Why be "too smart" can be bad for you

If ignorance - is bliss, the highest the IQ - a source of comparable magnitude of suffering? From the point of view of the public, probably because it is. We tend to think of genius as people suffering from existential fear, frustration and odinochestva.Vspomnite of Virginia Woolf, of Alan Turing and Lisa Simpson, lonely stars, which remained in isolation even when burned very brightly. Just about Ernest Hemingway wrote: "Happiness in intelligent people - is the rarest thing I know»
< Website to reflect on what "Woe from Wit", and how it really is.

Most of our education system is aimed at improving the academic intelligence. Although its limits are already known, the IQ is still the main way to assess cognitive abilities, and we spend millions on training the brain and various cognitive enhancers that can improve this estimate.

< What if the desire for genius -. It's just a monkey work The first attempts to answer this question have been made almost a century ago, at the height of the era of American jazz

While fashioned IQ-test has become very popular as well in the military recruiting centers, so that the psychologist Lewis Terman decided to use it for identification and further study of the group of gifted children.

Thoroughly combed California school, he took 1500 students with an IQ of 140 and above (80 IQ was higher than 170 children). All these children are now known as "termites" and all the ups and downs in the life of these children studied until now.

< As you probably guessed, many termites became rich and famous.

This primarily refers to Jess Oppenheimer, author of the classic sitcom in 1950 called "I Love Lucy." By the time he passed the CBS series, the average salary of termites was twice more than the average American white collar.

However, expectations are not justified Terman whole group. Many dedicated themselves to it more "conservative" professions, the police began, navigators and typists. Therefore, Terman concluded that "the intelligence and success in life are far from direct correlation».

< In this high intelligence does not guarantee happiness to these people.

Throughout their lifetime divorce rate, alcoholism and suicide among them was almost the same as the national average.

And since many of the termites came to a disappointing finale, the morals of their history, which consists in the fact that the intellect does not guarantee a good life - again and again become the subject of discussions
At best, the powerful intelligence has no effect on life satisfaction, at worst - it is because of him you are not satisfied with their lives
This does not mean that all people with a high IQ - genius tormented life, like trying to make us pop culture. Nevertheless, it is puzzling.

Why high intelligence benefits often do not provide the long-term?

The heavy burden h2>

Perhaps the knowledge of our talent becomes for us something like a cannon ball on a chain. In the early 90s the surviving termites was asked to look back on those years. Instead of reaping the fruits of their success, many of them reported that their understanding of a burden that they still do not meet their youthful expectations.

< This feeling heavy burden, especially if it is combined with the expectations of other people, was observed in almost all gifted children. Most notably apparent in the case of a wunderkind mathematician Safiya Yusof.

The girl was admitted to the University of Oxford at the age of 12 years, but was expelled from its course before the exams passed. Eventually she became a waitress and later began working call girl.

Another complaint that is often heard on online forums and student bars, is to ensure that the in more intelligent people have a clearer vision of the shortcomings of the world.

While the majority of ordinary people are protected from the existential angst, intelligent people do not sleep, tormented because of the unreliability of the world, or because of the stupidity of others. Constant anxiety can actually be a sign of intelligence, but not like him imagine all sorts of armchair philosophers.

After a survey of students in one of the university campuses of the University of Penny Alexander McEwan found that students with higher IQ actually more worried during the day.

Interestingly, many respondents cared about mundane things and different everyday problems. "Not that their concerns have been more profound. < They just worry more and more about things And if there was something negative, they think about it longer, "-. Penny says
After deeper research, Penny found that this behavior seems to be correlated with verbal ability. He suggested that an excess of rhetoric, may increase your anxiety and make longer reflect on the cause of the alarm. However, this is not necessarily a disadvantage.

"Maybe these people are more adapted to solve problems than the rest, because these skills help them learn from their mistakes," - said Penny

Mental «blind spots» h2> The hard truth, however, is that the intelligence excess is not necessary to equate to the ability to make wise decisions. In fact, in some situations, intellect excess can make the choice more stupid.

Keith Stanovich of the University of Toronto spent the past decade, engaging the creation of tests to verify the rationality and found that taking unbiased decisions to a great extent depends on the IQ.

Get at least a "bias in their favor" - our habit is very selective approach to information. < We always collect information so that it supports our beliefs.

A more rational approach would be to ensure to leave a personal prejudice at the door, but Stanovich found that smart people almost never do, as opposed to people with obviously mean IQ.

And that is not all. People successfully copes with standard cognitive tests, a high probability of "bias blind spot." That is, the they are less able to see their own shortcomings, even when others criticize the great disadvantages.

And yet they have a pronounced tendency to become a victim of "Error Player", the meaning of which boils down to the belief that if the coin toss 10 times dropped an eagle on the 11th time exactly should fall tails.

This mistake has ruined many roulette players who are confident that after a series of black they will certainly fall red. This error may force investors to sell their shares before the price reaches the maximum value: the investor is confident that his luck will end sooner or later
This surprising tendency to rely on instincts rather than on reason may also explain why the incredibly large number of people in the community Mensa believe in the paranormal. Or why someone with an IQ of 140 could easily exceed twice the limit of your credit card.

Stanovich sees manifestations of prejudice in all layers of society. "In today's world people do irrational things in spite of the more than impressive intelligence. People involved in the promotion of memes against vaccinations and distributing other misinformation on websites typically have a higher education and intelligence is much higher than average It is clear that smart people can also be confused », -. It says <. br />
And what do you do if it's high intelligence does not lead to rational decisions and a better life? Igor Grossmann of the University of Waterloo in Canada believes that we should pay attention to the old concept -. < «wisdom» His approach to it is deeper than it may seem at first glance

"This concept is something uncertain. But if you ask someone to give a definition of wisdom, many would agree that it is always associated with someone who can make a good and impartial judgment, "- he says
In one experiment, Grossmann his subjects put before various social dilemmas. According to the subjects, psychologists Commission should assess their judgment and their tendency to bias.

They had to find out how many of the subjects are willing to recognize the limits of their knowledge and demonstrate "intellectual humility" and how many subjects tend to ignore important details that do not fit into their theory.

It was found that good results in this test showed a more satisfying life, a better quality of the relationship and, most importantly, to reduced anxiety. That is about the qualities that would seem to be absent from the smart people.

In addition, penchant for wise reasoning, it seems, even guaranteed longer life - the probability of death of people who have scored a lot of points in the test, was low enough
In fact, Grossman found that high IQ is not a measure of great wisdom. "People with a very sharp mind can very quickly result in arguments why their claim is correct. But they do so relying too much on their prejudices. »

Learn wisdom h2> In the future, employers can begin to test the ability of all of the above in place of IQ. As Google has announced that they are planning to recruit staff, evaluating their "intellectual humility" rather than cognitive skills.

Fortunately, wisdom is not something immutable, unlike your IQ «I am firmly convinced that wisdom can be learned", -. Says Grossmann. He also points out that we better leave our prejudices behind, if we look at other people, not themselves.

Examining this point, he found that their problems easier to talk in the third person ( "he" or "she", but not "I"). It allows you to create emotional distance and get rid of many prejudices, which in turn leads to more astute arguments. It is hoped that in the course of further research, we will be asked still many such tricks.

< The main task - to make people recognize their own weaknesses If someone for life rested on the laurels of his high intelligence, it will be very difficult to accept that all of this -. A result of his erroneous judgments

Take the example of Socrates: wisest of men can only be one who is able to recognize that he does not know
via www.bbc.com/future/story/20150413-the-downsides-of-being-clever


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