Here are some excerpts from two very provocative articles by Satoshi Kanazawa. (Psychology Today Blogs):
I believe evolutionary psychology is key to uncovering the origin of individual preferences and values.
The Savanna Principle states that the human brain has difficulty comprehending and dealing with entities and situations that did not exist in the ancestral environment. The theory of the evolution of general intelligence suggests that general intelligence evolved as a domain-specific psychological adaptation to solve evolutionarily novel problems. Their logical conjunction suggests a qualification of the Savanna Principle and leads to a new hypothesis about individual preferences and values.
If general intelligence evolved to deal with evolutionarily novel problems, then the human brain’s difficulty in comprehending and dealing with evolutionarily novel entities and situations (proposed in the Savanna Principle) should interact with general intelligence, such that the Savanna Principle holds stronger among less intelligent individuals than among more intelligent individuals. More intelligent individuals should be better able to comprehend and deal with evolutionarily novel (but not evolutionarily familiar) entities and situations than less intelligent individuals.
Thus the Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis (hereafter “The Hypothesis” in this blog) suggests that less intelligent individuals have greater difficulty than more intelligent people with comprehending and dealing with evolutionarily novel entities and situations that did not exist in the ancestral environment. In contrast, general intelligence does not affect individuals’ ability to comprehend and deal with evolutionarily familiar entities and situations that existed in the ancestral environment.
In other words, smarter people are better at solving complicated, new problems, but they are no better than less intelligent people when they're dealing with simple, familiar problems. In fact, they may be worse at dealing with simpler, common sense problems. This is the subject of the second Kanazawa article, If Liberals are More Intelligent Than Conservatives Why Are Liberals So Stupid?.
While it is consistent with the prediction of the Hypothesis, the conclusion in my previous post that liberals are on average more intelligent than conservatives may not resonate with most people’s daily observations and experiences. If they are more intelligent, why are liberals – especially those in Hollywood and academia – so much more likely than conservatives to say and do stupid things and hold incredulous beliefs and ideas that stretch credibility?
Bruce G. Charlton, Professor of Theoretical Medicine at the University of Buckingham and Editor in Chief of Medical Hypotheses, may have an explanation. In his editorial in the December 2009 issue of Medical Hypotheses, Charlton suggests that liberals and other intelligent people may be “clever sillies,” who incorrectly apply abstract logical reasoning to social and interpersonal domains. As I explain in an earlier post, general intelligence – the ability to think and reason – likely evolved as a domain-specific evolved psychological mechanism to solve evolutionarily novel problems, whereas, for all evolutionarily familiar problems, there are other dedicated evolved psychological mechanisms. Everyone – intelligent or not – is evolutionarily equipped with the ability to solve such evolutionarily familiar problems in the social and interpersonal domains as mating, parenting, social exchange, and personal relationships, with the other evolved psychological mechanisms. Charlton suggests that the totality of all the other evolved psychological mechanisms (except for general intelligence) represents what we normally call “common sense.” Everyone has common sense. Intelligent people, however, have a tendency to overapply their analytical and logical reasoning abilities derived from their general intelligence incorrectly to such evolutionarily familiar domains and as a result get things wrong. In other words, liberals and other intelligent people lack common sense, because their general intelligence overrides it.
Of course, dumb people have always known this about smart people; they just couldn't explain it as well as Kanazawa.