Clever fools: Why a high IQ doesn't mean you're smart

IS GEORGE W. BUSH stupid? It's a question that occupied a good many minds of all political persuasions during his turbulent eight-year presidency. The strict answer is no. Bush's IQ score is estimated to be above 120, which suggests an intelligence in the top 10 per cent of the population. But this, surely, does not tell the whole story. Even those sympathetic to the former president have acknowledged that as a thinker and decision-maker he is not all there. Even his loyal speechwriter David Frum called him glib, incurious and "as a result ill-informed". The political pundit and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough accused him of lacking intellectual depth, claiming that compared with other US presidents whose intellect had been questioned, Bush junior was "in a league by himself". Bush himself has described his thinking style as "not very analytical".

How can someone with a high IQ have these kinds of intellectual deficiencies? Put another way, how can a "smart" person act foolishly? Keith Stanovich, professor of human development and applied psychology at the University of Toronto, Canada, has grappled with this apparent incongruity for 15 years. He says it applies to more people than you might think. To Stanovich, however, there is nothing incongruous about it. IQ tests are very good at measuring certain mental faculties, he says, including logic, abstract reasoning, learning ability and working-memory capacity - how much information you can hold in mind.

Read the rest here.

Tags: IQ, intelligence, psychology

Views: 176

Replies to This Discussion

It's one thing to have the capacity to reason and think. It's another to want to use it. If you sincerely believe that you've got a direct line to The Almighty then any stray thought or whim is valid. A gifted person can have a flawed personality. In Bush's case I think a reluctance to look deeper into issues may have been a symptom of a reluctance to look deeper into himself. As an atheist in AA I know that the "Higher Power" stuff is a load of bollocks but that self-examination helps. Bush took the opposite course. He didn't look at himself as a fallible human being but as God's just hand.
A gifted person can have a flawed personality.

Very true, and as the article points out, there are different kinds of intelligence, or skills. I've heard that Einstein couldn't make simple change, though I'm not positive that was true.

I think I have good sensory intelligence. I know when something looks right, sounds right, tastes right (and I can sometimes even tell you many the ingredients in something by just tasting it), but I math, games of strategy, and remembering names and numbers (though I have parts of MacBeth, "The Raven," and about 15 or so other poems memorized).
He also had "dry drunk" syndrome, where a person has a very narrow and rigid mindset.

I always wondered what it's like for an atheist to be in AA b/c they seem to encourage religion a lot.
I never knew that GWB had a high IQ...I'd always heard he had a low one!
I'd like to know what intelligence test they used on him, honestly. I cannot see him passing the WAIS-IV. >.X
I've often found the higher the IQ the lower the common sense.

I know I can sure lack it sometimes. :-P
I've never liked standardized tests. They generally don't prove much beyond you're ability to take that particular test. They also tend to be culture specific and therefore biased beyond the point that they are remotely valid in large populations. And as mentioned, or at least implied, there is no one definition or understanding of what intelligence really is let alone how to accurately measure it.

It is definitely true that intelligence in no way prevents people from acting incredibly stupid.

Then again, always acting intelligently would probably make for a very dull existence.

Good points, D.O.S. Thanks.
I would have liked to read the rest of the article but didn't want to subscribe to The New Scientist. I think IQ tests do a pretty good job of telling us who has the ability to learn. It's entirely up to the person who possesses the IQ to make good use of it. Also, of course, other things like personality disorders can handicap a person with a high IQ so that his performance is not optimal.
Imitation is better than independent, sometimes. A high HQ shows ability to handle problems,but imitation also can handle problems well, how to imitate, is a IQ problem.Even low IQ, can also sovel problems,but high IQ , get different results unexpected. THere must be a method betweed high IQ and low IQ.


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