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Intelligence And Social Isolation

Discussion in 'Mind, Sleep, Stress' started by barefooter, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. barefooter

    barefooter Member

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    I've heard Peat and others talk about how higher intelligence can tend to go with higher levels of social isolation. It seems like he takes the stance that it's the intelligence that causes one to not fit in, and become isolated, but I've been thinking about this a bunch lately, and I think it's significantly more complex and interesting than that. I think just saying you're too smart to connect with others is actually a bit of an elitist attitude.

    A lot of this is based on my personal experiences as being someone who tends to become isolated, as well as reading about these issues from others. I think the average person probably has pretty similar brain power, and it really comes down to how your intelligence was nurtured when growing up, which can be dramatically different for various people. People who tend to become more intelligent seem to be the ones with a natural curiosity that are reading and learning outside of school.

    I think essentially what happens, is the child becomes exceptionally good at amusing themselves with their intelligence. That is, they derive a tremendous amount of pleasure from reading and thinking about complex abstract ideas. A child may go to these types of things because they are already feeling somewhat like an outsider, or they may just have a natural curiosity. Continuing down this path, I think we setup a positive feedback loop, that if left unchecked will continually increase intelligence and also isolation. As intelligence increases, so does the joy gained from thinking, which starts to tip the scale where thinking becomes more desirable than interacting with reality at times.

    The individual can fall so much in love with their own thoughts, that they'll start desiring increased isolation, because others are just getting in the way of their pleasures of the mind. They're getting more pleasure out of their own mind then they are from other people, and it's always available and free, so it is easily self reinforcing. You can actually view this as an addiction of sorts, since it follows a similar pattern of seeking pleasure from a single source (intelligence/thought here) and neglecting friendships and other realities, leading to isolation, and physical and mental health issues.

    I think the TLDR here is:
    Highly intelligent don't become isolated because they cant connect with people, but rather that they're simply more interested in thinking than connecting with people.

    I think this all ties in with depression and mania in very interesting ways that I've been pondering a lot, but I won't share those thoughts just yet.
     
  2. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Member

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    Jun 17, 2015
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    What brought you to the conclusion that "the average person probably has pretty similar brain power"? The heritability of IQ in western countries is incredibly high, .7+ in virtually every study. And before you say IQ doesn't mean anything, consider that IQ is the single best predictor of income, social status, crime, straight up job performance ( http://people.wku.edu/richard.miller/GMA.pdf ). People come to this conclusion that intelligence is extremely maleable, mostly environmental and hard to quantify because it is the safe thing to think, not the unfair reality that the data shows.



    There is a spectrum of r->k type between animal species but it also exists within them. One of the characteristics of k type is more selective socialization, relatively speaking.


    There is also more to it than people avoiding social interaction because they prefer their own thoughts. Diverse societies aka most parts of Western countries are terrible environments for natural social interaction. At a very primal level they don't make sense.
     
  3. OP
    barefooter

    barefooter Member

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    Admittedly, I haven't done a ton of research in this area, and it does seem what you're saying is correct, although still being debated. However, I don't believe IQ to actually be a measure of brain power, but rather a measure of a persons ability to perform abstract problem analysis and solving. This is, of course, an incredibly useful skill in the modern world, and explains why IQ is such a useful predictor of all the outcomes you mentioned. It's possible for someone to have a very low IQ, yet have the same amount of brain power as someone who has a very high IQ, because they lack the necessary mental abstractions and thought processes to solve complex analytical problems. Consider someone in a primitive tribal society who is very intelligent and adept at solving the kinds of problems they encounter, but ill equipped to solve the kind of problems presented on an IQ test. Maybe they have similar raw brain power (hardware), but a completely different set of problem solving skills (software). Maybe what's being inherited is a certain shaping of the brain to perform well in the tasks of a given environment, which in this case favors abstract analytical thought.

    It seems like you're contradicting yourself here, because you're acknowledging that social interaction sucks in modern western cultures, which would support the idea that thought would be preferable to many as an escape. I wasn't trying to say things are setup in such a way in the modern world that social interaction is easy, but rather pointing out what can potentially happen when someone derives more pleasure from thought than from reality. Of course, the reasons for an individual to prefer thought over other things are varied and complex, and I may have made it sound like it was simply a choice on the individuals part, when it's really a multifaceted cultural thing.
     
  4. DaveFoster

    DaveFoster Member

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    There's definitely a positive feedback loop, but it's not just the joy from thinking itself. Intelligence brings more adaptability and more success, so it's a long-term reproductive strategy. In this regard, nerds don't get laid until later on in their lives, but when they do, they invest in low-risk, high-cost offspring, much like themselves, with extremely attractive women (assuming intelligence correlates with wealth, which it does). Therefore, biology has set you up to love learning because it gets you laid and keeps you from getting killed.
     
  5. you

    you Member

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    Mar 29, 2015
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