How intelligent is Hillary Clinton

Trump: Giftedness and stupidity are not mutually exclusive

“He is highly gifted!” - that inspires us. The intelligence quotient has been measured for over 100 years and has now become a myth. We live in a performance society, we strive for perfection and the media ensure that we can compare ourselves with others. No wonder that giftedness arouses envy and admiration in us. Donald Trump is the best example of how much we are going in the wrong direction here.

Donald Trump's IQ

An article in The Mirrow newspaper gives Donald Trump's IQ estimate of 156 - what does that mean? The intelligence quotient averages 100. Most people therefore have a value that is a little below or a little above. The further the deviation from the mean, the rarer people are who show this value. With effort, you can compensate for some talent in order to be successful in life. Lose some things with laziness. If someone is neither particularly hardworking nor lazy, has no particularly unfair teachers or is a favorite of a teacher, he has a value of around 106 to 108 at the middle secondary school level, 112 to 115 at the middle high school level (these are only approximate values ​​so that you have an approximate clue!).

The value 120 marks an interesting limit. It is clearly above average (90 percent of people are lower). From here on, research assumes that “anything is possible”. E.g. winning the Nobel Prize. Whether a researcher ultimately takes this hurdle and is one of the millions who dream of this depends on other factors (creativity, teamwork, research funding, luck, chance, etc.). Another interesting value is also the 130. Whose measured IQ is so high, that leaves 98 percent of the people behind and is allowed to enter the international cafeteria club of the gifted.

Let's return to Trump's IQ: You can judge from the clues mentioned that this man, who is currently holding the world in suspense, has an exceptionally high value at 156. However, the article by The Mirrow should be read in full. The estimate is based on an MBA degree from a renowned business school. However, he only completed his bachelor's degree there and probably did not show any special achievements. It is therefore assumed that the estimate of 156 is significantly too high. It is therefore readjusted to a value between 120 and 130.

If you use the comparative values ​​above, it becomes clear that this lower estimate with “only” devaluing is not appropriate. 130 would be officially gifted. 120 would still be high, i.e. Donald Trump is not "stupid" according to the IQ criteria - although in the eyes of many he behaves downright stupid.

Stupidity despite high IQ

Intelligence is the ability to solve certain given problems in a short time. You have to be able to calculate and think logically, have spatial imagination and master your own language - that's a lot! If you can do all of this well above average: then what is the problem with Donald Trump? That is the question! Because, in the opinion of many, he behaves obviously stupid despite a high IQ. What's wrong?

Quite apart from the political stance that connects you with Trump or may repel him: Trump is harming himself. It is becoming more and more apparent that his behavior is obviously also endangering his own interests. What's wrong with him if it's not because of a lack of IQ?

Perhaps we will get ahead with an article that Daniel Kehlmann wrote from New York for ZEIT after the US election. He notes the following, shockingly:

“There is not a single anecdote about a Donald Trump who behaved wisely or kindly, there is no story about an incident in which he showed spirit or pity or signs of inwardness beyond the brutal impulses of anger, self-praise or boasting . "

Kehlmann refers to the literature about Trump, including the memories of his ghostwriter Tony Schwartz, who accompanied him every step of the way for months.

In the following text, Kehlmann assumes that Trump has a “narcissistic personality”. Is that the problem? In a radio interview I heard that a renowned narcissism researcher assigned Trump an estimated value of 7 on an imaginary scale extending to 10 - with the APA, the American Psychiatric Society, publisher of the DSM (diagnostic manual), its members before remote diagnoses regarding Trump specifically warned. In fact, both will probably be true: Trump's relative narcissism on the one hand and the requirement not to make remote diagnoses on the other. Overall, I would be cautious about narcissism.

Another view seems closer to me and more certain. What sets Trump apart is much more trivial and normal than a personality disorder. He is at an early stage of the ego development. To be on such a level is perfectly normal. We were all on that level - before.

Typical thinking and behavior during puberty

Psychology has been researching ego development for fifty years. What is meant is the way in which we unconsciously order and organize ourselves and the world. Everyone starts at level 0 and then first learns to separate themselves from their surroundings and creates an increasingly complex picture of themselves and the world. At level 3 a stable ego is developed that is mindful of its own advantage. Many pubescent people can be found here. Or already at the next level 4. Here the community and its norms play the main role. The person develops a social I-We. We both know typical youth behavior at level 3, in which there seems to be nothing for the pubescent but their own interests. We also find it just as typical when a young person adapts to the norms of his peer group and - apparently without his own opinion - adapts to the clothing and behavior of the others.

Most people develop from there to level 5, at which a renewed deposition in the direction of the ego succeeds. The group norms remain valid and recognized here, but they are no longer restrictive as before. Many later progress to level 6 of the fully developed adult (or, rarely, further). At level 6, the I-We is finally given up and replaced by a sovereign I who likes to listen to other opinions and, if necessary, takes them into account for its own decisions. However, such a development is not guaranteed! We don't automatically develop with age! From early to mid-twenties, the relationship between age and level drops to almost zero.

Kehlmann's description of Trump, quoted above, fits level 3 completely. As assumed by the model, there is no noteworthy behavior at a later level. A person here is practically incapable of self-irony. The world is experienced as hostile, the point is to assert oneself. Recently, an insider in this field of research confirmed the assessment that many colleagues suspect: Trump is at level 3. Alone the summary description by Kehlmann clearly points in this direction. In fact, remote diagnosis is less dubious for everyone who deals with it than with clinical illnesses, since the scoring of the level is essentially based on ego statements and behavior. How did Kehlmann write what could be observed after months of close company: No spirit, no pity, no signs of a differentiated inner life, on the other hand anger, self-praise and boasting.

So if we assume Trump's ego development stage 3, that means: He stopped on the earlier of two typical stages of puberty. Over 90 percent of adults are at a later level in their personality level.

From a later stage perspective, behavior and decisions at an earlier stage can literally seem stupid. People may still be intelligent. But they are stupid because their world is constructed too simply. Too few framework conditions are taken into account that influence reality. Thinking is too focused on just a few aspects. It falls short in the time perspective. The effects of one's own behavior are difficult to assess.

That is why it is so attractive for each of us to know our own stage of development, to understand the consequences of it and to develop further. And that's why it's so disturbing that the most powerful man in the world stopped at such an early stage. He is probably more intelligent than 90% of people and at the same time more immature than 90% of people. So the problem is clearly not intelligence. And even if he were more intelligent, the world would hardly benefit from it.

Intelligence, giftedness, stupidity

Conclusion: In the case of Trump, let's forget about possible considerations about certain personality disorders. His behavior is perfectly normal for his level of ego development, as normal as it was for any of us in our teenage years. It is just an adult with long life experience and above-average intelligence.

The consequence should be that we finally lose our respect for giftedness. We shouldn't all make ourselves smaller just because we don't have a high school diploma. We shouldn't treat people of high intelligence with more respect than others. We should attach much more importance to the question of personal maturity, which is just as important to short-sighted or prudent thinking and behavior as intelligence.

Intelligence is partly innate, partly influenced by the environment, but in adults it is largely stable and cannot be trained. As adults, we can no longer positively influence our intelligence. Quite the opposite is true for the second factor of sly behavior: We can develop personally at any time. The price for this beckons in all aspects of professional and personal life. Each new level makes the world a different one - it becomes more understandable and manageable. If we develop further, we have the chance to face an increasingly complex world with a more complex, smarter brain. And that pays into every account that is important to us. Self-development, which can be promoted through coaching, increases professional success as well as personal satisfaction. So it is a smart decision to take care of its advancement. However, this decision has nothing to do with intelligence.