David Ogilvy) was a highly successful advertising executive, often called "The Father of Advertising" and he created several iconic advertising campaigns. However, his IQ was very average:

Including intelligence, said he. They both took an IQ test he found in the back of a book. He got a 96 (“par for ditch diggers”), and she (his wife, Herta Lans) got 136. It changed their relationship. “Suddenly she’s pretty and clever and I’m ugly and dumb.”

source: The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising

So if you're actually interested, you could look into his life.

Rationality & Low-IQ People

by kokotajlod 1 min read2nd Feb 2014107 comments


This post is to raise a question about the demographics of rationality: Is rationality something that can appeal to low-IQ people as well?

I don't mean in theory, I mean in practice. From what I've seen, people who are concerned about rationality (in the sense that it has on LW, OvercomingBias, etc.) are overwhelmingly high-IQ.

Meanwhile, HPMOR and other stories in the "rationality genre" appeal to me, and to other people I know. However I wonder: Perhaps part of the reason they appeal to me is that I think of myself as a smart person, and this allows me to identify with the main characters, cheer when they think their way to victory, etc. If I thought of myself as a stupid person, then perhaps I would feel uncomfortable, insecure, and alienated while reading the same stories.

So, I have four questions:

1.) Do we have reason to believe that the kind of rationality promoted on LW, OvercomingBias, CFAR, etc. appeals to a fairly normal distribution of people around the IQ mean? Or should we think, as I suggested, that people with lower IQ's are disposed to find the idea of being rational less attractive?

2.) Ditto, except replace "being rational" with "celebrating rationality through stories like HPMOR." Perhaps people think that rationality is a good thing in much the same way that being wealthy is a good thing, but they don't think that it should be celebrated, or at least they don't find such celebrations appealing.

3.) Supposing #1 and #2 have the answers I am suggesting, why? 

4.) Making the same supposition, what are the implications for the movement in general? 

Note: I chose to use IQ in this post instead of a more vague term like "intelligence," but I could easily have done the opposite. I'm happy to do whichever version is less problematic.