Lion of the Blogosphere

Nerds are over-socialized

CamelCaseRob wrote:

As Lion explained up-thread, “socialization” means teaching children how they are supposed to behave. I remember in first grade my teacher telling us students to not talk between classes. Of course, all she meant, was “keep it quiet” but I sat there without saying a word between classes for the rest of the school year (and for several years after that) while all the other kids were chattering away, becoming social animals.

That’s exactly what I meant by over-socialized.

Once again, this is not my original theory, but I don’t know if the guy who came up with it wants his name posted on this blog.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 13, 2015 at 7:49 AM

Posted in Psychology

43 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. To the extent that this is true – if it is at all – this is a symptom, not a cause.

    All children receive the same kind of discipline. But why does it stick in some and not others? The reason is ultimately the personality characteristics of the children, which doesn’t show much sign that such is subject to much environmental manipulation.

    “Genetic pacification” seems to be the thing here: high agreeableness, for example.


    Predictions on the Worldwide Distribution of Personality | JayMan’s Blog


    January 13, 2015 at 8:31 AM

  2. It seems like what CamelCaseRob is describing is just off-the-charts right-tail Agreeability in the OCEAN personality assessment.

    Being overly agreeable will actually help you outperform your station in life (keep you out of jail) if you have an IQ ~85-100, but for IQs >= 115 it will make you too risk-averse and get you glass-ceilinged. Lion has posted studies to that effect.

    Ballmer, Bezos, Jobs…high IQ, low agreeability.


    January 13, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    • No, I don’t think he’s describing that. Nerds tend to NOT be agreeable. Obeying authority and agreeableness are different things.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 13, 2015 at 12:58 PM

      • It would appear that nerds score high on 4 of the 6 subtraits of agreeableness.

        1) Compliance, 2) straightforwardness, 3) altruism (in school they are taught to help others with assignments because they are so lucky; any expectation of status or rewards in return will get them branded as creeps or fake nice guys – this conditions them to behave the same way at the office), 4) modesty

        They would tend to score low on 1) trust (been AMOG’d too much), and 2) tender-mindedness.


        January 13, 2015 at 1:37 PM

      • Nerds comply with the rules because of conscientiousness rather than agreableness.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 13, 2015 at 6:50 PM

      • Not being agreeable is a sign of “alphaness”?


        January 13, 2015 at 1:54 PM

      • nerds comply because they don’t like the fear and anxiety that comes with breaking the rules. and because they’re too dumb to know when the rules are bullshit and should be broken.

        World Moustache Champion

        January 14, 2015 at 1:51 AM

      • Nerds comply with the rules because of conscientiousness rather than agreableness.

        Actually, a nerd is at his most conscientious when doing his own thing, not when complying. Old-school Google recognized this by allowing engineers to spend 20 percent of their time on pet projects. Someone who is compliant out of conscientiousness is truly content to be someone else’s drone, not someone who agrees because he is afraid he will lose a fight.


        January 14, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      • no guy. it’s why so many nerds are libertardians. they cannot distinguish between rules as they are and rules as they should be.

        doo, doo, doo, happy day, why can’t everyone follow the rules? why can’t everyone be a brown noser? why can’t everyone be enthusiastic about school? why can’t everyone be his teacher’s pet? doo, doo, doo, happy day…

        World Moustache Champion

        January 15, 2015 at 3:18 AM

      • ‘Actually, a nerd is at his most conscientious when doing his own thing, not when complying. ‘

        Sounds like someone has been conned by the recent ‘pro-nerd’ propaganda trend. A nerd in real life has no desire to lead or to ‘do his own thing.’


        January 15, 2015 at 2:02 PM

      • Thinking more about this, I think this may stem from the difference between the Big Five Agreeableness and the HEXACO Agreeableness, which are not the same.

        For one, externalizing negative emotions (anger, contempt, etc.) are a feature of Neuroticism in the Big Five, but are a feature of low Agreeableness in the HEXACO, which to me makes more sense to me.

        There is a qualitative difference between non-aggressive antagonism (just being social disagreeable but not violent) and aggressive antagonism (willingness to get physical). (Some) score high on the first but not the second.


        January 23, 2015 at 10:43 AM

      • Willingness to get physical is, I would suspect, associated with Extroversion.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 23, 2015 at 3:01 PM

  3. Highly socialized people tend to learn how to behave, if not think, from those surrounding them. Which would suggest the kids chattering between classes were highly socialized because they were following the lead of their peers. Who is the better socialized, the person who drives 55 mph on the freeway or the person who keeps up with the rest of traffic. I’d say the latter.


    January 13, 2015 at 10:41 AM

    • You’re intentionally trying to not get the point.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 13, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    • and i was stopped on the Jersey Turnpike for…?

      driving the speed limit. i thought when a cop is following you, that’s what you do. well it is…but not in New Jersey. and i’ve got lots of traffic tickets.

      the cop:
      you gotta be kiddin’ me.
      you’ve been driving the speed limit the whole time i’ve been following you.

      World Moustache Champion

      January 14, 2015 at 1:48 AM

      • So he didn’t give you a ticket, or did he make something up?


        January 14, 2015 at 11:00 AM

      • no ticket. maybe he was new on the traffic beat. sometimes drunk drivers will drive too well. or so i’ve heard. so that might draw suspicion. but when you can see the cop car following you?

        World Moustache Champion

        January 15, 2015 at 3:21 AM

      • and with cruise control driving at exactly the speed limit is easy. i think my rental had it.

        World Moustache Champion

        January 15, 2015 at 3:22 AM

  4. In public elementary school in Greenwich Village, of all places, we were required to sit silently in the cafeteria while sitting together having lunch. In retrospect that seems worse than any prison regime, and appropriate only to those who have taken restrictive monastic vows. I don’t know if that counts as over-socialization or no socialization. But such were the 1950s, when little boys were taught to write neatly, sit still, and shut up.


    January 13, 2015 at 11:33 AM

  5. That example sounds like a robot who programmed itself wrong. Behaving as you’re told by authority is one one thing but to not understand that you actually programmed yourself to behave wrongly in the first place is another. The naivety is astounding in the above example, which was hopefully just meant to be illustrative? and “comment 171.”

    “(sigh) Here’s the thing: I spent my formative years—basically, from the age of 12 until my mid-20s—feeling not “entitled,” not “privileged,” but terrified. I was terrified that one of my female classmates would somehow find out that I sexually desired her, and that the instant she did, I would be scorned, laughed at, called a creep and a weirdo, maybe even expelled from school or sent to prison.”


    January 13, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    • all i remember from the first grade was poking another kid’s eye out with a stick, getting kicked in the balls by a girl, and hating school. since then i was always a “behavior problem”.

      rules are made to be broken. the enforcers and prosecutors have too much to do just dealing with the real criminals.

      oversocialized? no. just clueless.

      World Moustache Champion

      January 13, 2015 at 7:12 PM

  6. It’s true the typical nerd-child will interpret such commands literally. A related problem is that unfamiliar idioms don’t come naturally to those on the nerd-aspergers overlap. The need to have them explained only serves to highlight their ostracism from normal social life.

    The sad irony of this over-socialization is that it’s completely unnecessary for nerds. They don’t misbehave anyway. Their chastened psyches are collateral damage of blunt-force social dictums meant to rein in the truly unruly, hyper children who actually need the heavy hand. It’s probably why so many of them later become libertarians: society’s authoritarian rules aren’t truly needed because *they* know they’re not going to hurt anyone.

    The oft-expressed “creepy,” is what manifests from this dynamic later in life when a nerdy guy displays any sort of heterosexual inclinations toward women in the situations which he finds himself with them. He’s been over-socialized to rule-follow, treat women chivalrously, and generally shut up. This defensive posture — inherently trying to avoid embarrassment — nearly always backfires, exposing his crippling awkwardness.

    These are the boys (and men) for whom Game is intended. Distilled to it’s essence, it’s the cultivation of a persona that serves the bearer first and foremost, not society’s arbitrary rules and customs. While at first it seems little more than a scaffolded facade, the initial outward perceptual reaction it generates reflects back into the practitioner in profound ways, magnifying the internal transformation.

    That’s why it attacks the pedastalization of women first and foremost. Whereas the needy, deprived nerd is hot with unslaked lust but frustrated by self-doubt and baffled by the mysterious illogic of women, the man imbued with Game is cool, seemingly indifferent, and utterly unbothered by such “feminine mystique” because he finds it mildly amusing.

    Of course, a “natural” doesn’t bother to ask the big questions, but we now know in large part (thanks to evolutionary science and the intellectual explorations of men who have transitioned from sexless sad sacks to self-satisfied greater-betas and lesser alphas of various degrees) why women behave the way they do.

    Science so often validates the tenets of Game because Game is fundamentally a science. It all started with asking questions, but it only truly went anywhere when men started accepting its frequently unpleasant and nearly always politically incorrect answers to those questions, culminating in a field of study heretofore largely ignored by academic research and condemned as misogynistic by wider society.

    You were lied to about women, the same way you were lied to about God, the same way you were lied to when you were told “no talking between classes.” Those controlling mechanisms weren’t actually intended for you, mild-mannered spergy-nerd, but they sure end up hurting you in ways that are only revealed in hindsight.

    An very high IQ and its associated behaviors can confine men to a prison of celibacy just as a deleteriously low IQ and its associated behaviors will lead such men to actual prison, but Game is the warden’s skeleton key.

    Jack R.

    January 13, 2015 at 1:28 PM

    • It’s true the typical nerd-child will interpret such commands literally.

      I wonder if this is true. In military basic training you’re taught to do that and give the obvious answer, but are the guys who take to that the best the nerds? Not in my recollection, but then there probably weren’t many nerds there.

      Similarly, remember the Third Wave experiment ( )? There was a (TV?) movie about it in the ’80s, IIRC. A teacher tried to show the appeal of fascism by instituting a rigid set of militaristic rules in his class. It wasn’t the nerds who lapped that up though, IIRC.

      Dave Pinsen

      January 14, 2015 at 2:22 AM

      • What may be going on here that in situations where there is a public rulebook and a real rulebook that just about everyone follows, nerds aren’t shown or don’t understand the real rulebook. That is the situation with the talking in class rule. People who get the real rulebook tend to follow it diligently, so I think the idea that nerds are particularly willing to obey rules is false, they just tend to follow the public rules when they conflict with the real rules.


        January 14, 2015 at 11:42 AM

  7. I’m guessing there is some confusion over the term ‘socialize’

    1. mix socially with others.
    “he didn’t mind socializing with his staff”
    synonyms: interact, converse, be sociable, mix, mingle, get together, meet, keep company, fraternize, consort; More
    antonyms: keep oneself to oneself

    2. make (someone) behave in a way that is acceptable to their society.
    “newcomers are socialized into orthodox ways”

    Lion is ref. to the second definition

    grey enlightenment

    January 13, 2015 at 3:00 PM

    • What happens when “socializing” newcomers in the 2nd sense obligates them to “socialize” in the 1st sense with everyone else around them? “Outer-directed” is what America wants all its youngsters to be eventually, isn’t it?

      Melancthon O'Brien

      January 15, 2015 at 10:29 AM

  8. Sounds right to me. I can remember being 5 or 6 and playing outside by myself, back in the 80s when kids were allowed to do things like that. Occasionally, my friend who lived on the other side of the street would come out and we’d sit on opposite corners, waiting for a parent to come out and put us together. We didn’t cross the street because we knew it was bad; our parents told us not to.

    This sort of thing ended for me in fifth grade, when I told on two of my classmates who were cheating on a history test. The teacher didn’t say anything to my parents and scolded the kids. When I came home and proudly told my dad how I’d helped enforce the rules, he seemed disgusted and explained why what I did was wrong. If that wasn’t the moment, it was one of the ones when I started to recognize that everyone in the world is full of crap and you have to look out for yourself.

    Some men never get this and they suffer for it, particularly with women.


    January 13, 2015 at 5:23 PM

    • what you did was right. it won’t make you friends, but so what?

      no one likes a snitch.

      especially criminals. (it’s only annoying when no harm was done and the spirit of the law or rule wasn’t violated.)

      and the same people who think complaining and arguing are bad manners. i hate those people. just uptight Protestant dullards. polyester and mayonnaise and obesity are bad manners. another example of how very different cultures.

      the Jews love to argue and love to complain. it’s true. they say so themselves.

      World Moustache Champion

      January 14, 2015 at 2:03 AM

  9. But that’s a classic case of literalism/ black and white thinking typical of Aspergers. Also the failure to recognize sarcasm.

    slithy toves

    January 13, 2015 at 6:10 PM

    • Indeed. His definition of nerd is pretty bad. Nerds suffer from low social status and not aspergers. Social attributes including looks and extroversion are very undervalued in terms of life outcomes.


      January 15, 2015 at 2:37 AM

      • Looks is one of the core measures of social status. Average and especially ugly people are scorned in high societies of sexual lust and greed.


        January 15, 2015 at 11:54 AM

  10. I can attest to this too. As a nerd, you take everything authority figures say literally. One day, in 5th grade reading class, I was writing with an erasable pen, and when I turned my paper over, all that smudgy ink left smudge marks all over the desk. The teacher thought I had written on the desk on purpose, and scolded me for it in front of the class, ending her tirade with “now tomorrow, you will bring in cleanser and a rag, and you will clean that up!” I went home and told my mother what had happened and that I needed to bring cleanser and a rag to school tomorrow. She just said “don’t be ridiculous; the teacher didn’t really mean that.” Sure enough, the next day, the teacher said nothing about it. I couldn’t understand why the teacher would lie or say something she didn’t mean.

    I also couldn’t understand why being a “tattletale” was a bad thing, a la Robert above.

    I also couldn’t understand why kids started trying drugs as we got older, as the grown-ups had told us they were bad.


    January 13, 2015 at 9:36 PM

    • nothing wrong with a snitch if the crime is real. when it’s minor and doesn’t violate the spirit of the law or rules it’s annoying. but if you want to get even. just do it.

      but “Hermes” is conspicuous consumption.

      World Moustache Champion

      January 14, 2015 at 1:44 AM

      • Sadam, in our cell of about about 80 everyone knew where the drugs were and nobody switched. A snitch gets a stich, don’t do it Sadam.


        January 14, 2015 at 12:29 PM

  11. Not all nerds:

    When they do do wrong, though, they are punished to the fullest extent.

    Live-Evil/Lion of Judah

    January 13, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    • Giving that guy a prison sentence of up to 15 years for just a harmless prank, and where he will probable get beat up and ass-raped by brutal real convicts, seems inhumane to me. They could just expel him from school (which even seems harsh).

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 13, 2015 at 11:59 PM

      • Whiskey was wrong…EVERYONE hate hate hates beta males. I hope this prick goes to jail and does all 15. You can just tell he is a creepy nerd from his photo.


        January 14, 2015 at 4:34 AM

      • Home Depot, Target, one of the big banks or, heck, even the NSA should hire him to shore up their IT security.

        E. Rekshun

        January 14, 2015 at 11:15 AM

      • Generally speaking, low status males = anything beta or lower, tend to be less attractive, to the point of being creepy.


        January 14, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    • I think the time has long since passed when you can consider someone a nerd because their able to use a computer (early 90s?)

      hacking into the University of Georgia’s computer network to post a message prior to the annual rivalry football game

      The illegal calendar entry, which was added below the legitimate entry for the game, read: “Sat., November 29, 2014/ 12:00 pm/ Get Ass Kicked by GT.”

      Does a nerd hack a website to post smack talk about a football game?


      January 14, 2015 at 1:18 AM

  12. tonnes of really frail super nerdy guys are into sports. they love fantasy sports and data crunch analysing aspect that so many modern sports involve.


    January 18, 2015 at 3:01 PM

  13. This is exactly the term that the Unabomber used in his Manifesto.

    25. The moral code of our society is so demanding that no one can think, feel and act in a completely moral way. For example, we are not supposed to hate anyone, yet almost everyone hates somebody at some time or other, whether he admits it to himself or not. Some people are so highly socialized that the attempt to think, feel and act morally imposes a severe burden on them. In order to avoid feelings of guilt, they continually have to deceive themselves about their own motives and find moral explanations for feelings and actions that in reality have a non-moral origin. We use the term “oversocialized” to describe such people. [2]

    26. Oversocialization can lead to low self-esteem, a sense of powerlessness, defeatism, guilt, etc. One of the most important means by which our society socializes children is by making them feel ashamed of behavior or speech that is contrary to society’s expectations. If this is overdone, or if a particular child is especially susceptible to such feelings, he ends by feeling ashamed of HIMSELF. Moreover the thought and the behavior of the oversocialized person are more restricted by society’s expectations than are those of the lightly socialized person. The majority of people engage in a significant amount of naughty behavior. They lie, they commit petty thefts, they break traffic laws, they goof off at work, they hate someone, they say spiteful things or they use some underhanded trick to get ahead of the other guy. The oversocialized person cannot do these things, or if he does do them he generates in himself a sense of shame and self-hatred. The oversocialized person cannot even experience, without guilt, thoughts or feelings that are contrary to the accepted morality; he cannot think “unclean” thoughts. And socialization is not just a matter of morality; we are socialized to conform to many norms of behavior that do not fall under the heading of morality. Thus the oversocialized person is kept on a psychological leash and spends his life running on rails that society has laid down for him. In many oversocialized people this results in a sense of constraint and powerlessness that can be a severe hardship. We suggest that oversocialization is among the more serious cruelties that human beings inflict on one another.

    Sebastian Zearing

    January 19, 2015 at 3:34 PM

  14. Any discussion of nerds depends on what you think a nerd is. My idea of an “over-socialized” nerd is individual in a society of nerds or nerd-like people. I picture the student body of some technical university in China, Korea or India – or even a Hebrew school full of “nice Jewish boys” – where virtually everyone wears glasses, has skinny biceps, is quiet and more or less introverted, and always obeys the rules. In those circumstances, the over-socialization – and, indeed, the nerd-like behavior as a whole – would be a reflection of the entire culture.

    Now, your prototypical American nerd – as in, say, “The Revenge of the Nerds” – is an individual who is out of step with the people around him, not a jock, not a “cool kid” or some student council kiss-ass, but someone who, heedlessly or deliberately, goes against the grain to follow his (or her) own pursuits. Most people I have known like that have an indifferent or even subversive attitude towards the status quo. No one in his right mind would call such people over-socialized. They may appear to be obedient, but are not obedient at all in their heart of hearts. Another type of nerd is the guy who would like to be part of things, but who is excluded because he is fat, or ugly, or wears glasses, or stutters or can’t play sports or whatever, and is involuntarily shut out because of his flaws. These people may also sometimes appear to be obedient, but not because they believe in the system. They are either bullied into submission or have withdrawn into themselves, perhaps plotting their own vindication. These nerds are far more anti-social than over-socialized. They despise what subdues them, and have as much contempt for their masters as the house slaves of an antebellum plantation.

    Whoever believes nerds are “over-socialized” is surely confusing the members of nerd-like foreign cultures with the classic nerds of American society. The two may appear to be the same, but are definitely not the same.

    Melancthon O'Brien

    January 21, 2015 at 10:34 AM

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: