Commenter faigmel said:

YOU HAVE INDICATED THAT ADAPTABILITY IS THE MEASURE OF HUMAN INTELLIGENCE. I AGREE . LOOD AT OSS AND SOE EXECUTIVE AGENTS IN OCCUPIED FRANCE DURING WORLD WAR TWO. YOU ALSO ESTIMATED DONALD TRUMP’S IQ AT ABOUT 125, TED CRUZ IQ ESTIMATED AT APPROXIMATELY 145. .NOW THAT TRUMP HAS BEATEN A FIELD OF SEVENTEEN CANDIDATES, IT APPEARS THAT SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE HAS “TRUMPED” COGNITIVE INTELLIGENCE.

First of all, I cringe at the distinction he makes between social intelligence and cognitive intelligence.  Intelligence, by definition, is a cognitive property of the brain so the term “cognitive intelligence” is redundant in my opinion, and the idea that “social intelligence” is non-cognitive is thus oxymoronic.

That’s not to deny that there are non-cognitive mental traits that enhance one’s social success, but factor analysis would objectively classify these as personality traits, not cognitive functions, and thus should not be included in any subset of abilities called “social intelligence”.

It’s strange how so many people distinguish social intelligence from cognitive abilities, and yet no such separation is made for mathematical, verbal, or spatial abilities.  The implication is that social intelligence, is not actually intelligence, but just personality traits.  But in fact, measures of social intelligence are included in some of the oldest, most traditional classical measures of IQ: the Picture Arrangement and Comprehension subtests both gauge social comprehension and were included in the original Wechsler intelligence scales dating back to the 1930s, and some of the test items had their roots in WWI IQ testing and the original Binet scale.

Not only does social intelligence have the deepest of roots in 20th century IQ testing, but as another commenter noted, the majority of anthropologists and biologists believe that the cognitive ability to navigate complex social situations is what caused brain size to triple in 4 million years of human evolution!

So if social reasoning is such a major part of human intelligence, does that mean I was wrong to estimate Ted Cruz’s IQ as 20 points higher than Donald Trump’s?

Not necessarily.  It’s possible that Cruz overall cognition is much higher than Trump’s, even while his social cognition is lower.

It’s also possible that Trump had certain non-cognitive personality traits that the general public liked, making him seem more socially intelligent than he actually is.  Being likeable and being socially intelligent are not the same thing.

It’s also possible that Trump is simply much better looking than Ted Cruz and thus didn’t need social IQ to beat him.  One could argue that it was Cruz who showed incredible social IQ to have gone as far as he did, given his appearance.

Perhaps the most important factor in Trump’s victory is the fact that unlike all the other candidates (except for my hero Bernie Sanders), Trump was not owned by special interests funding his campaign.  This was a huge advantage because it allowed him to speak directly to what the people wanted instead of pandering to what his donors wanted.

Having said all that, Trump has definitely demonstrated social intelligence, and overall intelligence.  F. Scott Fitzgerald famously claimed there are no second acts in American life, but Trump has proven adaptable to have three successful acts:

real-estate tycoon

reality TV star

republican candidate

But Trump’s political victory will prove to be a hollow one if he can’t beat Hillary in a general election.  It’s one thing to win a Party nomination by running to an ideological extreme,  but the real test of his intelligence will be whether he can adapt his campaigning style to the broader electorate.

It’s going to be tough to win with his sky high unpopularity among Hispanics.  I don’t see how he wins them over without backtracking on his tough stance against immigration, and doing so will alienate his white base.  One wild card is blacks.  If he can convince them that they are hurt even more by illegal immigration than whites are, given that blacks and illegal immigrants compete for the same jobs, and blacks are sometimes ethnically cleansed from neighborhoods by illegal immigrants,  he might be able to chip away at Hillary’s huge monopoly with black voters.

Another unexpected area where Trump might be able to put Hillary on the defensive is her controversial Iraq war vote in 2002 which cost her the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama in 2008.  That vote has always haunted Hillary in Democratic primaries, but she’d never thought she’d have to worry about it while running against a Republican.  But unlike most other Republicans, Trump is not puppet for the neocons, and is on record opposing the Iraq war, almost from the jump.

 

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