Higher IQ Necessary but Not Sufficient

Since the days of Arthur Jensen, scientists have known that a high IQ is necessary for succeeding in difficult fields — but is not sufficient. (via)

We continue to be reminded over the years that something “extra” in addition to high IQ is necessary for success in complex disciplines.

Most recently, polymath Nicholas Nassim Taleb initiates a long and interesting twitter thread on the topic, where he may go a bit overboard in denigrating the importance of IQ for high achievers.

Nassim Taleb vs. Jordan Peterson on IQ

Another polymath — Jordan Peterson — considers IQ to be of immense importance for carving out a meaningful human future. Taleb seems to take aim at Peterson in suggesting that if “IQ is the most rigorously studied factor in psychology” (as Peterson often says), then psychology is a meaningless discipline.

But the basic logic of distinguishing between “necessary” and “sufficient” conditions makes the controversy evaporate almost instantly.

In arguing that IQ is not needed for success simply because IQ alone is not sufficient for success, Taleb makes a sloppy and invalid argument. Peterson, as a psychologist, certainly understands better than Taleb, that sucess in difficult fields requires multiple factors — of which IQ is just one. But without a reasonably high IQ, the human mind cannot retain enough interacting ideas long enough in focus to construct useful logical chains of argument and causation.

IQ Scores and SAT/PISA Scores Highly Correlated

College aptitude tests seem to predict future success in college reasonably well, and ultimate success in careers somewhat well. Roughly speaking:

If you take a “real” IQ test (see comments below), then the result is a strong statistical predictor of multiple future life outcomes – income, education level, health, even longevity. There are hundreds of studies that confirm these correlations. So in that sense, it “predicts” your future “success”. __ https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2015/09/16/is-iq-a-predictor-of-success/

The prediction does not hold for everyone, but if a person’s IQ is quite low the correlation is almost perfect. If your IQ is quite high, the correlation is moderately high. The IQ score is three times more accurate in predicting success than a person’s SES (socioeconomic status). But — and this should keep an IQ proponent humble — knowing a person’s IQ AND his SES will only explain about 14% of his future outcome.

Extra Factors are Needed Beyond IQ to Create Genius

From IQ pioneer Arthur Jensen:

… the outstanding feature of any famous and accomplished person, especially a reputed genius, such as Feynman, is never their level of g (or their IQ), but some special talent and some other traits (e.g., zeal, persistence). Outstanding achievements(s) depend on these other qualities besides high intelligence.

… Most very high-IQ people, of course, are not recognized as geniuses, because they haven’t any very outstanding creative achievements to their credit. However, there is a threshold property of IQ, or g, below which few if any individuals are even able to develop high-level complex talents or become known for socially significant intellectual or artistic achievements. This bare minimum threshold is probably somewhere between about +1.5 sigma and +2 sigma from the population mean on highly g-loaded tests. __ Arthur Jensen quoted in … https://infoproc.blogspot.com/2012/05/jensen-on-g-and-genius.html

It is important to take a more nuanced view than is normally accepted, when discussing the importance of IQ test scores in predicting the success of individuals, nations, or cultures.

South Africa, for example, was much more affluent 30 years ago than it is at present — although the average population IQ has not changed appreciably. South Africa has lost something “extra” which it possessed in the 1980s, but no longer possesses. (See “Smart Fraction“)

Countries such as South Africa, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines, and many other nations can economically outperform their national average IQs thanks to the smart fraction of high achieving high IQ people living amongst their less intelligent countrymen.

Economic Success Correlates With National Average IQ
More at VDare

IQ is Important, But We Are Still Learning Why

We have only had IQ tests for a little over 100 years. These test scores provide important information, as long as we understand that IQ scores are just a piece of the personality puzzle. High IQ scores can open many doors, but they do not guarantee successful entry or performance in difficult career fields.

For success in demanding fields, high IQ is necessary, but not sufficient. But modern political correctness forbids the open consideration of IQ scores — particularly relating to differences in average scores between various cultures, races, genders, social strata, etc.

Solving the puzzles of life success for future generations is now made all the more difficult because of the blatant obstacles placed in the way by our politically correct monocultural political elite. Universities are at the heart of this self-defeating problem facing the human future.

There has never been a better time to form parallel “shadow societies,” to keep the hope of an abundant and expansive human future alive. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood © .

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8 Responses to Higher IQ Necessary but Not Sufficient

  1. name here says:

    “parallel shadow societies” …
    Valuable idea.
    Where to find them??

    • alfin2101 says:

      Build your own. Look for competent and skilled people capable of recreating or substituting for critical infrastructures. In a no-nonsense shadow society there is little need for people with teaching degrees or for humanities professors. Make up your own list of occupations where people mainly sit and kill time for a paycheck without really contributing any competent input. Then exclude such people from your shadow society.

      There are various places to look for interested people, including maker cultures, the better prepper groups, open-source technology groups, and so on. The list of places to look can be quite long, so only pursue the topic if you think it is important.

  2. Someone says:

    I’m sure there are plenty of lazy high IQ smart people out there. They are either bored or see no point going the extra mile contributing to the collective sh__t stain of society since they would get little for it.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Interesting. Many “lazy high IQ smart people” no doubt have such an arrogant and condescending viewpoint of society as you describe (“collective sh_t stain of society”). Rather like how Hillary Clinton helped herself lose the 2016 election in the US by referring to half of the citizens of the US as “deplorables.”

  3. yoananda says:

    Did you look at “collective IQ” ? I searched on scientific publications but there are few on that subject :
    * what factors influence CIQ ?
    * does CIQ depends on mean IQ of a population ? does high IQ are drawned or catalysts of CIQ ?
    * can some forms of organization help maximize CIQ ?
    * Etc …
    I read a study that ability to read micro facial expression help CIQ.
    CIQ (as far as I known) is not defined by standard tests, but there are interesting tests though.
    I think CIQ is more predictive for the future of a population that anything else. But I did not find many studies.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Many different and divergent definitions for “collective IQ” exist. One would have to nail down one particular definition to talk about intelligently.

      In the real world, “division of labour” has described “collective achievement” in commerce and economies for hundreds of years now. Collective IQ is something else, with some concepts contradicting much of what we know about how groups or teams of individuals actually work together in reality.

      Hierarchies have been dominant in the animal world for hundreds of million years. In social mammals you have dominant members that often dictate the behaviours of the group in a dynamic manner. Social insects exhibit more intricate types of “collective IQ”.

      Perhaps you should begin by presenting your own conception of “collective intelligence” in enough detail for readers to think it through for themselves, consulting the literature on their own.

  4. yoananda says:

    “Executive functions” seems to be an even better predictor than IQ … I read …

    • alfin2101 says:

      Yes, I think so — especially if you control for IQ! 😉

      Conscientiousness is a fairly easily measured component of EF, which is part of the big 5 personality trait inventory. In time, other measures of EF will become more reliable.

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