Low and high IQ behaviour

 Low IQ individuals are not monsters. Rather, they are simply people with a more limited range of behaviour than the common run of homo sapiens, just as children display a more limited range of behaviour than a normal adult. In particular low IQ individuals have difficulty with abstractions. This has implications both for problem solving and the empathic understanding of other people.

A low IQ means that its possessor will find it difficult to deal with the demands of an advanced society because such a society will require a good deal of abstract thought, knowledge acquisition which is not related to the natural world, constant learning as information becomes outdated or additional information has to be learnt.

Of course the problems associated with a low IQ are not restricted only to the racial groups which possess an inferior IQ distribution In a country with an average IQ of 100 approximately a quarter of the population will have an IQ of 89 or less. Approximately ten per cent of such a population will have an IQ of 80 or less. But there are two important differences between such a society and a low IQ community. First, in a high IQ society the number with IQs which make them unfitted to live independent lives is comparatively small. Second, those with low IQs can rely on the help of the much larger group who form the higher IQ majority, the exact reverse of a low IQ society.

Because of the way human beings generally behave, favouring those most like themselves, it is probable that that the more ethnically/racially homogenous a society is the more likely it is for the low IQ individual to receive help from higher IQ individuals because of the enhanced sense of group solidarity. (Welfare, Ethnicity and Altruism edited by Frank Salter provides substantial statistical evidence that as the diversity of a society increases support from the majority population for social provision falls).

High IQ behaviour

High IQ behaviour is more complex than low IQ behaviour for the beautifully simple reason that the high IQ individual has a wider range of intellectual competence than the low IQ individual.

A high IQ will, other things being equal, give its possessor an advantage in any occupation which relies significantly on IQ related skills. This does not have to be a high status occupation. For example, someone with an IQ of 160 will tend to be a more expert machinist than someone with a low IQ.

The higher the IQ the more people will tend to earn and the higher status job they will tend to occupy. However, when it comes to making a fortune (as opposed to inheriting it or gaining it through good fortune such as a win on the lottery), IQ is probably not the prime determinant. At best it might be a necessary but not sufficient condition but even that is dubious. Think of all the highly intelligent academics whose material circumstances are modest and the many people of little education and no obvious unusual intelligence who end up as multi-millionaires. The making a fortune would seem to be more a question of personality – having a risk-taking personality – persistence and circumstances. It is noteworthy that most successful entrepreneurs have quite a few attempts before succeeding. This suggests that a large part of their success is simply the willingness to keep trying and a disregard for the social harm they cause while failing. It may also be that because a high IQ is more likely to lead to higher intellectual activity, those with a high IQ are simply more interested in that activity rather than making money or building a company (entrepreneurship is not only about money). More prosaically, much will depend on a person’s social circumstances. Many entrepreneurs have some financial help from inheritance or family assistance, whether that be financial or simply growing up in a business environment.

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  • Paul N.  On November 24, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I fully agree the IQ faintly correlates with success. Therefore CQ (capability quotient) has been introduced.

  • Craig  On October 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Thank you for this post. It was well written and very educational. Exactly what I was looking for. The only thing I wish you could add is behavioral aspects like, and I make assumptions here, those with lower iq’s are quicker to rash decisions or emotional responses.

    • Robert Henderson  On October 6, 2013 at 8:26 am

      Not necessarily, but the lower the IQ the less able the decision making certainly…

  • ni67  On November 2, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Not really. Most violent crimes are committed by people around 85-90 IQ.
    So while, it is correct to say that one should not demonize people of low IQ; a disproportionate amount of low IQ to normal and high IQ people are drainers of resources on society.

    Their lexical complexity, breadth of diction and aptitude for understanding behavioural cues are deficient too. And they often co-inherit other behaviours like increased susceptibility to impulsivity, lack of consequential reasoning..

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