Farmers have noted that the less domesticated breeds of cattle (such as Scottish highland cattle) are much better at "taking care of themselves" and "getting out of trouble" than the more domesticated breeds (such as typical US breeds). A conventional breed, when it gets stuck somehow, will stand still and moo until the farmer comes around, figures out how to fix the problem, and if the cow needs to move in some direction to fix the problem, the farmer will hit it on the other side with a shovel. Bos taurus has outsourced its thinking to Homo sapiens. But of course, H. sapiens is a lot better at thinking than B. taurus, and an individual cow is sufficiently valuable to its owner that the human will be strongly motivated to preserve and protect the cow -- it is adaptive for B. taurus to take the outsourcing deal. (And indeed, at only the cost of having 90% of its progeny *eaten* by humans, B. taurus has enslaved H. sapiens to convert vast swaths of land to grow food for cattle, and eliminate competitor and predator species. Perhaps 1/4 of the biomass of land mammals is B. taurus.)

Likely the same thing has happened with humans, especially in industrial culture. You ask "Don't most people who think independently perceive all the noise their minds produce?" Probably many do, and so have given up thinking independently. After all, what are the chances that you'll think of an action that is more adaptive than what a careful application of the conventional wisdom would provide?

So there's likely to be an evolutionary pressure against novel thinking, leading to some sort of stable polymorphism. Further complication comes from the fact that a lot of benefits of novelty are likely externalized, possibly across society as a whole.

Perhaps we can identify specific episodes of history where novel thinking has been adaptive, and where the existing humans did not operate well.

"This is why they complain--they don't _want_ to have brains. Those lead to thoughts, and thoughts cause only suffering. Thus, by asking them to think, you are inflicting the torments of the damned on the previously blissfully ignorant." -- John Rowat, in alt.tech-support.recovery

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I've got this quote in my commonplace book: 'My governing principle with research is that none of this is a coincidence. If Einstein did something in Germany on the same day that Charlie Chaplin broke his toe in Hollywood, I think, "Aha! Not a coincidence."' -- Paranoid fantasy author Tim Powers

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> I had a strong feeling that the way the cards hung on the wall must mean something important.

What did you think it meant? Did you think it meant something about you, was the angle important, or something else?

> OK, psychology inherently is about seeing the difference between the normal and the pathological.

I would say that actually psychology took a while to see that intelligence and creative ideas *don't* always link, partly because statistically they do tend to go together, but also because psychologists are self-selected for the kind of personality that is both smarter *and* more original than average.

The kind of person who is intelligent but uncreative is more likely to be found within (I'm guessing) the top brass of the military, and (here I know from both research and personal experience) the hard sciences. My colleagues in grad school were generally amazed that I could draw or make music, and when I told them I was designing a language, they assumed it was some alternative to Python or C. I made a map of Egypt in the Middle Kingdom and my advisor said it was amazing; I miss my grad school advisor.

> I guess that psychology's lack of concepts describing thinking stems from its general lack of interest in thinking.

No x 6. This means are five studies PLUS me telling you no. (I'd bet in fact there are more like fifty studies, but it's Friday I'm too inebriated at the moment to even imagine finding fifty studies, also Anders doesn't care and you're too bored with them to read one, so let's just agree that the number of *no* is six.)

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On problem solving, I like this octopus experiment: I'm not finding the reference I want, but basically, after some well controlled experiments, the researchers determined that about one third of naive octopi, when presented with a jar containing a crab - managed to unscrew the lid and get the crab. The remainder never were able to figure this out on their own. However, all octopi, when allowed to watch a successful jar opening by another octopus, when presented with a jar in a limited time window, could successfully copy the behavior.

This is may be a simplification of that special "something" you are trying to get at. Put another way, there are probably certain classes of problems that only certain people can solve. And no matter how bright, others will not be able to solve the problems without help.

I don't know what you want to call it, but it's there. Feynman noted this type of person as someone with "puzzle drive".

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One metaphor I find helpful is rooks and. bishops vs. knights vs. queens.

Rooks and bishops move in straight lines and can move from one end of the board to the other I think this is average intelligence.

Knights can jump over obstacles - this is your creativity / apophenia

Queens can move either diagonally or NSEW but in straight lines, I think this is people of above average intelligence.

In Fairy Chess these is an Amazon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_(chess) that can move like a queen or knight, this a high intelligence creative, someone like Richard Feynman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman who was both an artist and a Nobel prize winner.

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I think I'm somewhat apophenic myself. I think there's a high correlation between that and autism.

I do believe in the high usefulness of IQ. There definitely does need a certain level of IQ to make new connections. But just because one can make new connections doesn't mean they're good ones. The average person who believes "trans women are women" is likely higher-IQ than the average person that doesn't. This is because IQ helps people believe in very abstract ideas, and gender ideology is a very abstract idea. One needs to have a brain wired for abstract thinking to believe gender ideology, hence its popularity with academics and not with common folk.

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good post! I wonder if you can put together a few categories of apophenia:

-bad apophenia, aka the gambler's fallacy

-incorrect but useful apophenia, like astrology

-high iq apophenia, thinking that something weird is a problem without knowing the context that justifies the weirdness

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