- The proportions of smart people with a strength in the STEM subjects are higher than those with equal talents or verbal strengths. It’s about 50% of gifted people who have a math tilt, 25% who have a verbal tilt, and 25% who have a flat profile.
- Many smart people analyze job markets and earning potential if they are taking out large loans. STEM jobs are more readily available and pay more. Thus, those with strengths in math tend to go into STEM. That’s a large chunk of the 75% who have strong math ability.
In 1997, the 46-year-old sued his local police department after being denied a job there because he scored too high on an intelligence test. More bizarre still, the courts sided with law enforcement
2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the year that everything happened — 1997. It was an ear-biting, Pierce Brosnan-loving, comet-obsessed world, and we’re here to relive every minute of it. Twice a week over the next 12 months, we will take you back to the winter of sheep cloning and the summer of Con Air. Come for the Chumbawamba, and stay for the return of the Mack. See all of the stories here.
In late May 1997, 46-year-old Robert Jordan filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the city of New London, Connecticut. In the suit, he claimed the police department there had violated his constitutional rights when it determined that he was too intelligent to be a cop. As the Associated Press reported at the time, “Jordan says Assistant City Manager Keith Harrigan, who oversees hiring for the city, told him: ‘We don’t like to hire people that have too high an IQ to be cops in this city.’”
In a subsequent interview with CBS This Morning, Jordan recalled his reaction, saying, “I was just taken aback. Philosophically, I found it offensive to the entire profession of law enforcement.”
The logic the police department employed for their hiring process was clear-cut: Any applicant who scored too high on the intelligence test would grow bored with police work and would leave law enforcement. New London estimated it spent $25,000 training each new police recruit, so they couldn’t afford to lose money training applicants who would quit police work soon after leaving the academy.
The screening process that Jordan underwent was conducted by a company named Law Enforcement Council of Southeastern Connecticut, Inc., and the test he took was a well-known assessment called the Wonderlic Personnel Test and Scholastic Level Exam. The manual that accompanied the test “listed recommended scores for various professions, and cautioned that because overqualified candidates may soon become bored with unchallenging work and quit, simply hiring the highest scoring employee can be self-defeating,” per Jordan’s suit. Jordan scored a 33, but the average police patrol officer scored a 21.
When Jordan heard that the department was interviewing potential new hires and he wasn’t one of them, he asked about his prospects. The assistant city manager informed him that unfortunately “he didn’t fit the profile.” At first, Jordan assumed it was due to his age — at 46, he would have likely been the oldest cadet in the academy. But he filed an administrative complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and that’s when he learned it was his high Wonderlic score that was actually the issue.
“We all know talented, intelligent people that pursue successful careers in law enforcement,” Jordan said at the time. “I just couldn’t accept it. And I found out there is absolutely no evidence. There is no connection between your basic intelligence and job satisfaction or longevity on the job.” Plus, he simply didn’t like how this looked. “What kind of message does that send to children?” he asked. “Study hard, but not too hard?”
And so, he went to court and accused the city and the New London Police Department of violating his right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. The city, meanwhile, argued that the police were, in fact, able to exclude Jordan based on his smarts.
Amazingly, the city won. A judge agreed that there was a reasonable expectation that cops not be too intelligent. Jordan appealed that decision, and in 2000, he finally got his day in court. But once again, he lost. The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York upheld the Connecticut district court’s decision. The ruling was centered on the legal determination that Jordan’s 14th Amendment protections hadn’t been violated since the “same standards were applied to everyone who took the test.”
The most frustrating part for Jordan was that the court determined it didn’t matter if smarter cops were indeed more likely to leave law enforcement. Instead, the legal question came down to whether Jordan’s constitutional rights had been violated. As it was explained in the court’s decision against his appeal: “We conclude that even absent a strong proven statistical correlation between high scores on the Wonderlic test and turnover resulting from lack of job satisfaction, it is enough that the city believed — on the basis of material prepared by the test maker and a letter along similar lines sent by the [Law Enforcement Council of Southeastern Connecticut] — that there was such a connection. Plaintiff presented some evidence that high scorers do not actually experience more job dissatisfaction, but that evidence does not create a factual issue, because it matters not whether the city’s decision was correct so long as it was rational.”
In other words, all that matters is that the city “believed” the test worked. As long as that belief was equally applied, no constitutional rights were violated.
In the face of defeat, Jordan accepted his fate. But when he spoke with the press, he painted himself as the new face of discrimination in 1990s America. “This kinds of puts an official face on discrimination in America against people of a certain class,” he explained. “I maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye color or your gender or anything else.”
But there was a silver lining for Jordan: After his testing debacle, he was still able to land a new job at the Department of Corrections, proving that at least he wasn’t too smart to be a prison guard.
First thing’s first, I need to clear one (possible) misunderstanding: strictly speaking, IQ is correlated with introversion, not shyness. Someone who is shy will exhibit an unusually strong fear response towards social interaction, whereas an introvert might not; introverts simply prefer to be alone and get exhausted from being around too many people very quickly, without necessarily being scared of social interaction. Of course, shy introverts do exist – common, even – but talkative introverts, and shy extroverts for that matter, do exist as well. To the best of my knowledge, intelligent people do seem to be disproportionately introverted, but not necessarily shy.
With that out of the way, onwards with the rest of the answer – I shall list out a few interesting traits and behaviours which are at least seemingly affected by IQ:
- Obedience. More intelligent individuals are less likely to respect a higher power, as they are much quicker to question the competence or authority of their superiors than their peers – for the obvious reason that they are smart enough to notice the mistakes made by their superiors.
- Aggression. People falling between around 80 to 95 IQ points commit a disproportionate number of crimes. I suspect this is due to them being just smart enough to pull criminal acts off, but too dimwitted to fully consider the consequences of their actions. Not entirely certain on the causal link here, though.
- Speech. This is a big one – in fact, this is probably the quickest and most accurate metric by which you can estimate someone’s intelligence. A very intelligent person (say, above 120 IQ points) is likely to use more complex sentence structures and more sophisticated vocabulary than your average Joe. They are also more likely to use abstractions and hypotheticals as they communicate, and frequently expect their listeners to read between the lines. On the other hand, someone with a very low IQ (say, 80 and below) is likely to speak like Forest Gump: simple, direct sentences with little sophistication, and a nonexistent ability to read between the lines. Of course, there are a number of people who use complex words without actually knowing what they mean in an attempt to look more intelligent, but they usually won’t speak with a complexity comparable with someone who actually is smarter than average.
- Tidiness. This one I’m not so certain about, but supposedly highly intelligent individuals dont tend to bother tidying up their rooms or desks as much as their peers. I’m guessing this is because intelligent people are more able to keep track of everything in their own heads – they might even perform better when their senses are saturated, such as in a messy room or desk – and so they don’t feel the need to keep everything organized, whereas their less able peers do. I’m a little iffy about this one though, so take it with a pinch of salt.
- Sociopaths with high IQ’s and that come from good families where they are taught cognitive empathy become surgeons, lawyers, and bankers.
- Sociopaths with high IQ’s from abusive families and low socioeconomic status become mafia leaders, high end drug dealers, etc.
- Sociopaths with low IQ’s and abusive poor families become violent, often end up in prison.
- Sociopaths with low IQ’s and good families but working class backgrounds become police officers, join the military, or remain underemployed.
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