Why Is There A Stereotype That Highly Intelligent People Are Socially Inept?

I know tons of highly intelligent people and some geniuses too but none of them are socially awkward or "weird". My neighbor has a Ph. D. in physics from Stanford but he has a good sense of humor just like other people. Why are geniuses portrayed as socially awkward?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • It's a stereotype to comfort to less fortunate people, like athletes or very good looking people being stupid. People who didn't win the genetic lottery would like to believe there is a kind of compensation for getting shortchanged.

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What Guys Said 21

  • It's really because intelligent people are stuck in their head. Being in your head in social situations is shitty. You overthink of what to say and how to say it. You worry about approval seeking so much that you stifle yourself. You hide your genuine self to others because of your habit of thinking.

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  • I guess because they've kept their heads in a book their whole life so much to the point where they forgot to go outside and socialize maybe?

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  • Some studies have shown that those with higher IQs are more prone to mental illness.
    One in three professors is on the autsim spectrum.

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  • People who are extremely intelligent are almost on a different level of conciousness. They perceive and experience the world differently from most which can make it hard for them to relate to most of their peers.

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  • 'cause most are unbelievably awkward. This professor has probably been working on his stage presence. Seeing how he lectures in front of large crowd of people. Once you start hanging around the STEM majors at College you'll see it's a common trait.

    Even the girls in Engineering are super awkward, it's kinda hilarious.

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    • All 4 of my brothers are engineers and my dad is a physics professor but they have good social skills. Yes, I do know of a few insanely genius people with no social skills but they are outliers.

    • well see, that's not a fair sample. Sounds like your Dad's well adjusted and happen to raise 4 engineers in the family (which is impressive). Try this, after finals those Physics/App. Phys kids have these Robotic competitions or something similar. It's usually open for everyone on campus. Those guys are usually very awkward.

  • from all the movies that portray them that way like professor brown from back to the future he was smart but always seemed to be awkwardly out of place with everything he wore and said etc.

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  • I think it's because they have spent so much time studying and with school that it's affected their social life greatly and therefor are awkward in social situations. I'm sure there's some truth to it as well as exceptions.

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  • Because it is true. I have an IQ in the top 2 per cent of the bell curve and I have been socially inept my whole life.
    Close relatives refer to me as Sheldon, in a reference to the character in the Big Bang Theory television series.

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  • Movies, society, media etc, the usual suspects.

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  • A lot of people are socially awkward. Some of them are very smart. The nerd who is a physics professor is more likely to be noticed than the one who digs irrigation ditches.

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  • having a Ph. D. doesn't make you a genius it just means you went to collage that long a lot of actual geniuses are recluses that hide in their room creating/studying or doing as they please.

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  • intelligence comes in many forms but the type you're talking about is the science based logical thinkers. Social stuff doesn't have logic to it. Not really. So it's hard for them to understand.

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  • They actually tend to be.

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  • Yes there is, but it is most often the opposite. Social aptitude reflects intelligence.

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  • Because they usually are.

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  • A lot of them ARE legit weird. But I don't think they care.

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  • is that still a thing?

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  • Statistically, they lean in that direction so naturally a stereotype forms.

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  • Why is his sense of humor good?

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  • Because it's true.

    Exhibit A: Moi

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  • There are stereotypes about nearly everything.

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What Girls Said 7

  • Mostly, you just don't notice the ones who AREN'T socially inept.
    LOL

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    However...
    There IS a measure of truth to this.

    Lots of "book-smart" people have THE WORST kind of arrogance / superiority complex. If you find someone who walks around declaring that he/she has a "high IQ", then, ALMOST INVARIABLY, that person will be absolutely insufferable, and will have very few friends.

    Think about it.

    See, ok, there are lots of arrogant people out there -- and plenty of them are socially successful, to some degree, too.
    BUT... when you see someone who's socially successful despite her/his arrogance, usually, the arrogance actually comes from something that has to do with interacting with people. (Like, the person might be arrogant because she/he is exceptionally good-looking, or rich, or politically connected, or... SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY COUNTS FOR SOMETHING SOCIALLY.)

    The difference with "high IQ" is that it counts for NOTHING socially.

    The socially inept "intelligent" people, more often than not, are NOT the ones who are shy. (People don't refer to shy people as "socially inept." There are people who regard shyness as a problem, but they talk about it in different terms, and they don't relate it to "intelligence.")
    Nope. They're the soi-disant "geniuses" who have an attitude / superiority complex about their book-smarts, and who think the world owes them something for being soooo "smart".
    Fuck that noise. Get off yr ass and DO something with those "smarts", and then you'll find that you'll suddenly have a lot of friends. (These people are ALWAYS underachievers, too... ALWAYS.)

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    You'll see this perhaps at its most pronounced with people who go into academia, because lots and lots of people go into academia to avoid The Big Bad Real World.

    With tenure becoming a thing of the past, this is... less of a thing, these days, from what my friends' kids tell me. (I. e., there aren't as many insufferable know-it-all professors walking around who'll grade you down just for disagreeing with them... at least among younger professors. From what I hear.)
    But it's still a thing.

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  • They can be... But not always. I do find though that A LOT of "geniuses" of some kind have some kind of mental disorder like asperger's or ADHD, some kind of autism, or well other mental disorders.
    Either way even Aristoteles far back in ancient Greece states “There is no genius without having a touch of madness.”

    As for highly intelligent people, most in school tend to be more socially awkward than there are outgoing intelligent people.

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  • They are borderline austistic or asperger

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  • Who knows. I feel like because of the way the media portrays them. Just because you can memorize something and pass a test doesn't make you smart in my opinion, there's a lot more to it including social intelligence

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  • I think it's the other way around that socially inept people are portrayed as highly intelligent

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  • I don't know I'm a victim of awkwardness when it comes to socializing with many people, I get panic attacks, and I have stage fright! But whenever I'm on stage, or have to do my thing I kill it. :)

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  • Some of them are smart but clueless about the real world

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