Extreme Intelligence : Development, Predicaments, Implications book cover
1st Edition

Extreme Intelligence
Development, Predicaments, Implications

ISBN 9781138613348
Published October 7, 2019 by Routledge
238 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Extreme intelligence is strongly correlated with the highest of human achievement, but also, paradoxically, with higher relationship conflict, career difficulty, mental illness, and high-IQ crime. Increased intelligence does not necessarily increase success; it should be considered as a minority special need that requires nurturing.

This book explores the social development and predicaments of those who possess extreme intelligence, and the consequent personal and professional implications for them. It uniquely integrates insights and knowledge from the research fields of intelligence, giftedness, genius, and expertise with those from depth psychology, emphasising the importance of finding ways to talk effectively about extreme intelligence, and how it can better be supported and embraced. The author supports her arguments throughout, reviewing the academic literature alongside representations of genius in history, fiction, and the media, and draws on her own first-hand research interviews and consulting work with multinational high-IQ adults.

This book is essential reading for anyone supporting or working with the highly gifted, as well as those researching or interested by the field of intelligence.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


Extended Table of Contents

Preface: Mother says no

Introduction: How do we think and speak about extreme intelligence?

Part I: Development

Chapter 1 Measures and Methods: The identifying and quantifying of intelligence

Chapter 2 The Roots of Difference: How is it that some people stand out so much from others?

Chapter 3 Core Biopsychosocial Issues: Needing to be noticed, dreading rejection

Part II: Predicaments

Chapter 4Recognition and Reactions: What happens when someone stands out so much?

Chapter 5 Naïve Child, Arrogant Emperor: Are the intellectually adept, socially inept?

Chapter 6 Madness, Misunderstanding, and Misdiagnosis: Is extreme intelligence a benefit or a liability?

Part III: Implications

Chapter 7 Entrapment: The unintentional perpetuation of interpersonal trouble

Chapter 8 Hiding Self, Reaching Out: The ‘High-IQ Relational Styles’ framework

Chapter 9 Helping High Ability Thrive: Channelling abilities whilst managing threat

Conclusion: Implications for the world around us of how we relate to extreme intelligence

Appendix: Explaining the research process that underpins the book


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Dr Sonja Falck is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology, University of East London, UK. She is also a UKCP and BACP accredited psychotherapist and supervisor. She consults in person and online internationally, specialising in high-ability adults’ relationship issues. She has presented at SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted), USA, and the British branch of the international high IQ society Mensa, UK.


"This engaging book is spot on. I am most impressed. The research Dr Falck has done, in the literature and her own research, is phenomenal. She gives many telling examples, and illustrates her points most convincingly. It has given me sheer joy to read this and witness this particular cheetah running free. It will be ages before this book ceases to surpass all others in this important field: it deserves to do extremely well."- Patrick Casement, British Psychoanalytical Society, UK 

"Dr Falck’s book is of singular importance for adults with exceptional intelligence and clinicians who work with them therapeutically. She places her data, observations, suggestions, and conclusions in the context of an extensive literature review, making her book comprehensive and up to date. It is an authentic, stimulating, and impressive resource that contributes a deeper understanding of the interpersonal psychology of exceptionally intelligent individuals. Her research interviews with very high-IQ adults should in themselves help similar others ‘normalise’ the social dynamics they experience that unfortunately can so often be confusing and disappointing or worse. This book should inspire further pursuit of more adaptive solutions and help reverse the trend of denying, disavowing, or deconstructing the remarkable asset that extreme intelligence can be. This is a compellingly written work that makes a major contribution to this field." – Dr Jerald Grobman, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, USA