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Borderline Personality and Intelligence

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by HopeAlive, 06.29.12.

  1. HopeAlive

    HopeAlive

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    Folks, I've been considering taking what's called a "directed research" course. I've been away from school for many years and I am planning to take this course as a non-traditional student.

    Through email communication, the course instructor has told me that there is a lot of flexibility there and I can present her with potential research ideas and she will do her best to accommodate me. One area that I used to be interested in some years ago was borderline personality disorder/organization. And after taking a look at some of my old notes, I've started to wonder if there is some connection between bpd and some aspect of intelligence.

    I mean consider black-and-white thinking or the impulsiveness which are typically associated with lower intelligence. Most symptoms are perhaps better explained by arrested emotional and social development. Yet I wonder. Presently I'm trying to find studies of people with BPD who are also highly intelligent. Perhaps that will be helpful.

    So if you happen to study BPD, emotion dysregulation, or a similar field, I would much appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction, give me the name of a certain researcher, refer me to a paper or book, or even if it is to tell me not to waste my time on this project because it is unlikely to be fruitful. I am also considering a couple other research ideas though this one is my favorite presently.

    Thanks a lot.
  2. HopeAlive

    HopeAlive

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    One more thing. In order to examine the intelligence link, I've been searching for "neuropsychology" and "borderline personality" and getting results such as these, which I think are helpful:

    Sprock, J., Rader, T.J., Kendall, J.P., Yoder, C.Y., 2000. Neuropsychological functioning
    in patients with borderline personality disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychology
    56, 1587-1600.
  3. KillerDiller

    KillerDiller

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    Hi. Neither BPD nor intelligence is my area of expertise, but your comments about black and white thinking and impulsivity made me think of the theory of ego development. Ego development is essentially psychological maturity. It is correlated with intelligence, but IQ only accounts for a portion of the variance in the ego development measure. Perhaps that is something you could look into as well. The main theorist is Jane Loevinger.
    Last edited: 06.29.12
  4. Pragma

    Pragma

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    I know there are some researchers who look specifically at this issue. I'll PM you.
  5. G Costanza

    G Costanza

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    I've read studies that suggest intelligence is not directly related to impulsivity. I would also be sensitive to labeling a population of people as "intelligent" or not. It's a word that has little clinical value yet a powerful social influence.
  6. Doctor Eliza

    Doctor Eliza

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    I think that is a really good point about labeling.

    I was recently having a discussion with my book club (which includes a number of psychologists) about the notion that genius and mental illness are linked. (We had read "The Soloist" about a talented homeless musician with schizophrenia.) My personal sense is that intelligence is normally distributed among the mentally ill, just like the rest of the population (don't know the data on this though). I think it stands out when someone with a serious psychiatric diagnosis is also brilliant because people have a lot of stereotypes about this group. People like to think that the mentally ill are very different from themselves. The reality is that many people across all walks of life live with mental illness.

    Best,
    Dr. E
  7. IT514

    IT514

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    I would dispute the statement that intelligence is of little clinical value.

    I do agree that we need to be careful with the term and how it is used.

    There is some evidence for reductions in pockets of cognitive abilities in mood disorders, for example reduced verbal learning in bipolar disorder. Not sure about full scale IQ. Overall its certainly a topic worth exploring.
  8. Pragma

    Pragma

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    By definition, some disorders are absolutely associated with cognitive deficits. Think ADHD, Autism, Schizophrenia - countless studies document neuropsychological deficits. This is not an opinion. It is well documented in the empirical literature.

    This does not mean someone is less "intelligent" necessarily - and I hate that term anyways. But focal areas of cognitive dysfunction often accompany psychiatric diagnoses (and more generalized in the case of a disorder like Schizophrenia). These deficits often contribute to exhibited symptoms (e.g., distractibility/hyperactivity).

    In my line of work, we often have to answer the question of whether someone's concentration and memory issues are secondary to a medical diagnosis or a mood disorder.
  9. Doctor Eliza

    Doctor Eliza

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    Right, I agree with what you are saying, especially the part about areas of cognitive deficits being different from "intelligence." What I was trying to express was that people with mental illness are not dim lumps of clay and can do extrodinary things in spite of their difficulties.

    Dr. E
  10. G Costanza

    G Costanza

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    I think you misunderstood my post. I didn't say intelligence testing isn't important, I said the word "intelligence" has little clinical value. When we write reports for IQ tests, you don't tell people they are intelligent, you tell them exactly what the test measures and how they did.
    The word "intelligence" really doesn't mean anything because it can mean so many different things. The problem is that people outside the profession don't know that and link it to whatever they want it to mean even if the test just looks at something like verbal abilty.

    So when someone says they want to link BPD and intelligence, my first thought is...what do they mean? That's a knee jerk reaction that all of us in the field should have, but almost no one outside the field considers. To me, that's kind of dangerous.
  11. cara susanna

    cara susanna Predoctoral Intern

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    There are studies on emotional intelligence and BPD, I know.
  12. Iwillheal

    Iwillheal

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    WTF is going on here? It's like walking on eggshells. She said she's considering studying the link between SOME ASPECT of intelligence and borderline personality and then somebody says we "should" worry about how that term is used and it's "dangerous" to speak like this. And now you go further and link that to belief that with mental illness are "dim lumps of clay" and stuff?! Dude, she said none of that and in fact has not been to college for years, could you guys cut her some slack? Maybe I should go back and edit my post about Chomsky being a "brilliant" intellectual. Did that offend anyone? My supervisor was the other day talking about one of our postdocs being "very intelligent." Should I wave my finger at her or ask her what she means by "intelligence"? We are not conducting therapy here, this is a forum on internet. People should just relax a little. And read Meehl and walk on solid ground.
  13. Doctor Eliza

    Doctor Eliza

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    No one was attacking the OP. I certainly wasn't saying OP stereotyped people with mental illness that way (in fact I'm pretty sure she was saying the opposite). I think people were just pointing out the complexities of the term "intelligence."

    This is actually one of the least hostile threads on this board. If you want hostility, ask if you should attend an unaccredited program... ;)

    Dr. E
  14. Doctor Eliza

    Doctor Eliza

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    I apologize for becoming a little tangential in this thread. Perhaps this is why my intentions were misinterpreted. I just am passionate about the idea that people with mental illness deserve the same dignity and respect that other people get. I was trying to say that society fails at this, not anyone here.

    I think that there are a lot of intelligent and thoughtful responses here that can guide the OP in her research direction. Good luck with discovering something that you are passionate to learn more about!

    Dr. E
  15. Iwillheal

    Iwillheal

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    Lol. Sorry I overreacted, I'm just pumped up from another thread and mistakenly assumed people were attacking the person which I also just realized from another thread is a "he" not "she" so sorry for both mistakes. I should just use the word "OP" because in another thread I mistakenly referred to a "he" as "she" and this is starting to get embarrassing.

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