IQ and articulacy IQ does not correlate with real-world complex activity (e.g. bookies)! IQ predicts number of my-side arguments, not quality! Medical students’ grades do not predict clinical judgement! Ethical textbooks get stolen most! Moral reasoning does not predict anti-social behaviour !
Bonnie’s father has five daughters. Four of them are named Chacha, Cheche, Chichi and Chocho. What is the name of the fifth?
Varieties of stupidity We can – Cope impulsively Decide prematurely – Check narrowly Decide egotistically – Mull excessively – Chat collusively
Checking the Feeling of Rightness Each mode summates in a ‘feeling of rightness’ (FR) Normally, in important decisions, FR is tempered by the interaction of the different modes – Submitted to longer, multifaceted scrutiny – Held back while private and public appraisal takes place In Hubris Syndrome, FR self-strengthens, unchecked – Neurological switching mechanisms (cumulative inhibition) do not activate age, stress, power – Self-checking fails to occur – Get over-reliant on one mode
Aggrandisement At the same time, FR may become generalised, no longer attached to particular intuitions, but becomes construed as a trait of the actor: infallibility – Not ‘It feels right’ but ‘I feel right’
Rationalisation Check mode becomes misapplied and misappropriated. Argument does not critique FR; it justifies it The Check system is recruited to protect the FR
Isolation Chat mode is also abused. Instead of being tested in debate, public discussion is pre- orchestrated and packed with Yes people Dissenters are seen as ‘disloyal’: sacked or sidelined (.e.g. RBS) Dossiers are ‘sexed up’; evidence rigged Unbridled FR justifies Machiavellianism
Concealment Some followers are drawn to Messianic leadership – lower education, some religions Others dislike it, so… – FR becomes concealed under a cloak of humility – Concealment may take the form of projection of the FR onto an external agency (e.g. ‘I am just doing God’s work’) – This ‘humility’ and hubris often co-exist
Solutions Neuropsychological solutions? – Regular testing of pre-frontal cortical functioning – Acetylcholine / catecholamine boosters… Social solutions? – Institutionalised checks and balances; independent arbiters (with teeth); compulsory Fools Educational solutions? – Amore intelligent approach to the cultivation of intelligence