Charlton's (2009) Clever Sillies model argues that high IQ people lack common sense and advocate foolish ideas due to the personality disposition that is associated with high IQ. We argue that the "Clever Silly" model proposed by Charlton has several shortcomings and needs to be nuanced. We suggest that it is useful to distinguish between scholars who advocate clever silly ideas in a context in which they are popular (followers) and those who originate them. The originators are close to the artistic genius type while the followers are the more average academics, especially in non-science subjects. The former has highly original and controversial ideas and take considerable risk for the potential high socioeconomic status pay off involved. The latter is less inclined to take risks and thus strikes the optimum balance, in terms of conformity and non-conformity, in order to showcase their intelligence but gain the benefits of conforming.

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Intelligence (Kidlington)
Department of Psychology

Dutton, E., & van der Linden, D. (2015). Who are the "Clever Sillies"? The intelligence, personality, and motives of clever silly originators and those who follow them. Intelligence (Kidlington), 49, 57–65. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2014.12.008