The Mad Genius: Are Evil and Intelligence Linked?

There may be a very rational reason that the phrase "mad genius" exists. In fact, studies have shown a person's level of emotional intelligence (EI) may in fact influence a person's behavior on the scale of good and evil. Emotional intelligence—our ability to recognize, be in touch with and regulate our emotions so they don't overwhelm us—was long thought to only bring out the good people. Look closely, and you may even notice the strange psychological phenomena that occurs when sociopaths—or individuals who are cognizant of right and wrong, although feel no real compassion or remorse—also possess high IQs. Although they are devoid of much emotional intelligence, they are highly skilled, trained, educated—giving meaning to the idea of a mad genius.

So what exactly is the link between intelligence, emotion, good and evil—if any? How does a person's level of creativity play a role? Vincent Van Gogh, Sir Isaac Newton and Edgar Allen Poe were all creative powerhouses with personal demons such as alcoholism and mental illness, and demonstrated the best kind of mad genius. Yet others take a different turn. Serial killer Ted Bundy had an IQ of 124, John Wayne Gacy measured 118 on the scale, and Rodney Alcala had an astonishing IQ of 130. What separates these two groups, and how do these complicated concepts influence each other?

Written by Curiosity Staff July 7, 2014

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