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An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests (Part One)

March 1, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 22.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Eighteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: March 1, 2020

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,541

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Matthew Scillitani, member of The Glia Society and The Giga Society, is a web developer and SEO specialist living in North Carolina. He is of Italian and British lineage, and is predominantly English-speaking. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at East Carolina University, with a focus on neurobiology and a minor in business marketing. He’s previously worked as a research psychologist, data analyst, and writer, publishing over three hundred papers on topics such as nutrition, fitness, psychology, neuroscience, free will, and Greek history. You may contact him via e-mail at mattscil@gmail.com. He discusses: family background; a self extended through time; early formation; influential mentors and guardians; important authors and books; pivotal educational moments; intellectual interests; exceptional intelligence discovery; and intelligence tests taken, scores earned, and the relevant standard deviations. 

Keywords: East Carolina University, Giga Society, Glia Society, intelligence, Matthew Scillitani.

An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests: Member, Giga Society; Member, Glia Society (Part One)[1],[2]*

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is family background or lineage, e.g., surname(s) etymology (etymologies), geography, culture, language, religion/non-religion, political suasion, social outlook, scientific training, and the like?

Matthew Scillitani: My father’s side of the family is Italian and my mother’s British, the former immigrating to the United States just a couple of generations ago. The Italian language fell out of use in the last generation on my paternal side, and I was raised speaking primarily English and some Spanish, which is typical in American schools. I’m an only child and was raised on the East coast in a middle-class, Christian home. My mother was non-denominational and my father Catholic, though I was brought up Methodist. My family is well-educated, with both of my parents having earned multiple degrees, one of which was in aeronautics. Watching my mom eat healthy and exercise also influenced my diet and fitness. Neither of my parents spoke much on politics when I was young, and I had a healthy blend of viewpoints along the political spectrum. This is also in large part because I lacked the political indoctrination so many others experience from the media, in education, and through their social groups as they move through childhood and adolescence.

2. Jacobsen: With all these facets of the larger self, how did these become the familial ecosystem to form identity and a sense of a self extended through time?

Scillitani: This is a difficult question to answer, primarily because I kept to myself as a child, so there was little environmental influence on my development. Some of the familial influences that had some impact on my identity were fitness behaviors and workaholism. My mother made sure to feed me healthy meals and inspired me to start long-distance running and weight training as a teenager. This led me to set strength records in my high school, run varsity track and field, and join the wrestling team my senior year. Fitness continues to have an impact in my life and day-to-day behaviors, and I continue to exercise with the goal of remaining healthy into an advanced age. One of my greatest fears is losing my mobility or mental faculties as a senior. Both my parents worked very hard while I was growing up, and being around two conscientious adults inspired me to do the same.

3. Jacobsen: Of those aforementioned influences, what ones seem the most prescient for early formation?

Scillitani: Workaholism from a young age, and the related ability to hyper-focus on a single task for long periods of time. As a child, I’d spend nearly the entire day drawing, and would occasionally pass out from exhaustion because I’d rather practice than sleep. As an adult, I treat my work just as seriously, and am prideful of my mental endurance. One week at university, I was studying physics as a hobby and was so focused that I didn’t realized I had gone without food or sleep for several days. I eventually fell asleep standing up, and a roommate saw me sleeping upright in the middle of the room and had to shake me awake. This workaholism later transferred into my working life after college, and I find it difficult to take any extended breaks from work.

4. Jacobsen: What adults, mentors, or guardians became, in hindsight, the most influential on you?

Scillitani: My weight training coach in high school had an enormous influence on my self-esteem. When I started weight training, I was the weakest student in the weight room. He saw how hard I worked and stood up for me when the other students mocked my weak physical constitution. The next year I was one of the strongest students at our school and could perform great feats of strength, such as strict barbell curling more than my body weight. Ironically, my track-and-field coach had the opposite view, but also achieved a similar effect on my fitness outcome. I was a mid-long distance runner on his team my freshman year of high school, and during sophomore year tryouts I suffered from heat stroke and didn’t perform well. Rather than give me a second chance I was cut from the team. I asked him why he wouldn’t let me try again and he said it was because he didn’t believe I’d ever be a good runner. This drove me to train harder than before, and a few months later I had cut my mile time down from 7 1/2 minutes to a hair over 5 minutes.

5. Jacobsen: As a young reader, in childhood and adolescence, what authors and books were significant, meaningful, to worldview formation?

Scillitani: Logic, by Immanuel Kant changed how I approached problems for the rest of my life. Had it not been for reading that book, I probably would not have been able to come up with the solutions to many of the I.Q. test problems or other puzzles I’ve worked on. The Illiad, by Homer, also drove my interest towards Greek mythology, and many of those stories influenced my art and writing for many years. I think reading, especially a blend of fiction and nonfiction, is essential for a child’s creative and intellectual development. It’s concerning that many children and teenagers today don’t read books outside of school, preferring to socialize or play video games, both of which are inferior to their cognitive development.

6. Jacobsen: What were pivotal educational – as in, in school or autodidacticism – moments from childhood to young adulthood?

Scillitani: Teaching myself how to draw was a pivotal time in my childhood. I would study the drawings of other great artists and then meticulously teach myself to emulate their styles, sometimes taking hundreds or even thousands of hours to master before moving on to the next artist. It was especially hard to emulate Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings because his style is very unique and technically demanding. At age eight or nine, I spent hundreds of hours over several weeks trying to re-create a self-portrait of his. After passing out on the dinner table, I woke up to see my mother had taken three of my failed drawing attempts and framed them. The motive behind that was kind, and I appreciate the thought, but every time I saw those pictures it only reminded me of my lack of ability. A few months later, seeing them so often had motivated me to draw a near-exact replica of his portrait

Reading books on psychology and sociology also helped me learn how to socialize more effectively. The most interesting information being on ego strength, and how a weak ego negatively impacts social outcome for the disposed person. Those co-workers, students, friends, and family who would rather insult than give compliments, who would brag while claiming humility, and who can’t admit when they’re wrong are good examples of this. It takes someone with a strong ego to deal with these people, since we mustn’t take them seriously. Otherwise, avoidance is the only good option.

7. Jacobsen: For formal postsecondary education, what were the areas of deepest interest? What were some with a passion but not pursued? Why not pursue them? What were the eventual qualifications earned to this point in life?

Scillitani: Psychology and neurobiology were my main interests while attending university. I received my bachelor’s in psychology and took as many neurobiology classes as I could during that time. I was also passionate about mathematics and some physics problems on light, but only realized I wanted to pursue these after having already taken several years of psychology courses. I do plan on working a more math-focused vocation in the future, and will continue thinking about a couple of physics problems only as a hobby. At this point in life, I have many certificates for various computer programs (such as Microsoft, CSS, HTML, Dreamweaver, and so on) and computer engineering, as well as a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

8. Jacobsen: When was exceptional intelligence discovered by family, friends, and yourself?

Scillitani: In elementary school I took an I.Q. test and in spite of being very distracted and having put in little effort I still scored a couple of standard deviations above the mean. I wasn’t told about that until I was seventeen though. I think the ‘eye opener’ was when I was fifteen years old and realized I had skipped three or four math grades (depending on the curriculum of the school), taking college-level trigonometry as a sophomore in high school. I didn’t do very well in the class, but I was still proud to be there. I learned from the teacher that I was the youngest person to ever take that course in my high school, which was very large and had been active for over forty years.

9. Jacobsen: What have been the intelligence tests taken and the scores earned on them with the relevant SDs? Also, as an aside, what seems like the most robust non-pencil-and-paper proxy of general intelligence to you?

Scillitani: I’ve taken many I.Q. tests, voluntarily from age 19 on. In the beginning, I invested only a few hours of time in each test, and mostly scored in the 140s and 150s (S.D. 15). The first high-range I.Q. test I took was Dr. Jason Bett’s WIT, scoring 154 (S.D. 15). After taking a few more tests, I began spending ten or twenty hours of time on them and my scores crept up into the 150s and 160s (S.D. 15). The first test that I spent over forty hours on yielded an at-the-time high score of 167 (S.D. 15), on Paul Cooijman’s Marathon Test – Numerical section. It was only after asking some ultra-high I.Q. scorers for advice that I started scoring extremely high. The advice, which I recommend all I.Q. test-takers follow, was to work on a test until you can’t easily answer any more problems. Then, put the test down and wait a few months before coming back to it with a fresh start on the unsolved problems. Following this strategy, I received a perfect score on Paul Cooijmans’ Psychometric Qrosswords, scoring 190 (S.D. 15). I had spent probably around eighty hours on that test over the span of a year. Just a couple of weeks later I scored 176 (S.D. 15) on the verbal section of The Marathon Test, also by Paul Cooijmans, following the same strategy.

The most robust non-pencil-and-paper proxy of general intelligence is probably the ability to delay gratification. A large part of delaying gratification, and impulse control in general, is having the foresight to know the repercussions of one’s actions and choosing the most positive one, even if it comes at an immediate loss. This is a good indicator of intelligence because whether our intellect or emotions guide our actions is mostly determined by which of those we have more of.

10. Jacobsen: What responsibility, if any, comes with exceptional levels of general intelligence?

Scillitani: I’m not sure if there’s any responsibility that’s exclusive to intelligent people. Everyone should probably do what they’re best at, so long as it’s not criminal. Some of the most important vocations don’t require exceptional intelligence, and if everyone pursued careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields we’d lose farmers, garbage men, police officers, teachers, firefighters, and so on.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, Giga Society; Member, Glia Society. Bachelor’s Degree, Psychology, East Carolina University.

[2] Individual Publication Date: March 1, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-one; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/. Image Credit: Matthew Scillitani.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests (Part One) [Online].March 2020; 22(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, March 1). An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 22.A, March. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. “An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 22.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 22.A (March 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 22.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 22.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 22.A (2020):March. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Matthew Scillitani on Family, Early Formation, Important Mentors and Books, and Interests (Part One) [Internet]. (2020, March 22(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/scillitani-one.

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In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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