Residents on council estates with high IQs are affected by a damaging sub-culture which promotes "anti-social, resentful and aggressive" behaviour, the conference of the British Psychological Society heard.
Mark Cook of the University of Wales, Swansea, said talented people who live on council estates were often unemployed and those who worked were fed up with the job they were doing.
Dr Cook, a lecturer in psychology, said that "residential segregation" was a far more important factor in predicting employment success than social class. Talented working class home owners invariably did better than their counterparts on council estates.
Dr Cook called for more mixed housing and greater understanding from employers. "A person might have a chip on his shoulder, but might also be talented. Unfortunately they are often dropped by employers as soon as they get a bit awkward," he said.