The Psychology.Wikia page Correlation between intelligence and social deficiency states:

Abnormally high intelligence, 3 or more standard deviations above the mean, tends to correlate strongly with poor social skills.

Is this claim backed by studies (especially studies beyond WEIRD subjects)?

  • 15
    3 standard deviations above the mean (IQ 130 or greater) is by no means "abnormal". The whole article seems to be purely conjecture, and seems to be designed solely to make people with lower IQs feel better about themselves.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 4, 2014 at 23:36
  • 7
    I agree with gnasher729 although I'd point out that 130 IQ is 2 standard deviations. So if you work in a professional field and/or went to university then you are likely to know people in that third standard deviation group (130-145, the top 2.2% of the population). And IQ of over 145 (> third st dev) is actually not so uncommon that you wouldn't have met someone that "smart" if you went to university or work as a professional. Nov 5, 2014 at 13:09
  • 15
    @gnasher729 3 standard derivation equals roughly 0,3%. We call plenty of human characteristics that are more common "abnormal".
    – Christian
    Nov 5, 2014 at 17:02
  • 8
    @gnasher729 I would argue that having a high (or low) IQ that is 2 standard deviations from the mean is by definition abnormal, since they both deviate significantly from the norm. I would not consider being called "abnormal" an insult, and I feel that its usage as an insult is not etymologically justified.
    – March Ho
    Dec 8, 2015 at 13:19
  • 5
    A answer already exists for high IQ correlation with good social skills here-cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/9746/… Dec 8, 2015 at 14:17

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I am not a an expert/professional in the field.

For normal measures of general/emotional intelligence, the studies I found say that correlation is actually positive, e.g. the study "Distributed neural system for emotional intelligence revealed by lesion mapping", published in the apparently very reputable peer-reviewed journal Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience.

The study did not use WEIRD subjects and instead relied on Vietnam veterans who suffered brain damage in combat as participants. Other studies (relying on WEIRD subjects) found no relationship.

This article from the US National Library of Medicine gives a very good rundown of empirical studies about "gifted individuals"

For the “warmth” dimension describing socioemotional characteristics, evidence favors great similarity between gifted and average-ability individuals. The gifted are no more prone to depression, anxiety, or suicide (Reis and Renzulli, 2004; Martin et al., 2010), show similar levels of wellbeing and stress (Zeidner and Shani-Zinovich, 2011), and are as agreeable as average-ability persons (Schilling, 2009; DeYoung, 2011), conscientiousness (Ackerman and Heggestad, 1997), and social abilities (Schilling, 2009; overview: Neihart et al., 2002).

(emphasis mine)

With regards to the subjects of the studies/books: Both Neihart et. al 2002 and Schilling 2009 talk about children/adolescents in Western democracies. I haven't read Neihart, but the Amazon description mentions that "The book also summarizes several decades worth of research on special populations, including minority, learning-disabled, and gay and lesbian gifted students".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .