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Exceptionally gifted children: long-term outcomes of acceleration (2006) [pdf] (ed.gov)
263 points by waterhouse 41 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 249 comments



I tutor some exceptionally gifted students as a side gig (for scale: calculus at 10, publishing research papers and learning graduate-level general relativity at 14), and I can say that the lessons of papers like these have been taken to heed. Today, there are tons of resources for kids like these, and the explosion continues every year. Professors are taking them for research projects, summer camps are bringing them together, and free online courses are spoiling them with knowledge. We're at the point where full courses are regularly put on Youtube in every field, with better teaching quality than almost all "real" courses! The kids seem to be quite happy for it, and I'm looking forward to the results in a couple decades.

My magnet high school was a smaller example of this. It had a reputation around the area for producing great outcomes for students with rigorous coursework, so people fought like crazy to get in. But once we did, we found that we had almost zero homework and spent half of each school day just sitting around. The real magic was in what we got to do with all that free time!


> I can say that the lessons of papers like these have been taken to heed.

This isn’t true. Gifted and talented education receives maybe 1% of the funding that special needs education does, if that. In NYC de Blasio is trying to dismantle the existing system because the students are too Asian. Most of the US has nothing approaching that system. Normal high schools are at best indifferent to students who want to go higher than AP; they’re certainly not going out of their way to help and encourage those capable of doing college work to do so.

Face it, at barest minimum 10% of 16 year olds could be in high schools like those associated with Bard College at Simon’s Rock[1], where they graduate with an Associate’s degree having completed half of the coursework for a Bachelor’s. I don’t know what percentage of 14 year olds could do the same or complete a Bachelor’s before 18 but it’s 100s of times greater than those who actually do.

[1] https://simons-rock.edu/


My point is that there's been an explosion in opportunities that kids can use that go around what schools provide. Even when I was in high school, you could get most of an undergraduate education from MIT OpenCourseWare for free, and the situation is even better now. (You couldn't get a credential out of it... but who cares, when either way you'll have the knowledge?)

Though I'm upset about the political drama over NYC magnet schools, it's important to note that their outcomes aren't due to magic teachers or better equipment. The kids are making things happen on their own! The core benefit these schools provide is mostly that they allow the kids to meet each other.


You have to know that MIT OpenCourseWare exists. Many people do, but I suspect an even larger number do not.

Gifted kids can come from all backgrounds. When parent involvement is there and the parents know how the system works and where to find resources, it’s an ocean of opportunity out there.

When parents don’t know the system (immigrants for example), don’t have the luxury of a lot of involvement (work multiple jobs), the asymmetric knowledge/access are now an issue.

Public education is supposed to level that field somewhat and what many are pointing out is a gap through which many gifted students fall through. Then you get behavioral and social problems, as called out in the research.


To support your point, I grew up in a poor urban area, and over 30% of the gifted kids didn’t graduate. Another 30% developed addiction or had teen pregnancies. Being poor is much more disadvantaged than being smart is advantageous.

The problem isn’t access.


Being smart means you're bored a lot. Being bored means you find other things to occupy your time. Being poor means you have fewer good options, and are more likely to settle on the bad ones.

I think being smart and being poor multiply each other's effects. Most of the troublemakers were really smart, and got into shit because they had nothing better to do. Outsmarting the teachers was fun, making jokes meant you had to know exactly what was going on in order to skewer it, sneaking around was a thrill and a show of skill.

Anecdotally, one of the most brilliant kids I went to school with was also a teen mom, because yeah, gotta keep busy somehow. And that was in one of the most affluent and highest-rated districts in the state if not the country. I can only imagine it's much worse where there are fewer resources.


There might be some _very_ unlucky kids who can't even access the internet, but once you can get to Wikipedia and youtube I'm sure a very smart kid can figure out where to find what they want to learn. Now, if they don't get the time to immerse themselves because their household demands their attention on more fundamental survival needs, well that should be addressed whether the kid is smart or not.


You can learn so much on the internet

But I wonder if it really helps. I did not have internet or tv as kid and I have learned a lot from books.

Now I have internet, and I spend far more time on social media and watching shows than I spend on learning things


> I did not have internet or tv as kid and I have learned a lot from books.

Growing up in a TV-free household as a kid was and still is an advantage to develop learning skills, independence, and imagination.

> Now I have internet, and I spend far more time on social media and watching shows than I spend on learning things

That may be, but you have the choice.

The main difference is that you can find way more information than in books, even if you lived in a library. The main problem on top of the continuous distraction is curation.


Isn’t this general kids vs adult things? I think most (but not all) people learn less and less as they get older.

For practical, “try at home” things, internet is just making everything so much better. You can read books a lot, but if you want to learn how to make a laser from scratch (for example), no book will be nearly as good as a bunch of blog posts and forum to connect to others.


In order to look for something, you generally need to know it exists. When you live in the given social circle, you tend to develop a point of view on what’s doable/achievable that’s in line with that circle. Some people are not constrained by this and have this almost built-in dream. Others have to learn to dream big.

This even happens in US all the time - kids emulate their parents, neighbors, etc. Even the access is there, but these kids don’t know it and therefore can’t make use of this access.


Social and familiar needs are linked with someone being smart or not. You can’t have one without the other, they are interdependent. You can’t just count on someone — specially an young one — sneaking in to get access to Wikipedia and find the extra resources they need. You minimize negative impacts on the social environment for it to flourish.


How are you supposed to go around what schools provide and do MIT courses when you are required to sit in school all day and then waste even more time on the pointless busy work they make you do at home?


It’s the classic way to treat school. Do your math homework during history class. During math class, prop up your school textbook and read a more advanced one behind it. Avoid any courses that advertise themselves as containing lots of busywork in the name of “rigor”.


I feel so lucky that my elementary school, in the 80s, had a special-education coordinator who recognized gifted and talented as part of her job, co-equal with developmentally disabled. Not all special needs are remedial, after all.

As a result, my parents had an ally who knew the workings of the system, had resources and connections, and would go to bat for me/us when the rest of the administration had their heads in the sand.

The end result was that I had some time each day to work on my own projects, and my teachers were required to make accommodations. I ended up leaving the school anyway because of one perniciously evil teacher and I'm still in therapy for the sequelae, but there were definitely some bright spots.

I can't say everyone aims 'em right, but there are definitely hammers to swing against the traditional structure and the disservice it does to gifted and talented students. In recent years, I understand that the guidelines around individual accommodation plans have only strengthened. I'd imagine there must be folks out there equally adept at making them work. Some of them might just need a reminder that their job includes this function.


Here's what they used to do at my school( state school, Lithuania,90s): the more gifted ones had a few options: they could skip a year(i.e. from 8th to 10th grade), not follow the curriculum the rest of the class did and simply do something more advanced during that time. I'm not gifted but was probably smart enough to find school easy,but couldn't be asked to do too much,so teachers usually used to leave me alone.


I totally half arsed school for this reason. There's much more fun (and learned skill) in learning stuff how you want. Personally, I took the route of combining all my subjects (maths, physics, CS) and took the route of building a couple basic physics sims. Best education of my life.


I dont think that ratio to special education says all that much. A lot of it is heavily disabled kids who do need expensive tools to even learn to walk and have kids-teacher ratio like 6:1 or even less. Mostly because they need a lot of support to just function - whether they are learning or not.

The gifted education is comparatively cheaper.

Plus, it is about kids that are bordering to being a danger to themselves or others. They need experts just to function. They are getting special education for the sake of other kids too. And failing their education means more money spend on prisons or social system once they grow.

People imagine special education being about slightly slower kids. But these are not costing all that much.


> maybe 1%

Honest question, not snide in any way: what would be the right percentage? Surely not 100%? Special Ed folks, folks on the left end of the bell curve for instance, need intensive one-on-ones. But folks on the other end of the bell would not need that same level of support?

(I'm not saying 1% is OK. And I understand that you pulled that number out of the air.)


Acceleration as of right instead of enrichment should be verging on free, requiring almost nothing in new expenditure. I’d be pretty happy with that alone to be honest. An early college programme like Bard College at Simon’s Rock in every metro area with over 100,000 people with provision for boarding for those outside commuting distance wouldn’t get you past 2% of education expenditure. That’s under 10% of what’s spent on special education. That would make me ecstatic.


It's not about how much money, but rather how to spend it. Well, okay, to spend money some way you first need it, but the amount could be quite small.

Most of the knowledge is already available online for free. (There are still some gaps that would be nice to fill, for example lessons for small kids whose first language is not English.) The problem is rather navigating the abundance of information.

First, to distinguish genuine knowledge from crackpottery. Like, most of us probably know that 99% of videos on YouTube containing "quantum" in their titles are pure nonsense. But a smart 13 years old kid doesn't know that yet, and can waste a lot of time gaining negative knowledge (misconceptions that later require time and work to unlearn). We know that in case of doubt, the materials published by MIT are most likely solid. For that kid, even this is not necessarily obvious; it would be better to tell them explicitly.

Second, lessons have prerequisites. I can find an interesting lesson, only to realize that I actually can't follow it, because it uses symbols and concepts I don't understand, and I don't even know how that missing part of knowledge is called. It would be great to have some guidance of form "you can learn X by watching Y, but first you need to understand M and N which you can learn by watching P and Q, etc.". A tech-tree of knowledge, kind of.

For these two things, you don't actually need a school system. A website could be enough: a page for each topic, internal links to prerequisite topics, external links for educational resources checked for quality. You would need some budget for this, but I assume that for costs similar to running one school, you could serve the entire nation. -- And it wouldn't be only for the smart kids; the average kids could use it, too. Everyone could progress at their own speed. Actually, it would be even better if all the kids would use it, because then you wouldn't have to look specifically for the smart kids and advertise it to them, they would simply learn about it from kids around them.

Now you can add extra services, like a silent place to go study if you don't have such place at home, a computer with an internet connection is you don't have one at home. Places to meet people studying the same topic. Etc. This all would be nice to have. I am just saying that the minimum solution that could help maybe 80% of gifted kids could actually be made very cheaply.


Aren't you basically describing Khan Academy?

It has good education material - including exercises - that you go through at your own pace, and is organised as a tree of learning.

Last time I looked it didn't go into university level subjects though.


Khan Academy is a great project. At least as a general idea; there may be some small technical details (there is some criticism on Wikipedia that seems reasonable, but maybe it was already addressed). I only tried it shortly, so I am not sure how complete it is beyond math.

Now if I may dream, I imagine something like Khan Academy, but:

- containing all lessons from all subjects of elementary and high schools (and optionally some university lessons);

- somehow certified by the state, similarly how textbooks are certified, so you would have some official statement saying "this is at least as good and as complete as public schools" (and if something specific is missing or not up to standards, the problematic topics would be clearly listed);

- with the consequence that if you complete Khan Academy (and take extra courses/exams in the problematic topics), you would get a certificate equivalent to completing the elementary or high school (perhaps after taking an exam to check that it wasn't e.g. your parents doing the tests for you), without having to attend a school, and regardless of your age (so a gifted kid could have high school completed as 10 years old);

- maybe with an option that teachers could upload their own versions of existing lessons or new lessons, and the users would by default use the standard Khan Academy videos, but could choose the optional ones, and based on popularity and administrator decision, the new videos could become the default ones; this is how the content could continuously improve and new topics (e.g. the university lessons) get added; also, repetition is the mother of learning, but instead of listening to the same video again, you could now listen to an alternative version of the lesson;

- with some way to create an individualized study plan, so you could specify e.g. "I want to be a lawyer, but I also want to make computer games", and the lessons that lead you there would be highlighted.

Also, I'd like to see a competitor or two, of comparable quality.


How about the future value of dollar spent today? What the best and brightest do is advance science, including the science which later alleviates the issues plaguing the the bottom 1%. This is the whole idea of universal education in the first place. It pays for itself in the long run. The top 1% pay super-extra dividends to everyone.


> what would be the right percentage? Surely not 100%?

You say that like 100% is some kind of meaningful threshold. It should be a lot more than 100%, for the same reason that spending on growing crops in China is more than 100% of spending on growing crops in Antarctica, or spending on basketball coaching for men who are six feet tall is more than 100% of spending on basketball coaching for men who are four feet tall.


I agree that better support and acceptance of gifted and talented is important. I'm not sure I'd measure it in funding versus special needs though. Special needs teaching is brutal work, requiring a lot of baseline time and attention costs that can't really be reduced in a humane way.

Supporting the high-end of the spectrum is an entirely different challenge. The kids have an ability to excel independently. Yes, facilities and other resources can enhance outcomes, but also consider the difficulty of finding qualified teachers to really challenge them. Our entire Victorian education system is not equipped to handle them, and frankly I think they'll always be held back if we encourage a rigid structure and reliance on a system which is designed for the masses. We'd be better off finding low-case ways to give more open-ended resources and access to centralized specialists and higher education professors who are true experts in their fields.


The bright children of the upper middle class going on to have great life outcomes are the core of inequality in America. Schools that nurture and socialize these kids with each other are an important mechanism in that outperformance. If you intend to reduce inequality, then that is exactly what you want to disrupt.

Secret racism is too easy a copout. This goes right to the core of defining relative inequality (vs. absolute outcomes) as the important issue.


Wait, are you arguing we shouldn’t provide opportunities for gifted kids because it reduces inequality?


I think reducing inequality is a terrible goal because it commits you to positions like de Blasio's. But his actions are entirely consistent with his stated values. Gifted & talented programs push people into the right tail of the distribution, which increases its variance, which is exactly what "rising inequality" is.


I think he is saying that they don't get the opportunities because they are gifted kids, but because they are upper-middle class.


It can be both. To be smart is an advantage. To be born in a rich family is also an advantage. Life can be unfair in many ways simultaneously.

Ironically, if you deny the importance of IQ, it mostly hurts the smart kids from poor families. Because the rich parents will find ways for their kids to realize their full potential -- whether it is a full potential of an average child, or a full potential of a gifted child. It is the gifted child born in a poor family who won't have a private tutor because their parents can't afford it, but also will be denied by the system because "IQ doesn't mean anything".

Smart kids from poor families need even more help than smart kids from rich families, and we deny it to them in the name of fighting inequality. It's no child left behind the minimum requirements of the school system, but many children left miles behind their true potential; especially the poor ones.


IQ doesn't matter. Every child deserves opportunities to learn and grow, opportunities that match their aptitude. There's no need for an IQ test when providing that. IQ testing is just used for gatekeeping.


In theory, as long as we have some reliable way to measure the aptitude, and we provide the corresponding opportunities, I don't really mind if we avoid mentioning the word "intelligence".

But, you know, the offensive thing about IQ is exactly that it demonstrates that different people have different aptitude. So, in practice, I find it difficult to believe that people fighting against the concept of IQ would be willing to provide sufficient opportunities to children with high IQ.

Sadly, many people's instinctive reaction to a gifted child is throwing some obstacles in the child's way, to "prove" that the child "was actually not that smart". (This is even more likely, if the child is a minority, or autistic, or different in some other visible way.) Some of those people are teachers. I know stories...

Like, there is a girl I know who did math olympiads at elementary school. For some reason, this rubbed her math teacher the wrong way, so the teacher started bullying her in the classroom. Two years later, the girl had phobia of math, and was unable to do even school-level math. Then her parents intervened and transferred her to another school, and with some private tutoring (by me; that's how I know the story) she became a straight A student again, and later successfully completed a university that required a lot of math. She never got back to the competition level, though, because the wasted time made a difference.

This story is less rare than you might hope. Quite many gifted kids, unless they also have superior social skills, are bullied either by their peers or by adults. People are bad at tolerating difference; twice so, if the difference suggests that the different person is somehow superior. And the gifted kids with superior social skills aren't winners here either; when they tell you "I was interested in many things, but I was careful never to mention it in front of my classmates", it makes you wonder what they could have achieved if they were allowed to follow their interests freely.


IQ matters in terms of determining the spectrum of offerings that a funding-limited school system (which is all of them, just to different degrees) should provide.

If you measure achievement based on "percent reading at grade level and passing MCAS", then all high-IQ students are, in effect, "left behind". I agree strongly with your 2nd sentence, but disagree strongly with the first and fourth.


I don’t know if it is, but i fully agree if that is OPs interpretation. They don’t need any help.


Education is good for society, not just the educated.


He is saying we should have more equal opportunities regardless of socio-economic background.


Which is meaningless, especially with respect to this discussion


You're being downvoted by people who don't like the truth or haven't seen a public school "equity" document recently.

A better solution is to raise taxes on those rich families, not handicap education.


We're talking about people in the ~155-180 IQ band; In a city the size of Chicago you have 20 or so people in that band.

The reason it's called "Gifted" is because you get born with it, just like your skin color. I didn't choose to have a high IQ. Frankly, with the way people have treated me in life and all the pain I've gone through due to it, I'm not so sure I'd want to be this way. I'm sure you know that feeling.

You want to explain performance differences in racial groups, look at complex trauma and cultural phenomina. Conduct an similar ACE study in the south-side and see what you get.

I think what you're going to find is 50% of the population has generational complex trauma they are trying to escape, and their outcomes would be improved draumatically by specialist intervention and I think one that is done, you are going to find out IQ isn't altogether different between racial groups in a country like the US.


Question for you. If you were profoundly gifted and had kids who were also profoundly gifted, what kinds of things would you do with them and resources would you provide to them to ensure they were adaquetly challenged?

My situation: I'm in my 30's, I take IQ tests every 3-4 years and always score somewhere around 155-165. I come from a multi-generational complex trauma family, my mother has an ACE store of 9, I have an 8, my father is with what I know about him around a 9 and going back generations on either side of the family it seems to be the case on both sides. High ACE scores reduce your IQ and academic performance quite a bit. My Sister scored 167 on a MENSA exam once unadusted for dyslexia and dyscalculia which they mentioned would put her in the 180's.

I can't even begin to describe the kind of perceptual maze I've had to navigate overcoming my own issues; cognitive restructuring is a powerful tool I used well before I learned about complex trauma and in the last few years that has been a real renissance for me. I feel in a lot of ways I was raised more by the internet and BBS than my own parents.

Decided a long time ago to be celibate because I just assumed my kids are going to go through the same lot in life I did and I wouldn't want to do that to anyone even by accident. Any kind of technique or program to help those kids avoid that outcome would be useful to me. If I have kids I want them to be who they are supposed to be in life.

BTW, thank you for posting this.


I'm just a random guy from the internet in my 20s with no children, so I'm not really qualified to give advice! All I'm going on here is the examples I've seen, which are math focused.

From these examples, you don't have to do anything special in the early years besides talking and reading to them (and of course, building a home/family they can feel safe in -- all the stuff that normal parenting advice is about). In the next few years after that, you can add on some enrichment material depending on their interests. For example, Art of Problem Solving has this really nice "Beast Academy" series of workbooks that goes through elementary and middle school math, but with deeper questions. If they really take to a subject, you just keep feeding them more of it. It'll be fun for them, and neither expensive nor time-consuming for you.

At some point, their interests will become specific and deep enough that you can't lead them, at which point you should get them in contact with peers or mentors, e.g. through summer camps, competitions, or a magnet school. Once they're in that network, it's smooth sailing: they'll tell you what they want to learn! In other words, in general a parent with a full-time job cannot feasibly guide a talented kid's intellectual development up through age 18 (though of course your still are responsible for their moral development). Intellectually, your job is just to nurture their interests, give them the boost they need to get going, and then cheer for them as they continue on.


Can you name a few examples of schools or school districts that are magnet schools? Never heard that term before.


I went to [Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson_High_School_f...), which has a pretty incredible program on the STEM side of things- courses like Differential equations, Complex Analysis, Organic Chemistry II all taught within the high school itself. This is our [school profile](https://tjhsst.fcps.edu/sites/default/files/media/inline-fil...)


Have a look at the list here: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-...

Basically anything in the top 250 is the kind of school I was talking about.


I had never heard of an ACE score, it is interesting. I’m a 6 and my wife is a 9. We grew up poor too. We had a kid at 15 (heh, hi ACE score in action). She was an A and B student and I was nearly all A’s. I don’t know if the IQ test I took back then was legit, but I was 150 or 140. I don’t want to get too deep in the woods, but I want to say you are not your numbers. You have it in you to be happy, to be successful, and to have good relationships. My wife and I are still together since 14 years old. Three kids, a good home, I love my career and job, I have hobbies I enjoy. It is not all sunshine and rainbows and life has been HARD. The stats say we should have ended up one way, yet we ended up another. You are not your numbers.


You are not your numbers is a rural sensibility and assumption.

During the Iraq War veterans were coming back with PTSD and seeing psychologists and psychiatrists. Some of them had multiple comobidities; depression, anxiety, Bipolar, with the PTSD and were send to get MRI Scans.

What they discovered is there was no brain damage, but certain areas of the brain weren't as developed as they ought to be; they administered ACE tests and found out everyone had high ACE scores. Other studies were done and are being done and are finding evidence of somatization; when you aren't raised right your brain physically doesn't develop properly.

Pick up a copy of the body keeps the score by Van der Kolk, and Complex PTSD from Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker. Your wife undoubtedly has gastrointestinal issues from her situation and you have your issues (likely over-resorting to fight, flight freeze or fawn responses), those books will help to cure you. I also reccomend seeing a complex trauma specialist even if you don't think you need to.

What you will end up finding out is that there is such a thing as a complex trauma family and trauma tends to be passed down from one generation to the next and become more severe until the blood line just fails. The CDC study on ACE's shows a score of 4 or higher reduces your average life expectancy by 20 years. There have been a few studies correlating high ace scores, specificially sexual abuse victims, and a specific type of rare cancer.

You will also need to go through a few iterations. I've changed tremendously from the person I was to the person I am now, and in that process, ended up completely forgetting my childhood and some of my early adult hood. Couldn't remember grade school teachers names which is not like me. My brain had repressed those memories because they were incompatible with who I am now and as I remember and re-remember them they get integrated and I gain more emotional and mental self-control and become more capible of handling future trauma.

Good Luck.


I am going to answer some questions you didn't ask (and one you did). Apologies in advance.

For reference, I was in a gifted program and went to a gifted magnet high school. I have been fascinated by gifted ed since then, and I think much of it is still lacking (on several dimensions).

1. I think the best thing that can be done is keep the kids' ACE scores as low as possible, ideally at a 0 or 1 (that 1 being divorce). The ACE scores you mentioned sent a shiver down my spine. I'm sorry that this has happened to you and your family -- I am glad to see that you are able to mention it.

2. You can stop taking IQ tests unless you just enjoy taking them. The last time I did a deep dive into the IQ testing scene (about 20 years ago), there were not any psychometrically validated tests for adults that could measure over about 150 (that's around the 99.9% level). Also, if you continue taking them and happen to score lower than usual, don't think that you are losing it -- there is probably some external factor (e.g., a bad night's sleep, and particularly tough workout, etc.) that probably negatively impacted your score.

3. The best thing you can teach high-IQ kids, imho, is EQ-related stuff. One of the biggest challenges for many folks at my high school (often the smartest) was interacting with other people, especially people who are not near their level of intelligence. The folks who were smart and had (I am guessing) high EQ have done very well in life in a variety of ways. The folks with lower EQ... not so much.

4. As for education, I would try to introduce them to a wide variety of self-study tracks, ideally ones that can go very deep into a topic. One of the cool things about my high school was (like another poster said) that we had a lot of free and unstructured time. Furthermore, we could self-study a wide range of topics if we could find a sponsor (and there was always a sponsor if you could do the work). Looking back at my time in high school, my one wish is that our sponsors would have encouraged us to look more at graduate level texts. Looking back at my own education, most of the texts that I would consider "good" did not start popping up until upper level undergrad courses and in graduate school. Most, if not all, of the texts were not above the comprehension level of my high school peers, and I think we would have been better off had we been fast-tracked that direction. I would try to avoid any sort of classes that have a lot of repetitive busy work (this is a recipe for disaster with most gifted kids).

4a. One challenge with gifted kids is that they do a lot of things well, and the limiting factor is often times just time. I would encourage you to introduce your kids to a wide range of fields, but I also encourage you to give them some heuristics early on that may help them decide what to focus on. Three heuristics I give to younger people who are interested: 1. choose a field that has people you like to spend time with, 2. choose a field that has work in an area you want to live (e.g., don't choose finance if you are an ambitious American who doesn't want to live in NYC), and 3. choose a field that has interesting and hard problems to work on (and optionally if you care about money, that people want to have solved). These are not perfect heuristics, and there are probably better ones, but these three cut out a lot of fields very quickly.

I hope this helps.


EQ is a load of poppycock; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi48uZjpJDk

What you are referring to are people with high IQ who are not well socialized and thus develop neuroticism and have emotional instability, which can happen for a variety of reasons but I think it is common among high IQ people and blood lines of high IQ people because of societies inability to understand them.

I was going to post a long tirade (which would've probably traumatized everyone here who read it) as EQ is a particularily onerous topic for me but I think a few short paragraphs will suffice.

In my case, I have high IQ and a near-eidetic memory which means I have what I call a "refactoring imagination"; I could imagine the perfect assembly of a car engine down to each measurement (or a few measurements that would allow me to make accurate guesses of the remainder) then iterate that complex system in my head over and over. That drawing can get put away in the brain and brought back 20 years later if relevant.

Now take a 6 year old child who always has his hand up in the classroom because he's bored, knows the answer from the book after reading it once or what the teacher showed them, and can anticipate what the teacher wants with a high degree of certainty. That child figures everyone else is just like they are is just as bored as they are (because that's the kids think); this goes on for weeks, the teacher becomes bewildered by the other kids (that profoundly gifted child is very good at selling the idea kids are smarter than they actually are to a relatively new teacher who hasn't developed out of that thinking yet) goads them a bit and through no fault of their own, the other kids begin teasing and assaulting him to take out their jealousy.

This snowballs due to an inference pattern of bad situation and that child then becomes what I call "the scapegoat student" for the remainder of their academic schooling.

It takes two parties to make a kid well socialized; the child and society. If society doesn't want to socialize a kid properly, they won't be. The kinds of people who latch on to EQ are the kinds who cannot accept they are "not special" and are also the kinds from whom I derived much abuse.

In the case of primary schools, getting your kid out of that situation requires moving to another district or state because the teachers are there to bring the bottom of society up to a functional level, not to allow the talented and gifted to soar. This produces the incentive, ultimately, to use some students as scapegoats.

The rest of what you mentioned is interesting to me, I'll take the tiem to look into it. Thank you.


I am in high school and it is true that I have been learning and doing a lot with free ressources (competitive programming, cybersecurity, webdev and advanced high school maths). But the problem is I still need to attend the same boring classes which means I don't really have enough free time to satisfy my curiosity but instead I learn things I have already understood. Although there are some efforts to engage students in school, it's difficult for teachers to go further in the curriculum when I ask them questions because they simply don't have time to answer me and halt the rest of the class. I don't really know what to do...


In high school i took a robotics course that took up part of the school day and went later than typical school. Your comment resonated with me because what i found great about it was that we were given the resources and freedom to build/explore what we wanted. You could come and go as you pleased with the only real deadlines being competitions we entered into. Certainly not the right thing for everyone but i think for a lot of kids the free time needed to explore things they are curious about is huge. Even more so these days given the wealth of content available online


I shall never stop being bitter, as opposite happened to me. In primary school i possibly got the worst math teacher in existence.

Even since preschool i could do math in my head beyond my grade(3 years ahead according to psych tests that we all had to undertake), and all of that was killed by a single teacher who had me under her care for 3 years.

She just plainly didn't believe that 10 year old child could solve all exercises in head. and forced me to write down each single step - while the exercises themselves were already too easy.

I never got into a habit of challenging myself, thanks to her it is quite the opposite, and i now am really bad at doing math in my head.

I would say that lack of challenge was the biggest flaw in my education, i went throughout whole education(including university) without studying at home - not because i was so damn good, just because in my formative years the habit of working hard was stripped from me, and C-equlivalent to B-Equivalent was good enough for most subjects.

I expected for that to change as i managed to get into top 3 high school for my area.. yet it was mostly the same.

I am slowly regaining it thankfully, but it is way, way harder to do so as an adult. And i still wonder where else i could be in life if not for that single person, and what happened to other such children in this post communist country.


Reminds me of something from Great Teacher Onizuka. There's a girl who is beyond intelligent and was incredibly thirsty for knowledge from a young age. She would always be asking questions and learning as much as she could from her teachers over the years. In no time, she began to surpass them in knowledge, asking questions that those teachers couldn't possibly handle. This caused them to end up resenting her, since she made them feel stupid. One day, while asking a question like she typically does, her favorite teacher became frustrated and ended up revealing a big secret of her to the whole class accidentally. Then some very spicy stuff happens after. You'd have to watch to find out though!


I'm 31 and still remember spending every weeknight doing 1 to 2 hours of long division problems in 5th grade. It was mind nimbingly boring.


Long division is also where I switched from being ahead on math to running behind. I could do those in my head and only wrote down the tail because I had to. Divisions that would have been hard enough that I couldn't do them in my head would have helped me a lot there.


There was a long interview on youtube from John Taylor Gatto I listened to once where he said essentially creativity must be constrained for society to be stable. Your anecdote reminds me of this. Teachers focusing on test scroes is a great way for this to happen. I'd mod this comment up it I could.


It was worse than just focusing on test scores.

It was actively hammering me down to average level as that was easier for her to work with.

I had misforntne to meet her later on in middle school - as she was chemistry, not math, teacher by education. Whole class had failing or almost failing grade with her.

We got better teacher next year who managed to teach us 2 years of chemistry in half a year while also following normal curriculum .. and most of the class actually understood it and had fun with it.

I seriously wonder how many children have been permanently hurt by someone so inept, but well - she was a product of her times(communist occupation).


I remember some of my best memories were being in a GT program at my middle school where about 30 kids in my grade took the same core classes together every year for all 3 years. I didn’t appreciate it then, but in hind sight being separated from most 6th-8th graders who barely care about school and being mostly around kids that did, had a tremendous impact on driving me through high school and college. Most of the kids were way smarter than me and are doing incredible things now.

Years later, when I studied in Sweden, I became great friends with a public school teacher there. I told her about AP classes, and GT and magnet programs and it was quite literally, a foreign concept. She said that in Sweden it would be discriminatory for children to be separated like that. I’m worried that the world is moving more and more in this direction, but I hope not!

I felt extremely lucky to be put around peers that pushed me and had shared goals because most of the kids where I’m from don’t have that, and I could have easily ended up on a different path.

In college, I realized I was in an entirely different league when all of my classmates were in the top couple of graduates from their huge high schools, and I could barely hang on. Around that time I met a couple of 14 year olds in my dorm that were dual majoring in computer sci and math, and then I realized that there are so many different levels of intelligence in the same age buckets, schools have been doing it wrong for so long! In an ideal world everyone could be grouped at the appropriate level regardless of age, but then again, there is a huge difference in 14 year olds vs 18 and 19 year olds, so there seems to be some merit to the age bucket system. All that being said, the only thing I know is that world is a complicated place :)


I'm currently 35 and I was ID'd as a gifted child, so this paper caught my attention. There's a section that discusses outcomes based on whether gifted children were allowed to skip grades or not, and my personal experience largely matches what is described for what would be my group, the nonaccelerands:

"Several of the nonaccelerands have serious and ongoing problems with social relationships. These young people find it very difficult to sustain friendships because having been, to a large extent, socially isolated at school, they have had much less practice in their formative years in developing and maintaining social relationships. Six have had counseling. Of these, two have been treated for severe depression. If educators were made responsible to ethics committees, as are researchers, such developmentally inappropriate educational misplacement would never be permitted."

I wonder how this group is doing these days. I wonder if the runners of the study ever considered introducing members of this group to the others to form a support group.


I was both, not enough accelerated and too much accelerated.

I went normally through school and all the standard classes. However, I also started studying computer science at the university when I was 13 years old.

That is really bad for socializing. In school, I had to deal with the usual problems of dealing with ordinary kids, and at university I could only socialize with full-grown adults, who do not care much for a teenager.

Also frustrating, when I turned 18, I had almost finished my university degree, but was also still going to highschool. It would have been better to skip school grades. Now I am 30 and basically never had a social relationship


Acceleration is better than nothing. But schools specifically for high-IQ kids would be even better -- there you could be with kids your age who would simultaneously be your intellectual peers.

Unfortunately this idea is politically unacceptable in most places. People don't want to help form an "elite" (especially if they or their kids couldn't be a part of it).


Maybe the concept would be more accepted if the nation didn't have a legacy of intentionally depriving tens of millions of citizens of education based on the color of their skin, and if elites didn't grow up to hoard the nation's wealth for themselves and disregard the needs of the majority. Trustworthiness matters.


Nothing like sacrificing today's academically-elite kids of non-elite parents for yesterday's elites' actions. (Today's kids of elite parents will do fine either way, of course.)


Why does it matter - can't it be a private (nonprofit) school?


The exact details depend on a country, but generally there are two kinds of problems:

Financial -- In some countries, the public schools are fully financed from taxes, but private schools only get a fraction of that money, and the rest needs to be paid by parents. So even a school that has the same expenses and does not try to generate profit, could still be too expensive for many parents.

Curricular -- In some countries, private school doesn't necessarily mean that you are allowed to teach things differently than the public schools. You may spend the extra money to have larger classrooms or larger playground, fewer kids in the classroom, pay the teachers higher salary (ha ha, never happens), buy fancy uniforms for the kids, or just put the money in your pocket as a profit. But you are still required to teach the curriculum dumbed down for the average kids. So, yes, the kids could get smarter peers, but they still couldn't leverage it into getting better education.

The thing is that most people would agree that all kids should get "equal service" for taxpayer money, and the rich kids should be allowed to pay for "extra service" if they want to. However, you have two different interpretation of what "equal service" means. It can either mean that each child gets education proportional to their abilities, or it can mean that each child gets education proportional to the average child's abilities.

It's not like teaching gifted kids more advanced curriculum is inherently more expensive. You could use the same building, have the same amount of kids in the classroom, pay teachers the same salary... the only difference would be progressing 10 pages of the textbook in time the average school progresses 5 pages. But some people still insist that it's not fair for gifted children to get more education on taxpayer dime, even if the costs are exactly the same.


Anecdotally, participating in a support group for parents of gifted kids is often therapeutic for the parents, who finally come to terms with a lot of their childhood baggage.

I've suggested at times that if you don't have kids, you could join one anyway and just lurk. It's not like they can check if you actually have kids.


Raising Poppies is a fun facebook group that fits this bill. https://m.facebook.com/groups/RaisingPoppies/


I’m 36, had a recorded IQ at school in the 180s, and was refused acceleration until I “socially adapted” to my classmates, which was challenging, as their interests (eg. football, wrestling, lads mags, pop music, sport, sport, sport) barely intersected with mine (eg. sciences, philosophy, coding, art, jazz & classical music). I was accelerated, eventually, but only by one year - at my prep school, I had been two years ahead, but I spent a regrettable year in the American “educational” system which meant I entered secondary school with my age cohort, as a commoner rather than a scholar, as scholarship exams were not available for overseas entrants at the time.

This was at boarding school. I was in detention incessantly, as I was bored out of my wits, and would do stuff like wandering out of an exam after 15 minutes, as I was done and damned if I was going to spend another three hours twiddling my thumbs, and I would disagree with teachers when they were flat-out wrong - that really pissed people off - I wasn’t such a blowhard as to vocally disagree over debatable or tenuous points, just factual error.

I would fake illnesses so I would end up in the sanatorium, where I would have time to read, and the opportunity to hang out with the several other bright kids from other houses who had established the same methodology for respite. Fond memories of hanging out in our dressing gowns, playing chess and having actual conversations with people I could relate to. Sadly, of the four of us, one is dead, one is in an institution, one is me, and the other survivor fled for the hills and writes children’s science books.

School was an education in contempt. I remain convinced that the majority of people are idiots, with the equivalent of a flickering strip lamp for a mind, and nothing I see in the world around me dispels that thought. I am somewhat socially isolated - I have precious few friends near my age, instead most of them being three or four decades my senior - as, in similar fashion to my experiences at school, I have little in common with my supposed peers - they have not started businesses, or travelled extensively (package holidays to Marbella do not count as travel - hiking to Turkmenistan does), or stopped to think about the human condition. Older people of moderately high intelligence have at least had the time to gain some experience and perspective, and I can relate to them - but this means my “in-group” is scattered to the winds, and I see them annually at best.

Anyway. This member of that group is doing ok - I struggle with depression and anxiety, but a hyperactive 15 years has allowed me to exit the bullshit-mill and live the life I want - in the countryside, learning new things about nature daily, with mountains of books, and time to do what I want.

As it happens, I made my escape with one of the few people I could relate to at school - moderately smart guy, somewhere in the 150s, but a hard graft type who brute forced his way to knowledge - admirable in his own way. We drifted apart after school, but fate or somesuch brought us to a nexus where starting a business together was practically inevitable.

In all honesty, if I hadn’t been able to escape the manufactured world, I don’t think I’d be writing this now, I would have killed myself by this point.

As to a support group - problematic. Part of the impact of being surrounded by idiots is to take your intellectual supremacy for granted. I find myself sparring with anyone remotely my equal, as my identity is inextricably tied to being the smartest guy in the room/building/city.

I do, of course, dissemble, and very, very rarely speak my mind as I have here - and I thoroughly expect this to be an unpopular post.

Prideful, no, but self-protective, yes - when there’s no other social identity available to you you take what you can get.


How can an attitude of intellectual superiority amount to any good? I too was identified gifted (and while I've never had an IQ test I was probably never in the 180s) and while I share your frustrations with normies, dwelling on my perceived intellectual differences with the world has done me no good. It certainly didn't help win me any friends. Being intelligent isn't all chess and quantum physics; there are lots of people in your ballpark that wouldn't come anywhere near fitting your description of a like mind.

I've found life to be much more enjoyable by intentionally avoiding people like myself. For highminded intellectual stuff there is plenty conversation to be had here on the net. Befriending and hanging out with a diverse group of misfits from all manner of backgrounds has proven to be much more fulfilling and while, yes, sometimes they can be stupid, and sometimes it is hard to find things in common outside of the reasons the group stays together, I've learned to see it as opportunities for further interpersonal growth.

If someone dedicates their life to filling their head with obscure knowledge they're just a nerd, no matter how much more intelligent they are than those around them. People may, collectively, be morons, but most individuals are surprisingly perceptive in at least a few areas, and while the prodigies in my life are indeed smart, I've spent enough time around them to know they would still be fish out of water for 90% of what life could possibly throw at them. I hope that your lamentations are formed after you've sussed these qualities out of the folks you lament.


>How can an attitude of intellectual superiority amount to any good?

Can't speak for the OP, but it's not attitude, it' acknowledging/accepting my own reality and circumstances, and the consequences of that. When people feel threatened by intelligence (or anything), then intelligence becomes "superior". Humans are still animals deep down.

For me, it's my mix of curiosity and logic. If I don't dumb that down people become really uncomfortable. I've only met a handful of people in my life who enjoy their snow globe worlds being shaken. I've developed this dumbed-down mask that I have to wear all the time; mix in some obsessive personality traits-- interactions with people are like walking around with an old, dry wooden stake up the ass. Im very stiff.

Even this simple question is complicated. Are you projecting an attitude because you feel threatened (or you remember how others felt threatened)? Is it an attitude if the OP is being their true self? Is it an attitude if the OP speaks factually about their situation? Is it an attitude when the ego attaches itself to ones words, and did you assume as much?

I generally agree with everything else you said. I think you are touching on intelligence vs wisdom (life experience) in your last paragraph. Can you point out other places on the net where intellectual people congregate?

If anyone who reads this is looking for some online comradery, shoot me an email. username to fastmail. Im working on undoing all the choices I made that created my isolated/independent life.


Indeed. I think a lot of (successful) gifted folks wear that mask. And it's entirely possible that I misread OP. But I'd challenge the 'factual' aspect of his assertions because I've met a lot of people who express similar sentiment. A high general intelligence implies mastery of life itself; if one is capable of learning quickly then I would think problems like feeling isolated are something that they find a solution for, as it requires exactly the kind of snow-globe shaking that you're referring to

As for specific places, Slashdot used to have a lot of good conversation. Usenet too, back in its day. Nowadays I think most of the good talk happens on small, individually-run forums and, to a lesser extent, reddit. Personally I have thrown my lot in with the burner crowd, as the group's 'leave no trace' ethos and emphasis on independence, survivalism, sarcasm, sexuality, gifting, and performance art is right up my alley. (Plus we have excellent taste in music, if I do say so myself ;)


"A high general intelligence implies mastery of life itself"

It increases the chance, but "implies" is too strong word here. High IQ doesn't magically overcome all obstacles.

How easily can you overcome isolation, that depends a lot on what opportunities you have. The same opportunities don't exist in every city, or every country. For a high-IQ kid it can make a lot of difference whether other high-IQ kids live in their neighborhood, or in their school.

For example, most of my teenage socialization was in a local math club. Well, it was a lucky coincidence that the math club existed in my city. (And another lucky coincidence that I knew about it.) Without it, I would have to settle for an option that would fit me much less. I know because I tried to find other places to socialize, and they just weren't as good for me.

Online communities can be great, but it's not the same as also having an offline community. Imagine a small forum you like. How much better would it be if those people lived next to you, so you could e.g. go for a trip together. Well, some of them probably happen to live next to people with similar interests, and some of them don't. Luck is an important component here. (Yeah, as an adult you could move to a different city. For a teenager this is less of an option.)


I don’t dwell on this stuff, I just live my life - but given that this is the topic of discussion here, I thought my account might be of some relevance. I’m not claiming that my outlook is a good one, but I’m pretty damn certain it’s an outcome of what the paper describes.

As to knowledge, it isn’t an ends in itself - but each mote builds a greater whole and reveals hitherto unseen patterns - and those patterns allow inductive and deductive leaps to new hypotheses, which may prove useful.


"I've found life to be much more enjoyable by intentionally avoiding people like myself"

Sure, that is a smart thing to do. That way, you can always feel superior, if you do not meet intelectual equals in daily life...

(I know, you did not mean that. I was a bit self mocking, whether this was sub consciously a decision for myself, but may apply to you, too?)


It's common though right? There worst thing you can do is tell a kid they are brilliant. They think they always have to be brilliant and escape hardship because it might mean they aren't brilliant.


> There worst thing you can do is tell a kid they are brilliant.

Other approaches also have their problems. I was raised in a very egalitarian spirit, and thinking of myself as somehow better than others was a taboo for me for a long time.

As a consequence, I had a few blind spots. For example, I noticed that in some situations certain kinds of people become hostile to me, for reasons I couldn't understand. I didn't know what I did wrong, and when I tried to be nicer or more open towards them it usually just made things worse.

Then one day a friend with good social skills explained to me: "They see that you are better than them, so they feel threatened, and they attack you to feel safer. And when you respond with kindness, that makes them feel even more threatened, because it seems their attack didn'd hurt you at all (although it actually did)." My mind was completely blown, because I didn't see myself as better, so I didn't realize others could see me that way. But the explanation matched the facts, for example that the hostility usually increased after I have succeeded at something (even something unrelated to them).

Also, the theory is that if you don't tell your kid they are brilliant, they will attribute their success to hard work, which will motivate them to work even harder. What happened instead was that people around me who didn't perceive me as brilliant, attributed my success to pure luck (because they saw I actually wasn't working that hard). So no matter how often I won the math olympiad, I was always told that I am not really good at math, that I merely got lucky, but soon the regression to the mean would teach me my place (and that if I actually understood math, I would know what "regression to the mean" means, and I wouldn't argue back). This was very frustrating, because it seemed that no matter what I do, people will find an excuse because I do not fit their stereotype; and that thought definitely didn't motivate me to work harder. (Actually, only now as I write this comment, it occurred to me that maybe I didn't fit their stereotype because perhaps I was smarter than the usual math-gifted kids they used to work with.)

I would recommend telling your kids the truth according to your best knowledge. Manipulation can backfire, even well-intentioned one.


I'm not arguing for manipulation, just the truth. But we have to realize that children are not small versions of adults. They have different cognitive abilities and processes than adults.


Yet so many parents want their children to be brilliant and push them by all means to be.

I like the Montessorie approach, "every child is a genius"

(does not at all mean, they are all the same, nor all have the potential to be rocket scientist. But it is a negation of the primitive evaluation approach of, this kid is very gifted, this kid is mediocre and this kid sucks. Societey needs lots of different talents, who can all be brilliant at what they do, but less likely if they got labeled as loosers from the start)


Yes, specialization is a good thing, and there are many dimensions on which you can measure talent. However, the correlation between some of these dimensions (mathematical ability, reading comprehension, recall, etc.) has been found to be about 0.4. That still leaves room for individual diversity of talent, but makes it clear that not everyone gets the same amount of points to invest into the skill tree.

Saying that everyone is a genius just devalues the word.


"Saying that everyone is a genius just devalues the word."

The saying is "every CHILD is a genius". (not every burned out adult). Childs have a incredibly potential, than can grow in many directions. And the saying is also more intended to the teachers, opposite to the weeding out approach. So no, it is not meant literal, it has to be understood in a context. But yes, the idea is, that the teacher treats every child, as if they have the potential to be a genious. (and I actually do believe, most do, and it is sad, that so few actually get the opportunity to develope their potential and rather learn to sit still and repeat and behave and repeat what is demanded)

" but makes it clear that not everyone gets the same amount of points to invest into the skill tree"

Probably not, but I think it is hard to measure. It is also a question what skills you consider to be relevant. Some extreme example, I heard from my sisters friend who have a mentaly handicapped child .. which clearly did not have many skills .. but a big smile the whole time, that made people happy who interacted with him. Could be considered a valuable skill for society, too.

(but I don't know, if the parents smile the time, as he is probably quite labour intensive)


My parents did this. I really wish they hadn't. It fucked with my ego well into my thirties.


More that it's difficult to find people that are as good conversationalists as they are at whatever topics they're good at. Luckily, smart people are a pretty diverse set, so all one has to do is keep trying


So let's get this straight, "hiking to Turkmenistan" means you're a world-savvy individual but taking packaged tours means you're pedestrian drivel?

It's very hard to confirm if you're trolling or if you truly belong to /r/im14andthisisdeep, but let's assume the latter. Hiking to Machu pichu doesn't make you smart. Either you don't subscribe to personal responsibility towards global warming or you do but can't see the irony in smoking a few tons of carbon in the name of "enlightenment" which apparently you can only find half way across the world. Both ways, the lack of sophistication in your part shines bright. How exactly is hiking in a forest in a poor country different from going to Bangkok to get salvation from ping pong balls?

Several of your comments are in similar vein - everyone is not stupid, they just don't insticntually care about factual education; a good fraction of people are smarter than you in their own ways. Even if they're not, it behooves us to respect the average human with some basic respect (which would likely include not comparing them to lamps).

Perhaps you're a smart person and perhaps you're trying to cure cancer as several of my similarly smart colleagues kept insisting for years when I was doing my PhD. However, they just couldn't get their heads out of wherever to start seeing the bigger picture and I sincerely hope for your sake and the world's sake that you do. We will all benefit if smart people start becoming that much more humble. Assuming you really are 180 smart, whatever the triangle-inside-square-puzzle-hell that means.


> smoking a few tons of carbon

That’s the point of hiking. I travel overland almost exclusively, and only fly when there’s absolutely no alternative, and the journey is one of time sensitivity and necessity.

And yes, walking off the beaten track opens your eyes to far more than a beach holiday.

I am nothing but humble in my daily life, and my friends come from all walks of life, but I thought that sharing this experience might be insightful or helpful for some.


Don't apologize for sharing your thoughts. This is not a platform where people are easily offended or needlessly oppositional. You're not offending anyone, I think I speak for most people when I say we'd like you to be better. Even if I don't believe what you wrote is the truth in your heart, the system has failed you.

To add, travel is significantly inferior to embedding yourself completely in a state for at least six months. Travel can not replicate such experiences. I would never count my travels - no matter how off the beaten path - as experience comparable to living in a different cultural framework. Those instances, especially during formative years, are much more valuable.


Re: travel, indeed - context is king. I’ve lived in six countries for years at a time over the years, and am now six months into a new one - still learning the language and getting to grips with everything, but it’s great, even if our house flooded and our car washed away - escaped with our lives from the raging torrent, so it’s just been an exercise in patience, mopping, and masonry.

We travel for long periods, ambling around a corner of the globe - the last few years have seen four months in Uruguay, six months in the stans, six months in the Balkan states, and six months pottering about the indochinese peninsula. This is why I view most people’s idea of travel with some disdain - showing up somewhere and banging around the sights isn’t travel, it’s stamp collecting.

I find it helpful, as it all provides context - and the different biases and beliefs people hold are just fascinating - particularly when you find them beginning to rub off on you.


Go easy on him. Most "gifted" kids are children of narcissists, ending up with schizoid/schizophrenic or CPTSD-style presentations. The "prodigy child" narrative is there entirely to flatter the parent. Or at least this was true for my cohort. It's really hard to get out from being on the wrong side of this. Narcissistic parenting is insipid and in many ways contagious. If you don't end up with that batch of problems, you end up being a narcissist yourself.

It's huge in tech too-- plenty of people interview at companies whose names are effectively magic spells which will make them "good enough" for their parents stories to their friends.

And he's sorta right about the travel thing-- you can buy a lot of people's esteem by buying a plane ticket and being coddled by hotels and tour guides for a couple weeks. You can even call it an "adventure" and nobody will correct you. Narcissists are crazy about signalling their status with travel, so children of narcissists tend to hate it for that reason.


My parents were the antithesis of pushy, but were definitely narcissists - “why can’t you just be normal” was the standard refrain, as believe me, they hated being hauled up in front of the headteacher or being sent dismal missives over my behaviour just as much as I did. I made them look bad, as academic achievement was not important to them - popularity was. They’d organise absolutely agonising social events for me in an attempt to fix me, which just drove me further into the woods.

No narcissism here, mostly just self-loathing.


I've studied this a lot. Narcissism and self-loathing are the same thing. The trick is that the self is malleable and can include others (family and close friends).

It's a pay-it-forward system where the kid gets stuck in the vice, with nobody in the system below him/her to pay it forward/downward to (you might have heard this as "shit rolls downhill").

So for the kid it's actual self-loathing, since there's no other candidate in the extended self to disqualify with high standards (like "just being normal"). This kid (it's usually just one of the kids) is called the scapegoat.

Read Pete Walker's book on cPTSD. I bet it will rock your entire world.


Interesting - and yes, watching the disparity with my equally intelligent 7 year junior sib was a particularly galling experience - she was forgiven for her actions, I think mostly as our parents had given up caring by that point - and she has a similar but different set of traumas.

I’ll read it, thanks - perspective is always very welcome. Just read the synopsis and that alone speaks to me.


>School was an education in contempt. I remain convinced that the majority of people are idiots, with the equivalent of a flickering strip lamp for a mind, and nothing I see in the world around me dispels that thought.

And here is the rub. You should not hold contempt for people you perceive as less intelligent than you. Your value system places intelligence above all else, and conveniently that puts you nicely at the top. But, for example, have you ever spent meaningful time around people nicer than you? It's a great way to learn humility. Almost everyone has something to teach you, if you let them - the scale of human experience is wider than will fit into a single life.

I think that many intelligent people note that people instinctively dislike them, and rationalize it away as "threatened by my superiority". But in fact I believe it's far more often the case that intelligent people are just off-puttingly arrogant. They smell your contempt, better than you probably realize.

Be humble. Be nice. And magically you will enjoy spending time with people, and vice versa.


Be humble. Be nice. And magically you will enjoy spending time with people, and vice versa.

Unfortunately for young gifted people, there is no reciprocity here. It might get better with age and probably varies with location, but as a kid, if you act naturally smart other kids will bully you. If you later act dumb other kids will think you are condescending and will bully you. Either way you learn just to avoid everyone.


This is the one thing that cannot be emphasized enough. Smart kids simply don't fit into modern society. Any kid who's ever tried to point out errors in the text book to their teachers can probably attest to that; teachers prefer silent and obedient kids and don't care much for that one odd-ball who whines about X or Y being wrong in the 10 year-old textbooks you need to use anyway.


I think a lot of the arrogance that develops in some smart kids is a result of being shunned for being right. Kids often start out trying to help others by pointing out how something could be better, get socially (sometimes physically) beaten up for it, then develop into condescending assholes as a defense mechanism.

You need to give better advice than this to people when they're five, when they actually need it.

I learned early on that being right was no defense, and that no matter what happened I would always be blamed. These were the wrong lessons, but society at large was the wrong teacher, so I guess we're even.

This doesn't stop when we stop being kids. In the so-called "adult" world, people make some of the stupidest decisions imaginable on a daily basis, and refuse to acknowledge any errors in their choices no matter how they're brought up. Helping other people turns out to be an exercise not only in futility, but in masochism as well.

I've been called "justifiably arrogant" in the past. I've been condescending. I've come out the other side, and now basically think of myself as kind of mediocre. I used to look around at how people make much worse decisions than me about the important stuff and feel a little comforted by the idea that at least I'm doing better than them. Now, it just makes me sad, because I realize I kinda suck, but 98% of people make me look good by comparison.

I've learned to "go along to get along" to some extent, with people who don't matter to me. The people who do matter to me are the people with whom I can be honest, because honesty is a great way to get yourself in a lot of social trouble otherwise.

Mostly, what it comes down to, is that basically everybody sucks, smart or not, and everybody wants to believe "My shit doesn't stink." There's a grave injustice afoot when someone actually has a good idea, by way of applying some native intelligence and learned rationality to a problem, and gets punished for it, though -- and native intelligence helps people realize they're getting burned at the stake over someone else's superstitions, thus making "smart kids" bitter, dismissive, and lonely.

I'm generalizing a lot. Exceptions abound.


This is supposed to be helpful:

First, it reads as if you are horribly insecure and / or lonely. Your need to signal superior intelligence to convince us of your self-worth is a sad state of mind, and, from my experience (I am also "gifted" so this means something to you), denies you a lot of meaning and happiness. I also realize you seek to display your bitterness. It doesn't hurt us, though. Not in the way you think. Rather, it's just me being sad you had to go through all that and become all that.

Second, your need to insult or demean others makes you extremely unlikeable, even to people who would have something to offer to you and who would live up to being a worthwhile companion. There are probably more people like you around than you realize, but many would have little interest to engage with you.

Lastly, there are areas of life where I am sure you lack a lot of experience (I am not going to speculate what applies to you, but things like genuine love or being loved, sincere pain, war, near death, creating a human life, ending a human life, crushing poverty, decadent mind-blowing hour long intercourse and many more things may come to mind). Your standards, especially that quip about travel, may really seem laughable to someone else. Just so you know.

I hope you get better, sincerely.

Edit: My reading of your further comments make me think I should have written this less confrontational, but let it fill the urge you had. In any case, what I mean is that I sympathize. I do think you could get to a place where you're less trapped by your past.


Thanks, and no worries, my original post was... raw. Representative of my inner weltanschauung, but not of the self I present and project, and not intended to signal anything, just to provide context. The intent was to share the unspoken unspeakables for others who might share these experiences but are more self-censorious, as most in this position are.

As to experience, I have lived what feel like many lifetimes - I have loved and been loved (I’m married to a woman who challenges me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way), I’ve had the most spectacular pain, emotional and physical - the senseless deaths of dear friends, severe and life-threatening illnesses (writing a will at 26 thinking it’ll be needed imminently is a bag of laughs), I’ve lived in abject penury, while desperately trying to keep the lights on for my sister, after our parents split and both absconded, leaving us alone in the U.K. at 17 and 11, respectively. I took a life, accidentally, as a young child, and it haunts me still. I could create life, but I won’t, as I carry a fistful of genetic disease. Hour-long? You’re not trying ;)

I’m working on leaving behind my baggage, but like The Luggage it does rather like to follow me - therapy is helping, and this is actually part of it - I am under instructions to talk about this stuff, openly and honestly, and to see that people aren’t as judgmental as the wounded child within believes.

As to travel - slow travel opens the mind to so many possibilities, so many ways of living, what matters to people, how they differ, how they’re the same. The scenery is just the backdrop for the infinite theatres of human experience.

Oh, and I absolutely am insecure. Confidence oozes from my ears, as far as others are concerned, but inside its little but doubt, guilt, and shame.

Anyway. Thanks. I really do appreciate the reply.


> I am under instructions to talk about this stuff, openly and honestly, and to see that people aren’t as judgmental as the wounded child within believes.

In my experience, you should prepare to be disappointed. Judgementalism is how people survive in a world that rewards niarcissism; they judge others to be inferior to give themselves the strength to go on. It's an arms race.

Intellectually, I understand that people are mostly crap. Emotionally, I keep making the mistake of trusting people's supposed good intentions when I feel like I've gotten to know them, and finding out that, once again, they're judgemental assholes who will fabricate tales to tell themselves so they can absolve themselves of meaningful guilt.

There are good people, non-judgemental people, caring people, who can sympathize with you and who deserve your trust (assuming you're a well-meaning person, as I suspect from what I've read here). From your description of some aspects of your life, it seems you've found one or two, and I'm happy to hear it.

Mostly, people want to tell you fairy tales about the good in the world. Most of it is pretty mediocre; even middling is a stretch. It's not distributed evenly, though, and it's worth holding out hope. I was lucky enough to meet one of those rare lights in my early teens, and we're still in touch. I was lucky enough to meet several others along the way, and I charish their influences on my life. I'm lucky enough to live my life with one now, and for quite a few years up to this point. They make it all worthwhile.


I'm glad you could use your talents to build what seems to be an exceptional life. In truth, I'd rather have you with more self-confidence and pride than less. Perhaps you'll find some less academic but skilled people to learn from. I was humbled (in a good way) by exceptional master craftsmen when I took up machining - especially older ones that honed their skills for decades. Paradoxically, this made me more confident in my intelligence and the skills I had acquired. Perhaps because I focused less on my given talents, and more on the things I actually did.


I relate to a lot here which is why I wondered about a support group. I've come close to self destructing a number of times but lucked out. I also struggle with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

By 7th grade I would ignore whatever was happening in class and read escapist fantasy fiction instead, while I was still bothering to attend school. The same year I decided school wasn't for me and refused to attend. My mother (single parent) didn't really know how to handle the situation, but after a lengthy conflict between us we eventually came to an agreement where I would be dual enrolled in high school and the junior college where she worked. I think roughly half way in to my first year of high school I walked off campus and never came back, and ended up enrolled in junior college full time. I ended up wasting years failing half the classes I enrolled in at the junior college, basically incapable of engaging with higher education. I was fortunately able to launch a career in tech. It began by working as a student assistant in the computer lab and working my way up from there.

I feel fortunate that I was born in the era I was born in and ending up in tech. I can't imagine what my life would have been otherwise without the internet or the tech world. Tech keeps me somewhat engaged and provides financial security which is such a blessing.

Tech also seems to be disproportionately populated with hard working and intelligent individuals, so it's easier to find others to befriend, relate to, and converse with. I've also come to value raw intellectual ability less and value outcomes more, which has been a useful lens to self direct how I engage with others. Telling someone their ideas are bad because $REASONS turns out to be remarkably counter productive, regardless of any factual basis. Unsurprisingly a lot of people don't want to work with someone that thinks they're stupid. I still struggle with how to engage with others though. I've tried acting as an educator but that seems to come off condescendingly, ending back at the same place of no one wanting to work with someone that thinks they're stupid. More often I find myself not engaging, hoping that some people might learn from experience, and otherwise just doing my own thing.

At any rate, thanks for sharing.


A lot of what you said speaks to me. I tried moving to a small city surrounded by nature, but the intense isolation I felt even surrounded by anyone there just scuttled me into a deeper depression and I swam back to NYC after 2 years. I dearly miss my nightly bike rides to quietly watch the moon play with the flickering water of the lake.

But being here doesn't help me too much because awhile ago I worked my way into independent/isolated situation where I can support my self working part time from home. I get to see glimpses of other big inner worlds here and it gives me hope I'll have a chance to meet them.

My parents did not want or love me. My grades fluctuated in high school as I was unfocused/depressed. Creativity was my escape. Ended up graduating with a B-, decided not to go to college. Have done a fair amount of traveling (mostly local) and car camping around the US. I would move into the mountains in a heartbeat if I wouldn't be completely alone there.

>"I remain convinced that the majority of people are idiots, with the equivalent of a flickering strip lamp for a mind" This gave me a good laugh, so true. But it really depends where you live. It seems like all the bright lights move to a city to manufacture mirrors :D


If you're really interested in this there are large vanlifer/vandweller communities all over specifically so that people don't get lonely and to help one another out and establish that sense of community. /r/vandwelling /r/vanlife there are discords, etc.

The slow/internet is my problem. I'm pretty close to living in the mountains apart from that.


The ancient mill we bought here (Portugal) was dirt cheap, in part because there was no internet access or power - so I built a mast atop a nearby hill to relay 4G down to the house, and put together solar power - we’ve got a ~100Mbps connection and more power than we can use.

Also, starlink and all that could really change things - although my telescope doesn’t love it.

And... I’ve found similar spirits in this endeavour - it takes a certain type to be willing to go try bootstrapping a homestead, and they usually have interesting stories and knowledge to share. Today I learned that motor oil is a good belt-and-braces wood treatment, and how to repair a dam, from a local farmer we’re getting to know.

Having a language barrier is pretty handy - it takes away a lot of the frustration I find in slow interactions by adding a bucketload of cognitive overhead.


I was doing volunteer work with The TAG Project when they decided to add a list for highly, exceptionally and profoundly gifted. They called it TAGPDQ for pretty darn quick because no one actually wants to admit to looking for a support group for the upper echelons of giftedness.

It was hard to get conversation going there. I was the lead mod and I succeeded, but after I left, conversation petered out and it's rare for an email to show up on the list these days. (As far as I know, I'm still subscribed to that list.)

People have a super hard time talking about the sorts of problems you describe, but it's a really common story for highly gifted kids.


It’s because the usual, and entirely understandable reaction to talking about this is “oh you think you’re better than me” hostility.

The easiest thing is to just be an island. There’s a reason that people like me are called “eccentric”, because too much time in your own company inevitably results in social drift.


I was one of the top three students of my graduating high school class. I was constantly held up by teachers as basically the person to hate at school.

They would act like they were good teachers because I knew so much and act like other kids were just lazy and should "be more like me and just study more" which wasn't at all fair or accurate.

In eighth grade, I was friends with a Hispanic boy. The class was given the chance to do a thing for extra credit and it involved decoding something. Not only did he speak English as a second language, he had no idea what the thing actually was.

I got in trouble for telling him it's a letter substitution puzzle. I didn't know because I was smart. I knew because my father did the Crypto quote in the newspaper every single morning and would drag everyone else into it when he couldn't do it easily.

It was an early lesson in how unfair the world is. He had no hope at all of getting the extra credit because he had too many things stacked against him.

Anyway, I had few friends at school and it was a toxic social environment. I gave up a National Merit Scholarship in part to escape the toxic BS and figure out who I was other than some toxic asshole as taught to me by the school system as a survival mechanism.

If you have no friends and everyone hates you, yes, you learn to Lord it over everyone that "at least I'm smarter than you" as the only defense mechanism you have.

I finally found a thing that explains that it's our strengths that limit us. I've had enough serious problems in life that I've gotten to escape the prison the school system actively built for me, but it wasn't at all easy.


> It’s because the usual, and entirely understandable reaction to talking about this is “oh you think you’re better than me” hostility.

Yes. You try to describe how you got hurt, and people think that you are just bragging. (How exactly are you supposed to describe the social consequences of your higher intelligence without ever mentioning the fact?)

Then they look at some dysfunctional mechanism you developed as a result of your pain, and they conclude that you are a bad person and therefore you actually deserved it.


Calling people "string lamps" is not describing how you are hurt, it is bragging in the tackiest way.


You appear to have the empathy of a moldy cheese sandwich.


Islands can have bridges or tunnels if you're so inclined :)


Coming to consciousness in a world of people that gets angry with you when your thoughts challenge them too much (and you were just trying to set context), withhold the majority of social experiences and needs from you, and decide you are magic but to be subjected as fantastically exploitable because they have social control is hard. Add that they simply don't know what to do with you, how to support or challenge you, and decide basically that you're not worth the challenge you present. You have to not only survive facing bigger challenges and thoughts without the support and canned solutions most receive but you have to do it largely alone with a smaller set of your needs met.

I suggest you aren't surrounded by idiots but by people that are normal and mostly doing their imperfect best. The idiots are on the far other side of the bell curve and there are fewer of them. Imagine for a bit trying to survive as them with as little understanding as they have and the limited scope of perspective. You'd struggle and develop heuristics and tribes to survive too. I don't expect this to help much but perhaps you can find some grace when you interact. Speaking for myself, the frustration and anger I used to feel on that interface was corrosive to myself and I prefer the increased peace I have now.

I have found it an existence I would not consent to but I also care too much about some of the people in my life to opt out.


>my friend, I call him "150".

Yikes


I'm probably a standard deviation or so below you — I've met 2-3 people like you; it's really incredible and refreshing to converse with those people. I'll be making an argument, "Premise A, Premise B, Premise C..." and they'll often just just derive that I'm going to say D, E, F therefore G. On, like, quite novel arguments. When it's happened, I've always been like - wow. It's really incredible.

Two thoughts.

(1) I wonder if you could frame learning to communicate and get satisfaction from interactions with merely "quite smart" people as a challenge worth pursuing. You could brush up on negotiation, sales, rhetoric, poetics, etc. Perhaps slowly start converting those domains' messy forest of heuristics into some principles and equations, if your mind works that way. If you were able to, for instance, detect someone lying to preserve their own self-image around something they felt ashamed of, and then were able to navigate that to help them both renounce the lying without feeling bad about it and help them reintegrate their self-image around the concept — that sort of that is immensely cognitively demanding to be able to do, and it's pro-social (you might not care, some people do, but at least it's not pathological in any way)... in any event, that'd increase the amount of cognitive processing you'd be forced to do in any given interaction by an order of magnitude or two, which might make those interactions become enjoyable. You'd also rapidly become massively liked and trusted.

(2) With your intellectual horsepower, if you were willing to, you could absolutely seek out and cultivate a dozen or so people on your level cognitively. It'd take a while — you'd need to think through exactly what environments you navigate at what times and in what ways, how introductions get made to you, etc — but if you were to meet ~1000 people in a thoughtful thought-through way, then I'm sure you'd find at least a dozen or so close friends and peers to associate with. It'd be a multi-year project, but not incredibly time-demanding on any given day or week. I imagine it'd be worth it.

My two cents. Seems like it'd be terribly unfortunate and much less satisfying to not be able to fully actualize and explore all that raw capacity with other good people.


Like I said, I dissemble, and I think do it well - what I presented here was what goes on inside my head - not how I interact in my daily life. If you met me in person, you’d find an affable guy who people generally want to know and spend time with - but the problem is that I don’t generally want to spend time with them. My relative isolation is my choice, as I find a lot of sociality extremely mundane. I can only have the same “profound” conversations so many times.

I find being stoned out of my gourd is a good way to slow myself down enough that I don’t find myself bored and frustrated. Typical, I know.

I do have a circle, but they really are scattered to the winds - and I think that works, as they’re similar in their lack of desire to spend too much time with people. I’m happily married to a woman who I think might actually be smarter than me, although her education was poor - but she doesn’t put me on a pedestal, and has no bones with telling me I’m wrong. It’s incredibly refreshing. I feed her knowledge, she feeds me ideas, and together we achieve things.

You say it’s a pleasure when someone makes an inductive leap, but I find that it usually pisses people off - instead, I leave one ear listening for anything unexpected in what they’re saying, let them say their piece while I delve through the topic with the rest of my attention, and then respond - although I do catch myself far too often finishing people’s thoughts, still - speech is just so slow.

As to the “soft” side of things - I was the CTO and sales lead at my business until I ran out of novel problems to solve, and left, as we’d built a self-sustaining machine - sold tens of millions of pounds of our software over the years, and it was my shoulder clients would want to cry on, as part of my curse is understanding people far too damn well - hence my analogy to lightbulbs, insulting as it may be - the psychology of others is generally predictable, en masse or singularly. I also write fiction, which to my shock and surprise got published late last year. Like most of my output, I saw it as no damn good - but apparently people like it enough to pay money for it. Bizarre.

Anyway - I appreciate the input!


You sound like a peach.


To the dead comment:

Oh, I respect and empathise with everyone, even those I actively detest - but I also pity them, and can’t help but see them as poor fools who know not what they do - and as a result my politics sit firmly on the socialist side. I don’t think it’s fair that we have such ridiculously uneven distribution of intelligence, or wealth - and we can only address one of those.

I can’t claim that my psychology is either good or correct, but it is what it is.

As to “I think I have the world figured out” - I absolutely don’t. It’s an intractable and fascinating system, with more variables than one would believe possible. I’ll likely never have it figured out, and that’s ok - it gives me an indefinite wonder to contemplate.

I am, generally, quite happy being isolated - it saves me frustrating conversations with people who take offence at my observations, and is protective for my psychological well-being.


Thank you for participating so much in this thread. I've gone through similar things in childhood, but took the 'other' path and ended up significantly lower-functioning than I thought I would be or was expected to-- drinking too much, avoiding people and responsibilities, generally just trying to scrape by on my own terms. You could say the system failed me, but it's usually not so simple... I also failed myself, and was impeded by a drive my parents instilled in me to seek 'higher knowledge' through religion, and later drugs (the latter leads one back to the former too easily sometimes). I was in my mid twenties before I finally came back around to a materialistic world view.

Fortunately, I have a partner who - in part resulting from their own childhood obstructions - is incredibly supportive, as well. It chills me to think of all the kids out there who feel trapped in an inscrutable world that doesn't seem to understand them. I like to think putting your words out there helps some.


I'm pretty sure that the idea that 'sustaining friendships' is an absolute need, and that not having friends is some sort of disease that needs to be 'fixed', is an American cultural quirk.

It's okay to not have friends.


No, it is widely believed around the world, and it's coming from research around child development, mostly done in the east (European nordic and former communist states).


As far as I know, America is the only place in the world where they'll try to "fix" a kid that doesn't have friends.

(Of course there is also the overarching American tendency to try and "fix" any person that doesn't fit some predetermined robotic mold.)


I am a Czech kid who got psychological consulting at school because I had no friends; and that was 15 years ago in a backwards city, it's a norm today.

AFAIK it's also very common in (western, on top of the formerly communist eastern part) Germany, Austria and Netherlands in addition to the countries I said before.

I wouldn't call it fixing though, they're treating it as a symptom, and there are no molds, just the understanding that socialization is extremely important for child's development, which is also why we have mandatory (publicly funded) kindergarten for at least one year before school begins, and most kids are going from 3 years old for 3 or 4 years - we even have people that determine whether the child is socially ready to move to school and if not, the kid stays a year more in kindergarten (again, my personal experience, and at least half the kids I know had it the same).

Note the German etymology of the word kindergarten; it's been studied and practicioned for a long time here.


I've long thought that Asperger's and tail end IQ can be really difficult to distinguish. They may be one and the same. And unlike autism, Asperger's apparently responds well to the right stimulation. And I think programming fits that niche well enough that "smart" people disproportionately code when they come across the opportunity.

It could be that Asperger's is distinguished from autism by being a condition acquired by high IQ when improperly stimulated or undersocialized.


Just to point out that all autism spectrum disorders have quite a spectrum. Some Asperger's cases are barely able to function, others excell in various fields.


Yes, and the spectral nature of autism makes it an easy mistake to make if it turns out that Asperger's is actually separate from autism.

It's not like we know anything with certainty here. AFAIK there is known cause for either condition. Plenty of speculation.


Two main possibilities to match the curriculum to the needs of highly gifted children:

1) Put them together in a special class composed entirely of students with similar level of giftedness, taught by specialized teachers using a gifted curriculum.

2) Move them to a higher grade, which means they will need to study with (possibly much) older students.

Option 1) is superior for their social development since they are not more mature in all respects. It should be pursued whenever possible.

Option 2) may also subject the kids to bullying and jealousy by their older peers, some of whom might do worse than the gifted one in many academic subjects despite age difference.

Early grouping by ability is also more desirable. From the paper:

"In both Australia and the United States, schools tend to delay acceleration and ability grouping until the middle years of elementary school. This policy is fundamentally flawed. It is in the early years of school that we should be identifying exceptionally and profoundly gifted children and developing programs of acceleration and grouping to provide a more effective response to their accelerated intellectual and emotional development."

It is in the interest of society to develop highly gifted students fully since they have more potential to invent groundbreaking technologies or contribute to society in an extraordinary way.

Source: I have taught many gifted and highly gifted students over the years.


Leta Hollingworth agreed with you that 1) is the optimal approach. Unfortunately for the exceptionally gifted, they are rare enough (by definition—4 standard deviations is less than 1 in 10k—although I've read that it's flatter than a normal distribution) that it is difficult to get enough of them into one place to make a whole class out of them, unless you run a boarding school or have a very dense population (Leta Hollingworth worked out of New York).

She also agreed, at least implicitly (I'm struggling to find the best quote), about the importance of starting early. "Such struggles as these [describing a 7-year-old who tried to show his favorite books to the other kids, who "resisted his efforts, made fun of him, threw the treasures on the floor, and finally pulled his hair"], if they continue without directing the child's insight, may lead to complete alienation from his contemporaries in childhood, and to misanthropy in adolescence and adulthood."


What I’ve seen working in practice is grouping the highly gifted with older ‘merely’ gifted kids (combining 1) and 2)). If the latter group is 1 in 100, there would be enough of them to form a class even in a smaller city (Say a city with pop 200,000 & 2000 births per year means 20 gifted kids per cohort).

The gifted ones tend to focus on learning and have similar inclinations to the highly gifted so it works out socially, as long as overt competition is kept to a minimum.


That probably works better at the elementary and middle-school-age ranges (I'm thinking pre-calculus, pre-high-school work). Once you get to traditional high-school level, I think even the 2 years older "merely gifted" kids will be holding back the younger truly exceptional.

100% agree that it's way, way better than the current state of the art which seems to me to basically be "as long as they aren't causing trouble, we're happy to have them bored in class and pulling up our standardized testing results..."


Yes, agree about the increasing difference. At the high school level, it’s often better to group more highly gifted students together. They are generally able to live further away from their parents so population size is less of a problem by then.

This is actually a common practice in several Asian countries. There are a couple national-level magnet schools and (highly) gifted classes within those schools where these kids are taught and trained by special teachers and curriculum specialized to their talent—math, science, language.

It’s likely that excessive desire for educational “equality” despite adverse consequences in some other countries squanders the potentials of many such kids.


Yeah I wonder how much "grading schools & teachers by standardized testing" has discouraged advanced learning programs (because they want to juice their scores). The future historians will condemn this age for holding back talented kids.


Your #2 clashes with my own experience. Every time I took classes with the older kids or skipped grades, I actually did better socially. And it certainly wasn't due to me being socially advanced. Rather, I think it was because I became less of a target for monkeysphere competition.


Have you experienced taking special classes with other gifted kids of the same age?


Only extracurricularly - summer programs etc. Those were generally good, but not comparable in my mind since all the kids there wanted to be there, as opposed to schools (especially public schools) having a dynamic befitting a jail.

There weren't enough "gifted" people around for the numbers to work out for #1. During my whole time, I was aware of one other student skipping a grade and only a handful taking classes from the next grade up. The closest I got in a school setting was one elective AP class in high school.

I only skipped two grades, going from older to average to younger. I could see a larger age gap being different for socialization, but not with regards to bullying - there is no gain from beating on someone that's much smaller.


In my experience I got both at once pretty early (skipped 2nd grade and was in a "gifted" class from 4-7). Looking back, I think the class was a dumping ground for trouble students (oops!). My memories were - we went through six teachers, didn't get along, were isolated from the rest of the school, and didn't learn very much.

My high school, OTOH, was iron-firm about sticking everyone together - no advanced classes (until AP) and no advancing grades. The first few months were a shock; after that I had a great time and really applied myself. Never could make up that extra year in height, though.


Did you and classmates have a teacher who understood the needs and special curriculum for highly gifted kids too? If otherwise, it could be lackluster since most teachers don’t know how to handle them or keep them engaged.

Einstein’s tutor when he was a kid was an medical student who later became a noted ophthalmologist with a Wikipedia entry of his own. Gauss’ 4th grade teacher asked the class he was in to sum from 1 to 100, hoping to engage them for the whole period, and couldn’t believe how fast Gauss finished it.

ADDED: For exceptionally gifted students, I estimate they should have someone with the intellect equivalent to a PhD or a masters graduate from a top program to teach them once they are in late primary school (and sometimes sooner).


I don't really recall, because we only saw each of them for 5 or 6 months.


There is another option that would be progressive "inclusive" approach: allowing more flexibility in teaching content and materials so that teachers can provide different exercises, challenges, etc to different students in the same class. This is a matter of having a trust-based (rather than Control-Bäder) system with highly qualified teachers and high autonomy for those teachers. The evidence indicates that all - gifted, special needs and any other students and teachers which enjoy increased autonomy. This is the approach in eg Portugal, Finland, Estonia, Norway, ...


This is not how it's done in Norway.


The paper in question says that children moved to higher grades actually do better socially. They can fit in in many ways, just not age. Compare that to the nonaccellerated kids who can fit in in terms of age, but not much else.


The paper doesn’t compare the two options.

They compare students who were vs were not accelerated to a higher grade level but does not include option 1) above, which is not a normal class composed of average students of the same age but a class tailored for gifted ones.


Option 1 doesn't seem generally feasible to me. If you are targeting the 1 in 10,000 kids in the article, and want say 10 grades worth of them, with maybe 10 kids per class, then your looking for a population of 100 kids drawn from a population of 1,000,000 kids. Good luck finding a population of 1M kids geographically close enough to be served by one school. Even if you're targeting the 1 in 1,000 kids, the geography is a super hard problem.


Please see my reply to waterhouse about this.


This always leads to discussions of "what kind of school is right?" and not of "is school right?"

Perhaps the answer is always yes, but it'd be nice to see it discussed.

Marcus Aurelius said 2000 years ago to "spare no expense on private tutors" -- this is going to be cost prohibitive at the very least, but it's also worth thinking about.

Another thing worth thinking about is every extra minute you spend building another this-or-that at work and not with your kids is an advantage you give your employer while simultaneously depriving your kids of your care, knowledge, and enthusiasm for subject matter (to a degree). There's a balance to be found, of course, but it's something I imagine people struggle with. Work always wants one more thing, but it can wait until Monday.


> Marcus Aurelius said 2000 years ago to "spare no expense on private tutors"

Taking parenting advice from people thousands of years ago is not the wisest idea. Let alone Roman child rearing advice. Let alone from an emperor. Let alone from Marcus Aurelius. His son, Commodus, was one of the worst emperors. I'm not saying that Aurelius was wrong, but his record on child rearing is clearly terrible considering the lives of his children.

Getting into working more or less for the benefit children is very individual. Each family is unique and changes over time. You raise your kids, yes, but they raise each other and themselves too. They are real people too.


Sometimes we draw a bad hand, and no amount of parenting can save some of the mentally disturbed, like Commodus -- you can't read Meditations, though, and say it's not full of startlingly relevant advice to modern life. From education to work ethic to reflective, thoughtful consideration of one's actions, to coping with trauma.

Also, that isn't Marcus Aurelius theory on parenting, he said he learned it from his grandfather, which eventually led to him being one of the Five Good Emperors, so how does that change our analysis?

Anyway, pretty much every single study ever done says the smaller the class, the more direct the instruction, the better the academic result, from 0AD til 2020AD, the way we're wired hasn't really changed.

It's not likely that receiving 1/30th of the attention of your teacher is going to be as valuable to you as 100% attention, or 50% attention, or 25% attention, vs 3% in a normal school.

If kids raising themselves and each other was reliable, we wouldn't have disadvantaged youth. Poverty means busy parents (2 jobs, etc), busy parents mean less time with the kids. It's going to be hard to convince anyone that more time with your kids is going to be anything but beneficial.


Commodus was not the only sibling with a checkered life, the family was wracked against wealth and privilege. Again, the parenting advice of Roman patricians is not necessarily wise advice. And yes, some of Meditations is great stuff, but some of it is also mediocre, and some of it is bad or just wrong. We've had 2k+ years of new work done in stoicism and other philosophies.

Each family is unique and spending more time with a tutor or parent is not always the best. There are ~7.5m reports for abuse of children in the US annually and ~65k cases of sexual abuse of children. There are ~75m children in the US total. Each one of those cases, horrible as they are, are real and society needs to take them into account. It's nearly 10% of kiddos that get abuse reported annually. Digging into these grim statistics is very worthwhile. [0] Hand-waving them off is not helpful or realistic to most educators, parents, or policy makers.

I'm not saying that larger or smaller classes are more or less ideal or that abuse is related to stoicism or families. I am saying the solution is unique to each child and that many solutions exist simultaneously. Each family and each person is unique.

[0] https://americanspcc.org/child-abuse-statistics/

EDIT: Another post on HN pointed to some of pg's comments on parenthood here: https://www.unclepaul.io/


A friend of mine who is a teacher pointed out to me that “highly gifted” children were actually special needs children. She used this term because she worked in a highly competitive district where parents were constantly harassing her to consider their children “highly gifted”. Once she used this term, it became easier for parents to accept that their children were doing fine in “normal” class, which was quite good anyways because of the average aptitude of the students.


> Once she used this term, it became easier for parents to accept that their children were doing fine in “normal” class, which was quite good anyways because of the average aptitude of the students.

Your child could be doing work three grades ahead, learning things that would challenge them and help them grow intellectually. Instead we’ll keep them here with the normal children where at best they’ll learn to shut up and not bother the teacher.


The GP is talking about competitive parents whose kids aren't genuinely exceptionally gifted. The parents are just looking for bragging rights and/or another edge.


Keeping children who’re perfectly capable of doing sixth grade work doing fifth grade work isn’t as bad but it’s still a waste off their time and a lesson in the actual priorities of the school system, which certainly don’t have learning among the top five.


Some parents don't really have the best interests of their children at heart. "Hot housing" children does not make for better future outcomes. It just deprives children of their childhood.


> "Hot housing" children does not make for better future outcomes.

I would welcome any research to that effect if you have it to hand. I am not an expert but if you search gwern.net for “gifted education”, “acceleration” “SMPY” or “Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth” you’ll find many papers on this general topic. There’s nothing there showing negative effects and quite a bit that’s positive.


It's a term coined by researchers and I believe it was used in the name of a book at some point. I can't readily find the book, but I found this article:

https://www.verywellfamily.com/hothouse-children-1449187

I was briefly Director of Community Life for The TAG Project and was a low level presenter at, I believe, a Beyond IQ conference one year a long time ago when my kids were still kids. I'm fairly familiar with the research.

Yes, holding back kids that are actually gifted is harmful to them. So is putting a child on a treadmill to satisfy the ego of the neurotic parents.


No. It isn't fundamentally harmful to children. It depends on how it's done.

One of the major differences between effective programs and harmful ones are the attitudes of the children in those programs. Both the hothouse parents described, and programs for kids "behind standards" push really hard with rote learning, high-pressure, and often punishment. On the other hand, effective programs, both for kids ahead, behind, and at grade-level have richer activities which build love-of-learning.

As a footnote, I looked at the web site you linked to. It cites a bunch of widely discredited Piagetan nonsense.


Most schools are massive daycare centers. Giving gifted kids their own time back—to pursue their own interests—would be more effective and less expensive than “three grades ahead.”

Grinding out paperwork and watching the clock in the 8th grade isn’t any more rewarding than it is in the 5th.

Smart kids just need a push in the right direction.


I'm sure I'm out of touch being old but my school was just fine AFAIK. I can still remember in general, what I learned in every class from 1st grade to 12th grade. I can't remember a single class that didn't teach me useful stuff.

Going backward 12 grade, AP calculus, english lit, programming (mostly self study), auto mechanics (elective), physics. 11th grade applied math, english lit, programming, American history, 9th grade geometry and proofs, yearbook (which taught me how big a project is, how to layout a book, how many students coast, there were basically 3 of us that did 85% of the work), world history, student store (learned what it's like to have co-workers and a job and responsibilities like showing up to school 45 mins early to run the store in the morning), I'm not going to fill it all the way back to kindergarten but is school different now?

I didn't grind out paperwork in 8th grade. I took German, Chemistry, Writing/English, Geography, Typing (yea that was a thing), Algebra


> I can still remember in general, what I learned in every class from 1st grade to 12th grade. I can't remember a single class that didn't teach me useful stuff.

You are very, very far out of the ordinary. Twenty percent of Americans can’t name any of the branches of government. Only 46% know each state has two Senators. About 40% of Americans are basically innumerate [1]. School is primarily childcare and most people forget the huge majority of what they were ever taught because they neither care about it nor use it.

[1] https://phys.org/news/2018-03-high-adults-unable-basic-mathe...


My public school was teachers taking naps and complaining about their personal problems while feral inner city youths dry-humped to the smooth sounds of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice.

From the stats, I believe my experience is the rule rather than the exception.

In that scenario, teaching “Brideshead Revisited,” AP Calculus, and the history of the Qing Dynasty to gifted children seems more like a cunning globalist scheme to suppress IQ through blunt force trauma.


There are better ways to keep a child engaged than by just giving them more school material. No matter what the material is, if they’re in a regular school, they’re going to get bored very quickly.


Parents of very gifted kids routinely seek out support groups to help them cope. It's absolutely not all upside. Social challenges are a very big part of the problem.


I remember being in one of those “accelerated” programs. If I recall it was for math. I was not in that class for long. It wasn’t that I did poorly in the class, it was the fact that I told the teacher to go fuck herself.

Suffice it to say I’ve never been particularly fond of authority figures. As a child you understand inherently that all people are equal. Why should anyone be above anyone else? At least that was how my childish mind perceived it. Hierarchy is something that learned socially.


Some gifted kids are especially bad about having strong views about things like justice and morality and equality.

It's part of why I'm on parenting blog number three, which isn't exactly catching fire. My stories about raising my sons and my views on such were seemingly popular, at least with a vocal minority, on an email list that was basically a support group for parents of gifted kids (which is why I originally began blogging at all).

My oldest was accepted to college at age thirteen. The classes he had tried to sign up for all fell through for different reasons and then he told me he didn't really want to take college classes. He wanted me to keep homeschooling him.

I wasn't thrilled. At age 14, he explained Einstein's Theory of Relativity to me, which was helpful to me in understanding some of my college classes. I absolutely wasn't qualified to keep teaching him in some subjects. He already knew more science than I did.

But he also has a serious medical condition and a variety of other problems. So I heaved a big sigh and said "Okay. I can't teach you, but I can keep supplying you learning materials for those subjects and I can still teach you in other subjects, like math."

So, yeah, there's lots of problems you run into with gifted kids, one of them being that some of them have little tolerance for "idiot adults" who may not know anymore than they do, so they tend to not be very accepting of the idea that adults have some right of authority simply because they are older. "Older and wiser/know more" don't necessarily follow.

Edit: Someone asked, then deleted their comment. It's called Raising Future Adults.

https://raisingfutureadults.blogspot.com/

There's not much there currently.


It's really comforting to read that you spent so much energy in trying to help, and then understood when you hit a ceiling and found another way to help. Your kid is really lucky. Most times, the education system just gives up and focuses on the center of the bell curve.


I'm curious if you can go into what exactly are the views about things like justice and morality and equality.

I've never had the opportunity to speak to a very gifted kid. Let alone a kid that understands Einstein's Theory of Relativity and being so young.

I know Einstein was considered a pacifist and had strong social views himself. I think everything is deterministic like how Einstein did. My views on justice, morality and equality are shaped by knowing determinism.

I don't consider myself gifted btw. I'm just curious why someone so young would care about the forgoing topics to have strong views on them. What are these views and why?


A lot of the world is pretty bad about things like not keeping their word. You see this come up a lot in fiction, which likely reflects the embittering experiences of the author.

In one of the Jurassic Park movies, the father is blaming the mother for letting the kid sleep with a night light and then there really is a T rex in the backyard and it's just eaten the family dog.

In one of the Aliens vs. Predators movies, the father is dismissively telling the child "There's no monster. See!" and shines the light on the window which illuminates the Alien and it breaks through the window to kill him. Logically, the child was next, but the scene cuts away before the child is attacked. So you get sort of a fantasy depiction of some asshole father getting what they so richly deserve, to the satisfaction of the child who has been dismissed their entire life.

One video game has a meme "The cake is a lie." It's a hugely popular meme and probably because a lot of parents promise desert if the kid behaves and don't necessarily follow through.

Gifted kids aren't necessarily more moral, but they are more articulate, will have a better memory and a bigger vocabulary and are somewhat inclined to be argumentative. A lot of them will call the parents on "But you said..." and will remember it if the parent basically screws them over after being reminded of what they promised.

Kids tend to universally feel that if you said you would do X, that's a promise and you are supposed to keep your promises. Gifted kids just do a better job of remembering that you said X and arguing it with you and tend to have a raft load of other strong personality traits.

The higher the IQ, the more likely they are to qualify for other labels as well, such as OCD, ASD and ADHD. So some of these kids get really wrapped around the axle about things when adults make a promise and then break it and it becomes clear that the adult never really intended to keep it. They were just screwing with the kid for convenience' sake.

The same clear, bright line of logic that makes some kids good at math or science plays out socially as a strong moral position, whether it is intended that way or not. I have a strong interest in social stuff and I am routinely assumed to be talking about morality when I'm often saying something more like "gravity doesn't work that way."

People think social stuff is fuzzy and hand wavy and you can't research it. It's hard to research, but there are some things we know and there are some best practices for determining some things and I just find that stuff interesting. But people almost always feel I am being judgy, probably because most parents raise children with either a guilt model or a shame model.

I didn't use either as a parent. I raised my kids with a model of enlightened self interest and I taught them things like "You have to pick your battles. You don't have to back down just because someone is mad that you did X, but if you don't have a good reason to keep doing X, maybe them being mad is good enough reason to give it a rest already."

So they got schooled about social dynamics in a way that's pretty uncommon.

Anyway, it's not that they really frame it as morality per se. It's more that they do the same thing all kids do -- expect you to keep your word when you make a promise and things like that -- but they are more articulate and have a better memory and are more inclined to argue things for various reasons. For parents trying to take some easy way out and be lazy and say "There will be cake if you are good" when they don't actually mean it, this is endlessly problematic and comes back to bite them, doubly so if the kid is bright.


Thanks for the explanation, Doreen. My oldest is 2 years ahead in math and has been very much obsessed with fairness for the last year or so. You've given me some ideas on how to discuss the concept of fairness, and to bring up the "choose your battles" angle.

However, quite a few of our disagreements have to do with how it's basically impossible to determine fairness because of multiple dimensions of fairness. Do you have any advice on how you have handled that (or might handle it now)?


Honestly, probably the best tip I can give you is that when your bright child is driving you up the wall, the correct answer is (usually) "They're bored. What can I do to remedy that?"

Bright kids, especially twice exceptional kids, often argue to alleviate boredom and not because they actually are that wrapped around the axle about X.

Re fairness: I studied negotiating tactics and taught my sons to negotiate from a very young age. I spent a week when they were like two and four years old (or maybe three and five) coaching them to argue their side for who gets the front seat in the car. This took up to thirty minutes per stop.

After a week, I told them they had five minutes to come up with an agreement and if they couldn't agree, they both went in the back seat. They got very talented at coming up with win-win solutions to quite a lot of their problems because I coached them on negotiation at an incredibly early age and made it a standard in the household.

You might try stocking up on negotiating books and see if that helps any.


Hi Doreen, very interesting. There's a lot of the 'Positive Education' movement (not sure how it's called in the US) in what you describe.

I have twin girls and one the best things I've learned is to let them handle all their conflicts themselves.

It's a lot about accepting their emotions, letting them express themselves, acknowledging their feelings and... Stopping short of giving a solution. 'I'm here for comfort, you're in a safe place, now go find your path'. So, so liberating. They always find a solution, as long as they're fed, not too tired, and not sick. Not always win-win, but choosing which hill to die on, feeling how advantageous is the deal for everyone, sometimes taking a loss to maintain harmony and keep the game going, sometimes taking a yuge loud stand for a tiny tiny thing but once you listen you hear a long litany of small concessions not rewarded and it's time to take a stand. They're far more prone to show generosity and also to assert when they don't want to share. And they're perfectly allowed to change their mind, and to handle the happy or angry consequences. It's kind of wonderful to see how then those skills are useful with their school friends. Kind of a superpower.

More and more I feel parenting is giving a place to come for comfort, teach (by example and some simple phrases) few absolute principles (no violence - you can be angry, you can't hurt others, no stealing, ...) and just be available for reassurance, comfort, to mourn with them and also to try new stuff (lying, new 'negotiation' techniques, sports, music, ...).

Parenting can be a form of therapy. You question yourself a lot. And kids are kind of a mirror of our inconsistencies, our biases. You can embrace it, admit your inconsistencies, show them that 1) one does not have to be perfect to help, comfort and be worthy of inconditional love 2) one can say sorry when wrong 3) one can change and improve when faced with inconsistencies 4) some things are not good but it's not easy to stop when you've been doing it for long - and there lies the difficulty of changing habits, it's hard and can be done, 5) sometimes people fail to follow-through and it's important to be persistent...

It's a challenge to become a better person. Their world is shaped by what they see. Your reward is to shape a slightly better world through them.

Thanks for trying to help and teach, Doreen.


While I've only got a single 3yo so far, and I've been mostly following similar approach as you, I find that this approach requires a lot of time (and energy) investment that is sometimes hard to get. My wife also works pretty long hours, so sometimes enduring arguments of the sort is extra tiring.

Not to diminish the work you did, but did you manage to do that along the full time work, or did you have to stop or reduce work hours?

Not to mention that this 3yo is happy to sleep for 7-8h every other night because there's so much stuff to do. :)


As I said elsewhere, I was fortunate to be a full-time homemaker.

Just to give you some kind of picture: I have a serious medical condition, as does my oldest, and both of my kids are twice exceptional, not just gifted. I was also a military wife, which is fairly demanding, and I went to college part-time and intermittently.

When my oldest was twelve, I realized that he argued so much because he was bored. At that point, I began redirecting his attention instead of arguing and life got vastly better and he quit making me crazy.

I was still active on parenting lists and that idea was a big revelation for a number of parents who indicated that announcements that "I'm bored" tended to precede problematic social behavior.

"Idle hands are the devil's workshop" for bright kids. Keeping them occupied is the best way to keep the peace.


Well that doesn't sound that bad. I apologize for my ignorance though because I'm not privileged to have kids of my own.

I think just being honest would be the best approach if their memory is good and they somewhat have a higher moral standard. Why not just explain you're in a difficult situation when it happens and express how you expect them to play their part in helping complete the difficult situation.

I hate parents that do the blame & shame or guilt to achieve something. That to me can play into a controlling dynamic that never solves the conflict. I think sincereness when difficulties happen is the best approach because everyone involved likely will remember it. Specially if it works out.


Life is sometimes just not that easy and simple and gifted kids often go through a stage where their mind and experience levels are out of step and it goes weird places.

My oldest son talked late in part because he was frustrated that he couldn't express himself as articulately as his college-educated mother. So he continued using two-word phrases and refused to use sentences because he was two years old and that made some kind of logical sense to him, since he felt like he had mastered two-word phrases but trying to use sentences made him feel dumb. He was sixteen before he really got over it.

My other son, the one with the fairness bug, got very car sick and had trouble eating and it was quite hard to convince him that, no, really, you are allowed to order ice cream for dinner at a restaurant when we are traveling and you are car sick. He had gotten it into his head that it was a bad thing to eat desert without first eating dinner and he would have melt downs about things like that and no amount of telling him "No, really, I'm your mom and I say it's okay" was enough to readily fix it. We would go through a few rounds of things before he would finally decide that there wasn't some problem with making some exception, even though he explicitly had parental permission.

I was fortunate to be a homemaker, so I had a fair amount of time and flexibility for stopping and explaining life, the universe and everything at the drop of a hat for my endlessly questioning little hellions. But if both parents work or you are a single parent, there just isn't enough time in the day and it's exhausting even if there is.

I think I did a good job, but it wasn't easy. It was never easy. And that's why I keep trying to blog about it: Because other parents who mean well and would like to do the right thing aren't getting the answers they need and some of them are just tearing their hair out.

Such parents liked my emails on a particular email list years ago and that's why I began blogging. But it never really quite gelled. I'm hoping it will soon cuz Reasons.


I’m enjoying your stories here and on your “Raising Future Adults” blog. You mentioned other parenting blogs – are they still live? I’d love to read more of your work.


No, those parenting blogs aren't still live. But I run a wide variety of websites, most of which are written more or less on the format of "x topic as filtered through my eyes and life experience."

https://doreenmichele.blogspot.com/p/my-websites.html

I hope to resume writing about parenting soon. It's been very helpful to me to engage in discussion on the topic again.


Thanks! As a mom of a gifted preschooler, I’ve appreciated the chance to learn from your experience of parenting your gifted kids with respect and honesty. You remind me of Aunt Annie, another blogger who’s work has really resonated with me. http://auntannieschildcare.blogspot.com/p/aunt-annies-gifted...


Well, I have, in fact, finally written the post I've been working on of late. Hopefully, this is a new beginning and I will be more consistent henceforth.

https://raisingfutureadults.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-beginni...


How do the strong views about justice and morality typically manifest themselves in a way that’s negative rather than positive?

I’m not challenging you on that by the way. I see this too and I think I have a pretty good idea what you mean but didn’t want to second guess what you meant, incorrectly.


It's not necessarily that it's negative, though it can be. It's just that it's usually socially unacceptable to take a strong moral stand and turn X thing into a hill to die on (especially if you are five, but not only if you are a child).

Most people cannot and will not live up to the strict moral standards of some five year old on their high horse. When the five year old screams "The emperor has no clothes and you're a liar!!!!" multiple times per day and will not stop when punished for it, it creates a lot of problems.

One of my sons was like that. I homeschooled and I can live up to his expectations for things like fairness and keeping my word. But when adults don't live up to those expectations and they have some tyrannical little would-be civil rights activist on their hands, it sometimes turns abusive because they need the kid to just shut up and give it a rest already and they run out of ideas for how to keep the kid from being a troublemaker. (Alternately, in school, they are constantly in detention or similar.)


Almost nothing in life is actually fair, and obsessing on the unfairness of it all is impractical and self-destructive.


I just wasn't raised with that idea and I saw no reason to raise my own kids with that idea.

My father fought in the front lines of two wars and had a Purple Heart. My mother escaped East Germany in her teens with her infant niece in tow to return the baby to it's mother. Her older sister had come home with the baby to attend their mother's funeral and the East German border guard did not let her take the baby home with her.

I come from people who believed in fighting the good fight and quietly standing up to tyranny in myriad ways.

It's not about obsessing about the unfairness of it all or pursuing self-destructive behavior. It's about honoring a child's expectation for the world to live up to a lot of the high-minded claims of duty and honor and so forth that we talk about and often don't follow through on.

I did my best to follow through as a parent and I think I did the right thing. My son eventually mellowed some in certain respects as he got older and developed a more complex world view and came to understand that sometimes the simple and obvious answer isn't really the best answer. But he was never broken and that mattered to me as a parent, so I'm content with the choices I made. I don't think they were a waste of my time, nor do I think they led my son astray.


A friend of mine thought it was unfair that people were judged by the clothes they wore, and she was going to fight the good fight and wear jeans to all occasions - work, school, dates, weddings, church, everything.

Eventually, she gave up that fight.


That sounds like "bored and has nothing but first world problems and no real idea what on earth injustice actually is" not "I'm really dedicated to justice."

I run multiple websites to help the homeless. This began when I was still homeless myself.

I currently do live in t-shirts and sweat pants, in part due to dire poverty and not because I prefer to dress this way. "Ima gonna fight for my right to live in jeans even for weddings" doesn't really compare to having a Purple Heart or smuggling a baby out of an oppressive regime and returning the child to its rightful mother.

So I think I'm going to disengage here.


Ironically this view is the most destructive of them all. If people feel things are unfair they should never stop obsessing. If people just accepted injustice and unfairness slavery would exist and the Jews would be wiped out to give two salient examples.


As a parent of a seven year old who continuously upholds and measures fairness it is really tiring to explain why dad gets to have a larger glass of milk, or why dad has a larger portion of dessert. Fairness is skewed by the one judging what is fair. It is relative and trying to explain relative concepts to a child with no ability to understand relative terms is frustrating. Hence he gets absolute rules and does not understand why.


This doesn’t sound fair, to me, to the 7 year old. Just adults doing adulting by saying “do as I say.” The questions asked seem quite reasonable. There are bigger discussions on fairness we haven’t even begun to broach, racism and classism being a big one for me.


The size of milk is easily explainable. I, a 230 lbs powerlifter am roughly five times larger than you at 50 lbs. My body requires more calories, nutrients than yours does. They can easily see that I am much larger than them, so it makes sense to them. As well as being factual.

I say this because my kids used to ask this often.


Reminds me of this quote from George Bernard Shaw: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."


Kurt Vonnegut says it more eloquently than I ever could:

http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html


I don't mean to take the conversational bait, but that story is explicitly not about fairness, it is about equality, and about the dangers of mixing fairness and equality.

In this story, as it is frequently discussed:

Fairness = same opportunities

Equality = same outcomes


If Fairness equals same opportunities, then that implies it would only be "fair" (Fairness) to have a Eugenics program, resulting in every child born being of identically high IQ and other character traits, physical abilities, health and talents.

I am not arguing in favor or against Eugenics - just making an observation.


To turn it around, a quote from David Foster Wallace, 'Try to let what is unfair teach you'.

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/937442-try-to-let-what-is-u...


State funded mandatory education of children is an outlier in that it actually is fair, or at least it is supposed to be, which seems an important point in a discussion about children.

The fact that it isn’t is due to funding, the private sector, grant maintained etc. combined with varying management competence and, at least in England, an obsession with construing difference as hierarchy. All but that last one seem like implementation bugs in an otherwise fairly designed plan.


Thats very difficult to understand when you're young and (largely) self-centered. It definitely has to be explained with a lot of patience and some creativity.


It's stuff like this which teaches children to not fight for a better tomorrow.

Obsessing over unfairness is how you form political movements to make things fair.


> Obsessing over unfairness is how you form political movements to make things fair.

Up to a point. Often these movements succeed, and then do they retire? Nope. They turn up the microscope until they can discern ever smaller inequities.

For example, before the pandemic dominated the news, the local paper here ran endless articles on the conundrum of was it inequitable to have gifted classes in the public schools or inequitable to not have gifted classes? The two factions seemed to be about the same size, and neither was able to get an edge over the other.


That you don't care about the discussipn doesn't make it less important. Special classes take up resources so it is indeed a policy decision where to allocate funds.


It’s one of those topics that is so easy to discuss in moral sense simply because there’s nothing immoral about segregating children by their abilities and it only comes down to money.

Discussing money is boring, however. If there was too much of it we wouldn’t be asking the question; but since we don’t have the money we may as well moralise as that makes us feel useful.


That's what the government wants you to think. The fairest institution we have is the free market. There's no bullshit allowed. Because if you bullshit, you'll lose money. In a truly functioning free market, price is the mechanism by which fairness is distributed.


This isn't always true. The free market with infinite competition might settle on optimal solutions eventually, but there's almost always a gradient that appears due to time. It takes time for changes to propagate through a system and that can be taken advantage of. There's the quote by Keynes that underlines this: "The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."


There is no free market in modern capitalism. Even Smith already warned of the dangers of accumulation of capital and the need for checks & balances to avoid oligopolies and monopolies. It's a winner take all approach (at least in the US and China) that nearly always those with the best headstart win.


Play iterated games.


Free market doesn't take time to turn into unfair markets when exploited by an anomaly. You can't have fairness with humans living in the same place as you.


Very well said, thank you. For me, the turning point was learning that:

(1) hierarchies are a partial order: ones manager is ones superior only at work, and not in all aspects of life. It’s weird if they are. It feels challenging when they are subordinate to you on some other axis (e.g. your manager is younger or less socially popular than you) until this axiom sinks in. Becoming a company man is risky once you’ve learned this because you may end up surrendering yourself to the idea that the company hierarchy is total in all aspects of life. Having the boss round for dinner, bowing and scraping, 1950s stereotypes etc.

(2) In a healthy hierarchy power and responsibility go hand in hand. One accepts authority figures in life because they also take responsibility for things working properly. Your manager at work gets to deal with the awkward underperforming colleague, not you. If people gather to you socially, you have a responsibility to bring something positive to their lives.

Learning that hierarchies were there to provide a service to me — something which felt counter intuitive for a long time — was eye opening. It does also make you double down on attacking hierarchies where power is wielded irresponsibly.


An innate sense of equality without appreciation of power dynamics can make institutional power and authority figures seem adversarial to a certain kind of precocious mind, perhaps younger ones especially so. Learning should be a journey that instills the value of knowledge as well as the labor to acquire it and transform it into useful and amusing ends. Otherwise, a failure to grasp knowledge itself can create a disdain for the entire enterprise of learning and a kind of self-hating self-sustaining self-induced oppositionally-defiant ignorance.

I still love the USA, though.


I too love the USA. I love all Americans, even those whom I disagree with on every axis, but love as people.

But I find myself at a crossroads (or at least, what I feel is a crossroads). What should I do next? Should I stay in a country that taxes me without representation of my views? I think Balaji Srinivasan said it best. In political science, you have two options: voice and exit. Voice is protesting what you find intolerable in a system by voting against policies that negatively affect you. Or, there is exit. Exit is leaving that system entirely, such that it amplifies the dissenting voice. I find myself contemplating exit. I'm actually considering an authoritarian state, Singapore, as a place to emigrate to. Because while my views won't be represented, at least they won't tax me for it. I'm almost sort of okay with that.


You’re only chasing safety. To me it seems you feel like a victim of a street robbery.

“Your money or your life,” the voice behind you asks, weighing options as you weigh yours.

“I’ll take the money, since I’m not overly attached to my current way of life,” you reply confidently, at least you hope that’s how it sounds.

The reply sings. You cry, for a part of you just died. If you’re lucky, you’re still clinging to a convincing enough simulacrum of your former life to enjoy whatever money you were able to keep.

FIN

In all seriousness, I feel like leaving is what everyone else in the country would tell you to do. Anyone who would give up on the experiment of America is foolish to do so. They give up their leverage, power, and credibility in the eyes of their fellow citizens. That may not mean much to you. I’m not saying it should. But if nothing else, throwing in the towel and doing as you say feels like taking your ball and going home. We’re in this together. It’s sink or swim, but a rising tide raises all boats, large and small.

The economy isn’t a zero sum game, but most of politics in this country is winner take all, which isn’t far off. Yet change happens here anyway. The best life for you is one where you can live your best life. No one can tell you what that looks like. Hopefully you recognize it when you see it, and it might be a lot closer to home than you realize.

But hey it’s your choice either way. There’s no shame in being an expat. I’ve lived overseas and it made me who I am as much as any other thing, and I still like me most days. If you’re lucky the door swings both ways. You can always come back. Just don’t let it hit you on the way out.


The culture has changed dramatically in America such that its founding principles and ideals have pretty much vanished. The simulacrum you mention is America itself: a shell of its former self, seeking something vague but unable to articulate what that something is. I'm not sure what you think about it, but a country where its citizenry thinks government can solve all of its problems leads to a very dangerous place to live. You need only look to the vast majority of Latin American countries for evidence of that.


A country that forgets that government was best at solving its biggest problems in the past is equally dangerous.


Gotcha. Perhaps you identify more with the robber in my anecdote’s aims and ends, if not their ways and means? Taxes are about liability but also proportionality and fairness with respect to ability to pay. At least that is the concept. So if you owe someone money, you can dispute that the liability actually exists, or that you are liable for it and not some other party, or you could explain that you are not able to give that which you do not have. I fail to see how you are less able to exercise your rights than any other person simply because of being taxed. It is the same for us all. We’re all taxed, just not equally. You want to be taxed more unequally than you are now, the question is do you wish to be taxed less than you deserve to be taxed? Or do you wish that we all were taxed more equitably?

You complained about not being represented. Yet you are, simply by being in the country. Congress has a burden to represent the concerns of their constituency which includes all persons subject to their rule. This includes undocumented immigrants and criminals. It also includes those we wage war and commerce with, as Congress authorizes and quantifies these actions in the larger context of international and local/state governmental interactions.

So you are represented. It’s a matter of degree but you are alive and talking to us so some kind of freedom. But maybe you just have sour grapes and you’re not getting the outcome you want. So try harder or whine louder. If the democratic process doesn’t hear you, I’m sorry. I really am. It’s not fair. But that’s what fairness in a democracy means. We all get what we want. Just not on an individual scale. Wanting your way simply because it is your way and you think it is right or just in a society is not fairness. That kind of reasoning is awfully close to the logic that leads the robber in my metaphor to defend that which is not rightfully theirs from one who would rightfully retain ownership of it.

You complained about not being represented. Yet you are, you just don’t like the product and want a refund. Well, tough. We can’t give you your social obligation in the form of money back any more than the society can be taken out of you. Well we can, but you wouldn’t survive the process. So get out there. America is the ultimate multi level marketing pyramid scheme. Convince enough people you’re right, and they will give you money and power to keep themselves convinced they made the right choice. Politics is one big sunk cost fallacy but revolution would also benefit the status quo more than the people. There’s just too many dominoes already set up for you to make them fall the direction you want, even if you get to decide when the first one falls and where.

You seem to be advocating for a certain kind of society but you don’t even want to pay your obligations to the one you’re party to now. Why that’s good for you is obvious. Why anyone else would want to live in that society with you I will leave for you to illuminate.


I was in and out of "gifted programs" for most of my schooling, if you could call them that. A few of the people in there were generally smart, many not so much. Personally I always hated them. Except for a brief program when I was in 4th grade all they were for us was just am increased workload. Me, being the lazy pos I am, just neglected to do any of the extra work and I focused on my own thing. I remember in 4th grade when I was kicked outthe first time transferring from the accelerated class that had me doing boatloads of dull readings and "paper work" in the accelerated clas to the normal class with a much less mind-numbing workload where I had time to work on what I wanted to when because I finished early. Eventually they would realize I'm moving faster than most of the class, stick me in the gifted class and the cycle would repeat up until graduation. When I was a senior I. I recall my senior year one of the kids who was in the giftedprograms their entire schooling asking me if a 23 was a good ASVAB score. Ibrelaize these programs are going to vary depending on your school district, so for context, this was a mostly lower-middle class and middle class suburb of a southeastern metro. I personally dont think I'm very smart, likely average, maybe a little less than I used to be nowadays, but I consider a lot of these programs a sham.


When I was a child in elementary / junior high in the early / mid 80s, membership in the enrichment classes was largely dependent on IQ tests. I have very fond memories of these classes! We did all kinds of crazy advanced stuff, and had wonderful discussions. The membership was also quite diverse. However, in the late 80s they started to base membership on academic performance – as you might imagine, this started to skew the membership towards students from more affluent families who weren't really more insightful than the general population, just more diligent.


This a million times over


Yah. I think many of us can relate here.

Starting in 2nd grade I started ditching class and going to the computer lab to write code. For some sort of reason my teacher didn't notice I was missing as long as I was in for attendance during first period. She did realize I wasn't turning in any work, so I got put into some sort of special program I never went to. They didn't expect me to come, because I never came, and my teacher expected me to be gone, giving me all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted.

I took this trick all the way through high school signing up for programs, or more, stating I was part of programs that would let me ditch classes.

However, in 6th grade, the computer lab shared a window with my homeroom, so a substitute teacher made a comment about it. Turns out I had hacked the admin password and was sending mail, in the form of leaving text messages onto the distract administrator's desktop, where we'd chat about all sorts of stuff. The district didn't know what to do with me. Should I be punished? So they changed the admin password, which I immediately broke into, and that was it. I stayed in the computer lab and my homeroom teacher treated that like normal.


> if a 23 was a good ASVAB score

For those of us not familiar with the US military, it appears the answer is "no, that's not a good score". Apparently it's a percentile: they did better than 23% of the test takers, and it looks like that wouldn't qualify you to join any branch of the US military.

https://blog.prepscholar.com/good-asvab-score-air-force-army


>As a child you understand inherently that all people are equal. Why should anyone be above anyone else? At least that was how my childish mind perceived it. Hierarchy is something that learned socially.

I remember when I was very young other children saying exactly the opposite and as an adult I've met young children that are very attuned to one's social standing.

Also there are strong biological reasons as to why it is highly innate but modulated by culture.


I think that it's more about children thinking that everyone is equal in having to keep their word. If you make a promise then you're supposed to keep to it. What often disillusions children is that people in positions of authority often make promises, but don't keep them, yet when it goes the other way around those people will coerce everyone else into keeping the promises to them.


It's a naive position of someone with a nice upbringing without bullies to show that under the veneer there is suppressed brutality of those willing to use violence.


I was transferred to a “gifted” program in 5th grade but I moved back out after a month or 2. It was nice having more rigorous material but it also meant more homework and I was terrible at doing homework. Plus the kids were more dry, less jokes.


> Plus the kids were more dry, less jokes.

Gifted children simply prefer British humour over American humor.


[flagged]


No personal attacks in HN comments, please, regardless of how much someone else has matured.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


My son is profoundly gifted, although he's not in the same league as some of those children described in the study. I absolutely consider him a special-needs child. He's been kicked out of two schools (including a "gifted" school) at this point for his behavior, but it turns out his behavior was because he was profoundly bored. His current school accelerated him by 2 grades and now he's more manageable. He's still bored, but at least he feels like his classmates are more his level, even though he probably needs to skip 1 or 2 more grades to match his academic abilities. I'm loathe to accelerate him further because I worry about emotional well-being, being the youngest kid in the class, but this study has given me food for thought. Thank you OP for posting this.


You haven't mentioned anything outside of school, so have you considered giving him something on the side?

I would extrapolate that he's very frustrated he understands something faster than the others, regardless of whether it's a few grades beyond him or not. It's ok for school to be a certain speed. Some hobbies have infinite depth, and aren't inherently limited by the pace of school and the routine of school days.

Examples include: games such as Chess / Tetris / Go, literature, learning finance, making things (woodwork, electronics...).


I'd usually bring my own work at school. I liked to build web application, so I used most of my boring school time to architect them on paper. Then when at home, I could implement it. My teachers bothered me a bit, but I was passing the exams, so they couldn't complain too much.

Your kid could have his own little project and do it at school.


Yah. You can be super bright without being in the category that needs all the support and scaffolding.

My oldest is super precocious mathematically. And has adjustment problems, impatience, social struggles, etc. Massive but undeveloped sense of justice/fairness that borders on fascism, too. He is doing OK, but... it takes a lot of enrichment and support for him to make it and stay sane.

My middle kid is nearly as capable mathematically and stronger verbally... but he's chill, and patient, adept socially, ... good at, and content, slacking. Fits in perfectly in a mainstream classroom without a lot of accommodation.

(The youngest? Who knows. We'll see, he's only 6).


Your middle kid sounds like how I was. If he really is like I was, then please give him the same enrichment and support as your more difficult eldest. The middle one may have learned to slack and chill out and not rock the boat, but it's still a coping mechanism for a problem that needs support.


Hey-- thanks for the message. We get it / try -- when he doesn't successfully weasel out of it (he is good at that).

The flip-side is, social adaptation/easy-going-ness actually makes it easier for his teachers to challenge him, etc.

The oldest reminds me of me, struggles and all. I have to think my middle kid has an easier path of things than I did.


I too was the middle kid. Here's my own anecdotal advice:

I started slacking in school from about 3rd-9th grade.

I found programming between 9th-10th grade during the summer through pretty much sheer dumb luck, timing, and being in the perfect environment.

After that, my grades improved, confidence improved, everything improved.

The school system may not be able to offer your kid the opportunity they need to really find the inspiration that can kick them into drive.

Maybe try to expose them to as many things as you can, and see what clicks?

Another thing is how they learn.

I learned through modding video games and could see instant results, via changing just a few variables, of what programming could do, and would share these with my friends.

This instant gratification and social "confirmation" from my friends, as well as the communities I joined, really pushed me forward. Plus, I really enjoyed it.

Shortly after modding video games, I tried getting into creating websites but didn't quite see the instant gratification or have the social "confirmation" to push me as hard as I did with modding video games.


How about offering some summer courses? There are really nice programs out there and if the kid gets to choose it can be very enriching.


Yeah, that's definitely a good way to do it as long as the kid doesn't feel like they're being forced.

It's sorta tough though with them choosing because if I was in 9th grade again and had the option, I don't know if I'd choose a programming curriculum.

It reminds me of the Steve Jobs quote, "People don't know what they want until you show it to them."


My middle kid is enjoying competitive chess and doing math through Art of Problem Solving, so there's places he does work hard and there is intellectual challenge. And his slacking is good enough to be at the top of his class, so I can't quibble too much.

I'm sure there'll be problems eventually, but, we're ready and up until then we're trying...


Your child is miles ahead of where I was. I was borderline failing classes.

It sounds like he has a solid support network around him. I wish you and your child the best


You see a global move towards "inclusive" education which aims to provide opportunities for all levels of performance and background/conditions, including the gifted. Eg Portugal and Norway are impressive reference cases.


> If educators were made responsible to ethics committees, as are researchers, such developmentally inappropriate educational misplacement would never be permitted.

This is a recurring theme. For example, when doing education research with a control group. Sometimes, while the study is still in progress, the benefit of the intervention becomes so clearly dramatic, that by IRB standards, continuing to deny the intervention to the control group becomes ethically fraught, suggesting the experiment be stopped. Even though by education standards, the intervention is unlikely to be widely adopted any year soon.

Similarly, part of why science works, is researchers' fears of being embarrassed in front of their peers, by getting things carelessly wrong. This doesn't always exist - my favorite example being astronomy education content that gets the color of the Sun wrong. So there's a question of what community characteristics are needed to support it.

Awareness of ethical issues in education, such as "equity", seems greater now than in decades past.

So looking ahead, might a perception of embarrassment, or of ethical failure, be encouraged and leveraged to improve content and pedagogy? And what might that look like?


I wonder a lot about how much giftedness matters, for children below exceptionally gifted. My IQ was measured at about 150 twice, at age 3 and 15. I am definitely not exceptionally gifted - I was able to be on the cusp at some programs that had exceptionally gifted participants and I was in awe of them.

But as an adult I've never really felt limited by intelligence, but instead by motivation and social skills. So I don't know what to stress for my children. I was deeply unhappy through public school. Would I have more motivation and better social skills if the public school had been less boring and had less bullying? Would I just be more of a jerk?

My kids are in early elementary, and they are also not exceptionally gifted, but they are easily 2-3 grade levels ahead in math, and a little ahead in reading. The other stuff at school could certainly be better for them, but in ways that I suspect would be better for all the kids there.

I think I'd be happy with their school if they had more recess, the kids were nicer and the math were more advanced, but I don't know where to find that for them.


I was GT in my very mediocre public school - shit was still hard for me, academically. I got a B in calculus 2 in high school. I constantly feel limited by intelligence and social skills (which harms motivation). Most of this thread is just bragging - “dumb” people like me don’t get the benefit of the doubt and don’t receive any of the societal benefits either.


Can anyone recommend any tried and true, globalist/international perspective distance education / homeschooling groups? Less focused on base academic outcomes (assume this is covered), more focused on co-exploration and organic learning with distributed friends in a semi-structured or periodically adult-stimulated fashion. We don't need to download rote learning worksheets or lesson plans, we'd prefer to explore real world subjects freely, asking questions and allowing one subject to function as a lead-in to others. Unsure if this exists.


I can relate to studies like these in many ways.

Growing up in India, I faced a hell lot of issues. At the age of 2, I was able to remember names and faces of all my relatives, at 3 I was able to read fluently. By the time I was 5, thanks to my relative I was made to repeat a grade because I was born on a certain month. By 9, I was able to do 10th grade math with ease. My mom observed this and asked the school things can be accelerated. I was placed in 10th grade and just got myself bullied. School's verdict was I was that I am socially inept and hence I must have cheated to solve 10th grade problems. School saying that broke my mom's heart, and mine. I was eternally depressed (was not aware of it though) from then onwards till college. Throughout my school life all I faced was bullying cos I don't share the same interests as the others.

College wasn't any different. I grew up watching OCW physics and thought college would be similar. Turned out wrong. I have ruffled feathers with every faculty there that I wanted more work, to be challenged more. And all I got was "you should be more humble and patient. You should wait for the other students to catch up. Go with the pace, don't run, walk. blah blah" After 4 years, I came out as a person with no motivation, mentally lethargic, depressed, just wanted to coast through life. It had been hammered into me that I was the problem, not the system.

Thank god I met my wife, we both were very similar and had experienced very similar situations in life. It took a long while to understand that the problem is not me. We identified as gifted children, reading up on articles, matching traits. My mom regrets that she didn't know about any of these "gifted stuff". All of us recognize the negative intentions of the people who grew up / lived with us. Both my wife and myself are trying to get back into the groove, finding ways to challenge each other, to learn to work hard, to motivate, to get back the lost years from when we could have been accelerated. Hopefully we catch up on time.

I am positive that my kid will most probably be a gifted child. I will be doing everything in my power to take care of him in a proper manner.

I relate to so many people in this and many other threads in HN. You all have my deepest support and sympathies for your bad experiences. Please don't let go of life. You can still be the smart person you once were. Being smart isn't being entitled, it's just who you are.


What will you do if your kid isn't a gifted child and falls below your expectations? Hopefully you'd still love them and treat them in a "proper manner" right? Just be prepared for that very possible outcome.


I'd still love them. I really hope I didn't imply that in my comment. The kid would just be surprised to have quirky parents when it is very "normal". In the end we'll just be a very happy family.


A lot of people in this thread thinking they are Terrence Tao, Karl Frederick Gauss, Leonhard Euler, John Von Neumann, etc. Nope you don’t have the faintest idea of what it means to be exceptionally gifted. These people are close to a different species or race of men entirely.


... have you known any of those personally?

I somewhat get your point, but the top .1% of intelligence and 1% of intelligence probably share more in common socially and within the social structures of education.


I wonder how strong the long-term inverse effect is having gone to a magnet high school and seeing a certain level of self esteem fallout for many people that I would say were hard working but nowhere close to "profoundly gifted".


Weren't IQ tests basically determined to be modern-day phrenology long ago? Has there been any progress on measuring intelligence in a less biased fashion?


> Weren't IQ tests basically determined to be modern-day phrenology long ago?

Nope. (Well, there are people who believe that, but there are also people who believe that vaccines cause autism.) As a scientific consensus, the concept IQ is well supported by psychometric research.

The individual IQ tests, of course, may contain mistakes. And any online test is most likely completely made up.

> Has there been any progress on measuring intelligence in a less biased fashion?

Of course there was progress in reducing bias in tests. For example, older IQ tests often contained questions about history, which is more an evidence of cultural background than of raw intelligence. Or verbal tasks, which disadvantage people who don't take the test in their first language. Modern tests are more about patterns, see e.g. Raven's Progressive Matrices. Yes, even this can be discriminatory against e.g. blind people. It's not perfect, but there is definitely a progress.


The idea that a "scientific consensus" exists on IQ makes it sound like stronger than it actually is - the field of psychology is much less rigorous than actual hard sciences and the bar to clear is very low there. That IQ is universally accepted among psychologists despite a number of very obvious glaring flaws is more damning against psychologists than adding to the credibility of the concept.


Don’t you believe people like me are lower IQ because I got rejected from Google?


I'd bet most people who work(ed) at Google were rejected at least once. I was. I'd also bet that if the current engineers working at Google were to be re-interviewed, at least a half of them would be rejected by Google's interview process. What you've experienced is mostly an artifact of having 100+ people apply for each open position, it says nothing at all about your intelligence.


Just do what Ben Pridmore[1] did and study efficient ways to encode information in memory other memory techniques. It breaks some IQ tests so you can walk into Mensa and such (its not that meaningful but neither is using IQ as a metric for getting rejected at google).

unrelated but by your long history of posting about having a low IQ yet working for amazon, what is a low IQ to you?

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Pridmore


Low IQ is apparently getting into Google. I don't think many people regard getting into Amazon as requiring a genius IQ or even an above-average one.


They might be a useful guide, but it's a ridiculous oversimplification to reduce human intelligence to a single number. There is also an inherent social and cultural bias in most such tests which also needs to be accounted for.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence_quotient#Criticis...




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