General Question

Nimis's avatar

Are intelligent people more susceptible to schizophrenia?

Asked by Nimis (13199points) September 21st, 2008

From my personal experience and a brief perusal of online articles,
there seems to be a strong correlation between the two.

Though, while genetics may play a large role in schizophrenia,
it supposedly does not play much of a role when it comes to intelligence.
How do these seemingly disparate ideas reconcile themselves?

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20 Answers

Nimis's avatar


asmonet's avatar

I seem to remember reading that very high IQ’s are related to certain disorders (and may be caused by them). However I don’t think that any research ever pointed to high IQ’s causing mental illness. It happens sure. Same as Einstein couldn’t tie his own shoes, but could make all these silly theories. :-p

It’s like of 50 very smart people, two are mentally ill.
Of 50 mentally ill people, two are very smart.

It might help if I could Venn Diagram this shit.
Then again, I could be all wrong, it’s late…I’m tired…still on Fluther and haven’t read about this in forever.

I will do more research on the morrow.

augustlan's avatar

@asmonet: Your humor, self-proclaimed nerdiness, and “on the morrow” just got you added to my Fluther :)

nikipedia's avatar

My experience with this clinical population tells me that no, just the opposite seems to be true, and it looks like this is supported by the data:

“Conclusions: The results confirm the importance of low intellectual ability as a risk factor for schizophrenia and other psychoses.”–199711000-00009.htm;jsessionid=LX0FJp1k3pvbrCB08LJnBwh421hvWLH7Byv7MgYpLN1TBJMXS9TD!1177656273!181195629!8091!-1

“Conclusions: Lower IQ score was associated with increased risk for schizophrenia, severe depression, and other nonaffective psychoses, but not bipolar disorder.”

“Conclusions: Neuropsychological patterns in schizophrenia tend to be consistent at different IQ levels. Even schizophrenia patients with normal current IQs manifest substantial neuropsychological compromise relative to their level of general intellectual ability. The results strengthen the argument that neurocognitive deficits are core deficits of schizophrenic illness.”

Also I am inclined to disagree with your premise that genes play a lesser role in intelligence than schizophrenia, but that is a separate discussion and neither association has compelling data to support it that I am aware of.

Nimis's avatar

Ergh…can’t open the first link.

Nimis's avatar

How do they measure pre-morbid IQ?

Nimis's avatar

Nik: Thanks for the further reading!
Though I think I need to sleep before I try to soak all of this in. Too. Braindead.

nikipedia's avatar

The study used a population of 50,000 Swedish men who were given compulsory IQ tests when signing up for the army. Eventually 362 of them developed schizophrenia.

And you’re welcome :)

asmonet's avatar

@niki: You’re amazing. I was wrong, you learn something everyday. thanks for the information! clearly, I was misinformed.

Nimis's avatar

Hmmm…It’s definitely handy to have 50,000
at your whim to take compulsory psych tests.
I can’t imagine any other legal way to get those numbers.

But I’m thinking that might skew the results.
Can we project the results onto the general public?

The pre-morbid IQ of 50,000 swedish men who are
signing up for the army is different from 50,000 men, no?
Maybe I’m just a little personally-biased.
My dad was in the air force. And my brother was in the army. Ha.

nikipedia's avatar

@Nimis: The study says they were “conscripted” so it sounds like they weren’t actually volunteers, although I don’t pretend to know anything about the structure of the Swedish army. Also, 362 people developing schizophrenia out of a population of 50,000 yields a prevalence of about .73%, which is actually below the general population rate of 1.1% in the US (although who knows if it’s different in Sweden).

Nimis's avatar

Ah…gotcha. That certainly adds weight to the results.
Thanks for all this information by the way!

Carol's avatar

I’m curious Niki, as to when the study was done and what instrument was used to measure IQ.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

An old man took his wife to a psychiatrist. The doctor told the man, “I’m sorry, sir, but your wife’s mind is gone.”

“No wonder,” replied the man. “She’s been giving me a piece of it every day for the last 50 years.

Zen's avatar

We don’t think so.

ratboy's avatar

My voices can’t reach a consensus on this one.

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