An interesting read. In addition to showing that we may actually behave less intelligently in groups, I found it interesting that the people that performed more poorly also had activity in the parts of the brain correlated with anxiety, implying that we may also behave less intelligently when anxious or under stress.

And just a side note--it really bothers me that the author of this article said that 126 is slightly above average, it's almost 2.5 SDs above the mean! And average IQ isn't about 100, it's 100 by definition! Unfortunately most people don't understand how the IQ test works.

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Have you come across any studies that either support or contradict this one?

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According to the study of Asch, people dumb down in groups.

Asch's conformity experiments have shown, that people change their opinion (or at least what they outwardly present as their opinion) to the one of the majority, even when the majority's judgment is obviously and drasticlly so wrong, that the same mistake is not made, when alone:

I read about it in Science Daily. It suggests that status and competition inhibit lower status group members from utilizing their full intellect, without even realizing that it's happening. This makes intuitive sense to me, as men in Dominator cultures maintain status by ridicule (jostling) as well as outright intimidation. Bright people who make suggestions take the risk of social censure. We become conditioned.

Sam, I had a bit of a problem with, "we may actually behave less intelligently in groups ... " and the article stated women were affected more than men. It seems to me that research with males and females, especially concerning math and science, females stay ahead of males until puberty, and then the desire for attachment wins out over the desire for achievement. So I went to the original article,
which stated, "Measures of intelligence, when broadcast, serve as salient signals of social status, which may be used to unjustly reinforce low-status stereotypes about out-groups' cultural norms."

The situation was the subjects broadcast their opinion about the performance of others in the group and on retest, some performed at a lower level than before. 

This implies to me the possibility of socialization. Some children are socialized to speak up, even in the presence of authority, while others learn to self-monitor and speak up only when they feel safe. So, intelligence might not be the factor tested, but perhaps safety might be the factor, or, as you mentioned, stress. 

If that is the case, a child who remains silent in the presence of authority will be judged as having lower IQ by fellow students than those socialized to be active.


Here's another wrinkle, testosterone makes people less cooperative in groups.

Testosterone Makes Us Less Cooperative and More Egocentric

...when given a testosterone supplement, the benefit of cooperation was markedly reduced. In fact, higher levels of testosterone were associated with individuals behaving egocentrically...

...sometimes, too much testosterone can help blind us to other people's views. This can be very significant when we are talking about a dominant individual trying to assert his or her opinion in, say, a jury."

Interesting articles about cooperation and hormones. 
I wonder, if an individual changes attitudes through learning skills, does the hormone level change? I am Googling to see if I can find anything, but nothing so far.  

Testosterone has always been a hazard to women.   There should be some testosterone-destroying drug, that women could secretly mix into men's food....  

Ahh yes, misandry is always funny.

It sounds like a joke, and of course any suggestion about doing something in secret can only be a joke.   But I am absolutely serious, that very often the removal of some testosterone would cause a huge improvement of a man's character.  

“What neuroscience can tell us about morality”

March 30, 2011

Patricia Churchland attributed values to the brainstem and limbic system, the emotional and motivation systems for homeostasis, survival, and well-being.


Oxytocin and vasopressin, neuropeptides linked to social behaviors, are believed to play a critical role in bonding between mammals. High levels of oxytocin in the brain decrease fear, increase trust, decrease arousal, and decrease stress. These feelings lead to attachment and trust, which set the stage for cooperation.


Research on montane and prairie voles found, while similar in most respects, the montane vole is a promiscuous rodent, while the prairie vole mates for life and practices joint parenting. Compared with their cousins, prairie voles' brains have a high density of oxytocin and vasopressin in areas related to the reward system. As a population grows, benefits come from expanding trust relationships.


“In the human population, institutions that enforce trust-connections have emerged, such as laws and religion. “Society is largely about values, although people must be cognizant that different cultures can hold different value systems.”


“Scientists find rodent monogamy gene”


“A single gene inserted into the brain can change promiscuous male rodents into faithful, monogamous partners …”


"It is intriguing to consider that individual differences in vasopressin receptors in humans might play a role in how differently people form relationships."


"Oxytocin Makes People Trusting, but Not Gullible, Study Suggests"

"The Dark Side of Oxytocin"

Thanks for the links.   The huge problem is the social norm making men wish to be promiscous jerks.   We need a paradigm shift to a new role model of caring, considerate, responsible monogamous men.   If men would learn to consider drooling over every woman's body as a flaw and a defect instead of a sign of virility, women's lives would become better.  

Maybe after a paradigm shift, men would stop injecting testosterone and replace it by taking oxytocin instead.   I am dreaming.....

This is another very interesting article about genes, gender differences, hormones and behavior:

Thanks, Maruli! That's an interesting article. It almost sounds as if gene therapy could be devised to improve maternal or paternal nurturing, or serial rapists could someday get gene therapy to dial down their aggression and libido.




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