Ask A Genius 587: Personality Meh, General Intelligence Yeah

In-Sight Publishing

December 18, 2020

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: A lot of things we thought were pretty secure in the findings, probably not unfounded, but less founded than we thought things were on personality and things like this. But other things we have found are consistent through the decades have been things like studies on general intelligence, so things like Spearman’s g. That is a controversial subject.

Rick Rosner: We should say Spearman’s g is the idea that there is a generalized intelligence. For example, if in an army, it’ll serve a purpose. The person who possesses this lower intelligence shouldn’t do well in wherever that person is on tasks that require intelligence.

Jacobsen: Yes, it seems like a pervasive aspect of the deep, fast, and comprehensive level of comprehension. Conscious discrimination in all things that require that they’re going to be pervaded by g to some degree that seems to be the case.

Rosner: Yes, and people probably talk about one end of it, which is, “Does g exist in somebody’s brain?” But the other end, “Is the universe arranged such that it’s amenable to figuring shit out?” And the success of science over the past 400 years shows that for whatever reason, the universe is amenable to logic and an explanation and figuring stuff out.

Jacobsen: And so, it’s almost self-evidently so and evidently so later on, just like the Discourses on the Method deal, where by thinking about it, you can derive a self-consistent argument for some information processing going on.

But then if you develop a methodology like science, then things become evident, so you don’t need your own experience of being in the world, knowing that things in the world and exist in the world.

So, anyway, g came into this conversation. It is one of the things that is pretty consistent in the findings. So, we can talk about that spectrum. Is it something that is just an artifact of statistics, or, on the other hand, is it something that’s actually based in the brain? I would argue, or I say, “Both.”

Rosner: Also, as I said, it’s based in the universe. We’ve talked a lot about how the things that tend to persist in the universe are consistent and as simple as they can be with the Einstein quote. We’ve talked about that where he says, ‘the universe is complicated, but not perversely complicated, no more complicated than it needs to be.’

So, there’s another quote about one of the most amazing things about the universe is how amenable to math it is; when you look at the structures that underlie that game, which we find out more and more about because they’re mostly just neural net feedback systems.

The wiring of the brain is wildly complicated with 10,000 connections from every neuron to 10,000 other neurons.

Jacobsen: It’s really, really astonishing.

Rosner: Yes, times ten to the tenth neurons with these connections constantly forming and then atrophying. But the wiring, even though, the wiring is wildly complicated, the wiring scheme is pretty freaking simple that the neural net stuff is pretty basic.

I say that having never having taken a course and even reading a textbook. But still, these are simple. It is these pretty basic feedback loops repeated a gazillion times. That’s what it takes to have the mental fluidity and capacity to figure out the universe.

It also means that there’s another implication, which is that there are easy pickings. Things that are easy to figure out and then more complicated. Anyway, we’re getting away from the idea of g. Basically, g is some measure of mental resources.

We still don’t know enough about the brain to be able to go from the brains to look at some aspect of the brain’s anatomy and conclusively state that this will result in higher or lower intelligence they tried to look at Einstein’s brain, which was preserved.

I know they decided it wasn’t any bigger than normal, but it had a lot more connections. But any conclusions like that seems primitive and premature, so we should talk about the connection between IQ at least as it’s measured, and intelligence.

Jacobsen: Looking at what is being done and what has been commonly stated in people who spend their professional lives on this stuff is the actual adult intelligence scale or the WAIS is the gold standard. So, if you have a score on that test, that’s likely where your IQ stands.

Rosner: All right. Well, there’s no finding your true IQ because even the best IQ tests have a standard error measurement of at least half a standard deviation. The whole process is inherently just filled with opportunities for sloppiness and accuracy beyond the sloppiness and inaccuracy of the idea of IQ itself.

But when you mean the Wechsler is the gold standard, you mean it has been around for 100 years. This is the Wechsler you’re talking about. So, this is the fourth iteration. You have said that they’re working on the fifth generation, but each iteration has been tested on thousands of people and confirmed on thousands more and then constantly re-normed every few years.

So, it’s got a long history of being used to measure IQ and being as well evaluated for its ability to do that as any test, right?

Jacobsen: Yes. Which leads to another aspect of this paper and pencil tests are the way that they’re typically done are on electronic screens, but they’re generally the same format of just giving questions. Are there multiple-choice, true-false, or just arrange things in order?

You name it. Regardless, it’s still the fact that people were writing 10,000 years ago, so they could have made these things up. They may have been China on their civil service examinations four thousand years ago. So, it’s not like an original form of thinking. It’s pretty primitive.

Rosner: The idea is that IQ tests are still used. It strikes me as weird, at least in most aspects of the adult world. I can see kids being given IQ tests just to see if they need what academic help or enrichment they might need.

But even there, I just don’t see. For instance, my wife works at a high school and various kids do really well and other kids fucked up. I don’t see anybody here and nobody at that school. It’s a very liberal school, but I feel like they’re representative of schools in general.

At least by the time you get to high school, nobody is running to look at your IQ to see why you might be having problems with general school work. People just don’t think of that as a diagnostic or a source of information about somebody’s academic performance.

There’s still a lot of anxiety about tests like the SAT and the ACT, which can stand in for IQ tests. But nobody uses it like that. They’re just a credential to get to the college of your choice, you hope. Nobody looks at you when you get to thirty-four out of thirty-six on the ACT and says that’s the most important thing about that kid.

They’ll say a couple of things. One is, “That’ll help him or her get into college.” Then you think, “Yes, that kid’s pretty smart.” But the first thought is not, “We need to figure out how smart people are and that this test tells us that.”

So, Carole and I just started watching the show called Industry, which is about a bunch of interns at a trading house, financial enterprise, like a Lehman Brothers or a Goldman Sachs. One character is having her entry interview.

An interviewer says I’ve never seen anybody list their IQ on their resume before. And that’s just a quick little moment. But that line is in there to show that that kid is a heck of rube, like in over her head in terms of sophistication that anybody with any degree of sophistication would be able to know that her IQ doesn’t matter.

Nobody or no employer would give a shit about their IQ and no one would put it on a resume in a billion years. It’s not just past that point. Using IQ in the adult world is suspicious, it discredits. It’s like bragging about your cock size in mixed company.

But I could make the argument that that is a moral and a more helpful brag because somebody might believe you. That you would want that person to actually see your cock, where it’s a very rare person who could hear somebody brag about their IQ and want to see that IQ and have evidence of it.

Jacobsen: Is that in your experience?

Rosner: What?

Jacobsen: Has that been your experience? Generally, people don’t care about your IQ?

Rosner: I had one girlfriend who liked me, perhaps specifically, because I was smart. She was a lunatic. Now, Carole likes that I’m smart, but not in an IQ-type way, she finds me goofy. Well, it’s a mixed thing. But she’s not blown away by my IQ.

She’s benefited from my confidence. My being able to stay and keep a job, a well-paying job in late night for 11 and a half years. She benefits from my understanding finance, but I find her unnecessarily skeptical of how smart I am.

I think she should be more impressed and should be less skeptical of what I say on a daily basis. It’s frustrating to me how much corroboration she needs for what I say, what I know is correct. I never hear the end of it when I say something that turns out not to be correct.

For instance, I said that to sell my mother-in-law’s house to pay for her care when she moves into senior living. What I didn’t know is that you get a stepped-up basis when a spouse dies, the surviving spouse receives the house tax-free at the value of what its value is when their spouse dies.

So, I thought you paid taxes on your original purchase price of the house 35, 40 years ago, 40 grand, but you only pay taxes on – my father-in-law died like 2010 and houses were already really expensive by then.

So, you have the stepped-up tax basis, which made it possible to sell the house and make enough money to take care of my mother-in-law. I got a lot of shit about – well not shit, but like Carole was basically saying, “See, it’s good that I don’t just take your word for it because shit like this would happen.”

Een though, by the time it was time to make the decision, we’d already learned about the stepped-up tax basis. We didn’t come close to making a bad decision. We had a lot of talks in the years before based on my bad understanding.

But it never became even close to a huge mistake anyway. Yes, IQ, it’s gotten some articles written about me, but they’re not adoring articles for the most part. They’re mostly the mix of “Yes, he’s really smart. He’s a weirdo.”

There’s a lot of schadenfreude in articles about high IQ people. They like an attractive angle for the writers. The natural angle is to show how fucked up people with the high IQs are.

Jacobsen: Salacious schadenfreude? Bit more of a salacious version of schadenfreude.

Rosner: It’s not exactly schadenfreude. It’s just happy with what you have because if you have this other thing, you think you might want this being a really smart thing. Look at this guy, he’s really smart and it hasn’t gotten him anything that you, the reader, would value.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


(Updated July 25, 2019)

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*

According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Founder, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and Editor-in-Chief of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal (ISSN 2369-6885). Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and the advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.


[1] Four format points for the session article:

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License and Copyright


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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