PDA

View Full Version : Why are mathematicians so socially inept?

andyandy
14th July 2007, 03:14 AM
It does seem that as one moves up the echelons of maths ability that there is a greater and greater propensity for social maladjusts....

It seems so common (anecdotally at least) I was wondering if this was actually documented in scientific studies....

(also applicable to certain other areas within the greater "maths" umbrella (computing, engineering etc))

and if so what the reason for it would be;

Conferred ability from conditions that may affect social skills (eg. Ausperger's syndrone?)

Required higher level mathematical cognition actually requiring significant brain wiring differences (for want of a technical term :))

Individuals with poor social skills being attracted to maths because it doesn't require same levels of social interaction

Three ideas of the top of my head....

So is there actual scientific evidence to support this impression? If so, what are the reasons why?

Maths joke;

There are three mathematicians in a room, how can you tell which is the extrovert?

He's the one who'll be looking at your shoes when he speaks :D

*premeptive clarification;
*I'm not suggeting that all mathematicians are socially inept - there are I'm sure plenty of social butterflies out there*

Herzblut
14th July 2007, 03:22 AM
Maths joke;

There are three mathematicians in a room, how can you tell which is the extrovert?

He's the one who'll be looking at your shoes when he speaks :D
Haha!

Maths student waiting for elevator. Door opens, one mathematician is in the elevator.

Student: Is the elevator going up or down?

Mathematician: Yes! :D

Herzblut

PixyMisa
14th July 2007, 03:28 AM
It does seem that as one moves up the echelons of maths ability that there is a greater and greater propensity for social maladjusts....

It seems so common (anecdotally at least) I was wondering if this was actually documented in scientific studies....

(also applicable to certain other areas within the greater "maths" umbrella (computing, engineering etc))

and if so what the reason for it would be;

Conferred ability from conditions that may affect social skills (eg. Ausperger's syndrone?)
Certainly plausible.

Maths and maths-intensive fields require intense concentration and attention to patterns to excel, and that ability seems to be genetically correlated with Aspergers. One of my nephews was diagnosed as borderline-Aspergers, but he's a perfectly normal, healthy five-year-old... when you consider that his father's an industrial chemist by training and his mother's a computer programmer. (In fact, he acts exactly like his dad did at that age. It's hilarious to see them arguing about something. :D)

Required higher level mathematical cognition actually requiring significant brain wiring differences (for want of a technical term :))
Maybe, but that doesn't explain the differences you see in pre-school children. It certainly accounts for some part of lack of socialisation of adult mathematicians.

Individuals with poor social skills being attracted to maths because it doesn't require same levels of social interaction
No, I don't think that one works. People aren't attracted to maths unless they're naturally good at it; it's just too damn hard.

There are three mathematicians in a room, how can you tell which is the extrovert?

He's the one who'll be looking at your shoes when he speaks :D
:)

andyandy
14th July 2007, 03:30 AM
Haha!

Maths student waiting for elevator. Door opens, one mathematician is in the elevator.

Student: Is the elevator going up or down?

Mathematician: Yes! :D

Herzblut

:D

A doctor, a lawyer and a mathematician were discussing the relative merits of having a wife or a mistress. The doctor said: "It's better to have a wife because the sense of security lowers your stress and is good for your health." The lawyer said: "Surely a mistress is better; if you have a wife and want a divorce, you'll incur all sorts of legal problems." The mathematician said: "You're both wrong. It's best to have both, so that when your wife thinks you're with your mistress and your mistress thinks you're with your wife --- you can do some mathematics."

Jekyll
14th July 2007, 04:26 AM
:D

A doctor, a lawyer and a mathematician were discussing the relative merits of having a wife or a mistress. The doctor said: "It's better to have a wife because the sense of security lowers your stress and is good for your health." The lawyer said: "Surely a mistress is better; if you have a wife and want a divorce, you'll incur all sorts of legal problems." The mathematician said: "You're both wrong. It's best to have both, so that when your wife thinks you're with your mistress and your mistress thinks you're with your wife --- you can do some mathematics."

I think this is partly it, not switching off and continually thinking about a problem is often an asset in maths, but makes other people think you're a bit weird.
I had this conversation with someone who asked me to print something yesterday.

Them: How long will it take?
Me: Well it's order O(n^3), but it's got a small constant out the front and I can optimise it further. I've only tested it on toy problems, so I'm not really sure how well it will scale up though.
Them: .........
Me: Oh, you mean the printer. It's probably done.

Herzblut
14th July 2007, 04:57 AM
I think this is partly it, not switching off and continually thinking about a problem is often an asset in maths, but makes other people think you're a bit weird.

Carl Friedrich Gauss <Da Papa>

Gauss was an ardent perfectionist and a hard worker. There is a famous anecdote of Gauss being interrupted in the middle of a problem and told that his wife was dying. He is purported to have said, "Tell her to wait a moment 'til I'm through."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Friedrich_Gauss#Personality

Herzblut

cgallaga
14th July 2007, 05:48 AM
Any decent maths person knows there are three kinds of people, those who can count, and those who can't

ponderingturtle
14th July 2007, 06:22 AM
Any decent maths person knows there are three kinds of people, those who can count, and those who can't

No there are only 10 kinds of people in this world, those who understand base two number systems and those who do not.

nimzov
14th July 2007, 06:36 AM
(also applicable to certain other areas within the greater "maths" umbrella (computing, engineering etc))
Many chess players are also in that category.

nimzo

becomingagodo
14th July 2007, 08:29 AM
Sorry double post.

becomingagodo
14th July 2007, 08:32 AM
I think your just thinking of stereotypes as you could proberly take any career area and show people who are crazy. Art for example has Van Gogh and others. Dentist I heard the sucide rate was biggest among dentist, however I don't know if this is true. See the vast majourity of mathematician are proberly normal. If you get people like Gauss as example then yes you could argue that mathematician are weird, however Gauss was not a normal mathematician.

This is wrong also because in Garry Kasparov book he said that their are roughly about four people who could be considered weird in chess, he then said the vast majourity was normal. If take example like Bobby Fisher and Alkehine then you could argue chess players are social poor.

Their are alot of mathematicians, statically speaking their would be some weird people.

PixyMisa
14th July 2007, 09:22 AM
The point isn't that there are some weird mathematicians, the point is that weirdness correlates with excellence at something like 0.8.

nimzov
14th July 2007, 11:25 AM
This is wrong also because in Garry Kasparov book he said that their are roughly about four people who could be considered weird in chess, he then said the vast majourity was normal. If take example like Bobby Fisher and Alkehine then you could argue chess players are social poor.
Was Kasparov talking about the "elite" of chess players ? Then 4 weirds out of 20-50 top chess players seems quite a lot to me. To Alekhine and Fischer we could add Steinitz, Morphy, Pillbury, Torre, Rubinstein...

Of course my perception could be wrong but my experience in playing hundreds of tournaments and thousands of hours in chess clubs and cafés and an official for a chess federation, says otherwise. But I agree that the majority are "regular" and not weird people.

Sorry. I did not want to derail the thread which is about mathematicians.

nimzo

andyandy
14th July 2007, 12:12 PM
Was Kasparov talking about the "elite" of chess players ? Then 4 weirds out of 20-50 top chess players seems quite a lot to me. To Alekhine and Fischer we could add Steinitz, Morphy, Pillbury, Torre, Rubinstein...

Of course my perception could be wrong but my experience in playing hundreds of tournaments and thousands of hours in chess clubs and cafés and an official for a chess federation, says otherwise. But I agree that the majority are "regular" and not weird people.

Sorry. I did not want to derail the thread which is about mathematicians.

nimzo

I think there is a good overlap with maths ability and chess ability - perhaps this is due to the brain's training at spending long periods of time in non-linguistic thinking.....

is it that socially maladjusted types are attracted to chess as a social outlet (as "social" as sitting in silence for 3 hours across a table can be :)) or is it something more innate?

in my opinion most people could be trained up to reach average club level, but as soon as you get beyond that then i think there is something of a glass ceiling. Certainly when you get to masters and grandmasters levels, both in terms of memory capacity and spatial ability to visualise the board several moves ahead, it seems you need a special kind of brain....

interesting question....

JJM 777
14th July 2007, 01:13 PM
It does seem that as one moves up the echelons of maths ability that there is a greater and greater propensity for social maladjusts....

and if so what the reason for it would be;
Being the son of a Professor of Mathematics, I take the freedom to throw an opinion or two into this discussion...

Individuals with poor social skills being attracted to maths because it doesn't require same levels of social interaction
You cannot "be drawn to math", at least what comes to higher levels of math education. Either you have the talent or then you don't. (Those who have the talent, have the freedom to use the talent for math or for other logical thinking processes, which are abundantly available in all fields of science.)

There naturally are different levels of "mathematical talent", just like there are different levels of IQ, according to the bell curve from retarded to genius. A person born retarded or average cannot possibly become an exceptional genius in later life. IQ and math talents are relatively stable throughout one's lifetime.

Conferred ability from conditions that may affect social skills (eg. Ausperger's syndrone?)
I think you are barking at the wrong tree here, at least to some extent.

The most incredible mathematical talents in simple tasks, such as memorizing numbers, have been observed mostly in autist children, hardly ever in psychologically healthy persons. Such persons are usually mentally retarded to some extent, while one part of the brain is performing outstandingly (at least in very simple tasks, which don't require problem-solving or creative thinking).

What comes to such persons who are likely to become Professors or Doctors of any science (math, physics, etc.), they would seldom be mentally retarded or disadvantaged in any way. Yet they might be socially much more passive than the average mass of university students.

Depending on the individual and his life history, there are a number of explanations for such behaviour of the most talented logical thinkers:

Having a remarkably high IQ, the person would be on the mental level of older adults (post-partying stage), while his peers are still in the partying stage. Not being equally enthusiastic about partying as his peers, he would be easily labelled as a "nerd" -- even though his behaviour and attitudes would be perfectly normal for the age group on whose mental level he already is.

Another possibility is that the person looks at the entire world from a wider perspective, concentrating his thoughts on more profound issues (possibly his research topics, politics, human rights, philosophy etc.), and paying less attention to the small finesses of social behaviour. When his peers start a discussion about football or weather or the latest television programs, this superbly talented thinker would be quiet and seemingly unsociable, not because of lack of ability to converse, but a lack of any interest in the silly topic.

My general observation is that intelligent people tend to be less talkative than average persons, and the most talkative persons seem to be often slightly retarded. I personally know one man who is nicknamed "radio" because he talks and talks and talks, all the time. He simply thinks aloud while others think in silence. He is slightly retarded (I would guess an IQ around 80), but extremely sociable and pleasant, if you don't have to spend a very long time in his company.

nimzov
14th July 2007, 01:31 PM
The most incredible mathematical talents in simple tasks, such as memorizing numbers, have been observed mostly in autist children, hardly ever in psychologically healthy persons.

I am not sure about that.

Most of the record holders of pi memorisation are not autistics or savants. I know Simon Plouffe who held the record at 4096 in 1975 and he is a regular person not autistic.

http://www.recordholders.org/en/list/memory.html

The actual record is 83,431.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asi...ic/4644103.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4644103.stm)

nimzo

nimzo

andyandy
14th July 2007, 01:49 PM
You cannot "be drawn to math", at least what comes to higher levels of math education. Either you have the talent or then you don't. (Those who have the talent, have the freedom to use the talent for math or for other logical thinking processes, which are abundantly available in all fields of science.)

I agree to some extent, but this misses out the good at maths/good at non-maths subset....

Individual A could be talented at more than one discipline and yet be drawn towards maths because of their social disposition - thus giving a skewed picture - that is to say there may be lots of individuals with high functioning maths ability who are not in the maths pool (as it were) because of their greater social skills....and so the pool of students is not representative of those with maths ability.

What comes to such persons who are likely to become Professors or Doctors of any science (math, physics, etc.), they would seldom be mentally retarded or disadvantaged in any way. Yet they might be socially much more passive than the average mass of university students.

high functioning autism such as Ausperger's is not "retardation" though at least with regards to mathematical ability....

Having a remarkably high IQ, the person would be on the mental level of older adults (post-partying stage), while his peers are still in the partying stage. Not being equally enthusiastic about partying as his peers, he would be easily labelled as a "nerd" -- even though his behaviour and attitudes would be perfectly normal for the age group on whose mental level he already is.

Another possibility is that the person looks at the entire world from a wider perspective, concentrating his thoughts on more profound issues (possibly his research topics, politics, human rights, philosophy etc.), and paying less attention to the small finesses of social behaviour. When his peers start a discussion about football or weather or the latest television programs, this superbly talented thinker would be quiet and seemingly unsociable, not because of lack of ability to converse, but a lack of any interest in the silly topic.

My general observation is that intelligent people tend to be less talkative than average persons, and the most talkative persons seem to be often slightly retarded. I personally know one man who is nicknamed "radio" because he talks and talks and talks, all the time. He simply thinks aloud while others think in silence. He is slightly retarded (I would guess an IQ around 80), but extremely sociable and pleasant, if you don't have to spend a very long time in his company.

interesting suggestions :)

jimbob
14th July 2007, 02:05 PM
Paul Erdős (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Erdős)

I would put him in the box of frogs category.

I think I heard James Crick saying that he got a nobel prize, because, unlike most male undergraduates, he only thought about girls 90% of the time not 99%. Success at that level usually* demands dedication, and probably obsession.

*unless you are Richard Feynman

kerikiwi
14th July 2007, 02:15 PM
Why are mathematicians so socially inept?

Please provide a mathematical proof that this claim is true.

TX50
14th July 2007, 02:21 PM
That's stereotypical thinking. There are asocial weirdos in all walks of life.

Dutchman
14th July 2007, 02:30 PM
Methinks there might be a wee bit of confirmation bias here

andyandy
14th July 2007, 02:57 PM
That's stereotypical thinking. There are asocial weirdos in all walks of life.

perhaps you could read the OP again;

It does seem that as one moves up the echelons of maths ability that there is a greater and greater propensity for social maladjusts....

It seems so common (anecdotally at least) I was wondering if this was actually documented in scientific studies....

This is just my opinion - i don't think it might be true because of the general sterotype but because of a good deal of anecdotal observation which happens to coincide with the general sterotype.

and in any case "asocial weirdos" is rather derogatory - there's a difference in looking at greater propensity for social maladjustment and labelling people "weirdos."

andyandy
14th July 2007, 03:02 PM
Why are mathematicians so socially inept?

Please provide a mathematical proof that this claim is true.

$$lim_{x \to c} = D$$

D= mathematical genius c=social ineptitude

:D

Herzblut
14th July 2007, 04:04 PM
I think there is a good overlap with maths ability and chess ability - perhaps this is due to the brain's training at spending long periods of time in non-linguistic thinking.....

andyandy, I am not sure about this. Looking at the shining icons of chess, I find only few coincidences:

Mikhail Botvinnik

(Maybe Max Euwe. But he is Dutch, so he doesn't count.) :D

Those guys also represent explicit non-weirdness according to our standards discussed here!

Regarding maths talent I've read it's often accompanied with musical talent.

Herzblut

andyandy
14th July 2007, 04:50 PM

this isn't especially relevant, but a fascinating paper on how negative sterotypes actually impact of students' test scores (people seem to fulfil negative expectations)

http://www.drl.tcu.edu/PoB/PoB_Lectures/social_cognition/stereotypes/Stereotype_Threat.pdf

they compared white male students who were given maths tests, one group told that they were going to be compared with Asian students (for which a positive sterotype exists), the control group didn't have the same "sterotype threat" - and thus performed significantly
better....

and this paper looks at correlation between genius and "madness"....

becomingagodo
15th July 2007, 06:08 AM
Was Kasparov talking about the "elite" of chess players ? Then 4 weirds out of 20-50 top chess players seems quite a lot to me. To Alekhine and Fischer we could add Steinitz, Morphy, Pillbury, Torre, Rubinstein...

Of course my perception could be wrong but my experience in playing hundreds of tournaments and thousands of hours in chess clubs and cafés and an official for a chess federation, says otherwise. But I agree that the majority are "regular" and not weird people.
Yeah, but they were in different generation, name one weird person today. Kasparov said in his biography that people try to psych other people out. Tal is a good example as people thought he was trying to hypnotize them when they were playing him at chess, however according to Kasparov he said Tal was no hypnotised. I don't know, maybe acting weird at chess makes the other player act differently or weaker.
and this paper looks at correlation between genius and "madness"....
I can't access PDF's, what is the conclusion. I always thought people with headaches where generally smarter then people without headaches, I think headaches may protect your memory. I read a paper on headaches protecting memory, however it said people with headaches are the same as people without headaches. Although saying that about 10% of people with headaches have a part of their brain get three times thicker then a normal person.

Oh yeah, male do better at maths generally, I wonder if it because females have better social skills. Evolutionary speaking it would make sense, however I not saying females are poor at maths, just most females are poor at maths.

Yiab
15th July 2007, 09:03 AM
I think it's not so much a correlation between mathematical ability and social ineptitude, I think it's a correlation between ability in a primarily creative field and social ineptitude. After all, there also seem to be similarly high frequencies of asociality among great composers, painters, philosophers and so on.

I think it only seems unusual among mathematicians since the essentially creative nature of higher level mathematics is often overlooked.

$$lim_{x \to c} = D$$

D= mathematical genius c=social ineptitude

:D

I think you mean $\lim_{x\to D}=c$

illogical
15th July 2007, 10:02 AM
Wir Mathematiker sind alle ein bisschen meschugge.

andyandy
15th July 2007, 10:26 AM
I think you mean $\lim_{x\to D}=c$

well, as a silly limit it works both ways;

the limit as x tends to total social ineptitude is genius

the limit as x tends to genius is total social ineptitude.

the second one is probably more appropriate - but it's not really a proof - just a joke :D

six7s
4th August 2007, 05:25 PM
I have worked with/for a few teenagers labelled autistic and/or aspergers and although I suspect that, sadly, none of them are likely to enter the upper echelons in any field, I have noticed a distinct (disproportional) tendency for such kids to find, in maths, a sense of calm and security that is (pretty much) completely unattainable elsewhere in their school lives

This (anecdotal) experience reminds me of the intro to Shakuntala Devi's 'Figuring: The Joy of Numbers' (1977 ISBN 0 233 96591 2)

At three I fell in love with numbers. It was sheer ecstasy for me to do sums and get the right answers. Numbers were toys with which I could play. In them I found emotional security; two plus two always made, and would always make, four – no matter how the world changed

N.B. My quoting her is not to imply that she is socially inept. Rather, I see her as being in the upper echelons of those able to reach the low-acheivers

http://www.indianetzone.com/5/shakuntala_devi.htm
In 1977 she extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally.

On June 18, 1980 she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers <snip/> picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London <snip/> found her a place in the Guinness book of World records.

Through her expertise she also motivates the young minds to discover the world of mathematics. She maintains that a child's curiosity and receptivity during infancy and childhood can never be matched, and we must nurture the young minds by offering the right learning process and motivation to develop the innate strengths possessed by every child.

Iamme
4th August 2007, 06:00 PM
Their are alot of mathematicians, statically speaking their would be some weird people.

But what qualifies one to be called a mathemetician?

The school teacher (who are probably the lion's share of what we'd call mathemeticians) who basically knows how to find problems in a book?,... or... the mad scientist type who is scrolling long equations day in and day out on a huge chaulk board?

I think the more a person is primarily focused in any endeavor and ranks up there as some genius in their chosen field will come across as being strange, and may have a harder time socializing with people that are not of what they perceive as their caliber. And another factor that may have to enter into this is if the person has to really work and concentrate at that profession.

Just a guess.

geni
4th August 2007, 06:14 PM
Yeah, but they were in different generation, name one weird person today.

Well Kasparov has retired but he appears to belive in Fomenko's New Chronology. Would that count?

blobru
4th August 2007, 09:03 PM
$$lim_{x \to c} = D$$

D= mathematical genius c=social ineptitude

:D

I think this is the relation you're after:

$$lim_{D \to x} = c$$

where x = the double chromosome :daphne:

My own 2 cents (with even less to back it up): social interaction demands -- beyond some familiarity with the territory -- an ability to think fast but not 'overthink', usually in a frenzied setting; academic work demands slow, careful thought, and re-thought, usually in a controlled setting. It's very hard for intellectuals of any age to get a knack for both, and some never do. ('course the same applies for jocks and calculus.)

andyandy
5th August 2007, 01:11 AM
I think this is the relation you're after:

$$lim_{D \to x} = c$$

where x = the double chromosome :daphne:

:D

PenguinWarrior
5th August 2007, 03:09 AM
As a former maths student, my first response was HEY! My second response is that genius and madness apparantly are genuinely linked, not just in maths but in general (actually much more so in the arts than in scientific realms) See:

http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=164902206

And as such the upper echelons of any creative endeavors are likely to have a much higher number of eccentrics than in the population in general (besides, genius is all about having thoughts that no-one else has had, so they are bound to be unusual thinkers, and it's no shock that this could cross over into unconventional social behaviour).

I think the reason that maths gets the abuse it does is that many people genuinely don't connect with it at all, and decide that people who do must be some way "other" and not interested in (or able to function in, for that matter) everyday social situations. I think JJM has some interesting thoughts too.

Personally, I did a maths degree as I was particularly good at maths at school level. Not having any particular career ambitions at the time, I thought it was as good a reason as any (actually, though I didn't notice any particular social-misfittism (not a word, I know) amongst my fellow maths students, I did notice a severe trend in that practically none of us had the slightest clue about what we wanted to do once we finished uni. The general trend was either A) Apply for anything vaguely mathsy and hope for the best B) Attempt to stay on in uni as long as possible and worry about it later or C) Take time off before considering it. I was a C) by the way.) So whilst we may not be social retards, we aren't exactly focused, driven and ambitious.

sphenisc
5th August 2007, 03:30 AM
Individuals with poor mathematical skills are attracted to other people as a way of dealing with their feelings of inadequacy.

illogical
5th August 2007, 03:51 AM
It does seem that as one moves up the echelons of maths ability that there is a greater and greater propensity for social maladjusts

i see you've met Terence.

illogical
5th August 2007, 03:53 AM
Individuals with poor mathematical skills are attracted to other people as a way of dealing with their feelings of inadequacy.

there's a strong anti-intellectual trend in America. this says more about the character of Americans than mathematicians.

six7s
5th August 2007, 04:14 AM
Individuals with poor mathematical skills are attracted to other people as a way of dealing with their feelings of inadequacy.
Do you: Have too many friends?
Have too much fun?
Get tired of being the life and soul of the party?
Lie awake at night fretting over the square root of negative one?

If you answered YES to any of these questions,
call 1-900-3.1415926 of visit www.nerd.com/i-need-to-be-duller/index.html (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-sociopath.htm)
for your free introductory offer to a world of logarithms, exponents and an array of other infintessimally dull functions

homer
5th August 2007, 04:39 AM
Find out what 'X' equals , how can you when it's always something different ?
The thing I find funny is the way folks will laugh and say ' I'm no good at math ' but would never say ' I'm no good at reading' .
I have some mathematical skills and so I'm going to put on my MP3 player and go for a walk by myself in the country and contemplate logarithms, complex numbers , Non- Euclidean geometry and other interesting stuff . Lacking Social skills I should say so .

Just thinking
5th August 2007, 07:30 AM
Why are mathematicians so socially inept?

Perhaps because so many of the general public are mathematically inept, and those good with math have only a limited tolerance of those that just don't get it --- ever. Especially when they can't grasp the most basic of math's principles after years of explanations and examples.

Big Les
5th August 2007, 08:11 AM
And that limited tolerance stems from...? But you have a point, in that most people never have to apply even their basic maths skills in everyday life, and don't find it intrinsically interesting.

But not all of us can help it. I am completely unable to grasp even the most basic aspects of mathematics, without very regular revision. I just can't handle the abstract concepts of numbers having meaning, and get this weird mental block, and feel really rather stupid even when I have to check my change. Damned annoying. So I might be biased, but anecdotally I agree that those good at maths tend towards social awkwardness and/or inappropriateness. Two of my good friends (very, very good mathematicians, and paid well for their skills) are by their own admission absolutely rubbish at social interaction. It's by no means exclusive to maths types, but as a generalisation does seem to stand. You can't have everything, after all.

Just thinking
5th August 2007, 08:20 AM
Well, my answer was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but with a hint of truth in there. Many folks tend to get annoyed at anyone who can't grasp what they feel is straightforward -- be it math or whatever. It's just that math is one of those socially acceptable areas where it's OK to be poor at understaning (using) it in complexity -- probably because it's all too common. (No offense.)

Big Les
5th August 2007, 08:23 AM
No, that's fair enough. I only get away with being so abominable at it because it is that common. That and a careful choice of career! I'm also guilty of pouring scorn on those who struggle with language, somewhat hypocritically.

Tumblehome
5th August 2007, 11:40 PM
Maybe we spoil some of our geniuses into social ineptitude in their formative years. Children who show exceptional talent in any field are usually regarded as special, and tend to be treated a little better. There'll be higher expectations placed on them in their particular field, but they can be protected from other character-developing experiences most of us get. A violin prodigy might be excused from playing sports, for example. And he might learn early on that he can get away with anti-social behaviour because of his "special" status.

SomeGuy
6th August 2007, 02:03 AM
I mostly disagree with the OP. I think his biggest error is perhaps to confuse achievement with (innate) ability. Having studied physics I've found that those who are focussed on their studies and later their research to the exclusion of social interaction are likely to easily outsucceed their more talented, but also more socially active peers.

The conclusion that people who devote themselves to their work at the expense of their social networking/interacting could be considered social maladjusts isn't that earthshattering.

Just thinking
11th August 2007, 11:55 AM
... A violin prodigy might be excused from playing sports, for example. And he might learn early on that he can get away with anti-social behaviour because of his "special" status.

And a sports prodigy might get away with ...

Tumblehome
11th August 2007, 12:21 PM
Anti-social behaviour because of his "special" status.