Skip to content

Conversation with Bishoy Goubran, M.D. on Christianity, Intelligence Tests, Cognitive Flexibility, Personalized Medicine, Psychiatry, and Abstract Concepts: Psychiatry Resident Physician; Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Behavioral & Cardiovascular Medicine (1)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/12/08


Bishoy Goubran, M.D. was awarded the Genius of the Year, 2018. He is a Psychiatry resident physician and an entrepreneur with a start-up project of AI-driven Monitors for mental wellness. Dr. Goubran is an active member of multiple high IQ societies. Dr. Goubran’s research emphasis is on Heart Rate Variability and Biofeedback technologies. He discusses: family background; Alexandria; Christ; the influence of mechanical engineering and electrical engineering on intellectual growth; the experience with peers and schoolmates as a child and an adolescent; academic history; introversion; the “social game” and “methods of networking”; the purpose of intelligence tests; “weaknesses”; common “major fuck ups” in intelligence; “intelligence”; a psychological construct measurable validly and reliably; different ways in which intelligence manifests itself; the “complex” “human brain” as “a labyrinth” of interweaving narratives”; the human brain, the mind; the common issues of patients; high intelligence; “high emotional regulation”; the “quest to find the formula for peace”; the range of the scores; the greatest geniuses; Sigmund Freud; Carl Jung; Nicola Tesla; Ahmed Alashwah; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; some other ways in which to define cognitive inflexibility and cognitive flexibility; some work experiences and educational certifications; “concise personalized medicine”; the God concept or gods idea; and religion as a political instrument.

Keywords: Bishoy Goubran, cardiovascular medicine, Christianity, intelligence, IQ, psychiatry, World Genius Directory.

Conversation with Bishoy Goubran, M.D. on Christianity, Intelligence Tests, Cognitive Flexibility, Personalized Medicine, Psychiatry, and Abstract Concepts: Psychiatry Resident Physician; Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Behavioral & Cardiovascular Medicine (1)

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

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

Bishoy Goubran, M.D.[1],[2]*: I was born to a traditional Coptic family in Alexandria, Egypt, father was a mechanical engineer, mother, electrical.  Through my adolescence, I was a curious introvert —captivated by psychology, philosophy, and the human mind. I remember delving with intense passion into studying various spiritual traditions, Carl Jung, Freud, stoic philosophy, Sufism, Buddhism, and Hinduism —at daytime, and at night play soccer in the narrow alleys of Cairo.

Jacobsen: What was life like in Alexandria? 

Goubran: Alexandria is a beautiful city on the Mediterranean Sea. My family moved to Cairo during my childhood. I loved Alexandria though as I have always loved the sea. I am an Aquarius. I am always nostalgic to the waters.

Jacobsen: You mentioned Coptic Christian, any thoughts on Christ, not the concept but the person?

Goubran: It is difficult to distinguish and divorce the “concept” from “the person” for Christ. I would say the tale on one level represents enlightenment, the overcoming of the older brain by higher mental functions, our consciousness evolution.

Jacobsen: How important was the influence of mechanical engineering and electrical engineering on intellectual growth for you? 

Goubran: I believe It helped shape the way I think by mirroring. I am methodical in my approach. Engineer-like-thinking is precise and optimizes for efficiency – two merits that I highly value. Utilization of calculation, facts and measurements is something that I and my team highly value, which comes later to be the essence of our projects even when it comes to subtle subjectivities like mood, affects.

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

Goubran: I remember disliking many aspects of school, despite, I did well academically. I was an introvert as a child, into my adolescence I started to understand the dynamics of the social game, developed methods of networking. Still learning.

Jacobsen: How “well academically”? 

Goubran: My secondary education was in a British system in an Egyptian school, came out within the highest 5 scores in Egypt, ended up joining one of the most competitive medical schools in Egypt. Through Uni I did alright but found studying medicine boring and hectic. Academics thereafter was during my post-doctoral research fellowship, where I faced another side of academia. Research and generation of knowledge.

Jacobsen: Has introversion extended from childhood into adolescent and adult professional life in spite of ‘understanding the dynamics of the social game and networking’? 

Goubran: I think so, but I feel it is no longer a trait, rather a predilection. A calibrated preference. I am more inclined to have time with myself to think and read.

Jacobsen: How are you “still learning” the “social game” and “methods of networking”? 

Goubran: Through a further understanding of the reward center and the limbic system. To master any social construct, in my experience, I had to first master its correlation within myself. Meaning the internal resolution of conflicts and “knowing thyself” is key. In this example, the further I understand my limbic system the further I understand the macrocosm of that which is the society, operated and governed by the same mental principles and neurotransmitter-driven-dynamics.

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

Goubran: Just like any other standardized testing, it should be primarily to identify levels and weaknesses, measurement again. The problem with fluid intelligence is that it is very subtle, you could have a weakness in one skill set that is left unnoticed, but it would impact your performance in life overall.

Psychometric tests may help identify those deficiencies, acts somewhat as an “objective” (and I use that word loosely) method to track and observe the different elements that constitute your intelligence and where your major fuck ups are.

We got to also factor in that IQ doesn’t really measure much of practical intelligence (common sense). Anyways, Standardized IQ tests are reliable and valid. Since I am in the field of psychiatry, it helps me understand the different ways intelligence presents itself. The human brain is complex, a labyrinth of interweaving narratives, through understanding the many aspects of myself, I can understand my patients way better.

Jacobsen: What kinds of “weaknesses”? 

Goubran: The brain is a predictive algorithm, constantly generating predictions using available data (extrapolation, seeing patterns) and in pathological terms, these predictions if accompanied by interpretation and a “story” can create anxiety. The brain also aims to disambiguate elements of reality, to dig deeper and know the unknowns, so it can make better predictions.

The presence of prediction errors constitutes weaknesses in the way we maneuver reality. Integrating those prediction errors is a part of “learning” and understanding the patterns.

Jacobsen: What are the common “major fuck ups” in intelligence? 

Goubran: Cognitive biases and prediction errors.

Jacobsen: What makes “intelligence” a proper psychological construct? 

Goubran: The prefrontal cortex.

Jacobsen: What makes a psychological construct measurable validly and reliably? 

Goubran: Stats, validity is how well a test measures what it purports to measure, reliability is how replicable is the results of the test, basically its consistency.

Jacobsen: As a psychiatrist, what are the different ways in which intelligence manifests itself, “presents itself”? 

Goubran: Intelligence presents as novelty; misguided intelligence can lead to problems. As in, misguided budgeting of the brain resources.

Jacobsen: Why characterize the “complex” “human brain” as “a labyrinth” of interweaving narratives”? 

Goubran: The brain acts as a “sense-making” routine, making sense of internal and external environments. The brain analyzes the moment, using sensory perceptions, link it with past associations, trying to predict the best action path or best response, and deciding from what level of the organism should that response start.

Memories are stories, narratives “internal storytelling” is a phenomenon of the memory and associations, memories are shaped up, seasoned and confabulations added and re-presented to the cognition, the narrator is biased. Thoughts are other versions of stories. Context is narrative.

Jacobsen: With empirical, naturalistic, and operational, comprehension of the human central nervous system and the social environment in which the human organism remains embedded inextricably, what happens to supernaturalistic or metaphysical claims about the human brain, the mind, even the human psyche

Goubran: Those claims persist. Depends on one’s ontological model and how they build up components of their symbolic reality.

Jacobsen: What are the common issues of patients coming to you – before the COVID-19 pandemic and after it? 

Goubran: Mental illnesses are triggered and/or worsened by stressors, COVID obviously represented an added stressor to large numbers of people around the globe. It also has disrupted many of the coping mechanisms, such as Gym, socialization etc.

We saw a spike in depression, anxiety, and exacerbation of other mental illnesses. Partially due to disruption of the clinic routines, AA meetings, group therapies etc. We also saw that other factors hammered the resilience factors of parents, such as online schooling. It is complex because the causative factors are multiple. We don’t know much. We now use way more tele-psych than we used to which comes with its pros and cons. We don’t know how this huge mass trauma would affect the dynamics of psychiatry on the long run.

Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you? 

Goubran: I really do not know how to answer this question. I feel that when I started to introspect and metacognize that’s when I felt that form of self-efficacy.  But I’ve always felt that there is a more refined, concentrated form of intelligence that is very difficult to measure. I maintain, that if intelligence does not include simplicity, wisdom, and high emotional regulation then it’s immensely lacking, I am still on a quest to find the formula for ultimate peace. Now every value is a spectrum of course so peace is many levels.

Jacobsen: What characterizes “high emotional regulation”? 

Goubran: Knowing oneself. Expanding the Self-Concept.

Jacobsen: What sits behind the “quest to find the formula for peace”? 

Goubran: Difficulty reconciling internal paradoxes whilst having the insight to see them. Partial Awakening is a curse, complete awakening is the death of the self, as in, using another neural network in the brain.

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. 

Goubran: 150s – 160s.

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

Goubran: Freud, Carl Jung, Nicolas Tesla, Ahmed Alashwah.

Jacobsen: To dig deeper, what makes Sigmund Freud a great genius? 

Goubran: His confidence and courage.

Jacobsen: What makes Carl Jung a great genius? 

Goubran: His introspection.

Jacobsen: What makes Nicola Tesla a great genius? 

Goubran: His individuality, creativity, selflessness.

Jacobsen: Who is Ahmed Alashwah, why do you consider him a genius?

Goubran: Firstly, I wanted to say that I added a living person deliberately to break in through the dogma that “great” geniuses are “historical” and assigned that “label” posthumously and must be “famous”. Ahmed is a novel thinker, a philosopher, and an entrepreneur. He lectures in Stanford University on Meditation and Technology. In my opinion, and many of those who know him, he is a living genius that I believe the world would benefit a lot from understanding his story and experience. He spent ten years in meditation and introspection and emerged with a wealth of knowledge about the human mind, psyche, and consciousness. I believe that the amount of years spent in deep radical introspection gave him unmatched insights into the machinations of the human mind.

He had a tremendous impact on my life. I am fortunate that we are now collaborators in many projects. He is the inspiration behind our projects of technology augmented meditation and the current AI project.

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

Goubran: I would like to make a distinction that in my view, a genius is not a “person”. It is not an intrinsic attribute. I believe it is a potential, a state, a skill. It is a skill that depends on training the neural correlate we employ to tackle an endeavor or problem solve. Known geniuses are the ones able, despite distractions, to sustain that state. They are ones driven by purpose, enthusiasm, and unrelenting passion.

Genius is achievable under certain circumstances of higher neural connectivity, hence inspiration. Therefore, I have moments of genius (creativity/flexibility) and have moments of cognitive inflexibility (my definition of Stupidity), it is whenever I take my truths too seriously I become inflexible and thus unable to exit the fabric of reality. When it comes to intelligence quotient, it is vastly genetic, but many of its aspects and skills are trainable.

Jacobsen: What are some other ways in which to define cognitive inflexibility and cognitive flexibility? 

Goubran: Cognitive flexibility is the ability to jump between cognitive distances with malleability. While inflexibility broadly speaking is, the “rigidity” of thoughts. How many perspectives one can see of the same situation? Can I look into a problem and see the opportunity? Can I look into my autobiographical memories and see the narrative from another angle? Can I change how I feel about past events? Can I see memories as just one version of the truth? Can I let go of my convictions for the sake of a more nuanced and refined truth?

Jacobsen: What have been some work experiences and educational certifications for you? 

Goubran: I am an MD, doing my residency training in Psychiatry, also a post-Doc Research Fellow in Behavioral and Cardiovascular medicine. My ambition, and purpose are to change how psychiatry operates, new forms of therapy and more merging with neuroscience is the way of the future in a form of concise personalized medicine.

Jacobsen: What is “concise personalized medicine”? 

Goubran: I am working with a team on a personalized artificial intelligence-based algorithm with biosensors, an intelligent agent that would help navigate decisions for us, humans, decreasing errors, increasing productivity, and optimizing for efficiency.

The future of psychiatry is in real-time data acquisition and non-invasive diagnostics with interventions happening at a much earlier stage than what happens now. The diagnostic process factoring in much more than history and labs. I see huge potential for brain-machine interfaces. Our team is taking a lead on that and our starting project is building the bio-sensors personalized artificially intelligent-agent, towards optimizing mental, physical, emotional health, and human performance. Fewer errors, Better investments, better decisions, and thus a better life.

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

Goubran: That’s a huge topic, Mr. Jacobsen, would take us quite a while. For the purpose of this interview, I choose not to speculate over abstract concepts.

Jacobsen: In the presentation of “speculate over abstract concepts,” and as abstract can mean “not having a physical or concrete existence” and only “existing in thought,” and as concept(s) can mean “something conceived in the mind,” or simply a “thought” or a “notion,” this may imply the mere in-mindness of the gods or God without true actuality. To move past this, any thoughts on religion as a political instrument? 

Goubran: It can be used as an effective political instrument, whether on a macro-social level or within an individual relationship with himself, the internal psychological politics, which have tons of conflicting parties.

Knowing those internal subpersonalities, listening to them, those inner parts of us that were never listened to, or given a chance to talk. The suppressed, the repressed. It’s in personal opinion healthy to have an internal democracy governed by a clear “constitution”, the constitution in that sense is one’s values clearly articulated.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, World Genius Directory; Psychiatry Resident Physician.

[2] Individual Publication Date: December 8, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2021:

*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.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: