Because I do think the research about cognitive bias, etc., makes clear
> that even if everyone suddenly gained 20 IQ points across the bell curve,
> it wouldn’t necessarily prevent society as a whole from making some very
> stupid mistakes. Or to take a less extreme example, just because voters for
> one political party are generally smarter that the other (research on
> Democrats and Republicans seems to indicate this is so) shouldn’t make
> Democrats feel smugly that this means their policies are always better,
> since the shared cognitive biases and groupthink endemic to any party are
> still likely to outweigh the benefits of IQ.
Many organizations select against intelligence, saying that a more
intelligent, experienced, or skilled person would probably only stay in the
job temporarily until something else came along. Several decades ago I
applied for various warehouse-type jobs as an experiment where in some
applications I included and in others excluded my membership in MENSA,
higher education, and job experiences which included running my own
businesses and being a practicing lawyer. I received no interviews for
menial jobs in which I'd listed my actual qualifications. The quickest
positive response I experienced was related to an application where I
simply left almost everything blank, indicating almost no education or

Here's an article (among many) which describes how many police departments
select against high IQ for their candidates:

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