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Conversation with Bob Williams on Schizotypy, Creativity, Genius, Johnson and Bouchard, PFIT and BA10, Wai, Benbow, Lubinsky, Rex Jung, and Arthur Jensen: Retired Nuclear Physicist (5)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2022/07/01


Bob Williams is a Member of the Triple Nine Society, Mensa International, and the International Society for Philosophical Enquiry. He discusses: schizotypal traits; schizotypal personality traits and temperament; the prominent tests of creativity; impulsively nonconformist and prone to divergent thought; measuring creativity; creativity over the lifespan; BigC (true genius); Johnson and Bouchard; negative correlation between very high levels of creativity and very high levels of intelligence in brain efficiency; PFIT; Wai, Lubinsky, and Benbow; Rex Jung; Arthur Jensen; original creative insights into a unified work; developmental cascade effects; drugs; true genius tend to isolation; true genius tend towards no progeny; high intelligence or high creativity; cold hard truths; countries leaders.

Keywords: Arthur Jensen, Benbow, Bob Williams, Bouchard, creativity, genius, intelligence, I.Q., Johnson, Lubinski, PFIT, Rex Jung, schizotypy, Wai.

Conversation with Bob Williams on Schizotypy, Creativity, Genius, Johnson and Bouchard, PFIT and BA10, Wai, Benbow, Lubinsky, Rex Jung, and Arthur Jensen: Retired Nuclear Physicist (5)

*Please see the references, footnotes, and citations, after the interview, respectively.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: With schizotypal traits and temperament as an association with creativity, is it possible to parse schizotypal traits into the individual traits to associate with some common, accepted definitions of creativity?

Bob Williams[1],[2]*: Schizotypy is associated with verbal and artistic creativity. There are presumably some who have, nonetheless, shown a more technical form of creativity. John Nash, comes to mind. The form of schizophrenia known as Introvertive Anhedonia is negatively associated with creativity. The commonly found association between schizotypy and creativity is that there is a reduced latent inhibition.

Measuring and predicting outcomes relating to creativity is more difficult than doing those things relative to intelligence, because intelligence is a very general trait that is well understood structurally (as in a hierarchical factor analysis). The thing that schizophrenia and intelligence have in common is that they are both additive polygenic traits and, therefore, can be measured via polygenic scores. The best material I have seen on the genetics of traits is Robert Plomin Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are, Penguin Books Ltd., 2018. Plomin mentioned that today schizophrenia, like autism, is treated as a spectrum. In this book, Plomin commented: “In several diverse populations the researchers found that people with high polygenic scores for schizophrenia were more likely to be in creative professions.”

It is my understanding that the ratio of highly creative people with schizophrenia to noncreative people with schizophrenia is small. Even so there is a clear link.

Jacobsen: Following from the previous question, if we do so, what do particular parsed aspects of schizotypal personality traits and temperament tell us about their association or correlation with creativity?

Williams: As I mentioned in the first answer, most important link is a lowered inhibitory function. This particular trait is discussed repeatedly in The Cambridge Handbook of the Neuroscience of Creativity (2018) Rex E. Jung (Editor), Oshin Vartanian (Editor). But, if you ask a psychologist about the traits associated with schizophrenia, he will probably list other behaviors, such as hallucinations, disorganized thinking, extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior, thought and movement disorders, etc.

This is a related, side topic: In the book referenced above, Kyaga mentioned that people majoring in technical fields, more often than others, had siblings with autism. This suggests a path from a spectrum behavior that involves shared genes that lead to elevated ability in those who share the genes, but where the spectrum disorder prevents it from showing up in the affected (autistic) person. There may be a similar finding relative to creativity and schizophrenia. In fact there may be good studies of such a relationship, but I have either not seen them or have forgotten the source.

I think the best way to describe the relationships between schizophrenia and creativity is to note that among true geniuses, elevated levels of schizophrenia are helpful or even essential. But if one observes the presence of schizophrenia in an individual, there is not the same high probability (the presence of high creativity). To me, the zones between the elevated levels of psychosis and neurosis (per Hans Eysenck) and elevated standing on the schizophrenia spectrum seem to be either overlapping or identical.

Jacobsen: Do any of the prominent tests of creativity truly measure creativity? Are these reliable and valid, or simply leaving more questions unanswered?

Williams: The answer to that question strikes me as depending on the perspective of the observer. In the most basic sense, the tests of creativity consist of tests of remote association, fluency, divergent thinking, etc., which are not direct measures of creativity. From the perspective of a researcher who wants a wide range of abilities shown (low to high ability), the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (and similar tests) produces this kind of measurement. This is where the issue of artistic creativity and scientific creativity can be seen. A test, such as the TTCT will produce similar results for people in science or in arts, so the researcher may be quite happy with the results as measuring “creativity,” even when the kinds of creativity are very different.

Although some researchers argue that intelligence is a factor in creativity, the more important factor is personality, as measured by the Big Five. The most important of these five is Openness to experience and Conscientiousness (a negative indicator).

For the record, a few of the other tests that are used for measuring creativity:

Divergent Thinking (a general category)

Remote Associations Test (a general category)

Creative Personality Scale

Creative Achievement Questionnaire (CAQ; a selfreport)

Jacobsen: If someone is impulsively nonconformist and prone to divergent thought patterns, do these necessarily imply a higher creativity?

Williams: I think the answer is “not.” As with other behavioral relationships, there is a statistically higher probability of the cooccurrence of nonconformity and creativity, but I doubt that this is a necessary pair. Sometimes we see the unusual behavior and tend to generalize it, while we simultaneously ignore normal behavior paired with creativity (or another variable). When ability increases to the point of astonishing achievement (creativity), I expect that the odds of seeing very unusual behaviors increases to the point that there is at least some present. It is difficult to reach a confident conclusion about such trait correlations without proper statistical studies to show how strong an effect is and how it may vary between groups and life conditions. Most educated people are familiar with a lot of the names of artistic and scientific geniuses, but may not know the details of their lives.

Another aspect of behaviors is that, if we look closely at individuals we would consider to be not extreme, everyday folks, we would still find lots of unusual behaviors, including some that might happen more often among highly creative people. My take on Plomin’s comments about spectrums of traits is that these apply to many of the things we observe in both exceptional and “normal” people.

Jacobsen: If experts are measuring creativity or proposing measurements for creativity within the human population, technically, these could be scaled for comparison, not necessarily a Gaussian curve or something like this, but this seems like a natural consequence. Some people score higher on a creativity measurement than others, whether quantitative or qualitative, so would count as more creative. Yet, the question arises about lifespan effects. In that, some aspects of creativity may decline over time, remain stagnant, or may increase over time. In principle, is ranking creativity a prospect before us?

Williams: Any test that has some validity in measuring creativity will produce a distribution. The exact shape of the distribution may vary as a function of how the test is designed and the population to which it is applied. I have never seen a creativity distribution curve, such as the ones that are commonly shown in intelligence literature. If we think about the likely output of a biographical list of honors received for creative work, I would expect that it would show a near zero value for most people and only show positive results for people who are obviously creative. In the sense that we can see creativity, it mirrors intelligence in the sense that it is not hard to identify someone who is shockingly brilliant or who is obviously retarded. Tests are not needed and even middle level effects (above or below average) are obvious enough that our observations are unlikely to vary much from measurements. In the case of creativity, I think someone can easily see brilliant composition and see that most people show much less ability.

Jacobsen: What happens to creativity over the lifespan?

Williams: Age effects presumably show up in various categories of creativity. It certainly happens in scientific creativity. As for artistic creativity, I am less confident that it is a strong effect. It is easy enough to recall conductors who continued to perform with little decline in quality, up to near the end of their lives. I can think of some classical music performers who did much the same. The things that the brain has to do to create art are certainly different than the things it has to do to write and solve equations that describe the physical universe. We see that Nobel Prizes (in science) are overwhelmingly given for work that was done early in life. Einstein’s Miracle Year (1905) included four profound papers that changed physics; he was 26 years old.

Jacobsen: Who does Piffer count as BigC (true genius)? What are his examples of ProC via professions and creative people in them?

Williams: I recall a mention of a few true geniuses in a paper that was probably Piffer, but I don’t know if I still have it or not. The ProC category includes both the arts and the sciences. Most people are more familiar with the true geniuses in the arts and sciences. ProC, as I understand his meaning, is a category that is not about genius, but about people who are able to have successful careers that are based on their high levels of creativity. The names of these people will be known to many of their career peers, but not to the general public. Those who are widely known are usually those who were closely covered by the news media (various reasons, often unrelated to their actual creative output).

Jacobsen: Akin to Johnson and Bouchard’s work showing the top 5 g loadings, does a similar factorization exist for creativity within measurements of creativity? This is a helpful representation of an advancement on the research of g, as 1) a factor in life and 2) a consistently measurable phenomenon in global information processing within the remit of the human nervous system.

Williams: As we discussed in an earlier set, Piffer has argued that a general factor is unlikely. Researchers have done principal components analysis and factor analysis relating to creativity, but I have not seen claims that they have found and shown expert agreement that there is a general factor. These have clusters of related traits that might define a factor that is common to the clustered components. Certainly, there is little mention of a general factor in the creativity literature. There is more support for a general factor of personality (Rushton was writing about this near the end of his life.), but papers on personality are not focused on a general factor of personality in the same way as is common in intelligence research.

Intelligence is powerfully related to quality of life and achievement. At low IQ, life outcomes can be harsh, but this doesn’t happen for low creativity. A person with very little creative ability may still have a happy and productive life, unless that lack of creativity is the direct result of low intelligence. Creativity matters when it is high enough to sustain a livelihood or to produce an eminent artist, engineer, or scientist (as we previously discussed). Below the Pro-C level creativity is much less important at the individual level.

Relating to Johnson and Bouchard’s work, I learned something from Wendy Johnson that I had previously overlooked. The loading of a given factor is dependent on the structure of the test from which it was extracted. For example, if there are more or fewer test items that relate to a given broad ability, that broad ability will show a higher or lower g loading. This explains some of the differences that are reported for the g loadings of various factors. In their work, Johnson and Bouchard used the largest battery of tests that has ever been reported and extracted a structure of intelligence that is probably the most true to nature that exists. The reason I was discussing this with Wendy was that I was curious about the high g loading of the Pedigrees test. Bouchard mentioned the test multiple times as the highest g loading of any test. I later discussed it with him and learned how the test works and that it dates back to the relatively early days of intelligence test development.

Jacobsen: Could there be a negative correlation between very high levels of creativity and very high levels of intelligence in brain efficiency? Where, a highly intelligent brain uses less energy than a less intelligent one to come to a more parsimonious answer to a problem. Whereas, a highly creative person may require more resources burned in their brain to construct more elaborate novel constructs. If so, this would imply a disjunction between high intelligence and high creativity. Unless, a highly intelligent brain with high creativity, somehow, does require less energy than a highly intelligent and less creative person, but still would need less to get a creative result than an unintelligent person with high creativity.

Williams: That’s an interesting thought. I don’t think there are any studies of glucose metabolism as a function of creative output. I think the problem lies in the nature of the end product. In the case of intelligence, Haier’s work shows that more efficient brains are more intelligent. This initial hypothesis has turned out to be a general condition in which various measures of brain efficiency show that high efficiency (in networks, tissue integrity, etc.) is an indication of high intelligence. These observations necessarily apply to narrow tests, such as doing a puzzle, and not to complex end results, such as designing a rocket engine or writing artificial intelligence software. Such tasks happen over long time periods. But we can relate the lab experiment (efficiency measurement) to the very long task because the task is strongly related to a latent trait (g). Without efficiency measurements (they may exist, but I haven’t seen them) for creativity, we have the relationship between established creative ability and multiple end products, but the efficiency part is missing. A number of relatively recent papers have argued that there is a connection between intelligence and creativity, which may provide an indirect link to brain efficiency.

My impression is that some creative people work very fast and some plod along with lots of revisions, but both manage to reach finished works that meet the face value of high level creativity. I once watched a film of Picasso painting and was amazed at the speed with which he created a painting, but he would then overpaint it multiple times (also quickly). We occasionally read about symphonies and novels that were produced over long spans of time and those (Mozart) that were done quickly. It is not obvious that brain efficiency is a factor in these, but it may account for such differences. Curiously, Jensen described how Beethoven started the composition of a symphony from a simple structure, then went over it repeatedly, making changes that increased its complexity and appeal, until the final version was achieved. This is similar to what Picasso was doing, except that Picasso did not add complexity but simply changed the impact of the painting repeatedly, until he had a result that suited his intent.

The efficiency hypothesis may, in fact, be reversed for creative output. It is the inefficient brain that is likely to bring in more remote associations because of low tissue integrity, less efficient networks, and low inhibition. These are probably going to cause increased glucose uptake rates in the brain.

Jacobsen: With the PFIT network as important for intelligence and problem solving, could there be a generic partially diffuse network rather than a singular structure (a lobe, etc.) responsible for much of the conscious problem solving determined as intelligence or I.Q., where much of the rest of the brain is devoted to sensing, motor skills, and feeling? Something like a diffuse network functioning outward from BA10 for conscious discrimination and associational matrix problem solving making sense of the data fed through BA10 through a field of conscious thought.

Williams: Network study is a big thing now that researchers have tools to study white matter tracts (diffusion tensor imaging in particular). The network that I have seen mentioned repeatedly, in connection with creativity, is the default mode network. It clearly plays a role in creativity. Some studies have focused on the interplay between networks, suggesting rapid switching from one network to another, in much the same way as early computers used task switching when they did not have preemptive multitasking. My guess is that, with increasing study and improved imaging tools, there will be models based on networks, switching, and interplay. These presumably will also involve creative task execution. Given the central role of BA10 in intelligence, I would assume that it is also central to creative processing and performs the same integration function.

Jacobsen: How important are Wai, Lubinsky, and Benbow, currently, to the higher study of intelligence?

Williams: They have a near monopoly on the topic. Most intelligence research is focused on the middle of the IQ spectrum. Julian Stanley started the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth when Camilla Benbow was working with him (probably a student). SMPY became a longitudinal study that had 5 cohort groups. Benbow inherited ownership of the ongoing study from him and it continues today as the most productive study of very bright individuals. It has been ongoing for about 50 years, so there are data for important life outcomes. One of the most significant findings of the study is that there is a large difference within the top 1% of intelligence, favoring increasing intelligence. Among the variables that increase with increasing intelligence are the number of doctorates, peer reviewed publications, STEM publications, STEM doctorates, income, and STEM tenure.

Jacobsen: How does Rex Jung see the different forms of creativity scientific and artistic emergent from a single source in creativity, so fundamentally the same?

Williams: When I asked him if he thought that artistic creativity and scientific creativity are the same, he said “yes.” I think this was based on the two things he used as primary markers: the alternative uses test and the Creative Achievement Questionnaire. With those two items, the difference (scientific/artistic) is presumably not evident.

Jacobsen: How did Arthur Jensen see intelligence as more integral to scientific creativity than artistic creativity, so, in a sense different from Jung, something more fundamental to scientific endeavours than artistic?

Williams: As I recall, Jensen believed that intelligence was not a significant factor in artistic creativity, but was probably a significant factor in scientific creativity. My perspective on this is that the depth of knowledge of a scientific discipline is strongly correlated with intelligence and that knowledge is an essential ingredient in manipulating scientific ideas. Creativity in science is often seen in the formation of an unlikely hypothesis, followed by the task of validating it from experiments and mathematical models. If we compare that to the creativity of an artist, we see that art demands idea generation that makes a subjective impression on the viewer. This is quite different from the scientific product that is supported by testing, replication, modeling, etc. In science, there is nothing subjective about getting something right; there is a subjective zing to seeing the brilliance of new insight.

Jacobsen: Based on your speculation, how would individual flashes of creativity integrated over time with non-creative activity provide a basis for comprehension of creativity regarding output? In this sense, intelligent integrative activity would be necessary, not for creativity but, for unifying the original creative insights into a unified work.

Williams: As a speculation, I would say “yes.” In any case, “intelligent integrative activity” would be necessary for combining the “multiple flashes of creativity.” This idea would be an interesting one for someone to pursue as a study. I doubt that it has been done and imagine that it would at least be possible, using an approach such as interviews, self-reports, etc.

Jacobsen: What about developmental cascade effects? Where, a singular large change in a brain network or structure in early life alters overall brain structure and processing through development into full maturity leading to a much more novel neurology compared to the general population. I would assume this happening in dysfunctional ways more than functional ways as a matter of the law of averages.

Williams: It certainly makes sense that this would turn out badly most of the time. One way that such developmental issues can be observed is via fluctuating anisotropy (FA). This is commonly used in biological sciences as an indicator of developmental instability. It is simply a measure of nonsymmetry, based on bones in the wrists, ankles, etc. The idea is to measure where there is little fat. More FA means lower IQ (and other issues). The correlation with IQ varies widely from about zero to 0.40. One reason for the range of correlations is that head size is a confound. There is a similar relationship between facial symmetry and IQ. Various studies have found that people can guess IQ from photographs of faces. And one study showed that childhood environmental factors are associated with SES. These generally support the notion of early developmental problems having longterm impact on the individual.

Jacobsen: Are there drugs, prescription or not, that, in fact, increase creativity for the duration of efficacy in the body?

Williams: Yes. One of the well known factors is alcohol. I even recall a study of creativity among people who were evaluated when they were drunk. In The Cambridge Handbook of the Neuroscience of Creativity there are discussions of particularly strong drinking problems among writers. This book also discusses clinical drugs that have some impact (positive and negative) on creativity. These generally fall into categories of dopaminergic drugs, sedatives, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antidepressants, moodstabolizing drugs, and the often mentioned recreational drugs (remember the 60s). This category is an example of an inverted U distribution, where more of the drug is initially beneficial, but a point is reached when the impact of the drug (on creativity) declines because the individual becomes impaired.

Jacobsen: Why does true genius tend to isolation?

Williams: Various researchers have written about the personalities of true genius. These rare creative people typically suffer from nasty dispositions. Jensen: “In many creative geniuses, this potential for actual psychosis is usually buffered and held in check by certain other traits, such as a high degree of ego strength. That psychoticism is a constellation of characteristics that persons may show to varying degrees; such persons may be aggressive, cold, egocentric, impersonal, impulsive, antisocial, unempathic, toughminded, and creative. This is not a charming picture of genius, perhaps, but a reading of the biographies of some of the most famous geniuses attests to its veracity.” [Benbow, C. P., & Lubinski, D. J. (Eds.). (1996). Intellectual talent: Psychometric and social issues. Johns Hopkins University Press.]

Jacobsen: Why does true genius tend towards no progeny?

Williams: The personality traits of true geniuses (discussed above) do not bode well for a social life and may be at least part of the explanation for why they often do not marry. There is a well established negative correlation between IQ and fertility rate (measured relative to women) which has been argued in the literature as the cause of a slow but real decline in mean IQ in developed nations. In the case of geniuses, this is presumably a factor.

Jacobsen: If you could pick only one high intelligence or high creativity, which would you choose?

Williams: For me, the answer is simple: intelligence. The reason is simply that the baggage that accompanies high creativity is not appealing. In general, higher intelligence leads to mostly desirable life outcomes, while high creativity often does not.

Jacobsen: What are the cold hard truths known about intelligence research and about theoretical constructs proposed to explain intelligence now?

Williams: I love this question as it hits directly at the things that are widely not understood, even by bright, educated people.

Mother Nature did not create brains according to a PC project plan. Instead, she opted to make intelligence hugely important and did not compensate people who happen to fall at the low end of the spectrum. I think a good way to view intelligence is by a list of correlates. There is at least one positive correlate that does not imply a desirable outcome: myopia, correlated at about r = 0.20 to 0.25 (given by both Jensen and Storfer). It is not the result of “nearwork.” Jensen: “Children in classes for the intellectually gifted (IQ > 130), for example, show an incidence of myopia three to five times greater than the incidence among pupils in regular classes.” [from The g Factor]

Otherwise, positive correlations are beneficial, while negative correlations are not. The “cold hard truth” of this is that life is increasingly more favorable at higher and higher levels of intelligence and is increasingly more difficult at lower and lower levels. I made the list below a couple of years ago, to illustrate the unfair nature of the IQ spectrum:

positive (+) correlation with intelligence



general health

life satisfaction

body symmetry

vital capacity

grip strength

educational achievement (grades, years completed, difficulty of major)

SES (a product of intelligence, not a cause of it)

speed of mental functions, including response to a stimulus and sensitivity to a short stimulus


learning rate

number of interests (held with competence)

job performance

brain efficiency (relative to glucose uptake rate)

sperm quality

negative (-) correlation with intelligence


HIV infection


time incarcerated

school dropout

teen pregnancy

fertility rate

illegitimate births


At the national level, mean national IQ correlates positively with per capita GDP, economic growth, economic freedom, rule of law, democratization, adult literacy, savings, national test scores on science and math, enrollment in higher education, life expectancy, and negatively with HIV infection, unemployment, violent crime, poverty, % agricultural economy, corruption, fertility rate, polygyny, and religiosity.

The correlates I listed range from moderate to small, but are important because small effects can coexist and are usually small because of the presence of large amounts of noise. When very large groups are considered, noise tends to cancel out, which is why national level comparisons typically have high correlations. An examination of the lists reveals that several factors relate to physical wellbeing. This is frequently discussed in the literature as relating to an overarching fitness factor that encompasses physical health, mental health, intelligence, and physical robustness.

These correlates are all the more cold and hard, when we consider that intelligence is determined at the moment of conception [Using DNA to predict intelligence; Sophie von Stumm, Robert Plomin; Intelligence 86 (2021) 101530.]; the environmental impacts are negative (lower intelligence); and the range of intelligence is huge. Group differences in mean IQ (or g) account for group differences the factors I listed for national outcomes.

Jacobsen: What countries leaders take these seriously without ideological commitments to distort them?

Williams: Some years ago, a friend loaned me a book about Indonesia. There was a fair amount of discussion in it about the highly diverse population and the realistic understanding of how intelligence was a factor that differed between the internal groups. I unfortunately cannot recall the title of the book and am not sure if it was discussing the time Sukarno was president. I think that was the case.

Otherwise China is very much aware of the importance of intelligence and in conducting intelligence research on a large scale. This huge effort is discussed in Haier, R. J. (2017). The Neuroscience of Intelligence, Cambridge University Press. Western nations have gone in the wokePC direction of denial and counter productive policies. I don’t see a path towards rational, factual thinking (about this issue) in the West.


[1] Retired Nuclear Physicist.

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 1, 2022:; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2022:

*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.


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