Intelligent ... but not too intelligent

For statistical reasons, there are much more people with IQ 130 than with IQ 150 (or whatever is the LW average). So an organization of "IQ 130 or more" will turn out to be "IQ 130, and only rarely more".

Not especially ambitious

I'd say that the less ambitious members are more visible in Mensa, because they don't have alternatives. For example, one member of our local Mensa got currently into parliament. That seems ambitious enough to me. But he doesn't spend nearly as much time in Mensa as the others.

Not a lot of specific strong intellectual interests

Again, I'd blame this on visibility. When a person with strong intellectual interests comes to a Mensa meetup, they are likely to be alone with that one specific interest. So they end up talking about something else, just to be able to join the group. Unfortunately, instead of educating each other, this results in the lowest common denominator. Seems like Mensa would benefit from having less debating and more lectures.

I think that you may overestimate the ability of people born with high IQ to find their place in the society. There was a research done by Terman a century ago, that I am too lazy to google now, essentially concluding that the fate of high-IQ people often depends on whether they come from an environment they can fit it, or whether they are alone in their environment.

The people coming from high-IQ families or studying at high-IQ school usually behave like you describe. They follow the strategies of smarter people around them, and those strategies work for them too.

Then you have high-IQ people who happen to live in an environment where the high IQ is rare, where they have no models to copy, and where people around them have really wrong ideas about how high IQ is supposed to work. Those people are fucked, unless they have a lot of luck. Helping these people should in my opinion be the #1 priority of Mensa, because that is where Mensa can do most good.

I think that you may overestimate the ability of people born with high IQ to find their place in the society.

I think opinions on this subject are very much coloured by the personal experience. Generalisation is risky.

Open thread, Apr. 18 - Apr. 24, 2016

by MrMind 1 min read18th Apr 2016176 comments


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