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An Interview with Graham Powell on Cognitive Limitations, WIN ONE Content, “Leonardo” and Sidis, and AtlantIQ Society (Part Three)

May 22, 2019

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 20.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Sixteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain:

Individual Publication Date: May 22, 2019

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,094

ISSN 2369-6885


Graham Powell is the Editor of WIN ONE. He discusses: cognitive and written content in WIN ONE; English as a second language, intelligence, and other barriers to some content; mental attributes tied to higher intelligence; Text Editor for Leonardo of AtlantIQ Society (WIN registered) work; the (Joint) Public Relations Officer for WIN, and the Vice President of the AtlantIQ Society, work; most exhausting and try parts of the jobs; most rewarding aspects of the jobs; and intelligence and creativity.

Keywords: AtlantIQ Society, creativity, editor, Graham Powell, intelligence, IQ, language, WIN ONE, World Intelligence Network.

An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s dig deeper into the form of thought represented in the written word with a focus on English in WIN ONE and then the differentiation of sigma levels. Mostly, adults will write for it. Therefore, the sigmas per individual will not fluctuate much. 

There may not exist a definitive metric in terms of the written word for some of the aforementioned reasons, by you, in Part Two of the interview. However, upper limits will exist on content complexity or cognitive load, for example, for lower sigmas. We can start there. 

What subject matter may be out of the cognitive reach of some in the community submitting to WIN ONE – not as a judgment of character or virtue, but, rather, a possible fact of life?

Graham Powell: I appreciate both your diplomacy and candour, Scott. It is indeed, not about virtue or about being judgemental regarding a person’s character. Previously, however, I said that philosophical texts, plus other articles and essays which have a highly mathematical content, distinguish the work produced by the high IQ community from other members of society. Both these types of text can get very complicated, even for people at the 2 sigma level above the mean IQ of the general population, the oft-quoted research by Hollingworth indicating that a 30 point gap between intelligence scores is likely to present an impenetrable barrier to cognitive understanding. Secondly, research by Dean Keith Simonton brings into question the level of creativity that can be gained at higher intelligence levels, the mode of expression and need for intricacy in both detail and precision being too much for many people with very high IQs to deviate from. So, though very high IQ people will probably understand highly creative content, they will not be as good at producing it, and perhaps restrictively critical of the content that is produced. To further illustrate my first point, “Being and Time”, “Sein und Zeit”, by Heidegger presents an ardent challenge to even the most intelligent of individuals, so any further discussion and extension of Heidegger’s concepts and conclusions is likely to be incomprehensible to many readers, including WIN ONE readers and contributors; however, to put things more in perspective for your readers, Scott, the WIN is now open to people to join if they have an IQ from 115 SD15 and upwards. Some of the members of the WIN are leading proponents in their fields, so potentially they can produce work which is too specialized and, in colloquial terms, too esoteric for the majority to fully understand, or even relate to sufficiently – again, talking within the parameters that you state in the question.

2. Jacobsen: After a certain sigma, barring extenuating circumstances of a barrier to English as an understood language, what level of intelligence provides a general ability to comprehend all possible content reasonably published in WIN ONE?

Powell: It has been my experience that those within the three sigma range of IQ can fully understand the kind of content that is submitted. I remember statistics produced in 2010, which evaluated the average IQ within the World Intelligence Network, put it at around the 140 mark, SD 15, the original WIN which was conceived and created by Evangelos Katsioulis having a minimum IQ requirement stipulated by the CIVIQ Society, so at 3 Sigma, though by May 2010, other societies with lower IQ entrance requirements had joined the meta-society. Most contributions to the WIN ONE, in my experience, have been summaries with conclusions gained from that particular approach to subjects. New, wholly original written content, is not usually submitted, mainly because other avenues for that kind of material are preferred by WIN members – though I have assisted in producing that kind of work. Quintessentially, then, work of a complexity which is beyond the understanding of those within the 3rd Sigma level of IQ scores does not appear in the WIN ONE.

3. Jacobsen: Do any negative mental attributes positively, and statistically significantly, correlate with higher intelligence levels? When do these, if they exist, manifest to egregiously bad levels? Or is this an incorrect framing, where intelligence simply acts as an amplifier of regular human vices or negative traits?

Powell: Wow, Scott! That is a broad question which would require a substantial answer covering the equivalent of several theses; but I shall attempt to answer it as succinctly as possible, steering readers towards other sources which will give them further information on the issues.

Firstly, on a neurological level, the areas of the brain responsible for cognitive function have been found to have shorter axons and a myelin sheath which affords quicker responses. In fact, the notion of ‘a big brain’ does not usually correspond to actuality, the neurological structure of grey and white matter being more compact

In terms of mental attributes, the speed of response to impulses produces hypersensitivities which can be detrimental to a tranquil existence. Existential angst, as it is often termed, is a corollary of the deeper, more extensive analysis of what Heidegger named Dasein. Reading any of the biographies of one of the most famous people with a high IQ (perhaps a person who had the highest ever IQ) William James Sidis, will inform people interested in this topic. The Sidis family were prone to exaggeration, yet the core analysis of the life of William Sidis reveals a man of considerable talents, plus lamentable eccentricities and a tragically early death.

As for egregiously bad traits, well, these appear in all parts of society and not wholly due to intelligence levels, though the most common trait that I have experienced and consider lamentable is an overly inflated opinion concerning ability (most commonly cited at lower intelligence levels as the Dunning Kruger Effect, yet applicable to higher levels of cognitive ability too). It’s an unwise person who exhibits this effect within an environment where they are likely to have their limitations made apparent, something which often results in an exchange of insults and, as I have also experienced, a person deliberately creating some alternative profiles on-line to give the impression that others are fully backing up their claims.

Aside from this, autism, though not egregious in itself, of course, has a 25% positive correlation with higher cognitive abilities, according to research done in 2015 by Edinburgh University (so I read recently) especially amongst those who are classified with Asperger’s Syndrome. As a teacher, I always flagged up these youngsters in the class register, because, though I taught English and Drama, their perspective was likely to develop and be influenced greatly via their mathematical ability, plus evolve with some difficulty when they had trouble empathising with other opinions. In general, they tend to be reticent about expressing themselves as a result.

As for ‘framing’, as you express it, noting attributes as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ is open to interpretation, the positivist perspective on intelligence veering towards the phenomenological, or the Marxist. If someone perceives something to be real, it is real in its consequences, as a contemporary statement of the Thomas Theorem would have it. Intelligent people tend to question everything and not to take things for granted, nor register matters as eternally how the majority perceive them. This can be resented and be seen as ‘bad’ within the milieu of the majority, and, in history, I instantly think of Pythagoras, of Socrates, of, even, the ‘upstart’ Shakespeare and the watchmaker Harrison, the last example producing extraordinarily complex timepieces that revolutionized horology, yet upset the upper echelons of British society because he was, to put it simply, ‘not one of them’.

My research into group dynamics has also revealed that highly intelligent people tend not to work very well collectively compared with other more diversely comprised groups. Basically, having highly smart people gathered in a room will not necessarily produce the best results in every situation and discussion. In conclusion, then, I think both broad aspects to your line of inquiry are correct: intelligence in itself has negative traits and can amplify other detrimental factors in society as well.

4. Jacobsen: As the Text Editor for Leonardo of AtlantIQ Society (WIN registered), what have been notable projects and initiatives, publications and experiences, from this station?

Powell: My involvement in the production of this journal, Scott, occurs over a brief number of hours close to the publication date, and this is something I have committed myself to almost every three months, towards the end of February, May, August and November, since May 2010. Beatrice Rescazzi does a really great job pulling together the content and I work on the journal utilizing Publisher. On the first of June, September, December and March, the Leonardo magazine is uploaded. In it we have promoted science initiatives, most notably IQ For Science, whereby participants can use their skills to resolve gene-related problems or abnormalities.  We have a competition running at the moment which is centred around high IQ people proposing solutions to world problems, ‘real ones’, not ones of the hypothetical variety.  Leonardo is a magazine which represents the members of three societies, AtlantIQ (as you note) the STHIQ Society, plus The Creative Genius Society. I am proud to be an Honorary Member of the STHIQ Society. The founder of STHIQ is a genius named Gaetano Morelli, whose work on dynamic IQ tests, called “Retro-analytical Reasoning IQ Tests” (which he did with European Genius of the Year, 2014, Marco Ripà) I am also proud to say I helped with, if only minimally. I would not have interacted with Gaetano if it were not for the Leonardo magazine. My most amazing memories are of the places in which I have done the text editing, a kitchen in Tecom, Dubai, at 2 am being one of them, then an apartment in Izmir, Turkey, after an argument with my girlfriend about my commitment to the magazine – and not to her! (This was part of the joy of having a girlfriend with Narcissistic Personality Disorder!) My latest editing session was done in the Heraldic Room of The Bugibba Hotel, Malta, just a few hours before midnight. Some of the articles have been very difficult to correct. Correcting anacoluthon, which means the incorrect syntax of sentences, is very difficult when coupled with incorrect word choice. One recent article took hours to get into a readable state, but, ho hum, I did it! It’s also quite an art correcting poetry, the intentions of the poet being uncertain sometimes, and, of course, it is their work of art. As a poet, I am especially aware of how a piece of verse is a unique, personal mode of expression. If I have time, I contact the poet, but sometimes it is not possible. It is then that the art of the editor is an acutely diplomatic one.

5. Jacobsen: As the (Joint) Public Relations Officer for WIN, and the Vice President of the AtlantIQ Society, what tasks and responsibilities come with these positions?

Powell: To be honest, the positions are rather benign ones, though I suppose my help in organising the 12th Asia-Pacific Conference on Giftedness, seven years ago, was, in effect, done in the name of the WIN, so constituted me fulfilling the role of Joint Public Relations Officer whilst in Dubai. As for the AtlantIQ Society, Beatrice Rescazzi is the society President and we sometimes talk via Skype and are in monthly contact via e-mail. We often decide on competitions and discuss how to adapt and refresh the look and purpose of the society. The AtlantIQ Society, like any social entity, needs to be changed as time passes and the zeitgeist of the high IQ planet varies. Evangelos Katsioulis and I met in Dubai and spent wonderful evenings discussing how the WIN might develop. This later involved Manahel Thabet as well and, as I mentioned before, I hope this role of getting people together will flourish this year.

6. Jacobsen: What are the most exhausting or trying parts of the jobs?

Powell: I like to think I am diplomatic when dealing with disputes within the societies. Some egos in the high IQ world are ‘stratospheric’, which links with the earlier discussion about some egregious manifestations of being labelled ‘intelligent’. Some members have been disqualified due to cheating, which is just plain disappointing. Some members have shared their problems with us, sometimes at an extremely deep, emotional level. That takes a lot of energy, sometimes, but I don’t wish to give the idea that the notion of support is necessarily a terrible burden. It can be very rewarding.

7. Jacobsen: What are the most rewarding aspects of the jobs?

Powell: For me, it has been the varied opportunities to meet the members, then further interact, help, encourage and appreciate what they have to offer the world. Being supportive during what are, occasionally, tragic circumstances, I have found to be rewarding and truly memorable. The opportunities for working in five different countries have arisen during my tenure in these posts and I am thankful for that broadening of horizons and cultural experience.

8. Jacobsen: Does intelligence level correlate with creativity? Who are the most creative people that you have ever met in life? Why them?

Powell: As inferred earlier, it’s a moot point that I don’t hold as having been validated definitively. I read that to a certain extent, the structures of the brain which afford more creative, divergent thinking are antagonistic to the kind of structures which promulgate fast thinking. It’s partly why studying Einstein’s brain holds such an interest, he being a man of intelligence and creativity – especially via his visions and intuitive insights. Poincaré was a far superior mathematician than Einstein, in my opinion, with similar intuitive, creative solutions to problems. Later physicists of disputed IQ levels, yet with tremendous impacts within their specific fields of study (and here I’m thinking, in particular, of Richard Feynman) also developed a flair for art. I wish I’d been able to meet Goethe and to have seen him in action. I have seen Evangelos assimilate and compile large amounts of data in a short time, but I could not say how creative I think he is. I’ve worked with the chess Grandmaster Raymond Keene, who certainly played some creative games, and I’ve met mind mapping world champions; but, as regards the most creative people that I’ve met, I must admit, I have a higher opinion of the young French boy who did my task in class of creating an island of his dreams. For a start, he put it on a cloud… he certainly proposed ideas never seen by me before and I have never seen since. I think of my friend Gillian “Wiggy” Wilson, an artist, scenery designer, costume maker and modeller: whatever comes to her mind she seems able to make. My fellow drama student, Brian McDermott (who I recently connected with once more on social media) was, and I believe, still is, an original thinker with a strong sense of wonder akin to a youngster’s… I think of my marvellous friend Martine, who is a foreign languages and computing teacher. Her linguistic ability and her fervour for communicating ideas, plus her enjoyment of nature, is exemplary. I will see Martine soon. I hope to see Brian and “Wiggy” again too. They make every day like the first day of your life. Everything is out there, ready to explore. I love that!

9. Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Graham.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Editor, WIN ONE; Text Editor, Leonardo (AtlantIQ Society); Joint Public Relations Officer, World Intelligence Network; Vice President, AtlantIQ Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: May 22, 2019:; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2019:

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three) [Online].May 2019; 20(A). Available from:

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, May 22). An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three)Retrieved from

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A, May. 2019. <>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 20.A (May 2019).

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A. Available from: <>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 20.A.,

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 20.A (2019):May. 2019. Web. <>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Graham Powell on WIN ONE, Contributors, and Selection (Part Three) [Internet]. (2019, May 20(A). Available from:

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