Monday 12 September 2016

Genius twinkling in the dark


SMPY top achievers

Perhaps I should not be too sensitive, but I still get irritated by the “intelligence, whatever that is” brigade, who disparage any attempt to measure ability and strongly oppose any decisions being made on the basis of those assessments.

My irritation is compounded by the confidence with which they make their pronouncements, uncluttered by any knowledge of contemporary findings or any understanding of the debates in the literature.

So, when any work on intelligence gets some publicity, particularly concerning the benefits of high intelligence, I feel more optimistic that public knowledge about intelligence will be proceeding at the speed of publications, not the speed of funerals.

My imagined legions of devoted readers will not need to be reminded of the work of Benbow and Lubinski and the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth.  I have mentioned this study 15 times, so I will restrict myself to linking to only the most recent of these posts.

Now David Lubinski writes to me in some haste with a confession. He and his wife have had great coverage of their work in a big spread in Nature, with much subsequent publicity. Ever concerned with accuracy, David wishes to correct an autobiographical misconception which crept into the final part of the article:

However, just so you know, I absolutely did NOT wrestle in college!  Had I done that my undergraduate GPA would have been 2.0 units below what it was and we would have never met.  I am pleased to report that my days of two 2-hour workouts per day -- followed by going home and eating a handful of grapes and (maybe) a carrot -- are over.

Personally, I did not think of David as a wrestler. Of a good muscular build, certainly. Mesomorphic, no doubt. But not the sort of chap you see in a leotard. So, is Prof Lubinski a wrestler? No, that is a myth. He was not a wrestler at college. Perhaps journalists rely too much on lackadaisical googling.

Am I a cage fighter?

Thompson cage fighter

I never talk about my evening work.

Anyway, here is a very good article about the power of intelligence, those bright people who are 1 in 10,000 minds.  Key points: to find them test for verbal, mathematical and spatial for best results. Terman was verbally focussed, and thus missed some very bright students. Don’t dream of creating a genius: just encourage and support children as they find their talents, and look after their intellectual and emotional needs. Allow the very bright to skip grades: they do better than those forced to follow the standard curriculum. Intelligence is key, but motivation, personality and effort make a contribution, though far from being as big as pure ability. There is no barrier at IQ 120 or anywhere else: every increase in measured ability leads to higher achievements. Predictably, some educationalists are lukewarm about selecting high ability students for accelerated opportunities. Darkness always has its advocates.

Please make sure that at least one clever silly of your acquaintance gets to read it.






  1. On Raymond Cattell:

    "In 1997, the American Psychological Foundation decided to grant him the Gold Medal Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Science of Psychology, an honor that had been bestowed on only 12 other psychologists since the award was created in 1956. Some psychologists objected to this, alleging that some of Cattell’s views were racist. Cattell responded with an open letter the American Psychological Association (APA), asserting that some of the offending statements had been made when he was a young man in the 1930s, and that he had amended them in later years. He further contended that other controversial statements had been taken out of context and grossly misinterpreted (R. B. Cattell, 1997). Although many psychologists voiced their support for Cattell, the controversy was never fully resolved, as Cattell died only two months after he wrote his open letter (Gillis, 2000). Regardless of one’s perspective on this controversy, the unresolved nature of the events left a black mark on the history of psychology that will never be removed."

    The man made "amends".

  2. Psychologists, particularly in committee, have not been very good at distinguishing between strength of scholarship and political acceptability of hypotheses. They treated Arthur Jensen shamefully, and never gave him any honours, despite all his careful work in psychometrics. Jim Flynn said that psychometry in the the late 20th Century was footnotes to Jensen. Ian Deary added that all 20th Century psychometry was footnotes to Pearson.

  3. I do not believe that most psychologists really know actually what intelligence is, including you who do not seem to have much neuroplasticity to [still] search for concepts that actually mirror in the perfect way what the term, say, very comprehensive, really means.

    Creativity, we all, at least here, we have a clear and objective idea of ​​what it consists, ''create with quality ''.

    Creativity is the cognitive ideal of the intelligence / logic.

    Wisdom is the absolute ideal / psycho-cognitive of the intelligence.

    The problem of a concept is not this be simple or complex, is whether this express universality / perfect mirror OR NOT/be incomplete/potentially inaccurate.

    universality between the concept/symbolic associations via words and its meanings and that ''thing''

    Some say ''intelligence is adaptation.''

    Are all '' more '' intelligent individuals, more adaptable **

    Do not.

    First, adaptation, especially for humans, tends to be a concept even more complex than the concept of intelligence.

    Second, there's not a universality, an intrinsic causality where

    ''if I'm 'more' intelligent, then I will be immediately more adapted.''

    But there is a totality/universality that

    if I'm 'more' intelligent or if I do an (minimally) smart / logical action, in other words, if I usually judge (minimally) correctly, then I will be/act 'more' intelligent/intelligently.

    If it were true that the intelligence cause adaptation, directly, then we would have no predominance of stupid people and a lack of children between the 'more' intelligent, even in other historical scenarios.

    If creativity that is basically one of the most significant manifestations of intelligence, displays a simple and compact concept, then why not think the same for intelligence *

    The intelligence is all say it is, even the squalid concepts, although correct, that the '' community '' hbd loves overemphasize and in my opinion, incorrectly.

    But intelligence is universally speaking, '' 'good' judgment ''.

    The correct judgment is omniscient in every intelligent action.

    Smart, yet it also is what he is, BUT is also what he produces, he does, through their behavior, from their everyday intimacy to their professions.

    Therefore, the primary concept of intelligence is the 'correct judgment' ', which also is the concept of rationality. Who could deny it **

    Who is smarter: a person with great rational capacities or a person with great logical-quantitative skills (mathematics) **

    Very difficult to choose one of the two, but I can choose them, for different perspectives.

    Hard to understand **

    I do not think so....

    What is totally underlies both the rationally intelligent and mathematically intelligent, is good judgment, directed to different purposes. And this defines the most comprehensive way of intelligence and correct than any other concept, in my opinion.

    But the '' hb--d '' who love to accuse others of having ideological agendas, should look in the mirror from time to time, and preferably with two mirrors, because the former always hide our facial imperfections.

  4. "There is no barrier at IQ 120": it is easy to guess that some jobs have an effective threshold e.g. it's hard to become, or thrive as, a cryptographer without an IQ of 120, or 130, or whatever. I take it there must be lots of evidence of that?

    1. Reasonable data on many occupations, but probably best data in the more normal ranges. Interestingly, many low paid jobs have bright people in them, and as the tasks get harder then lower ability candidates are discarded. So, low grade jobs have a wider range of ability than more intellectually demanding jobs. Gottfredson has lots of data from US Army.

  5. Most of comments on BBC article seems more interesting and factually right than the text, lol

    "... these people really do control our society." So now we know whom to blame.''

    lol lol

    this is the best, too simple and too right.