Sunday 30 August 2015

Boy Genius: Childhood signs of high intelligence related to the Endogenous personality

I have long been intrigued by the fact that I can sometimes tell that a child is of very high intelligence, even when I do not know the age of that child, and therefore have no basis for age-adjusted comparisons - and this sometimes happens when the child is not a prodigy, and has no exceptional ability. There is something about them that lets me know that they are of exceptional intelligence.

If intelligence is conceptualized as merely the upper range of a normal distribution curve of intellectual ability, then this should not be possible (except when the child's current ability is prodigious).

I have always assumed that being able to detect an intelligent child meant that what was truly being detected was not intellectual ability but personality; and I now think that what is being detected, what is detectable from early childhood, is the Endogenous personality.

The Endogenous personality is a package of high intelligence and a type of personality designed (by evolution) for creativity; in effect what is being detected is that the child has a brain specialized for a genius type role. What is being detected is not really the high intelligence so much as the other two aspects of the Creative Triad of high intelligence, inner-motivation and intuitive personality

In most children with high intelligence, their intelligence is only observable by making age-adjusted comparisons of their cognitive abilities because they have all different kinds of personality types.

But in the minority of children who are Endogenous personality types, the intelligence is part of a cluster of traits, and can be recognized from an early age - indeed, people with experience of a range of children (e.g. astute good school teachers) can recognize the Endogenous personality in young children at, say, six or seven years old.

In a sensible world, such children would be noticed, and treated as the different kind of people they are: people with some kind of creative destiny that, if discovered and allowed to develop, could benefit the rest of society.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Two ways of being highly intelligent - Good Genes or Endogenous personality

The usual way is that someone is intelligent (I mean within a population - I am not talking about the evolution of population differences) is by what is termed Good Genes: that is, having few faults or errors - the person has a normal brain but with nothing (or nothing much) wrong with it: in other words he has a low load of deleterious mutations (or, conversely, he is not suffering from mutation accumulation).

But there is another way - which is by having an Endogenous personality - which means that his brain is purposely designed (by group selection) to be creative, to make breakthroughs - he is, in sum, a genius (albeit very probably not a world historical genius; but a tribal or local genius). My assumption is that - if we could know this - we would see a brain wired-up to be intelligent.

Therefore the brain of an Endogenous personality has high intelligence not so much negatively from lack of mutations; as positively - because it is a brain specialized to be highly efficient for the purpose of creative discovery.

And this is why the genius has a special (Endogenous) personality. Usually personality and intelligence are almost distinct and little-correlated; but the brain of a genius is differently wired from a normal brain: it is a specialized and purposive brain, a lop-sided brain, a brain in which circuits usually used for social intelligence and reproductive success are co-opted to this purpose.

In sum, the brain of a genius is one that is specialized for creative discovery and both high intelligence and an 'inner-oriented' personality are features of this specialization.

Saturday 22 August 2015

Do you (really) understand intelligence? (Hardly anybody does)

I have recently been reading the likes of Owen Barfield, Rudolf Steiner and (excerpts from) Goethe on the nature of scientific thinking as it should be - and this has clarified for me that real science requires real understanding which requires bringing the subject to life in your mind so that your mind is actually thinking-it (thinking the entity, the object or more usually the process).

Therefore science requires understanding ,and understanding is qualitative not quantitative - understanding is not about description and measurement.

(These are possible when scientific understanding is utterly lacking; - they can even be done mechanically even, by a machine - although there must first be some-thing to draw-a-line-around that which is described or measured.)

Before science can be done, there must be this qualitative understanding of the phenomenon as an irreducible entity - not in terms of other things, but in terms of itself.

This kind of understanding is more lacking from intelligence research, even from the best of intelligence research, than in almost any field I have encountered (although Epidemiology runs it close) - indeed the lack of understanding of intelligence is often celebrated, and a 'theory-free' activity of intelligence description, measurement and correlation is put forward as - not merely an expedient or temporary necessity, but - the ideal.

People therefore misunderstand the IQ score as the reality, and intelligence as merely mathematically-derived from IQ scores.

But to understand intelligence requires understanding that a person may be of high intelligence and not have a high IQ score (no matter how validly, often and carefully the IQ is measured and calculated); and another person may have high IQ scores (measured in the best ways and by the best methods) yet not be of high intelligence ^.

This is a simple consequence of the fact that intelligence is not reducible to IQ score or any other measurement: it is an indivisible, qualitative entity.

Intelligence can be 'thought' hence understood - but understanding intelligence is like knowing a person (as compared with describing a person, their hair colour, height etc); getting to know intelligence is therefore like getting to know a person - it is a result of experience.

^ Highly intelligent people who do not score highly on IQ tests are easy to understand - because anything which reduces test performance could lead to this outcome: illness, pain, impaired consciousness and concentration from sleepiness, drugs, drug-withdrawal, mental illness... there are multiple causes, and some are chronic (long-lasting, perhaps life-long).

People with high IQ scores who are not of similarly high intelligence are familiar to anyone who has attended a highly-selective college or educational programme or who are members of intellectually 'elite' professions; since they make-up the majority of participants.  

Note added: The 'Flynn effect' - of rising average IQ scores in a context of reducing average real-intelligence - is an historical record of the emergence of more and more people with high IQ scores who do not have similarly high real intelligence - until now it seems likely that many or most people with among high IQ scorers do not have similarly high real-intelligence - and this applies especially at highly-educationally-selective institutions where Endogenous personalities are substantially selected-out. The correlation between IQ score and 'g' was much higher in the past (a century plus ago) than it is now. 

Wednesday 12 August 2015

If humans are recapitulating mouse utopia, what is the approximate timescale for extinction?

In the Mouse Utopia experiment, an optimal environment with ample food, space, temperature, no predation etc. was created for 8 pairs of healthy breeding mice - but eventually the entire colony died, every single mouse - because after about two and a half years there were no more conceptions. The colony became sterile.

Before they died there were several phases

Phase A - 104 days - establishment of the mice in their new environment, then the first litters were born.

Phase B - up to day 315 - exponential population growth doubling every 55 days.

Phase C - from day 315-560 population growth abruptly slowed to a doubling time of 145 days.

Phase D - days 560-920; population stagnant with births just matching deaths. Emergence of many pathological behaviours.

Terminal Phase - population declining to zero. The last conception was about day 920, after which there were no more births, all females were menopausal, the colony aged and all of them died.

This is interpreted as a consequence of mutation accumulation leading to extinction from mutational meltdown:


As far as I can gather, mice are fully ready to reproduce at about 4 months, so the average generation time is probably about 5 months which is about 150 days.

So, starting with 104 days as zero - when reproduction began; we can convert the above timings into mouse generations

Phase B exponential growth doubling every 55 days lasted 201 days, = 1.3 mouse generations.

Phase C exponential growth doubling every 145 days lasted a further 245 days = 1.6 mouse generations.

So population growth phase in utopian conditions lasted only 3 mouse generations. 

Phase D of population stagnation phase lasted a further 360 days = 2.4 mouse generations

Therefore, the last conception (and de facto inevitable extinction) was 816 days after breeding commenced = 5.4 mouse generations.


Human generations are conventionally 25 years, although these have slowed to about 30 years in Western countries in the past several decades - but let us therefore give two values - one for 25 year, and the other for 30 year human generations.

If we start at 1850 as the date when the Industrial Revolution seems to have become certainly established and child mortality rates began to drop rapidly, and start counting generations from that point, and if humans were made like mice (which they are not!)...

We would then predict that human population growth phase (B & C) would last three generations up to 1925-1940 

And the stagnation phase (D) for another 2.4 generations - with 5.4 human generations taking us up to 1985-2012.


Well, clearly English people did not stop conceiving three years ago, because babies are still being born to native English - albeit not at a high rate!

I have previously guesstimated that the English situation  was that the slower growth phase c began in about 1920 (not about 1880) and the plateau phase began in about 1970) not 1930-ish

So maybe England is lagged about 40 years, because 1. we are not mice, and 2. our mouse utopia emerged only incrementally and was probably not complete until about 1950.

So we do not need to worry about mutational meltdown and de facto extinction (i.e. the final English child of English parents and ancestry being conceived) for, oh, another thirty or forty years...


Nonetheless, I draw the following lessons.

1. Assuming the decline and extinction of mouse utopia was due to mutation accumulation leading to mutational meltdown - then it happened very quickly indeed: only mouse 5.4 generations to the final conception, with half of that being stagnation.

2. The decline in rate of population increase after only 1.3m mouse generations suggests that the effect of relaxed natural selection and mutation accumulation leads to genetic damage immediately, in the very first generation.

3. Although humans (maturing over 14 years and with a natural life expectancy about 70 years) are built to last longer than mice (maturing over 4 months and living about 2 years) - this may mean that humans are more vulnerable to mutation accumulation - because we have a more prolonged and multi-phasic development and depend on extremely-complex brains which use many genes make and to function, and constitution large mutational targets.

4. In mouse utopia, the mouse environment, shelter, food, hygiene etc were all managed by humans - and did not depend on the mice doing anything much for themselves except east, sleep, fight, groom and reproduce (until they altogether lost interest in sex)- but humans depend on other humans for survival.

When the human population is damaged from mutation accumulation, this will destroy the 'utopian' environment. If this destruction is severe enough and comes early enough- then mutational meltdown will be avoided.

But if there is a generational lag - and utopia is maintained sufficiently that further mutational damage to younger generations continues to accumulate - then this will hasten the meltdown and extinction; because by the time utopia comes to an end, the younger generations will be unfit to survive the harsher conditions.

Have a nice day!