Nature vs Nurture

On occasion, I’ve been asked “What is I.Q.?” Is it nature, nurture, or some combination of the two? I make no claim knowing the answer to this question. But, I do think it’s both nature and nurture… mixed in with a bit good fortune.

People all have their own personal experiences. I like to think, that maybe having such a spread of years within my own family’s generation, contributed to my knowledge base. My generation, on my mother’s side of the family tree, spans more than 100 years. My eldest cousin was born in 1915, two years before the United States entered the first World War.

Having such a wide span of years, does have a few benefits. For instance, many of my family members were witness to events of historical significance. Some have even participated in, and can give a first-person account of, those events. I didn’t have to run to the library to read war stories, or how rough living through the Great Depression had been. I had a rich source of information… all I had to do was ask a close relative.

So, I can see how nurture can have a great impact on a person’s I.Q. Nature, admittedly, must also be a major player in the I.Q. debate.

 

Just because…

Just because someone is highly intelligent, doesn’t mean they won’t make stupid decisions.

Many moons ago, I owned a tile setting company in the Deep South. The homes I would lay tile in were owned by well-to-do people. These were mostly self-made folks, starting out in humble beginnings and working their way into prosperity. I enjoyed talking with them as time allowed and a favorite question of mine was, ‘What is the secret to your success?’.

One such client, which I admired greatly, had grown up very poor. He said that he was the first person to graduate high school in his immediate family. But here he was, a very successful businessman, a prolific inventor, well respected in his community, and had no college education… how did he accomplish so much?

In speaking with him (I’ll call him Ted), I learned a little more about his life story. It turns out, what he would do was invent medical devices and take out patents on them. He would then ‘sit’ on the patents and wait. Eventually, someone would produce a product, which infringed upon his patent, and start to generate monies from the sales of said product. This was the point when Ted would step in and sue for patent infringement. By not suing immediately when the infringement was initially discovered, the offending party used their own monies to develop and market the product. This saved Ted a lot of his own time, money, and risk usually associated with bringing a product to market. All Ted had to do was claim royalties from the offending patent. Genius, right?

Well, on the flip side of Ted’s story, were a lot of missteps. For instance, Ted was building a large home overlooking a huge lake system in the area. From atop the hill, his master bedroom had a 270 degree view of the lakes below. On one part of his property there existed a cliff wall that was a local favorite for rock climbers. This presented a problem in terms of liability issues. If someone were to be injured, Ted might be held liable. This sort of thing is known legally, as an ‘attractive nuisance’. To protect himself from such a situation, Ted decided to gift the cliffside area to the city. Sounds great thus far, right? Wrong. When Ted, months later, decided to put up a fence close to the cliff, he was informed that he could not fence off city property. Now, people not only climbed the cliff, they also trespassed constantly across his land because he had no fence. Had Ted done his due diligence, he would’ve known about the restrictions concerning the fencing off of city property. Knowing this, he could’ve installed the fence and then donate the land to the city… his fence would’ve been grandfathered in and the law not applicable.

Sadly, Ted passed away before his dream home I was working on was completed. He was the pilot of an aircraft in which his wife, and a son were passengers. The plane went down and there were no survivors. The way his will was written, each benefactor of his estate was awarded a percentage. That meant everything had to be liquidated so that a monetary value could be determined and percentages divided up. Homes were sold, a private WWI airplane museum hit the auction block, and one of the country’s largest Disney figurines collection at the time was broken up… all because his will was in percentages.

I have little doubt that Ted was every bit a genius I thought him to be. He was a truly remarkable man. Even geniuses can, and do, make boneheaded mistakes.

The IQ bell curve

 

This is a difficult topic to write about. The general population is somewhat squeamish on the subject. The topic of IQ can be explosive. As with anything, IQ can be controversial.  The information is out there if people really have a desire to know and learn. My attempt here is geared more towards laying out the basics in order to obtain a general understanding of the subject.

An IQ score is a composite score of several tested areas comprised of reasoning, memory, acquired knowledge, and mental processing speed.

In the chart above, we can readily make several observations. The mean IQ score is 100. The standard deviations are by 15 point (SD=15) increments. Standard deviations can be both negative and positive. If a score falls below the mean of 100, it will be a negative SD. Above 100, a positive SD. Each SD above or below the mean is represented as SD- or SD+.

Referencing the chart again, we can see that roughly 68% of the general population will fall between SD-1 and SD+1. That correlates to an IQ value ranging from 85 to 115. And 95.44% are between 70 (SD-2) and 130 (SD+2). It should be noted that IQ tests are ‘recalibrated’ over time to obtain a 100 mean score. As the population gets ‘smarter’, the mean will adjust.

So, what does all of this mean? Without some sort of corresponding scale, IQ scores are hardly of any use. This is where we go to other sources to define the differences in IQ. The chart below breaks down IQ classifications.

I refuse to comment much on the classification ranges. It’s a minefield to even try. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions. But I will say this much… less than 2% of the population fall into both the SD-2 and SD+2 ranges respectively. It has been suggested but never conclusively proven, that very high IQ people suffer from mental illnesses in greater frequencies than in normal intelligence ranges. True? God, I hope not…    😉

 

Mimics

People are funny. We’re often doing things the make other people scratch their heads and wonder ‘What the hell?’.

One of the interesting types of people that humor me are what I call ‘mimics’. Mimics are simply defined as someone who presents all the characteristics of a certain type of person, but in reality, lack those attributes. We see these people every day. They’ll wear glasses to appear intelligent, expensive clothes to appear wealthy, etc. But it’s all a false pretense. They’re devoid of true substance.

The mimics that interest me most, are the ones who try to project intelligence. Their attempts usually involve layers of facade, to buttress the image the mimic is trying to craft. While they can be humorous to observe, these mimics are relatively harmless. I see them more as aficionados rather than a menace.

The mimics who have the potential to be troublesome and which can pose an immediate threat to you, are the ones that can have a negative influence upon you in terms of your employment. They can shape how your co-workers view you and interfere with opportunities for advancement denied to you because of their input. This is especially true if they’re in a leadership role above you. While this type of mimic can be hard to deal with, all is not lost. Recognizing the mimic is just as important as how you deal with the mimic.

Fortunately, mimics can be dealt with much the same way as dealing with regular folks. Here are a few suggestions…

  1. Do not overplay your hand.

Never offer up too much information when the mimic in a leadership position above you, asks a question. Answer only the question at hand without any superfluous details or examples. Allow them the opportunity to ask follow up questions. In this way, you can assess just how much the mimic understands. Knowing the mimic’s limitations can be advantageous. In a group situation, this tactic strengthens your position as more knowledgable than the mimic.

2. Know your audience.

It’s always a good idea to use words and terminology that is easily understood by those with whom you’re speaking. Words convey thoughts. If those words are confusing to others, you’ve lost your audience.

3. Know your subject matter.

There’s nothing worse than listening to someone, who really doesn’t understand what it is they’re talking about, attempt to explain it to you. I’m reminded of Einstein and one of his many quotes. He said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Before speaking, consider the possible questions that may result. Have in mind the answer to such questions before they arise. Fumbling to answer a question, can make you appear unqualified. In your response, be direct. Be sincere. Put forth potential obstacles before another mentions them. This will illustrate the fact that you’ve thought through how outside forces can impact your ideas and/or solutions. Be willing to admit that you don’t have ‘all the answers’.

4. Ask for suggestions.

Lastly, I would say that you should ask for input from those above, and around you. No matter how smart you are, there’s always something you do not know. Sometimes, additional information may alter your opinions or suggestions. At the very least, input from others, will give them a feeling of ownership in the final decisions being contemplated. Ownership of an idea or process, lends itself to becoming adopted by those charged with implementing it to begin with. More importantly, unanimity within a group can help avoid a poor decision being driven by a mimic superior. It also spreads consensus across the group, rather than you shouldering and defending the ideas by yourself.

Which is more important… EQ or IQ?

Emotional quotient (EQ), also known as emotional intelligence, is the ability of an individual to recognize the feelings and emotions of others. This is important in that it allows people to interact with others more effectively as situations and environments change.

IQ, is pretty much self-explanatory. So, the question is… which is more important? EQ or IQ?

We can all appreciate the idea behind the concept of EQ. Being able to relate to others is paramount to having good working and inter-personal relationships. But, is that more valuable than IQ? I think the notion of EQ has some merit. I also think EQ can be feigned. All it takes is a little disingenuousness.

Am I callous for thinking this? Maybe, but EQ can be learned and applied, given the needs of an individual seeking to relate to others. IQ, on the other hand, is not something one can easily fake. So why is EQ pushed as being more important than IQ? Maybe because EQ is so hard to calculate and IQ is somewhat definitive? My personal belief is that everyone wants to feel special. EQ being so easily contrived, gives everyone the potential to be a ‘winner’. EQ is sort of like a distant runner up to IQ. EQ is, in essence, the equivalence of a participation trophy.

 

 

2017 American Mensa AG! FireHouse Special!

This year’s American Mensa AG is was held in Hollywood, Florida at the beautiful Diplomat Beach Resort. With nearly a thousand Mensans worldwide registered to attend this event by March, it was certainly shaping up to be a large party!

Within the Mensa organization is a FaceBook group called American Mensa FireHouse (1,575 members strong). Members of the FireHouse are known affectionately as “FireHosers”. Mensans from all over the world are welcome to join the FireHouse. Here are a few of the pics from this year’s annual gathering featuring FireHouse members.

The FireHouse!

 

Angie and Kash

 

Bethany and Erin

 

Cat

 

Diann and Kash

 

Erin and Bjorn

 

Erin

 

The Boob Court

 

In memory of Marc Lederman

 

Johnnelle and Erin

 

Kash and LaRae (Mensa Chair… go LaRea!)

 

Lily and Erin

 

Jam session (Chad on the guitar and Seongtaek at the piano)

 

Seongtaek playing

Laura and Taz

 

Therese Erin and 杨冰阳 (Aya)

 

 杨冰阳 (Aya) ready for a swim!

Johnnelle

Laura and Kash

Group pic!

Johnnelle and Bethany

Jason with Penn and Teller (Keynote Speakers)

Jennifer with Penn and Teller

Jimmy, Taz, and Jason

Michael

Penn and Teller

Bjorn

Touchy subject…

 

Gala dinner

 

Erin and Ellen

 

Erin and Ellen

 

Erin and Harriet

 

Erin and Kelli

 

Erin, Michael, and Johnelle

 

Kash and Kurt

 

Laura, 杨冰阳 (Aya), and Bjorn

The Airing of Grievances 2017

 

Andre hard at work

 

FireHosers 2017

 

Laura and Rob

 

Laura and Tony

Thierrion and Bethany

Seongtaek and Bethany

Timmy and Stacey (Who says you can’t pick your friend’s nose???)

 

San Diego Mensa uRGe 2017, aka “Nerd Camp” (26 May – 29 May)

The San Diego Mensa Regional Gathering kicked off today at 3 pm and runs through Monday, ending at 1 pm. The event is being held this year in Palm Springs, California.

The event theme this year is “Midnight at the Oasis”

Mensans from all walks of life will be in attendance. We have lawyers, authors, Armed Service members (current and retired), professors, artists, physicists, engineers, IT professionals, and even a sitting judge!

 

Movies being shown are:

Friday evening – Hidden Figures

Sunday evening – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Here are a couple of items that may be useful…

RGlineup2017 Agenda for 2017 San Diego Regional Gathering

Agenda for 2017 San Diego Regional Gathering

 

I’ll post stories and pictures, time permitting, as the RG unfolds.

FRIDAY – 26th

Registration

Margie and Dave Bowles manning the registration area.

 

Lots of fun Friday! Following registration, the day was filled with the laughter of old friends and new alike. Card and board games were enjoyed by many and puzzles were pieced together into the wee hours of the morning.

 

SATURDAY – 27th

Activities and conferences!

Very interesting seminar given by H. Stanley Jones covering the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator  (MBTI). Upon completion of the MBTI worksheet and further analysis,  Mr. Jones will personally email the results to seminar attendees.

 

Bob Tutleman’s Sing-a-long!

Really enjoyed Bob Tutleman’s Sing-a-long. As always, it was a great performance! Thanks, Bob!

The Mensa Song – https://youtu.be/GQYBKeRTwEM

 

Again, more games! Games are a big part of AGs and RGs!

 

Sunday – 28th

The day was filled with games and shared fun, discussions, and testing applicants for Mensa. RGs and AGs are a time to make new friends. The American Mensa Firehouse was well represented! I personally counted 9 members in attendance. The ‘award’ for the farthest traveling Mensan in attendance goes to… Laura Ingram, who flew in all the way from Indonesia! Congrats!

Two Firehouse members are shown below.

Carole Lane (L) and Laura Ingram (R)

Later in the evening, several of us Mensans went to Toucan’s Tiki Lounge to see the “Drag Revue”. If you have to ask…

Anyway… there has to be a punch line in there some where… “10 geniuses walk into a gay bar…”  Yeah, I need to work on that one.

Monday – 29th

The end has come, as all things must. Time to say our goodbyes and fond farewells. Until we meet again…

Sometimes a Blog Post Writes Itself…

 

Recently, I was talking to a co-worker about a picture I had run across on FaceBook.

He thought it was funny and asked, ‘Are all of you guys crazy?’

‘No’, I replied but then went on to expand upon my answer. I explained that we’re pretty much like everyone else, but a little more intense.

‘What do you mean?’ he asked.

‘Well, a lot of us are very knowledgeable in very specific areas… more so than the average person. We tend to research things that we’re curious about, in order to learn or gain a better understanding about a subject matter. And many of us are quite passionate about our points-of-view. Sometimes that passion is mistaken for being crazy. But that’s not to say some of us aren’t ‘touched in the head’, I said smiling.

‘So, some of you are mentally unstable?’ he prodded.

I did my best to answer… ‘Of course! It just stands to reason that a certain percentage of any population will have problems… whether it’s mental illness, specific health issues, and so on and so forth. I’ve read articles that attribute a higher instance of mental illness to highly intelligent people and I’ve read articles that say there’s no correlation between the two. I think it has a lot to do with how people identify and deal with potential mental health problems. That’s true for the super smart people and those who aren’t.’

‘Alright. Answer me this. Looking at the scale, where are you? he asked.

‘Oh, dude… you really don’t want to know!’ I remarked, laughing… and walked away.

 

Misfit Toys

I’ve struggled with depression over the course of my life. There, I said it.

Depression was something I had always regarded as a sign of being mentally weak. To counteract my depression, I pushed through it by ignoring the emptiness… the despair… and tried to replace those feelings with a series of intimate relationships. The net result, aside from the countless notches on my headboard, was unhappiness. But I didn’t really have great coping skills in my youth either.

Today, it’s much different. I’ve learned to cope with depression in other ways. I’ve tried my hand at writing, a little sculpting/drawing, and devoting more time to my lifelong interest in learning more about world history. I find that filling my time with activities tends to limit the frequency and intensity of my bouts with depression. But there’s also a big downside to this approach. I usually get less than 4 hours of sleep a day… sometimes it’s as little as an hour. That can only go on so long before my body is exhausted. At some point I have to crash… sleeping for many hours at a time, trying to ‘catch up’. It cannot be good for my overall health.

It’s common for people who are experiencing difficulties in their lives to seek out religion. It’s not that I lack spirituality as much as it is not believing in organized religion to begin with. Religion provides people with a sense of belonging, comfort in times of crisis, hope for a better future, and reward in an afterlife. Not being a religious person, and not believing in an afterlife, there’s really no reason for me to adhere to any sort of moral compass or by societal standards… aside from creating pleasant living conditions for myself and my family. Let’s face it. The reality is that in order for many of us to be successful in life, we must adhere to certain standards, societal and otherwise.

Does that mean I can do anything I damn well please without concern for any repercussions? Absolutely not. I find that I’m still guided by a strong sense of what I consider right and wrong… good versus evil… and an obligation to others who depend upon me in the context of a family member, friend, or co-worker.

But, I do find myself wondering at times why any of it matters? I don’t believe in a god or gods. And if there aren’t any gods, then the concept of good and evil or right and wrong, are really just social constructs. All of it is then relative. The obligations that I feel towards others is, more or less, limited to my immediate family and close friends. And, as a very introverted person, my circle of friends is quite small.

I’ve reached a point in my life that I’m no longer too concerned in how others view me on a personal or professional basis with the exception of my family and close friends. Sure, I want people to like me but I won’t work for their approval. It either exists or it doesn’t. A sense of complacency now defines that part of my life.

That complacency, in conjunction with intervals of moderate/severe depression, have given me periods when I experience a complete lack of passion for life… a lack of empathy towards my fellow man… and that scares me. I know it isn’t healthy. Being the type of person that I am, I analyze myself constantly… my goals, my beliefs, and my obligations. But in the midst of an episode of depression, I wonder again… ‘why any of it matters?’

 

 

Extraverted or Introverted Preference

 

Extraverted and Introverted are opposite preferences. A person’s natural tendency toward one will be stronger than the other.

Extraverted (E)

Extraversion is a preference to focus on the world outside the self. Extraverts enjoy social interactions and tend to be enthusiastic, verbal, assertive, and animated. They enjoy large social gatherings, such as parties and any kind of group activity. Extraverts are likely to enjoy time spent with people and find themselves energized by social interaction.

Extravert Characteristics

  • Gregarious
  • Assertive
  • Talkative
  • Social/outgoing
  • Likes groups, parties, etc.
  • Energized by interaction
  • Expressive & enthusiastic
  • Volunteers personal information
  • Distractable
  • Has many friends
  • Easy to approach

Extraverted Personality Types

  or  
Introverted (I)

Introversion is a preference to focus on the world inside the self. Introverts tend to be quiet, peaceful and deliberate and are not attracted to social interactions. They prefer activities they can do alone or with one other close friend, activities such as reading, writing, thinking, and inventing. Introverts find social gatherings draining.

Introvert Characteristics

  • Energized by time alone
  • Private
  • Keeps to self
  • Quiet
  • Deliberate
  • Internally aware
  • Fewer friends
  • Prefer smaller groups
  • Independent
  • Not socially inclined
  • Enjoys solitude
  • Thinks before speaking

Introverted Personality Types