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Why Brilliant People Are A Minority ?


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We already know that almost every human physical or mental traits obeys a bell curve of distribution in the population. That means that humans vary in both, physical and mental attributes.

 

However, I have heard mainly three types of opinions about those differences.

 

The first one is very unrealistic and it is based almost on just wishful-thinking, pure belief and no evidence. It claims that all people are “equal” and that the different levels of intelligence are due to the fact that some people are privileged and get a fine education while others get a poor education.

 

If that was true how they would explain that siblings that belong to the same social class, same family and receive the same education end up with different IQs ?

 

And even worst, how they would explain that some people originated in low social classes and had unprivileged education showed high IQ and made great achievements in their lives –and- conversely there are people from upper classes who are underachievers and have mediocre IQ despite receiving privileged education?

 

The second type of opinion is: People are born with different genes for intelligence ( or types of intelligence ) and their upbringing and type of education has little influence to the outcome.

 

The third kind of opinion is: Yes, people are born with different intellectual potentials ( due their genes and their particular biologic development ) but also the type of education that they receive has a significant influence to the outcome.

 

The scientific evidence that I know favours the third opinion.

 

However, in societies with almost homogeneous types of educational systems, the differences of outcome should be logically related to their genetic and biologic developmental differences.

 

In developed countries like UK , most people ( middle class ) receive almost the same type of education ( with he exception of the upper class ) and yet only a minority has high levels of all types of intelligence ( logic-mathematic, creativity, intuition, etc ). Only a minority have interest on matters that demand high intellectual skills like scientific investigation, inventions, philosophy, mathematics, fine arts, etc.

 

1) In your opinion, in an almost homogeneous educational system, which factors contribute the most for the generation of this small elite of intellectuals ? Genetic and biologic developmental differences –or- different types of upbringing and educational models?

 

2) If you consider that both genetic/developmental and upbringing/education influence the outcome, which percentage you credit to each of them accordingly to your educated guess or reliable evidence ?

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I've never heard anyone hold either of the first two opinions.

 

Also, no culture has anything close to an actually homogenized education system, and that wouldn't matter anyway, since its the sum of life experiences that matters, not just what you hear sitting in a classroom. And that is much too subtle to predict, let alone "homogenize," hence identical twins raised in the same family having different IQs.

 

In answer to the second question, the studies I've heard of seem to give nature and nurture roughly equal weight. Upbringing seems to matter more in youth, but it gradually grows less important the older you get.

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I think that there are quiet e few factors that influence on a persons' personality and we all got to admit that no matter if people belong or not the same social class the difference between them is big. Different IQs, different marks, different interests, different hobbies are some things that make people differ from each other.

 

I also agree that genetic informations is the regulator of everything in our organism, so our mental capacities too. After all, I guess they're God's design.

But these mental capacities have to be developed in a proper way, otherwise these capacities will gradually become impotent (talent fades away), so the level of education matter too, because after all this is the stage when intellectual skills show up.

 

But another very important factor is also interest. Some people are interested more in exact sciences and some other in fine arts, while some other in social sciences. And people who are interested in art, it's hard for them to cope scientific theories and physical laws and other things related to science. Even if you get Eduard Witter to lecture them physics they will still not understand a damn think about physics and the other thing around too.

 

I do agree with you blue_cristal that genetic code, upbringing and educational level are the three key factors that influence ones intellectual capacities. But putting a percentage between these two would be quiet hard, because different percentages of these three give different kind of people with different mental capacities.

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just because you attend the same school as someone doesn't mean that you get the same education -- it depends on what you put in (eg, hanging around with mates and mucking about all day in the same school as someone else who tries hard to study != the same education). and you touched on something related in your post -- obviously, i'm going to be more intelectually apt than someone who has identical natural potential but isn't interested in intelectual things, in exactly the same way that i'm not as fit as someone with identical naturall phisical potential who likes excersize. because i'm lazy, and a tiny bit plump as a result :D

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just because you attend the same school as someone doesn't mean that you get the same education -- it depends on what you put in (eg, hanging around with mates and mucking about all day in the same school as someone else who tries hard to study != the same education)

 

Also let's not forget that the unique events which affect you outside school will influence the insights and responses that you experience in school.

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people who seldom take aptitude tests get low scores in tests eg. IQ test, IMO. (is this even relevant? lol)

anyway, what dak said makes a lot of sense. more people would rather choose to play and party than be interested in training their brains to get high scores in IQ tests.

education and upbringing also matter. how you are brought up would affect your interests. but then, most of the population would really opt for whats fun.

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In developed countries like UK , most people ( middle class ) receive almost the same type of education ( with he exception of the upper class ) and yet only a minority has high levels of all types of intelligence ( logic-mathematic, creativity, intuition, etc ). Only a minority have interest on matters that demand high intellectual skills like scientific investigation, inventions, philosophy, mathematics, fine arts, etc.

 

*Funny, I thought that 'most people' in the UK were working class. Surely middle class couples can afford public school for their children...I'll try and find some figures. It's already been said, there are too many differing situations to expect high intelligence to be solely associated with good education / upbringing. Even if you have the genetic potential, and receive good education, life has its mishaps, and can hamper any potential that student may have, being just one example.

Really high intelligence has no evolutionary advantage for survival, it's simply not necessary, and we haven’t been around long enough for that to change. Somebody who has incredibly high intelligence (especially in all disciplines) is nothing short of a freak...but not in the derogatory sense of the word, they're just very rare. There's a difference between somebody who works very hard in all disciplines to achieve good grades, and somebody who is inherently exceptional in all disciplines...the latter being very few and far between.

 

EDIT: *my mistake, lower middle class takes the majority.

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blue_cristal: Have you seen the research (a single review of IQ results) that indicates there is a balance of highly intelligent people with an equal ´representation´ of lowly intelligent (i.e. morons)? And this is largely a male trait in humans (but could be true of primates or other social animals -I don´t know about any research in these areas)...

Just thought I´d chuck it in there...

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In developed countries like UK , most people ( middle class ) receive almost the same type of education ( with he exception of the upper class ) and yet only a minority has high levels of all types of intelligence ( logic-mathematic, creativity, intuition, etc ). Only a minority have interest on matters that demand high intellectual skills like scientific investigation, inventions, philosophy, mathematics, fine arts, etc.

 

1) In your opinion, in an almost homogeneous educational system, which factors contribute the most for the generation of this small elite of intellectuals ? Genetic and biologic developmental differences –or- different types of upbringing and educational models?

 

Remember, you are defining "brilliant" in terms of an occupation. You think that only "scientific investigation, inventions, philosophy, mathematics, fine arts" demand "high intellectual skills".

 

So, consider economics as a motivator. Brilliant people can earn more money as an investment banker or bussinessman than they ever can as a scientists or philosopher or mathematician! So a majority of high-intelligence people follow the money into occupations where they can earn more money. Medical schools have noticed a drop-off in the intellectual quality of applicants as the salaries of doctors have dropped and those of other occupations has increased.

 

Also, how many paid mathematicians do we have (in academic institutions) compared to attorneys? Not everyone who is brilliant can get a job as an theoretical mathematician.

 

Opportunity, economics, and motivation has more to do with people choosing or not choosing a particular occupation, and thus the number of people in the occupations you name is not reliable a indicator of the number of brilliant people in the world.

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Please answer:

 

In what age do the IQ decline and what would be the factors affection IQ?

 

I am 55 but feel that I have lost my memory to some extent. Because when I study a book, I cannot remember fully those paragrahps which I have read.

 

Would appreciate receiving the answer.

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Please answer:

 

In what age do the IQ decline and what would be the factors affection IQ?

 

I am 55 but feel that I have lost my memory to some extent. Because when I study a book, I cannot remember fully those paragrahps which I have read.

 

Would appreciate receiving the answer.

 

Hello hayatullah,

 

I found the following link which may address some of your questions:

 

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/consumer/10243.html

 

 

To clarify, you seem to be referring more to "memory" than you are to "intelligence." As far as I know, we don't really "lose" intelligence, but memory is definitely effected as we age.

 

There is no absolute age cutoff either. Everyone is a bit different. What seems to matter most is a combination of factors, primarily how much we exercise our memories (the old "use it or lose it" addage) and what we eat (our diet).

 

There are also genetic factors involved, and previous drug or alcohol use plays a role, so does emotional trauma (we tend to forget a lot of our pain... thankfully).

 

If you are concerned about your own memory and intelligence, the best thing you can do is practice exercises that require memory and the acquisition of new skills and knowledge (like posting and reading here on SFN!). Many people enjoy cross word puzzles, others like to write and essentially author memoirs (which really forces one to activate those memories). You can also practice short term retention such as reading lists of words and practicing how many you can recall 5 minutes later. There are also dietary supplements, and Omega-3 fatty acids (like those found in salmon) and some essentail oils in nuts (like almonds and walnuts) are really beneficial.

 

All of the above is from memory, so you might want to check out my facts, but I hope this helps point you in the right direction. :)

 

 

Cheers.

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" the best thing you can do is practice exercises that require memory and the acquisition of new skills and knowledge (like posting and reading here on SFN!). Many people enjoy cross word puzzles, others like to write and essentially author memoirs (which really forces one to activate those memories). You can also practice short term retention such as reading lists of words and practicing how many you can recall 5 minutes later. "

 

The best way to improve memory is by learning "memory tricks." They are not really tricks but are techniques to build associations between things you already know and things you want to recall. Alzheimer's patients have benefitted greatly from learning the methods and I was able to teach my 8 year old daughter the US presidents in order and the main events of their terms by using a method called the "Journey System." It took about an hour and she was tested three weeks later and got them all! Here is a URL that will take to a site that has a lot of the methods and how to use them:

 

http://www.mindtools.com/memory.html

 

Many of these methods have been in use since the Gweek and Woman classical times and were extensively improved and used by medieval academics. They didn't have notepads and PDAs so they had to develop memory and some had prodigious memories. Well, actually their physiological base memories were the same as everyone else but they were highly skilled at using the techniques. Daniel J. Boorstin gives some examples in The Discoverers.

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Pssst. That's median. Grrr.

 

Pssst. If we assume intelligence follows a gaussian distribution*, the median is the same as the mean!

 

*Which it almost certainly doesn't, for the same reasons that height doesn't.

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