• Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    In other words, is there some correlation between high intelligence and productivity? Is it related to creativity?

    I don't think I need to go into examples of famous people like Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Von Neumann, Gauss, Goethe, Aristotle/Plato, and the list goes on.

    One unifying theme that is undoubtedly true is that they were all passionate about what they did. However, I am interested in what sustained their endless curiosity combined with a passion for knowledge. Do they view the world simply different than the rest of us do and that allows them to describe things in novel ways due to their intelligence?


    Thoughts?
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    Probably this has less to do with being intelligent and more to do with being materially and socially privileged as to have the means to pursue personal interests in the depths these people did. Notice how every one of your examples was a white male, and everyone apart from Gauss I believe came from wealthy and powerful families.

    Certainly there are plenty of intelligent and passionate people who are economically and socially underprivileged as to make the nurturing of these talents far more difficult. There is a lot of potential that is never realized simply because the economic and social circumstances don't favor many of those who have it. A shame, really.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    Even upon superficially reading The Bell Curve, one can draw some correlation between higher productivity and intelligence among the population in the US. Would that be something that could be a form of support for the above?
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    Read somewhere that to enhance the full potential of the mind we need two things: 1) Creativity and 2) Critical thinking

    You've mentioned both artists and scientists in your list of "intelligent" people and I think that is the correct view. For a long time I thought intelligence = critical thinking and I was wrong. Creativity is also an essential ingredient of true intelligence.

    As for productivity-intelligence connection I think we need to understand the fractal nature of our world. Everything is simply a reiteration of what exists at smaller scales. We have consumers and producers in the natural world. Producers make food and Consumers eat it. Similarly, in human society we have people who produce and people who consume. It definitely takes more brains to produce than consume.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k


    I honestly don't see how there possibly can be without proving that production is unequivocally a 'good' thing to do. Basically, if a person was truly intelligent, they have the capability to produce great works of art, science or engineering, but that doesn't automatically lead to the conclusion that they should produce such works. Take the archetypal university professor as an example. One might say he's a very intelligent man, top of his field, but it's well known that long-term sedentary jobs are not beneficial for health, outdoor work manual work has a lot going for it in terms of both health and personal fulfilment. Dedication to a project like academia can detract from one's investment in the family which is a source of great happiness, time spent just enjoying the sunset, playing with grandchildren, walking the dog, these are all well-known and verified sources of health and well-being. So actually, deciding to pursue a career in academia, as opposed to say, being a gardener, isn't actually that intelligent a decision (by one metric).

    I'd argue that the most intelligent people are the ones we've never heard of, the ones who realised early on that just because they can produce great things, doesn't mean that dedicating their lives to doing so is the right thing to do.
  • BlueBanana
    866
    is there some correlation between high intelligence and productivity?Posty McPostface

    You need intelligence to make discoveries or inventions or to create something new. Most people would be as productive if they were as intelligent.
  • Erik
    567
    Probably this has less to do with being intelligent and more to do with being materially and socially privileged as to have the means to pursue personal interests in the depths these people did. Notice how every one of your examples was a white male, and everyone apart from Gauss I believe came from wealthy and powerful families.darthbarracuda

    There have been countless other wealthy white males who've had plenty of leisure time at their disposal throughout history, though, who have not made a lasting impact on society or the "life of the mind" in any way. Those who have done so are still in the tiny minority relative to their privileged counterparts, and we should therefore acknowledge their exceptional talents - and try to understand what made them "tick" - without reducing them entirely to other factors. IMO of course.

    At most I think you could argue that being in possession of significant wealth, and the freedom that comes along with it, is a (typically) necessary but not sufficient condition for the sort of intellectual achievements that we attribute to those on Posty's list.

    I agree with your other points though.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    At most I think you could argue that being in possession of significant wealth, and the freedom that comes along with it, is a (typically) necessary but not sufficient condition for the sort of intellectual achievements that we attribute to those on Posty's list.

    I agree with your other points though.
    Erik

    Sure, yeah, a necessary but not necessarily sufficient condition, I'll agree to that. The socio-economic situation is as much a factor in a person's development as is their particular physiology or character.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    OK, found a really interesting research paper confirming what I suspected:

    National IQ and National Productivity: The Hive Mind Across Asia

    A recent line of research demonstrates that cognitive skills—IQ scores, math skills, and the like— have only a modest influence on individual wages, but are strongly correlated with national outcomes. Is this largely due to human capital spillovers? This paper argues that the answer is yes. It presents four different channels through which intelligence may matter more for nations than for individuals: 1. Intelligence is associated with patience and hence higher savings rates; 2. Intelligence causes cooperation; 3. Higher group intelligence opens the door to using fragile, high value production technologies, and 4. Intelligence is associated with supporting market-oriented policies. Abundant evidence from across the ADB region demonstrating that environmental improvements can raise cognitive skills is reviewed.

    It is reasonable to be cautious about claims that IQ has a major influence on national productivity. After all, a large labor economics literature shows that IQ and other testable skills have only modest correlations with wages at the individual level. Whether we look in developing or developed countries, the story is the same: a 1 standard deviation increase in cognitive skills (15 IQ points) within a country is associated with about a 15 percent increase in wages, perhaps less. For instance, Alderman et al. (1996) found that in rural Pakistan, those who perform 1 standard deviation better on an abstract visual pattern-finding IQ test—the Raven’s matrices— earned 13 percent more. One should draw two lessons from this result. First, the intelligence tests widely derided in popular culture as being culturally biased nevertheless have the power to predict economic outcomes in one of the poorest regions in Asia. Second, this 13 percent effect is still far too small to explain poverty in South Asia. If differences in cognitive skill are important drivers of national economic outcomes, cognitive externalities must be large. Jones and Schneider (2006 and 2010) provide evidence for this. They found that across countries, the IQ–productivity relationship is much larger: 15 IQ points is associated with a 150 percent increase in productivity. Perhaps this strong relationship is epiphenomenal but the psychology, economic growth, and behavioral public choice literatures all give reason for thinking otherwise. There are good reasons for thinking that intelligence—the name used for the underlying trait measured by IQ tests—matters more for nations than for individuals. For instance:

    1. Intelligent individuals tend to be more patient, and growth theory predicts that patient nations will save more, building up a larger capital stock in a closed-economy world.

    2. Behavioral economics experiments show that high IQ players are more cooperative in repeated prisoner’s dilemma, trust, and public goods games. Since trust and trustworthiness are key to holding together wealth-creating institutions, intelligence will cause prosperity through public choice channels.

    3. Skill complementarities may be important in producing “O-Ring” forms of fragile, delicate output. If so, then small differences in worker skill may cause massive differences in cross-country productivity.

    4. According to Caplan and Miller (2010) high-IQ individuals appear more likely to support promarket, pro-trade policies. Thus, more intelligent voters are more likely to see the invisible hand, supporting policies that create prosperity.


    Available here.

    Relevant references to the bolded text:

    Jones, G., and M. Podemska. 2010. “IQ in the Utility Function: Cognitive Skills, Time Preference, and Crosscountry Differences in Savings Rates.” Unpublished. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.

    Jones, G., and W. J. Schneider. 2006. “Intelligence, Human Capital, and Economic Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach.” Journal of Economic Growth 11(1):71–93
  • charleton
    1.2k
    I don't think I need to go into examples of famous people like Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Von Neumann, Gauss, Goethe, Aristotle/Plato, and the list goes on.Posty McPostface

    This is classic selective bias.

    Since you only know about the productive people that have intelligence, and have no historical information about the vast host of intelligent people who history does not record, you have decided that intelligence and productivity are necessarily linked.

    You also do not know about the farmer who worked from dawn to dusk, all his life supporting a family of 10 children, putting them all through school, despite being dull minded: working harder than any of these smart guys.
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k


    Then I can give you a list of all the most famous physicists, philosophers, and mathematicians with their IQ right next to it.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    But you can't give me a list of the invisible people with high intelligence that are not remembered as they achieved nothing despite their intelligence
    .
  • Posty McPostface
    4.7k
    But you can't give me a list of the invisible people with high intelligence that are not remembered as they achieved nothing despite their intelligencecharleton

    Yeah; but, neither can I prove that unicorns or Santa Claus exists.

    I don't understand your point.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    I don't understand your point.Posty McPostface

    Then please read my post.
    "selective bias"
    Evidence only points you to smart people who have achieved something.
    You then conclude from limited evidence...
    ....correlation between high intelligence and productivity?Posty McPostface
    I'm suggesting that there may be millions of intelligent people that smartly decide to have an easy life rather than toil.
    OR that there are millions more stupid people that, despite their lack of intelligence, achieve more than expected.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    Obviously it is a necessary condition to have intelligence to achieve innovative things, but not a sufficient condition as intelligence could lead to a person deciding and having the ability to make for themselves a comfortable life that would never have come to the attention of history.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    I'm suggesting that there may be millions of intelligent people that smartly decide to have an easy life rather than toil.charleton

    Yeah, I tried that argument quite a few posts ago, but without the selective bias angle, nice addition. Unfortunately it fell on as deaf ears then as yours is now. For some mysterious reason no-one seems to be able to escape from the protestant work ethic that dictates that anyone not producing something society will remember them by must be some kind of moral retard. It's no wonder the simple act of child-rearing is so devalued afterall what has any good parent really 'produced', only a really valuable and healthy new member of society, not something really important like a poem!
  • Bitter Crank
    6.3k
    You are right that it is social privilege and the system of family support, encouragement, contacts, resources, etc. that comes with it. Without this privilege of wealth, a very smart white and poor working class boy living in a West Virginia shithole will be unable to develop his intelligence and interests.

    white maledarthbarracuda

    Surely you are aware that being "white" and "male" is no guarantee of privilege, or that being "white" and "male" is inherently privileged.

    Of all the roughly 500,000,000 white males presently in the world, I would guess 98% are not "materially and socially privileged as to have the means to pursue personal interests in the depths these people did". Sex and race do not differentiate what accounts for the difference between 490,000,000 who are white and male and without the wherewithal to pursue personal interests in depth and the 10,000,000 who have the necessary resources.

    I submit that it is substantial disposable wealth that differentiates those who can pursue their personal interests in depth, and those who can not. "Substantial disposable wealth" isn't a little extra cash; it's a lot of extra cash, cash from investments, rent, interest, dividends -- the usual sources of substantial disposable wealth.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.3k
    Intelligence is obviously important, but so are personality traits that support long-term focused activity. "Drive", whatever that is, would be high on my list. Ambition; openness to new ideas; patience; The ability to sit still and read for lengthy periods--take notes, remember; the ability to contemplate a problem for hours or days on end; a good memory; freedom from disruptive distractions, etc.

    Involvement with other people who have kindred interests. A quality education which imparts the necessary knowledge and skills. Connections with at least somewhat powerful people who can create openings for one's work.

    Freedom isn't a personal trait, but creative people (in whatever field) have to have enough freedom to actually produce. Not just political freedom, but personal freedom; religious freedom; economic freedom.

    Since you only know about the productive people that have intelligence, and have no historical information about the vast host of intelligent people who history does not record, you have decided that intelligence and productivity are necessarily linked.charleton

    Exactly.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    Yeah, I tried that argument quite a few posts ago,Pseudonym

    I see.
    I thought this was a philosophy website??
    We can be try, I suppose.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    Exactly.Bitter Crank

    Thanks.
  • Hanover
    3.9k
    Lots of hard working dumb asses and lazy ass genuises. Nerds hanging out pissing around playing video games while migrant workers reroof their house.
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