Extraversion and IQ

In response to Steve Hsu’s article Life impacts of personality and intelligence, Lion responds:

The evidence here is that unless people with top 1% math ability can use that to get a prestigious degree which can then enable them to get hired into a prestigious career track, they won’t make much more money than any average person, and will probably make less than someone with average intelligence but who is extraverted and mean. Although people with high math ability create more value, their value is transferred to extraverted and agressive people who get paid more money as salesmen or as higher-level management.

The world of sales isn’t like that Chris Farley and David Spade comedy. Those days are long gone. Sales people don’t make much money compared to engineers, and commission sales is one of the most grueling, difficult jobs ever, both psychologically and sometimes physically in terms of traveling and having to confront people that want nothing to do with what you’re selling.

The evidence, both anecdotal and statically, suggests Steve Hsu is right.

Let’s look at the data. According to indeed.com, a salesperson makes on average $50k a year. But a high-IQ profession such as a quant makes $130k. A programmer makes $80k. A systems analyst makes $73k. I rest my case.

Extraversion is useful when inquiring patrons about wanting fries with their burger or if they would like to upgrade to a grande coffee instead of the normal size. But in terms of getting rich, having superior cognitive ability is a worthwhile tradeoff for less extroversion. Society thinks so, too, and that’s why as much as the left wants to brand EQ as being more important than IQ, no one outside of the sphere of the cognitive dissident left is buying it. The liberals, the party of ‘science and reason’ as embodied by the ‘stoic coolness’ of John Stewart, become histrionic, hand-waving creationists when confronted with uncomfortable subjects that contradict their distorted worldview, such as race and IQ.

Being smart is better. Look around you – the people making all the money and getting notoriety, whether it’s in business, on Wall St., in technology, in the entertainment business, the people buying stocks and scooping up Bay Area homes, journalists like Ross Douthat, etc – all have at least above average IQs.

But those with only average ability have, in large, seen their real wages stagnate and job prospects shrivel up, while the wages for smarty professions such as programming, physics, and quantitative finance have surged since 2008. The average live on a knife’s edge of being unemployed and or getting a major illness and losing it all, and nothing can really be done about it because policy makers don’t really care and we’re powerless to change these tectonic economic forces that control our lives. Even stranger, this trend is a byproduct of an economy running optimally, which could explain why many politicians and economists appear indifferent, because to interfere with the free market is to meddle with evolution. The left says that if the middle class fails to participate in the recovery the economy could fail, but the data like five years of blowout profits & earnings and record high consumer spending suggests otherwise. This doesn’t make sense to many people, but that’s why this blog exists to help explain it.