Answered on Quora:
It isn’t necessarily true. The reason they are saying this is that studies were done that showed that leaders could not have IQ’s 2 SD’s above the average of their followers. It was also suggested that meaningful communication becomes difficult at 2 SD’s difference. They are probably referencing that study. But just because some study said something doesn’t mean it is going to be completely true in your own life.
As someone with an IQ over 3 SD’s above average, I don’t agree that that is true. I can have meaningful conversations with those 45–55 IQ points below me (3–3.66 SD’s). It is just that I have to somewhat limit the subject matter to areas I think that person would know about. A lot of people in that range are smarter than you think. You just have to keep the conversation around their level.
For many years, my best friends had IQ’s 3 SD’s below me. However, when I was spending a tremendous amount of my time around them, especially after I started university, I did get frustrated at times because the range of communication was somewhat restricted. I didn’t mind spending a lot of time with them, but there reached a point where I was spending too much time with them at which it became frustrating.
But it’s pretty fun to interact with people down around the 100 IQ level when you adjust your own IQ to about that level and learn to enjoy life on that simpler level. For instance, we used to smoke weed, listen to music, talk, joke and laugh about women, TV, people, people, dope, gossip, music, etc. You can have a blast down around that level. I remember stoned nights when the whole room could not stop laughing.
However, as I have gotten older, it is hard for me to relate very well to women around 3-4 SD IQ below me (90–100). We are not connecting on such a huge level – they are often so ignorant, and they act bored or threatened by my achievements but mostly they think they are utterly uninteresting.
People at that IQ level could care less that you just published a paper that got through peer review and was published in an academic book out of a university publishing house. They don’t care that you sit on a review board of a peer reviewed academic journal. They simply do not see that as important, they don’t have a high opinion of it. In other words, they are pretty much indifferent, puzzled or out and out hostile to any sort of intellectual achievement or talk. On top of that, they can sometimes bore the living Hell out of me.
I need the women in my life to be more around my intelligence level. Two SD’s difference and below is acceptable. At 2 SD’s below, I can connect very well and have had deep and intense love affairs with women. You end up explaining things a lot, but they can figure things out after you explain them to them, and you can get into professor vs. rapt student roles, which is an ego boost for me and seems to also be a lot of fun for them.
It’s also fun to watch an rapt student delighting in new knowledge. And at 2 SD’s below me, people are capable of a lot of interesting observations, especially about people, culture, and even politics. They often have sophisticated, clever, odd and even intellectual senses of humor. They’re smarter than you think they are.
It’s not that you cannot have meaningful conversations with people below 2 SD’s, it’s more that at some point you hit this wall that goes up between the two of you, and things get can get a little weird and uncomfortable. There’s a disconnect or a lack of communication taking place. But this is more at 3–4 SD’s below me rather than 2 SD’s.
I also run into regular problems with people not having the slightest idea of what I am talking about. I don’t know if they don’t want to talk to me or they just can’t figure out what I am saying, but they say they don’t get what I am saying. I also get misunderstood a lot. People misunderstand my jokes and read mental illness or dangerousness into them.
My writing is always misread and misconstrued in a similar manner. This has led to a lot of people hating my guts for something I said or wrote when they are completely misunderstanding what I said. Probably a lot of these folks are above 2 SD’s below me. Lack of intelligence is out and out dangerous. I can’t count how many times people misunderstood what I was saying, doing or writing and used it against me. I thought it was due to lack of intelligence on their part, but I don’t know exactly how intelligent most of these people were as I had little interaction with them.
The problem is when you get to 2 SD’s below me, from my POV, a lot of people don’t know how to think. They misconstrue what you say, do or write and see mental disturbance, dangerousness, and severe deviancy into you when it’s not there. However, I have met folks 1 SD below me or even at my level who did the exact same thing and constantly misunderstood or misconstrued me because they don’t know how to think. However, I think the inability to think properly is more common as IQ goes down.
I hate to say it but my opinion after decades of life is “Dumb people are dangerous.” They don’t understand others so they commit aggression and harm against the people they don’t understand. In this sense, lower intelligence levels are not innocuous at all, and for me, they carry the potential of a lot of harm.
I have found that as people’s IQ’s go higher, they misunderstand me a lot less, start to figure me out, don’t read weird or stupid things into what I say, do, or write, and frankly cause me a lot less harm. It seems to require a fairly high IQ to make the difficult distinctions that are necessary to figure out what I am saying, doing, or writing.
I could give you endless examples, but there’s no need to.
If people of lesser intelligence were innocuous, they would not bother me in the slightest. But when stupidity becomes harmful as it so often does, I start seeing the world once again as, “Dumb people are dangerous!”