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Thread: Prisoners of Intelligence

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    Prisoners of Intelligence

    Unz Review

    What happens when above average and below average ability people have to deal with each other?

    Specifically, how will they interact when potentially both are able to gain from the exchange? It seems obvious that they should cooperate, and extract the greatest amount of mutual gain, but does this really happen in situations where there are also gains to be made from not cooperating?

    How do bright and dull cope with each other now, in ordinary life, particularly when they cannot all meet face to face, but have to deal with the consequences of each other’s behaviours. Do these two groups understand each other, or are they always at loggerheads, doomed to perpetual conflict? Why can’t we all get along with each other?

    I never say of any book that it has changed my life. People and events have changed my life, but books have only changed my mind. Robert Axelrod’s 1990 “The evolution of co-operation” was one such book. He wondered how co-operation could emerge in a world of self-seeking egoists – whether superpowers, businesses, or individuals – when there was no central authority to police their actions. I enjoyed his analysis of Prisoner’s Dilemma competitions, and the simplicity of “Tit for Tat”, which turned out to be the winning strategy. Start by cooperating, then do unto others as they do unto you.

    The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a conceptual game in which two people accused of a crime are held separately, and each is told that if they implicate the other they will be set free. Clearly, if both keep quiet they both will be released for lack of evidence, but the sting is that the person who cooperates with the Police gets sets free and the other denounced person serves a long time behind bars. If there is solidarity among criminals then both will keep quiet and each will be released. If either one breaks, then the other is heavily punished. If prisoners doubt each other, both may denounce each other, to their profound mutual disadvantage.

    It is a long time since I looked at the literature on this game, but decades ago I think no-one bothered to research whether intelligence made a difference. Experimentalists rarely considered this possibility. Now a team have looked at this, with very interesting results, which may have wide application. They studied how intelligence and personality affected the outcomes of games, focusing on repeated interactions that provide the opportunity for profitable cooperation.

    Intelligence, personality and gains from cooperation in repeated interactions.
    Journal of Political Economy (2019).

    This is a very interesting and complex paper, and I have left out any consideration of the other games they have tested, and the further neuro-scanning measures they took of participants while playing games, which reveal that intelligent people showed more brain activity, presumably as they worked on the different strategies required for optimal cooperation. I will mention their personality measures in passing, because the intelligence differences were the most significant.

    Rest at the above link. I have not read the document they refer too. However the article made me think of an other study that showed that people with a higher intelligence are more likely to delay gratification of desires (time preference). Or at least it was referred to in either the bell curve or in one of the books of Hans-Hermann Hoppe. So the results that those with a high IQ are more likely to play cooperative in comparison with the densa-members are hardly surprising for me.
    The sense of honor is of so fine and delicate a nature that
    it is only to be met with in minds which are naturally noble or
    cultivated by good examples and a refined education.
    - Sir Richard Steele

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