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Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1)

December 22, 2020

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 24.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Twenty)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

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

Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2020

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,286

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract

Lisa Vincent is a Member of the Glia Society. She discusses: growing up; a sense of the family legacy; the family background; the experience with peers and schoolmates; some professional certifications, qualifications, and trainings; the purpose of intelligence tests; high intelligence; the extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses; the greatest geniuses in history; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; profound intelligence necessary for genius; some work experiences and jobs; particular job path; important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses; the God concept or gods idea; science; the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations); the range of the scores; ethical philosophy; social philosophy; economic philosophy; political philosophy; worldview-encompassing philosophical system; meaning in life; comprises intelligence; and the mainstream and fringe theories of human intelligence.

Keywords: g, genius, IQ, Lisa Vincent, philosophy, psychometrics, theories of intelligence, United States.

Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1)

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

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: When you were growing up, what were some of the prominent family stories being told over time?

Lisa Vincent[1],[2]*: My parents both loved telling stories about their families and childhoods. My mother (Winona) was one of seven children, two boys and five girls. Her mother (Bridget) had emigrated from Ireland as a teenage with her older sister, Nora. They had left their parents and siblings behind to start their life in the US and my mother clearly had great respect for that. She also enjoyed telling stories of her own childhood which was profoundly different than mine. She had an outhouse and had to bathe in a portable tub with boiled water. She was hit with a switch when she misbehaved and had to participate in preparing home-grown chickens for dinner. She also spoke a lot about sibling rivalries and some school-yard difficulties that she had encountered. As for my father, he spoke of his service in the Navy during the Korean War era. Mostly he shared his love of all things relating to nature and the outdoors, as well as his love of carpentry and construction.

Jacobsen: Have these stories helped provide a sense of an extended self or a sense of the family legacy?

Vincent: Certainly my Irish heritage informs my understanding of who I am and where I came from. I feel very fortunate to have known both of my parents and the love that they each had for me. Their shared stories and my memories of them serve to keep me grounded and connected to what sometimes seems like a very disconnected meaningless world. I didn’t just appear out of nowhere!

Jacobsen: What was the family background, e.g., geography, culture, language, and religion or lack thereof?

Vincent: I grew up and have lived for all of my adult life in the state of Connecticut in the United States. For the most part, I was raised as an Irish Catholic. However, my father and his family could be more accurately described as WASP. I enjoyed attending church with my father at his Protestant church, which I found to be more comfortable. The music and hymns were also better in my childhood opinion. We were a family of average means prior to my parent’s divorce, and of limited means thereafter. Both of my parents worked full time, my mother in a factory and my father as a carpenter. That meant I spent a lot of time on my own, known at the time as being a latch key kid. We spent extensive time with aunts, uncles and cousins, but we really did not venture outside of Connecticut at all, so I was quite sheltered overall. 

Jacobsen: How was the experience with peers and schoolmates as a child and an adolescent?

Vincent: Well, in my early childhood everything was good. I attended preschool and through the second grade at a very small elementary school and I loved every minute of it. I had friends, I enjoyed learning, and I thought school was fun. I also had friends to my home and was invited to the homes of others. From third grade on things deteriorated quickly. I did get through school, graduating high school at age 17. But I hated most of the children and they hated me. We had nothing in common and no real friendships to speak of. I was mocked and teased for all kinds of reasons, and I had no understanding of why that was or what I had done to deserve it. It was a very difficult time for me. The worst of it was during the middle school years, when I began to skip school to avoid the other children. By high school, I had a couple of friends to socialize with and a group of teens who knew me and did not torture me. But it was never pleasant. 

Jacobsen: What have been some professional certifications, qualifications, and trainings, earned by you?

Vincent: So I avoided school for a long time after high school. I did get an associate’s degree in human services a few years later. I worked as a certified nurses’ aide for a long time. I spent many years working with people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness and got some certifications related to administering medications and managing problem behaviour. I attended many conferences relating to intellectual disabilities. Then, I began to work with people with acquired (traumatic) brain injury. I became certified as an Independent Life Skills Trainer, assisting people with brain injuries to regain their independence and learn how to navigate with their disability. I still do some work with brain injury to this day, but it is no longer my primary job. For many years, I viewed my primary job as being a parent to my children. I loved being their mother and still love that. During that time, I ran a home daycare and got licensed to do that. Later, I became licensed as a therapeutic foster parent in Connecticut and provided foster care to a few children, but one child in particular whom I later adopted. That is where life got very interesting. While raising my adopted child and being a foster parent, I came to understand that children in our world face big problems. Foster care and adoption may be a good thing to do, but children suffer when they are in that situation and they do not get the type of help they need. It is a big problem. So that led me to decide to go to law school, to try to help other children. I couldn’t go to law school without a bachelor’s degree, so I went back to school, got my BA in July 2008 and started law school in August 2008. I graduated from law school in 2011 and got my law license in November of that year. In December I opened my law practice, focusing almost entirely on child protection and disability-related matters.

Jacobsen: What is the purpose of intelligence tests to you?

Vincent: Well, when I start to feel like I am crazy because the way I view the world does not align with most, I start to think that I am weird. And I start to wonder if really, I am just a fool. So I take a test and remind myself that really, I am a very bright person and I am just suffering with the natural consequences that go with that. Frankly, I view intelligence mostly as a curse, but taking a test on occasion does validate my feelings of “weirdness” and help me stay mentally sane. Associating with others like me, even from a distance, is very comforting

Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you?

Vincent: That is a mixed answer. I did not fully understand the intelligence factor until I was about 30. It was at that time that i joined MENSA in the US. In school, I had a very clear sense that I was able to take tests well and very fast. I knew that was different. I knew that I was in the “smart” group at school. I knew that I was in “advanced” classes. But I had no idea of just how much of a problem I had on my hands. I honestly thought I was stupid, certainly weird, and definitely not liked. I also thought school was stupid. But I did not fully understand that I was smart to any unusual degree. I was in my twenties when I started to put it together, mostly by doing research on my own social and emotional problems and recognizing that many of my unique attributes and sensitivities are connected to intelligence. It all came together for me around that time, and when I decided to join MENSA I already knew I would qualify. I did. I have been interested in extremes of intelligence ever since, fooling around with some tests online, but not actually taking any formal test until I found Paul Cooijmans webpage. I appreciate the research he is doing.

Jacobsen: When you think of the ways in which the geniuses of the past have either been mocked, vilified, and condemned if not killed, or praised, flattered, platformed, and revered, what seems like the reason for the extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses? Many alive today seem camera shy – many, not all.

Vincent: Well, I am weird. Socially inept, not always very nice, and often, misunderstood. This is the reality of my life. I have gotten better at navigating it over time. But I still understand that most people either do not know me or do not like me. There are only a limited number of people who actually appreciate me for who I am. I do not think like most other people, and I often fail to recognize that in time to salvage the situation. In my day to day life, I am quiet in my own way. I live a humble, private life. Intelligence is not valued. Camera shy is an understatement. I think that most geniuses are like that – living in your midst, unbeknown to you. Only those who achieve great things are recognized, and many who achieve great things are not actually geniuses. It is dangerous on some level to claim intelligence, unless you are in a group where that is valued. So it is hidden, at least in my world. Our society does not value intelligence, or at least that is my experience of it. I could speak out on many things, or put myself into the public sphere for some purpose, but it would be done at a high cost to myself. So for the most part, I refrain. I think it is this way for many people with high IQ. But I am not certain. That I why I think research and discussion are helpful. I do suspect that this might be different for others who work in different fields or who come from different backgrounds or live in different places. I will say this – when I am in the company of another high IQ person, I recognize it and value it and appreciate it. There is a comfort level there, of being part of a group. 

Jacobsen: Who seem like the greatest geniuses in history to you?

Vincent: Donald Trump! There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a genius. Historically, Albert Einstein. Isaac Newton. Johann Sebastian Bach, Edgar Allen Poe, Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), Mother Theresa, maybe Princess Diana. There are many. 

Jacobsen: What differentiates a genius from a profoundly intelligent person?

Vincent: I believe it is an achievement. Most profoundly intelligent people never reach a level of achievement that would earn the title of genius. I do think there are many unknown geniuses – people who have achieved really great and important things but within fields or communities where the greatness is not recognized by the broader masses. But i don’t think a person can be properly classified as a genius based merely on a number that they manage to score on a standardized test. To achieve genius, a person needs to have the time and sufficient resources to take on a certain level of single-mindedness. 

Jacobsen: Is profound intelligence necessary for genius?

Vincent: I believe it is. But it is not necessary to be a genius in order to achieve greatness or great things. 

Jacobsen: What have been some work experiences and jobs held by you?

Vincent: Direct Care Aide. Group Home Manager. Nurse’s Aide. Daycare Operator. Brain Injury Rehab (Life Skills Trainer). Therapeutic Foster Parent. And, Attorney. 

Jacobsen: Why pursue this particular job path? 

Vincent: I follow my passion. I love people. I want to serve the world while I am here by contributing to the welfare of people. I have tried to do that. 

Jacobsen: What are some of the more important aspects of the idea of the gifted and geniuses? Those myths that pervade the cultures of the world. What are those myths? What truths dispel them?

Vincent: People think that geniuses or gifted people are freaks of nature. They are not. They are actually a very normal and expected percentage of the population, much as it is normal for a certain percentage of people to fall at the opposite end of the spectrum. People associate high intelligence with mental illness, with social awkwardness, and with introversion. I don’t know if those correlations are real. For me, they are true. I do not presume to know that others experience the same. I do think that all myths are grounded in some historical truth. The whole experience is personal to me so I am not the best person to ask. 

Jacobsen: Any thoughts on the God concept or gods idea and philosophy, theology, and religion? 

Vincent: I have some strongly held spiritual beliefs but I am not a believer in religious dogma. I think it is human nature to contemplate the meaning of life and the afterlife and to seek meaning from our existence on this planet. Religion serves this purpose for many people in the world. Many people who study theology or religion are able to deliver peace and comfort to many people in need of that and it has tremendous value. Unfortunately, some religions only have room for those people who are willing to subscribe to their version of “the God concept.” This leads to war and controversy in the name of religion, which has done great harm to people over time. I have respect for all people of all faiths and see no need to decide that the beliefs of one group are superior to those of another. I do consider myself to be a Christian, with a belief in God and in the spiritual afterlife, but those spiritual beliefs are intricately connected with and subservient to my philosophical beliefs. 

Jacobsen: How much does science play into the worldview for you?

Vincent: Science is truth at its core. I believe in science and in the scientific process. That said, science can be applied for good or for ill. I do not believe that scientists should be elevated in position over others, and I do not believe in blindly following science. Decisions relating to the scientific manipulation of nature should be subjected to ethical analysis by people who are disinterested in the underlying science, in my opinion. Just because something is scientifically possible to do does not mean that it should be done. 

Jacobsen: What have been some of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations) for you?

Vincent: I have not taken many scored IQ tests. I had a test at some point during my schooling and understood for a long time that I had an IQ score of around 132, which I assume was based on the WISC but not with certainty. I don’t really remember where I heard that number but I was quite young. During my early adulthood, I played around with several tests, including Raven’s Progressive Matrices and a bunch of different online tests. Somewhere along the way, I came to believe that my IQ was around 146. I don’t really remember where that number came from. More recently, I discovered Paul Cooijmans and became very interested in the tests he was offering and the work he was doing. So far, I have only taken one of his tests – the Sargasso Test. On that test, I scored an IQ of 150. I ordered another of his tests, but I have honestly not even begun to complete it. It sits waiting for the day I have time to work with it. I have also studied Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and spent substantial time studying personality and the heightened sensitivities often associated with higher intellectual capacity.

Jacobsen: What is the range of the scores for you? The scores earned on alternative intelligence tests tend to produce a wide smattering of data points rather than clusters, typically.

Vincent: Range 130-150 in scores I would say. I look forward to taking more tests now that I understand the research value in doing that.

Jacobsen: What ethical philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Vincent: I am an individualist to the core and respect the rights of all other people to live by their internal compass. It is essentially a duty-based philosophy. I personally feel a duty to the greater good and thereby make decisions in the manner that I perceive or believe will either cause the greatest good or impose the least harm to others. I also respect that others have different values and capacities. I believe that all people have a duty to act with good intent, but recognize that not all actions are done with good intent lead to an ultimate good. Thus, it is necessary to accept that not all ethical acts are good, and that not all ethical people have the actual ability to do good. Such is human nature. 

Jacobsen: What social philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Vincent: I consider myself to be a humanist. The emphasis on nature and science, individualism, duty to the greater good, and an emphasis on living the life we are given to live on this planet makes sense to me.

Jacobsen: What economic philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Vincent: Free market. laissez-faire capitalism makes the most sense to me. 

Jacobsen: What political philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Vincent: Again, I am an individualist to the core. I believe in both individual freedom and individual responsibility, which I believe makes me a liberalist. Within my liberalistic views, I consider myself to be on the conservative side of things, believing in a very limited government.

Jacobsen: What worldview-encompassing philosophical system makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Vincent: I believe in both the natural and the spiritual world and understand that all people function based on their own beliefs and experiences. These is no purpose or benefit to disrespecting the worldview of others. Thus, we are all just individuals doing our best to get by in the times and circumstances in which we are living and that is as it should be. 

Jacobsen: What provides meaning in life for you?

Vincent: I get the most meaning in life from the experiences that I have day to day and from the people who share those experiences with me. I love all of nature and all of human life. I value serving others and contributing to my society in a meaningful way. I value beauty and art and music and the glory of nature in all its forms. I value learning and all new experiences. I truly do love my life and value every moment of it.

Jacobsen: To set the stage for the further conversation, what comprises intelligence in the abstract?

Vincent: Beauty is intelligence in the abstract. Art, language, music, every architectural and engineering marvel, medicine. Wherever there is manmade beauty, intelligence is behind it. Not sure if that is what you meant, but that is how I interpreted your question.

Jacobsen: What are the mainstream and fringe theories of human intelligence on offer over time?

Vincent: The G theory of general intelligence rings truest to me. I don’t disagree that there are different “primary mental abilities” and that each person may have strengths or weaknesses in these various mental tasks. I think Gardner’s theory, while more inclusive, does not adequately acknowledge the substantive reality of the G factor in certain individuals. Beyond this, I have not dedicated much time to learning about the different theories of intelligence.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, Glia Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 22, 2020: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vincent-1; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

*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. Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1)[Online].December 2020; 24(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vincent-1.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2020, December 22). Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1). Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vincent-1.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A, December. 2020. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vincent-1>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2020. Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vincent-1.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 24.A (December 2020). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vincent-1.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 24.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vincent-1>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2020, ‘Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 24.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vincent-1.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 24.A (2020): December. 2020. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vincent-1>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. Conversation with Lisa Vincent on Background, Genius, Theories of Intelligence, Psychometrics, and Worldview-Encompassing Philosophical System: Member, Glia Society (1) [Internet]. (2020, December 24(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/vincent-1.

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