Many years ago a member of super high IQ society was trying to explain to me why many super brilliant people are not rich.  He felt there was an optimum IQ for wealth and status (around 130) but that above 150, IQ might actually be a hindrance to success.

To illustrate his point he used the example of getting women.  This is correlated with IQ in the general population, and the guys who do best with women usually have IQs that are well above the population average of 100, but they seldom have IQs  above 140.  Instead they’re typically around 120.

I think there are several reasons for this:

  • Sex is largely a physical desire, and the more mental ability you have, the greater a mental life you have to distract you from the physical
  • High IQ guys may be more K selected than lower IQ guys meaning that they evolved to invest more in quality offspring at the expense of quantity of offspring and as a result, have less need for multiple partners.  Yes I realize differential K theory has been tarnished to some degree, but most biologists still  implicitly reference these ideas with respect to non-human species (life history theory)
  • According to Lion of the Blogosphere, puberty stunts the mathematical part of the brain causing boys to have higher math IQs than girls and nerdy boys to have higher math IQ than macho guys
  • High IQ is positively correlated with height but negatively correlated with weight/height ratio, so a lot of super high IQ guys have a tall scrawny look that some women find unattractive, especially when you add an oversized cranium to the already awkward physique
  • High IQ is positively correlated with myopia so a lot of high IQ guys wear glasses which some women find unattractively nerdy
  • High IQ is correlated with more complex and abstract interests, so many high IQ guys wont care about fashion, working out, nice cars, or anything else that signals status to other primates

The fact that too much IQ might be a hindrance to getting money (resources) and women (mates) suggests that even though intelligence is the cognitive ability to adapt situations to your advantage, too much of it is ironically maladaptive from an evolutionary perspective.  This may help explain why there’s no evidence for increasing brain size in the past ten thousand years (actually brains have shrunk post agriculture but I suspect that’s malnutrition, not dysgenics, since they’re now rebounding)

But the point is not whether high IQ guys do get money and women, the point is whether they could.  Bill Gates (who became the first centibillionaire of all time, decades before anyone else), is an example of just how thoroughly super high IQ people can dominate the competition when they deign to compete with us  primates at our own primate games.

The movie Weird Science, where two high IQ nerds who can’t get a date use a computer to invent the girl of their dreams is another example, though the fact that this example is fictional suggests that there are some problems no amount of IQ can solve (for now).