Surprised by my intelligence = bad sign?

Page 1 of 1 [ 13 posts ] 

georgewilson
Raven
Raven

User avatar

Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Posts: 119
Location: Dubuque, IA

17 Aug 2021, 8:39 am

Maybe I'm just in a bit of a paranoid mood these days, but I've been doing a lot of reflection as I try to whip my habits and health into shape so I don't lose any more of my youth, and I was thinking:

When I've clicked with people most, they usually took my "book smarts" in stride, but when they act "surprised" it's often the prelude to trouble. Perhaps the person thought my IQ and EQ ("street smarts" in fancy terminology) matched and underestimated my IQ to match whatever they gleaned of my social naivety or assumed based on my difficulties with speech and body language that are as much dyspraxia as that. In my experience, a lot of people don't like their preconceptions challenged, and the best-case scenario with them is disengagement or continued distant acquaintanceship confined to pleasantries while the worst-case is hostility or underhanded backbiting to lash out at a "sage disguised as fool" who threatens them. The intellectually incurious often have an "all or nothing" view of intelligence even when their own is quite slanted to EQ, and seem disappointed they can't put one over on me in the rat race upon discovering I didn't "fall off the turnip truck" as us Americans say.

Anyone else noticed this pattern?



timf
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Oct 2013
Gender: Male
Posts: 831

18 Aug 2021, 7:45 am

I assume you are using the word 'surprised' to apply to the reaction of others. When I was 30 I took the test for Mensa and was surprised myself. I thought with the score I got, I should have been a lot smarter.

I found at Mensa gatherings that most of the people were single and in their late 20s or thirties. I got the impression from all of our social awkwardness that we had largely avoided social activities in high school and now later in life were emerging like developmentally delayed groundhogs to again experiment with social contact.

Telling someone about your IQ is a little like telling someone about Aspergers. It is unlikely that the person you are telling will have a frame of reference to plug the new information into. As a result, their reactions can at times be alarming.

I have found that even if you never mention IQ, people recognize in word or subject choice a level that they feel uncomfortable with. As a result, people will avoid you because you make them feel uncomfortable.

There is a point with masking where it is not worth the effort. As a result, one finds fewer and fewer social situations where "being yourself" is tolerated by others.

I saw an interview once where a Brit was describing how he saw the difference between the US and England. He said that in England if a poor guy sees a rich guy driving a Rolls Royce, he hates the guy. In the US the poor guy thinks, I'm going to get one of those"

I don't see most people having a "hate" reflex to the discovery that someone has a high IQ. I think that the awareness is less conscious but there is an inevitable distancing due to comfort levels.

The surprise element may be a factor in an initial reaction. It has been said that frustration, anger, and disappointment are all reactions to a contrast between expectations and reality. When this happens suddenly, it can amplify the reactions.

I saw a documentary about lottery winners and several commented on the fact that they lost friendships because they no longer shared a common environment with their former friends.

I suspect that the environment one feels comfortable in is the critical factor. Few people it seems can feel comfortable in diverse environments. If people had mistakenly judged you, you might expect that they would desire to not have you unsettle the environment in which they feel comfortable.



Aspie1
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,379
Location: United States

22 Aug 2021, 12:10 pm

I had adults get surprised my by intelligence when I was a child. I'd say something smart, that I read in an encyclopedia some time earlier, like "Neptune has winds as strong as 1500 mph", and the adult(s) listening would start laughing in my face. And they'd laugh even harder when I asked them to stop. The exact "tone" of laughing varied. Sometimes it was a boisterous belly-laugh, like I just farted onstage in front of 500 people. Other times, it was mocking, tittering laugh, meaning "Oh my god, that kid is such a loser! Who gives a damn about what he says!"

The laughter seemed to be exclusive to the over-30 crowd, and the elderly usually laughed the hardest and most mockingly. By contrast, older teens and 20-somethings seemed intrigued; they didn't laugh, and even their faces showed no trace of mockery. Instead, they'd either ask me "I think you right; I didn't know that. Where did you read it?", or politely comment "Interesting."

I quickly learned my lesson not to talk about anything intellectual to adults, unless I'm answering questions in class or asking a teacher for clarification one-on-one. Still, I can't help but wonder: "Why did younger people treat my childhood intelligence with respect, while older people always laughed at me?"

Today, there is "surprise". People in my life know I'm smart, although I'm usually low-key about it: I don't volunteer my smarts unless directly asked.



Enochian
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 27 Sep 2014
Age: 26
Gender: Male
Posts: 54

07 Sep 2021, 11:28 pm

georgewilson wrote:
Maybe I'm just in a bit of a paranoid mood these days, but I've been doing a lot of reflection as I try to whip my habits and health into shape so I don't lose any more of my youth, and I was thinking:

When I've clicked with people most, they usually took my "book smarts" in stride, but when they act "surprised" it's often the prelude to trouble. Perhaps the person thought my IQ and EQ ("street smarts" in fancy terminology) matched and underestimated my IQ to match whatever they gleaned of my social naivety or assumed based on my difficulties with speech and body language that are as much dyspraxia as that. In my experience, a lot of people don't like their preconceptions challenged, and the best-case scenario with them is disengagement or continued distant acquaintanceship confined to pleasantries while the worst-case is hostility or underhanded backbiting to lash out at a "sage disguised as fool" who threatens them. The intellectually incurious often have an "all or nothing" view of intelligence even when their own is quite slanted to EQ, and seem disappointed they can't put one over on me in the rat race upon discovering I didn't "fall off the turnip truck" as us Americans say.

Anyone else noticed this pattern?


Perhaps, when someone you've taken to be an idiot due to their demeanor and presentation actually turns out to be intelligent, you suddenly realize that they have the capacity to judge your intelligence in return. Like, finding out a blind man is actually sighted, and is aware of the fact that you're improperly dressed. It's possible that, from the perspective of the one you underestimated, you've been the idiot this whole time.



Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,267
Location: New York City (Queens)

08 Sep 2021, 11:00 pm

georgewilson wrote:
When I've clicked with people most, they usually took my "book smarts" in stride, but when they act "surprised" it's often the prelude to trouble.

Which of these categories of people also tended to have "book smarts" themselves?

It seems to me that the people you would be most likely to "click well" with, and to have a lasting friendship with, would be people who themselves have "book smarts" too.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- My Twitter (new as of 2021)


Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,267
Location: New York City (Queens)

08 Sep 2021, 11:02 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
The laughter seemed to be exclusive to the over-30 crowd, and the elderly usually laughed the hardest and most mockingly. By contrast, older teens and 20-somethings seemed intrigued; they didn't laugh, and even their faces showed no trace of mockery. Instead, they'd either ask me "I think you right; I didn't know that. Where did you read it?", or politely comment "Interesting."

Did the younger folks tend, for the most part, to be better educated than the older folks? If so, that would be the most likely explanation for the difference in reactions.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- My Twitter (new as of 2021)


Aspie1
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,379
Location: United States

09 Sep 2021, 7:51 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Did the younger folks tend, for the most part, to be better educated than the older folks? If so, that would be the most likely explanation for the difference in reactions.
My theory says that younger people remember their childhoods more clearly than older people. So they truly understand how degrading and dehumanizing it feels to be a kid. That is, having adults see you a subhuman, robot-like object, whose job it is to be to be cute, do what it's [sic] told, and get good grades.

So... when a kid say something intelligent, older adults, ESPECIALLY parents who have no memories of being kids at all, see it as part of the "cute" act, rather than a sign of knowledge in a kid's mind. Younger adults, by contrast, know how degrading and dehumanizing it is to be a kid. So they do a passable job of not showing overt mockery, no matter how "cute" the kid sounds talking about the wind speed on Neptune or what-have-you.



Mona Pereth
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 11 Sep 2018
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,267
Location: New York City (Queens)

15 Sep 2021, 5:23 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
My theory says that younger people remember their childhoods more clearly than older people. So they truly understand how degrading and dehumanizing it feels to be a kid. That is, having adults see you a subhuman, robot-like object, whose job it is to be to be cute, do what it's [sic] told, and get good grades.

So... when a kid say something intelligent, older adults, ESPECIALLY parents who have no memories of being kids at all, see it as part of the "cute" act, rather than a sign of knowledge in a kid's mind. Younger adults, by contrast, know how degrading and dehumanizing it is to be a kid. So they do a passable job of not showing overt mockery, no matter how "cute" the kid sounds talking about the wind speed on Neptune or what-have-you.

Hmmm. I hadn't noticed a correlation between a person's age and the person's tendency to gush about how "cute" a child is.

I don't gush about children's "cuteness," even though I myself am an older person, because I do remember how much I disliked it as a kid.

On the other hand, I have vague recollections from gradeschool about how even some other kids my own age would gush about how "cute" some younger kid was, in much the same way that many adults would gush about how "cute" we were.

I also wonder whether all kids feel as degraded or dehumanized by this adult behavior as you and I did. Perhaps many NT kids figure out ways to manipulate adults' "cuteness" obsession to their own advantage? Perhaps adults who succeeded at doing that, as kids, might not perceive their own "cuteness" obsession as being oppressive to kids?

When I was a kid, it simply never occurred to me to try to use my "cuteness" to manipulate adults. Only later did I read that some kids do this. I don't know whether and to what extent this is true.

As for how adults react to a child's intelligence, specifically, I think that depends mainly on how much the adults themselves value intelligence and education. Those who highly value education themselves are more likely to encourage a child's academic interests, it seems to me.


_________________
- Autistic in NYC - Resources and new ideas for the autistic adult community in the New York City metro area.
- Autistic peer-led groups (via text-based chat, currently) led or facilitated by members of the Autistic Peer Leadership Group.
- My Twitter (new as of 2021)


kraftiekortie
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Feb 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 81,837
Location: Queens, NYC

15 Sep 2021, 8:18 pm

I'm 60 years old. I have a pretty good memory of being a kid.



Aspie1
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,379
Location: United States

15 Sep 2021, 9:10 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
I also wonder whether all kids feel as degraded or dehumanized by this adult behavior as you and I did. Perhaps many NT kids figure out ways to manipulate adults' "cuteness" obsession to their own advantage? Perhaps adults who succeeded at doing that, as kids, might not perceive their own "cuteness" obsession as being oppressive to kids?
You might be onto something. When my niece was as little as 3, she was super-cute and knew it damn well. She leveraged it the way George Soros now leverages his money. My parents fell for it hook, line, and sinker, and therefore told me to shut up and be nice, while my niece ransacked my room. Meanwhile, I must have been one hell of a butt-ugly kid, since my family never treated me 1/10th as nicely when I was little as they treated my little niece.

Funny how my therapist thought I was the cutest "thing" [sic] she's even met, especially when I talked about being emotionally abused by my parents. She though the abuse was "cute", rather than a matter to be taken seriously. Every time I mentioned it, she stared at me and made cooing noises like she's looking at a 3-week-old puppy learning to walk. I took it as a hint to "stop whining about dumb nonsense", and never mentioned the abuse to her again. I tried to drown it out by abusing alcohol instead.

Of course, one thing I'll NEVER understand: Why do therapists always use obscure, confusing hints, rather than honestly telling you they don't want to help you? Even worse, they're not there to help YOU, and they plan to help your abusers instead? Why!!?



Last edited by magz on 16 Sep 2021, 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.: Keep the divisive PPR topics confined to PPR.

theprisoner
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 9 Jan 2021
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,431
Location: Britain

07 Oct 2021, 6:23 pm

People don't expect much from somebody labeled " autistic". that's probably why they're surprised. You're upsetting their conventional notions, or internal models.


_________________
AQ: 27 Diagnosis:High functioning (just on the cusp of normal.) IQ:131 (somewhat inflated result but ego-flattering) DNA:XY Location: UK. Eyes: Blue. Hair: Brown. Height:6'1 Celebrity I most resemble: Tom hardy. Favorite Band: The Doors. Personality: uhhm ....(what can i say...we asd people are strange)


georgewilson
Raven
Raven

User avatar

Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Posts: 119
Location: Dubuque, IA

08 Oct 2021, 6:38 am

theprisoner wrote:
People don't expect much from somebody labeled " autistic". that's probably why they're surprised. You're upsetting their conventional notions, or internal models.


I get this, however, from people who I'm not sure know of my diagnosis, at least who I haven't told directly. In any case, not to humble-brag or anything, but they're even more surprised to hear I'm autistic, basically the flip side of that coin. In any case, elders were less mocking than peers when I was younger, contrary to experiences I saw recounted in September when I first posted this. I don't see the trivia team distancing themselves, so maybe it was just a novelty that's worn off and been replaced with appreciation. Two first places in a row save for a tie-breaker gone awry last night and they hardly bat an eye, but are still nice so not taking for granted I don't think.

Anyway, I think congruence between the stereotypes of one's inner and outer being sometimes does give that extra layer of comfort that makes NTs want to spend time with a person. Certainly in dating I think I suffer from, on the one hand, looking like a short, regular guy with a no-nonsense part cut enhanced mainly by gel if I socialize at night and on the other hand, acting like a lot of people women include expect the tall hipster with a man bun to act, in other words quirky, intelligent, curious, and politically lefty. So I look like a skinnier Danny DeVito but act like, I don't know, Chris Martin, just none of the "sweet little brother" or "Little Napoleon" extremes expected of my height and to a lesser extent skinny-fat physiognomy. Working out might help a little, especially in the face, but for now I've found that on the few occasions that women (my gender of attraction) didn't dislike both my appearance AND personality (yay for heightism, anti-intellectualism, and gold-digging!), they were drawn irresistibly to one but put off by the other as "not what she expected." The churchier-than-she-admitted, laid-back one I went on two dates with 29-30 while getting into sexting at times and the one I met at 31 who was a nurse and single mom liked my looks and told me so clearly, both bailed over the long term (in the second case being off on the date and dissuading me thus) when my true nature became clear, the first's ex having had mental health issues and the second's leaving her preggo just like the next one. As for the last few serious prospects, a poly lib half an hour from town in summer 2020 and a progressive schoolteacher from an hour's drive away this past winter, both gave it a shot and enjoyed chatting with me, also providing my first kisses on the lips since I was 12. In the long run, I think I didn't get further though, because these two ladies wanted their hipster Adonis to come in a more "vintage" package if you will, basically the Ed Sheeran-Justin Vernon look the latest incarnation of Taylor Swift swoons over who can get away with being a "softboy."



Ettina
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,938

31 Oct 2021, 12:05 pm

Subjective impressions of intelligence tend to be more correlated with a person's expressive language and nonverbal cues than with their actual intelligence, because for most people, those are linked, and expressive language and nonverbal cues are easier to observe in a brief interaction. However, if you interact with someone in intellectual situations regularly, over time you can start to pick up on whether that initial impression was accurate.

For example, my Dad had a classmate in university who had severe cerebral palsy. His nonverbal cues looked very obviously disabled, and he spoke slowly and with a lot of effort and poor pronunciation. So a lot of people assumed on initial impression that he probably wasn't very intelligent. However, his classmates soon learned that initial impression was inaccurate, because when he asked questions in class (I believe it was an upper level math course), although it took a long time for him to get the words out, the questions themselves were insightful and demonstrated good understanding of the course material.

Conversely, one of my university classmates (in neuropsychology) came across as a really smart guy with a minor physical disability (one of his arms didn't work properly). He had good verbal skills, intelligent-seeming nonverbal expression, etc. So I was really surprised when he got the lowest score on the midterm. He later mentioned that he'd had a brain injury, and from the fact that his left arm was the impaired one, I realized it was probably a right hemisphere injury, which tend to affect visuospatial abilities more than verbal. Since the lectures often included diagrams that were important to understanding the material, and some of the midterm questions involved reproducing diagrams, it made more sense to me why he'd struggled after I heard that.