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Thread: Can someone have high IQ without having at least some Asperger traits ?

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Question Can someone have high IQ without having at least some Asperger traits ?

    Many if not most great geniuses in history are now thought to have had Asperger syndrome or High-functioning Autism. It all started with Norm Ledgin's book Diagnosing Jefferson, in which the author argues that Jefferson's behaviours matches the five diagnostic criteria for Asperger's: social impairment, preoccupation with "special interests," impairment in non-verbal communication, lack of emotional reciprocity, and inflexible adherence to non-functional routines. Since then many historical figures have been widely recognised as probably having had Asperger, including:

    In science, technology & industry

    - Isaac Newton
    - Charles Darwin
    - Thomas Edison
    - Nikola Tesla
    - Henry Ford
    - Carl Jung
    - Howard Hughes
    - Alan Turing
    - Bill Gates
    - Mark Zuckerberg

    In philosophy

    - Friedrich Nietzsche
    - Ludwig Wittgenstein
    - Bertrand Russell

    In the arts

    - Michelangelo
    - W.A. Mozart
    - Ludwig van Beethoven
    - Gustav Mahler
    - Richard Strauss
    - Vincent Van Gogh
    - Mark Twain
    - Wasily Kandinsky
    - Virginia Woolf
    - Andy Warhol
    - Marilyn Monroe
    - Alfred Hitchcock
    - Steven Spielberg
    - Bob Dylan
    - Robin Williams

    In politics

    - George Washington
    - Thomas Jefferson
    - Benjamin Franklin
    - Abraham Lincoln
    - Al Gore

    Here is a more extensive list.

    A lot of people still don't know what Asperger is, although Hollywood has popularised it a lot over the past decade, notably with series like The Big Bang Theory (Sheldon being the archetypical high-IQ Aspie), Community (Abed) and the brand new Silicon Valley.

    Signs of Asperger syndrome include:


    • Deeply interested in very focused interests, which he or she may be very knowledgeable about (and may want to talk about it all the time)
    • Have a formal style of speaking that is advanced for his or her age (as children)
    • Problem socialising
    • Difficulty in communicating. Interpret language literally.
    • Does not pick up on social cues and may lack inborn social skills, such as being able to read others' body language, start or maintain a conversation, and take turns talking
    • Unable to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of others' speech
    • Dislike any changes in routines
    • Appear to lack empathy
    • Have unusual facial expressions or postures
    • Avoid eye contact or stare at others
    • Have heightened sensitivity (notably to noise and light)
    • Delayed motor development and poor/slow handwriting


    Other traits can be found here.

    Many people only have a few of these traits and may not have Asperger. In fact, most people with Asperger inherited different traits from each of their parents, who would not have been Aspies themselves.

    Asperger and autism have been found to be much more prevalent among the children of couples who both work in the high-tech industry or in scientific jobs, notably in the Silicon Valley. This is because autistic traits have a genetic basis and are generally linked to intellectual traits associated with scientific minds and higher intelligence or creativity.

    Autistic children were found to have more neurons than non-autistic ones. This is probably what causes the sensory overload, social anxiety, but also the heightened perception, imagination, creativity and intelligence.

    Therefore, is it really possible for any exceptionally gifted people (think IQ > 150) not to have any Asperger or autistic traits ? I cannot think of any example right now. Please discuss.


    Note that many Aspies have co-occurring disorders like OCD, ADHD and bipolar disorder, although these traits are more linked to emotions than perception, communication or intellect.
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    In general, I agree with what you've written, Maciamo, and thinking of some of these people as being somewhere on the Asperger's spectrum makes it easier to understand their personalities. However, I am surprised to see Carl Jung and Bertrand Russell on these lists. They were both highly intelligent individuals and I think their continuing influence on modern society is not fully appreciated by most people. However, both Jung and Russell had a wide range of interests and had personalities that were frequently (although not always) able to demonstrate flexibility and empathy and they were both capable of maintaining romantic relationships and numerous friendships. That doesn't seem to me to indicate an "Aspie" type of personality. There are a few people not on the list who I would have included, such as Sigmund Freud.

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    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    In general, I agree with what you've written, Maciamo, and thinking of some of these people as being somewhere on the Asperger's spectrum makes it easier to understand their personalities. However, I am surprised to see Carl Jung and Bertrand Russell on these lists. They were both highly intelligent individuals and I think their continuing influence on modern society is not fully appreciated by most people. However, both Jung and Russell had a wide range of interests and had personalities that were frequently (although not always) able to demonstrate flexibility and empathy and they were both capable of maintaining romantic relationships and numerous friendships. That doesn't seem to me to indicate an "Aspie" type of personality. There are a few people not on the list who I would have included, such as Sigmund Freud.
    Some Aspies can have a very wide range of interests. What is required genetically to increase the diversity of interests are genes for novelty-seeking. There are already many variants known in serotonin receptors (like DRD4) or dopamine transporters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Some Aspies can have a very wide range of interests. What is required genetically to increase the diversity of interests are genes for novelty-seeking. There are already many variants known in serotonin receptors (like DRD4) or dopamine transporters.
    Okay, I didn't know that. I guess I can't believe everything Wikipedia has to say about Asperger's Syndrome.

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    Having thought about it, I still don't see Jung or Russell as having any traits, other than high intelligence, that would indicate they had Asperger's Syndrome. However, to me, the philosopher Immanuel Kant seems to have been a typical Aspie.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Alot of powerful and famous people seem kind of crazy. It makes sense because people who are a little "crazy" or abnormal are unique, and have special talents and can focus their strength on things others can't. Would you say Hitler, Mussolini, and other 20th century revolutionist had these traits. Obama kind of reminds me of some of these traits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Haired14 View Post
    Alot of powerful and famous people seem kind of crazy. It makes sense because people who are a little "crazy" or abnormal are unique, and have special talents and can focus their strength on things others can't. Would you say Hitler, Mussolini, and other 20th century revolutionist had these traits. Obama kind of reminds me of some of these traits.
    That's a really foolish comment, IMO. Please educate yourself about the mess your previous president made, and the work that the current one has done to save your country from economic collapse. Your president Obama's main problem is that he's been too timid and mainstream to make the moves necessary to really get your country back on the right path. He could have instituted a minimum tax on the rich, raised minimum wage and tried to create the beginnings of a national health care system that didn't involve private insurers, but he tried to appease people who hate him because of his race and his commitment to democracy. That's a bit off topic, and your current president shows no sign of having Asperger's or any other unusual characteristics. He just wants to be liked and can't accept the fact that he's in the wrong job for a people pleaser.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    That's a really foolish comment, IMO. Please educate yourself about the mess your previous president made, and the work that the current one has done to save your country from economic collapse. Your president Obama's main problem is that he's been too timid and mainstream to make the moves necessary to really get your country back on the right path. He could have instituted a minimum tax on the rich, raised minimum wage and tried to create the beginnings of a national health care system that didn't involve private insurers, but he tried to appease people who hate him because of his race and his commitment to democracy. That's a bit off topic, and your current president shows no sign of having Asperger's or any other unusual characteristics. He just wants to be liked and can't accept the fact that he's in the wrong job for a people pleaser.
    I wasn't supporting or criticizing Obama. He's a powerful person, and I've seen similar traits in him as what Maciamo posted. Is saying Thomas Jefferson and Adolf Hitler had these traits, mean I think Thomas Jefferson was as evil as Hitler, no. It means I think both were powerful and may have have had similar personality traits.

    I was a little kid when Bush was President, and I know very little about him and Obama. I don't have much of an opinion about either. I don't have time to learn about all the aspects of politics because of school and it wouldn't be a good use of time.

    I do dislike the spheres and agendas that surround Obama and Bush. It's ridiculous that people support one or the other with emotion and agenda not logic. America has become split into two extremist mindsets, which I think is probably our biggest problem.

    From what I've heard on the news, there are multiple occasions where I dis agree with the way Obama deals with social issues. The fact Obama is having a meeting about race issues in America, with so called "civil rights" leaders, because of Ferguson, makes me skeptical of his honesty.

    He's an intelligent man, he knows the truth. He knows there's no way to prove racism was involved in the murder of Brown, and that the physical evidence suggests Wilson is innocent of wrongfully murdering Brown. He also knows this story has been blown out of proportion, by people who go by the label "anti-racist", but are actually encouraging a racial and ideology divide in America.

    But those people were a big help in him becoming President, and he doesn't want to lose their support. That's dishonest and corrupt. But I guess you have to be dishonest to be successful.

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    Now you're being deceptive, Fi. In your previous post, you compared your president to Hitler and Mussolini, not Jefferson. And when I say "educate yourself", I mean learn things like the annual unemployment rate and annual deficit rate during the month your last president was in power versus the most recent month for which statistics are available - you'll see that Obama had to clean up a huge mess that your last Republican president made, while being obstructed by other Republicans. And you may disapprove of civil rights and the concept of racial equality, but few people on this forum would agree with you on that issue. But please don't derail this interesting topic - your current president doesn't belong in this discussion unless you want to present arguments that he's an Aspie. He seems like a very smart man, although with some personal weaknesses such as a desire to be liked by his enemies, but I don't think that suggests he has Aspergers.

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    Aberdeen, you're miss interpreting me!! You should be hesitant when making conclusions about people.

    This thread is about intelligent people having asperger traits. I had noticed such traits in many powerful people, including Obama. It just happens I mentioned Hitler and Mussoloni along with him in that post. I wasn't saying he's some type of insane faciest. If anything I'm complementing Obama. What can't you understand about that?!! I thought anyone reading my post would be mature enough to know that.

    In another thread you admited to knowing little about the Ferguson situation. Ferguson has been blown out of proprotion, it cries there's a been a raciest act committed revealing separation in our country, but in reality the raciest act is forcing racism into it, and the people doing that are the real ones seperationg our country.

    I know Obama knows this. He knows what logic says about this situation. But he also knows the same people who encourage overemphasis on race all the time helped him become President and he can't lose their support. So he's ignoring logic and going to this conference. Using the Ferguson situation, Afro-centrics who call themselves civil rights leaders, etc. won't solve any raciest issues in America, it'll make them worse.

    I mentioned that because It's happening right now. Don't twist my words to make it appear I'm unjustly hating on Obama.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Haired14 View Post
    Aberdeen, you're miss interpreting me!! You should be hesitant when making conclusions about people.

    This thread is about intelligent people having asperger traits. I had noticed such traits in many powerful people, including Obama. It just happens I mentioned Hitler and Mussoloni along with him in that post. I wasn't saying he's some type of insane faciest. If anything I'm complementing Obama. What can't you understand about that?!! I thought anyone reading my post would be mature enough to know that.

    In another thread you admited to knowing little about the Ferguson situation. Ferguson has been blown out of proprotion, it cries there's a been a raciest act committed revealing separation in our country, but in reality the raciest act is forcing racism into it, and the people doing that are the real ones seperationg our country.

    I know Obama knows this. He knows what logic says about this situation. But he also knows the same people who encourage overemphasis on race all the time helped him become President and he can't lose their support. So he's ignoring logic and going to this conference. Using the Ferguson situation, Afro-centrics who call themselves civil rights leaders, etc. won't solve any raciest issues in America, it'll make them worse.

    I mentioned that because It's happening right now. Don't twist my words to make it appear I'm unjustly hating on Obama.
    More double talk and nonsense, and it's taking this thread off topic. Putting you back on "ignore".

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    You have no right to act righteous in this situation and treat me like I'm a bigoted, idiotic, nuisance. If you were the more mature person in this situation, you would admit your fault. But time and time again you've proven to me you're child in a man's body.

    If you're only reason to be upset at me is you miss interpreted my posts, and that I criticized Obama(after you made an assumption about my politic believes, I had to tell you), then you're in the wrong.

    I made no insult towards Barak Obama. What can't you understand about that? You miss interpreted me, end of story.

    Now you're claiming I sent the thread off topic? You're the one who went off topic!!

    I was making the simple statement that Obama, Hitler, and Mussolini appear to have traits associated with intelligent people(post). That was totally on subject. I never said Obama was evil in a similar way. You assumed I did, which is bad reasoning.

    Then you took the thread off subject by miss interpreting me, began debating about Obama's worthiness as President(mentioning Bush, economy, etc,, which I never did).(post)

    I then corrected you, claimed I had little opinion on Obama and Bush, then said the only issue I understand in America is a social one and described how I think Obama doesn't deal with it correctly.(post)

    If you can't handle this truth, because I'm a little abrasive then you have a lot of growing up to do. Look outside your own esteem and think logically. The facts are you miss interpreted me and lead the thread off subject

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    Sarcastic and witty insults, ignoring the obvious truth, trying to get on my nerves, and trying to appear to be the reasonable civilized person won't win the argument for you. BTW, I know that's your favorite strategy.

    I'm abrasive because I'm angry and because I was polite at first(post) but you didn't listen.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    I missed this thread and only found it thanks to Firehaired being in a bad mood....

    Can someone have high IQ without having at least some Asperger traits? I`m not sure we could answer that unless we find a large number of people who actually have a very high IQ and test to see if they show positive for such traits. I`m going to say there would be a good chance they would, however.

    On another note, where might we place someone like Richard Feynman? He was something of a genius, didn`t speak a word until he was three years old, but claimed to have tested to have IQ 125...
    There is a video floating around on YouTube of a four year old who has been accepted into MENSA testing with an IQ equivalent to Einstein, I wonder if he has any traits? On the video he seems a typical four year old.

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    I heard in TV that Autistic(Asperger) people have more synapses in Neurons than the others.
    Also I study automation systems, and artificial neural networks,
    the neural networks that have many synapses are a little problematic, they are working better as "memory",
    but after the training of neural networks (that have many synapses) for one purpose
    they can not be used for similar purposes,
    for that reason they can not be used as "automatic Controllers".


    So the Autistic brain is working as "Video recorder".
    And a Genius brain is somewhere between the Autistic and Common brain.

    <<Less synapses ---------------- More synapses>>
    Stupid<<Common<<Genius>>Asperger>>Autistic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Haired14 View Post
    Alot of powerful and famous people seem kind of crazy. It makes sense because people who are a little "crazy" or abnormal are unique, and have special talents and can focus their strength on things others can't. Would you say Hitler, Mussolini, and other 20th century revolutionist had these traits. Obama kind of reminds me of some of these traits.
    You don't seem to know much about Asperger Syndrome. People with Asperger are typically introverted and suffer from social anxiety, partly caused by sensory overload when too many people are around, or when a place is too noisy. It is therefore very doubtful that an Aspie would become an extravagant political leader making grand, impassioned speeches in front of tens of thousands of people, as Hitler and Mussolini did.

    Typical Aspies are reclusive scientists and artists, not hypersocial political leaders. There are a few statesmen in the list above, but people like Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin were more thinkers than politicians, and lived in an place and age when politics was the prerogative of the upper classes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    On another note, where might we place someone like Richard Feynman? He was something of a genius, didn`t speak a word until he was three years old, but claimed to have tested to have IQ 125...
    Einstein also didn't speak until he was three and did not become fluent until he was nine. Delayed speech is one of the traits that distinguishes high-functioning autism from Asperger. Aspies usually have better language skills than average (and also speak more formally).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Einstein also didn't speak until he was three and did not become fluent until he was nine. Delayed speech is one of the traits that distinguishes high-functioning autism from Asperger. Aspies usually have better language skills than average (and also speak more formally).
    That`s correct. So, what to make of Feynman, then? Apart from not speaking for first three years, he did not, to my knowledge at least, seem to show any other traits. I have watched his lectures on Youtube, he had a pattern of speech, but not necessarily formal or restraint as such, to my mind. He seems to have been very good socially but I think his wife did say he got nervous in social gatherings. He declared himself having only 125 IQ.. reasonable enough but not amazing.
    However he received the highest score in the country on the notoriously difficult Putmam competition exam, even though he had done no preparation in advance. He also [reportedly] has one of the highest scores on the graduate admission exam for Princeton. I think, the day he had his IQ tested was an off day...I suspect if tested at another point, it would have been greatly higher.
    Add to this he did, as you say have a well above average verbal ability. His maths ability...well we all know this was great.
    Last edited by hope; 11-12-14 at 08:17.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    You don't seem to know much about Asperger Syndrome. People with Asperger are typically introverted and suffer from social anxiety, partly caused by sensory overload when too many people are around, or when a place is too noisy. It is therefore very doubtful that an Aspie would become an extravagant political leader making grand, impassioned speeches in front of tens of thousands of people, as Hitler and Mussolini did.

    Typical Aspies are reclusive scientists and artists, not hypersocial political leaders. There are a few statesmen in the list above, but people like Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin were more thinkers than politicians, and lived in an place and age when politics was the prerogative of the upper classes.
    Hitler was not "hypersocial" at all, but the contrary, he was described as socially awkward, and couldn't make profound friendships due to his difficulty to connect with other people. Also he had other Asperger traits, such as making almost professional looking architectural plans and designs, taking it in a serious manner but without a real purpose, only for his self enjoyment, or as described when he was young, he could like a girl, and think she already knew all about him, even though they never talked to each other (asperger trait not being able to imagine what the other person may be thinking and feeling).

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