Friday, November 27, 2009

More on IQ tests, intelligence, and sociopaths

From a reader:
The question of whether or not IQ tests are equally valid for sociopaths is an interesting one. Essay tests typically measure not only subject material mastery, but also how closely the opinions expressed by a test taker match those of the test grader. Poorly written multiple-choice questions may follow simple patterns e.g. longest answer is always right. If someone administering a test knows the answers and gives non-verbal cues, then they may just be measuring a Clever Hans effect. And of course having a copy of the answer sheet before the test can reduce performance to an act of memorization.

Any of these systematic difficulties would drastically decrease the g-loading of a test. After going through all the ways that test questions can potentially be `gamed`, we must face the truism that a g-loaded question is g-loaded question. A given question may be solvable by more than one means, but if the ability to solve it by any and all of these means has a strong enough correlation with the ability to solve a diverse enough body of other seemingly unrelated problems involving complexity, then the ability to solve it is a mathematically valid demonstration of general intelligence per Spearman's factor analysis.

I've never heard a good argument against this, so I'm not interested in debating it.

On the other hand, I may be interested in debating subtler points about interplay of the general factor and specific factors amongst different groups of people with certain sets of DSM-IV diagnoses. For example it's generally accepted that high functioning autistics are better than the general population at performing some cognitive tasks, and worse than the general population at performing others. A significant proportion of autistics exhibit such large discrepancies on Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrixes vs. Wechsler tests that the discrepancies in scores actually far exceed what can be accounted for by the sum of these test's specific factors as normed on the general population. This is true even when comparing the Raven's scores against some of the Wechsler subtests considered to have the best g-loading.

Autism is not as well understood as some other DSM-IV diagnoses, but the effect involving IQ score discrepancies appears analogous to the way that ADHD can be accurately diagnosed from disparities between Wechsler series sub-test scores. There are non-IQ related cognitive skills tests which can effectively screen for sociopathy to the extent that test subjects are not aware of how the tests work. Additionally, there's some anecdotal evidence that sociopaths may generally fare better in chronometric IQ testing than in other forms of IQ testing.

There are some parallels between thought processes of autistics, sociopaths, and people with 3+ sigma general intelligence (1 or less out of every 1,000 for the general population, or IQ of 145+ with a standard deviation of 15). This mostly relates to being more rational/calculating as opposed to emotional/reactive. There are ways in which all three groups seem to act stupidly, but most of these don't really relate to lack of general intelligence. Some relate to different emotional needs, or emotion processing deficits in said neuroatypicals, and at least a few actually result from cognitive deficits in the aggregate population.

I know someone who's convinced that sociopathy occurs with a greater frequency among the highly intelligent. Personally I don't think true sociopathy occurs with much greater frequency, but I do think that similarities in dick-head behavior result from similar secondary causes. For example, I've noticed that extremely intelligent people:

* don't feel compelled to follow social norms for the sake of following social norms
* don't hold authority figures in high regard
* don't make decisions based on emotions, including empathy
* can be very adept at using self-manipulation while justifying unreasonable behavior
* tend to experience disdain to a heightened degree when they do experience it

22 comments:

  1. "Any of these systematic difficulties would drastically decrease the g-loading of a test. After going through all the ways that test questions can potentially be `gamed`, we must face the truism that a g-loaded question is g-loaded question. A given question may be solvable by more than one means, but if the ability to solve it by any and all of these means has a strong enough correlation with the ability to solve a diverse enough body of other seemingly unrelated problems involving complexity, then the ability to solve it is a mathematically valid demonstration of general intelligence per Spearman's factor analysis."

    Finding a tool to scratch your nutsack with is also a valid demonstration of general intelligence.

    What's your point?

    Scoring 200 on an IQ test because you had the answer key doesn't mean you're a genius. In fact, thinking it does is pretty damn retarded.

    By cheating, you've shown that you have a pulse, and that you're willing to cheat. It's an expression of logic and will, but the requirement for success with these methods is MUCH MUCH lower in a test, because cheating is the test's Achilles' heal. You're essentially demonstrating a type of intelligence already tested by the test in a way that requires only a small and static ability and renders your results completely inaccurate.

    Oh, yes, but I agree, cheating is an expression of intelligence. I still can't figure out the relevance of that statement.

    The purpose of taking a test is not to conquer it. It's to be tested. If you work against that purpose and think it accurately measures your intelligence, you're a dumbass, even if your score reads 200.


    "I've never heard a good argument against this, so I'm not interested in debating it."

    Translation:
    I've never heard a good argument against this, so I'm not interested in hearing a good argument against it.

    Suddenly, it's all starting to make sense. :)

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  2. Trying to conquer a test is a lot like trying to conquer your car.

    BILLY: "Look ma! I lit ma car on fire and it blowed up! I'm the best car driver they're is! Hyuck!"

    MA: "BILLY YOU DUMBASS YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO CONQUER THE CAR YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO FUCKING DRIVE IT!!!!"

    BILLY: "Now ma I ain't never heard a good argument for that there ideamabob so I ain't never gonna listen to one. I beat ma car so I'm a good driver, and that's that."

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  3. i didn't understand too much of what that boffin said, but i do quite well on tests for my agegroup, and peter pan I don't think you really understand IQ tests very well at all.
    They corrolate with real world outcomes, and this is the reason they matter. It isn't about the tests themselves it's about the real world outcomes. It isn't about whether people can cheat or artificially raise their level: these aspects are of technical/procedural relevance, but such 'strategies' clearly DON'T have great importance overall because, because, because, OF THE REAL WORLD OUTCOME CORROLATION!!!! you big fat dummy (but u so sweet and not a sociopath so we are batting on the same side)
    luv lucyx

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  4. "REAL WORLD OUTCOMES" . . . are you sure?

    Many people who score genius levels on IQ tests are total failures. Some never settle on a direction professionally and end up working menial jobs.

    Sociopaths are good at playing games. A test is a kind of game. To the extent that you can game a test, you are clever . . . but not at demonstrating attributes that the test is supposed to measure.

    I'm definitely not a genius and am often in the position of discussing things I don't understand very well at work. To the extent that I still can play (and win), I'm doin' all right.

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  5. Lucy, I'll simplify it for you.

    An IQ test measures many different types of ability. Cheating on the test bypasses all of them, and it doesn't require much intelligence. A legal retard could cheat on a test and get a genius level score. Bravo, retard, bravo.

    However, said cheating retard wouldn't be able to perform at that level in real life. Where's the answer key for the real world? What does he do if he can't get the answers from anyone else, because nobody else knows?

    By cheating, all he's done is use very, very rudimentary logic (this general intelligence our anonymous author speaks of) to overcome a hurdle and essentially "conquer" the test instead of participating in it. He's completely missed the point of the thing.

    You just insulted me for expressing an opinion you apparently agree with, so I'm going to assume that either I wasn't very clear, or you're not too bright. It's probably a bit of both.

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  6. Harry,
    Being intelligent doesn't mean you're motivated or have self discipline. A person with a higher "genuine" IQ would do better in a field of his choosing than someone with a lower IQ, assuming they're on the same level socially. I'd have to agree with Lucy about the real world outcomes bit.

    I still think IQ tests are bullshit as a way to accurately measure a person's intelligence, but, taken properly, they're certainly a better indicator than your ability to cheat. It doesn't take much intelligence to decide that getting the answer key, etc, is an easy way to score high. It's one of those DUH things.

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  7. Peter Pan and Harry Lime,
    i think you're both getting sidetracked by questions like 'what is intelligence?', which are generally relevant but not specifically to the question of the scientific value of IQ. Even if all the examples are correct and valid that you describe of tests being fooled or producing inaccurate results, they would only be statistically important if IQ results were unreliable in predicting real world outcomes.
    Statistically, this is the important word to understand. It doesn't matter if thousands of high IQ people fail to achieve real world outcomes, if in millions of other instances the correlation is powerful. Nor does it matter if the very high IQ instances correlate less well. All of these factors would be characteristics of the overall correlation, if one was there.
    The statistical linkage with real world outcomes is indeed the reason IQ is seen by scientists as a powerful and meaningful relative measure.

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  8. The answer key to life is something you are born with or find a way to obtain. A last name is a form of cheat, so is a load of money, contacts with high stances in power, all of these are life’s “cheat sheets” and while some are born with them, most have to find a way to get a copy, even if it is a much less detailed one.

    Intelligence is actually irrelevant in life; the majority of the population goes on to live into old age without being “intelligent”. Motivation isn’t the problem either; it is simply a matter of long can you continue to exist. Very few of the world’s people have “motivation” or “purpose” and are simply here to eat and fuck, shit and fuck, sleep and fuck, continue the animalistic need to keep the species alive regardless of their so called dreams. The ones that go down in history have one or more of the following: a strong name, extreme wealth and power to use for their choice, ambition far greater then anyone else around them and a means to achieve it, and the knowledge (not intelligence) of the fact that in order to do what you want you must cast aside everything the world says you are or have to follow.

    Sometimes, but not often, someone without any of these cheating means becomes something worth remembering and it is usually done by luck, not an IQ.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Harry Lime,

    "Many people who score genius levels on IQ tests are total failures. Some never settle on a direction professionally and end up working menial jobs."

    i totally agree with you. Like i said, i score well for people of my age group, but i work at walmart. I know what you're thinking (and don't you dare laugh, you'll hurt my feelings - i am an empath, you know) and i know it's a dead end job, I COULD DO MUCH BETTER - but it's a lot better than hooking (my old job). Less STD's and i work in the produce section, so i don't have to talk to anybody.

    luv lucyx

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  11. Man! There are a lot of hookers on this site!

    ReplyDelete
  12. hey lucy you wanna wash my cucumber?

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  13. Lucy,

    My dear, I'm afraid you can not "do better". Having previously been a whore, there's really not much a high IQ will do for your resume or professional references.

    The next time I buy shares of WMT, I will think of your manager violating you with produce and know I'm making a good investment.

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  14. Cheating is a way to get around the test. Whether or not this is a smart thing to do varies with the situation. It is not the same as taking it and getting a high, low, or any other kind of score.

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  15. M.E. wrote:
    "They don't follow social customs just to follow social customs".

    LOL ... You might as well say: "They don't stand on their heads just to stand on their heads", or "They don't go and drown themselves just to go and drown themselves".

    Nobody does anything for no other reason other than just to do it. They may think they do so, and they may certainly seem as if they do so, but there's a general reason for most phenomena in the world, even with the (quite real and actual) chance of spontaneous mutation thrown in.

    *******

    Anonymous said:
    "Intelligence is actually irrelevant in life..."

    Harry said:
    "Many people who score genius levels on IQ tests are total failures"

    Lucy said:
    "i totally agree with you."


    Guys, intelligence matters!

    Anonymous again:
    "Sometimes, but not often, someone without any of these cheating means becomes something worth remembering and it is usually done by luck, ..."

    Definitely...
    and: "...not an IQ."

    No, it (usually) takes all these things. The romantic idea of "Dumb Hans" who wins the Princess and a Kingdom is not so called "real world" factual. That said, those we normally consider "geniuses" have a very narrow range in which they excel, too narrow for such a thing as succeeding in the sense we're discussing here (hence Harry's "Many people who score genius levels on IQ tests are total failures" (I'm assuming here that you refer to people with an IQ above 148 sd 15 and a specialized field of talent, as strictly speaking I can't talk on behalf of people with higher IQs than that).

    It kind of goes with the territory ... the "better" or the more talented you are, the more specialized you will (have to) be too.

    *******

    Definitely an interesting study, this, M.E! I notice you're interested in the neuro-psychological side of all this too, as am I.

    Thanks for keeping us updated with your thoughts and findings!...

    Zhawq.

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  16. More people need to be on http://sociopath-community.com/

    !!! it used to be connected to this blog but was disconnected over a year ago. We need fresh blood and lots of interesting things have happened recently (relates to kiwifar.ms drama: https://archive.is/M2tXa) that will go down in the forum's history! Be sure to check out http://www.psychforums.com/antisocial-personality/ too, as some of its regulars are regulars on SC too!

    Goddamn ME refused to reconnect the blog to the forum so we SC goers will just have to spam advertisements for the forum in the comments section. ;)

    ReplyDelete

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