Isn't "IQ" rather arbitrary and dependent upon which series of tests are taken? How can estimates of the IQs of dead people make any sense if the number itself doesn't mean much.

I turned off the estimated link provided when it claimed that the (small sample) average score for soldiers was 133. As one with access to all records in the Marine Corps office, I'd estimate the average to be closer to 105 - which is close enough to what is considered to be, by definition, the overall population average, right?.

I'd always heard that "genius" was above 160, but then it doesn't make sense that Einstein was 160. He's the paragon of  "genius". I'd have thought that Einstein would be approaching the level of H3xx at 180.

I know what my military test score was (it was called GCT, I think), but what is it a count of? I've just sent an email to Mensa asking what a Mensa score means. I believe membership is Mensa indicates top 2%. But I wonder if there's a number associated with that.

Who knows what IQ means = (outside "Intelligence Quotient")?

Tags: genius, intelligence, tests

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I remember one of the tests they administered was a vocabulary test of sorts - not arcane nor esoteric words, just words you had to approach from a different perspective. It struck me at the time that a poorly-educated person would be unlikely to score well on such a test - regardless of their IQ. So perhaps Belle has a point.

Unseen: I am largely thinking of third world countries. You're approaching the "problem" from the minset of an idividual from a developed nation.

I repeat: 1) You've never heard of scholarships? They are even available to foreigners and they do not always rely totally on test scores if the institution feels the person can be brought up to speed.

People from Third World countries can still get scholarships to US universities. If they have no academic background at all, if they spend their days looking through the local dump for scraps of food, yes, that's a problem, but many US universities go out of their way to bring in foreign students through scholarships.

You are assuming that these people are able to meet the necessary requirements for college admittance. The point I'm trying to make (and did so in another post on this thread as well) is that many people don't even get the opportunity to do so. Many don't even get to learn to read or write to our standards of literacy.

Not even all Americans can, and many institutions, as I've stated, will lower their standards for students they feel can be brought up to speed. But you don't have to leave the US to find people who can't get into college.

If your point is that there are sad situations, we already knew that.

No, my point is that people from third world countries, in many parts of the world who would probably have the capacity to be brought up to a level of basic literacy that would allow them the opportunity to take an IQ test such as Mensa and be successful at it, are disadvantaged in that they do not get even a basic education. This contributes to the fact that only 2% of the population being labeled a "genius." College admittance aside, I'm referring to basic education. (Did you read my other post for context?)

Intelligence is meaningful. IQ is meaningless. One is practical the other measurable. Probably the first example that comes to mind (mine, anyway) is chess masters, who can show an absolute mastery of one of the most complicated games ever invented, yet many failed in almost every other respect, living and dying in poverty. Mathematicians provide many other examples. While some were great successes in many respects, such as Bertrand Russell, quite a few were just total messes otherwise.

I disagree. The tests are unbiased and do not “test” for general knowledge or for any esoteric knowledge on (say) advanced physics. Granted basic numeracy and literacy are requirements but the tests are geared towards speed and accuracy and not specific knowledge. So someone with a Phd does not have an advantage over someone that never attended higher education.

Mensa and other such organisations may appear elitist and I suppose they are to an extent based on entry requirements. However the tests are written in such a way to remove cultural and academic biases. The test is not expensive. You can do a basic test at home for free and if you score highly enough you will be offered the full entrance test for about $20.

Have a go before Sunday School.

I'm going to take the mensa test just to see how I do...It's a GREAT organization from what I have read.

Granted basic numeracy and literacy are requirements

I will take the test with a huge amount of gratitude and humility knowing there are people in this world who would be capable of doing the same if they were afforded the basic education of literacy. It is a shame that we live in a world where many people still are not literate.

It especially hits home for me to be thankful because I was adopted into a well educated family, and I know that my biological parents would have been impoverished, and I may not be anywhere near the level I am if it weren't for that.

Upbringing and language acquisition, and the basic skills needed to succeed on a test like this are developed in early childhood, and if a child is in poverty, and their own parents are unaware, (by lack of education themselves) of what a child needs to develop the mental capacity that makes them a genius to begin with, they are disadvantaged for life. Unfortunately this is why it is only 2% of the population that is able to take this kind of a test with any measure of success.

Mensa will accept other tests, even the SAT and ACT, with certain minimum scores.

(Note the newer SAT and ACT tests aren't accepted as yet.)

The thing to note at the bottom of that page is the widely varying "IQ" numbers needed to be considered top two percentiles, so the tests clearly aren't "calibrated" the same against the population; a standard deviation above or below average won't give you the same numbers on different tests (and that's distinct from the likelihood that they probably measure different things from each other).

I did actually join for a year many years ago, and it was before I was a senior in high school, so they administered two different tests to me one afternoon... and the scores were twenty points apart (and well above their minimums).  When someone brags on their IQ and it's up in the 130s or 140s range, then, I really cannot compare it to another person's brag, because it could have been a totally different test.  Just as well, because I have certainly met many rationilistic horses' asses who claimed high IQs.

I'm honored to be noticed :)

I like to think that IQ doesn't really indicate intelligence, but more likely potential intelligence or ability to learn. I'm not a mathematician, or even a very good student. But one of my favorite pastimes is learning. I spend hours on Google, just asking questions and assimilating information and trivia on all kinds of subjects. I listen to audiobooks while I'm doing other things as well. I pay attention to people around me, and whenever I or others make a mistake I make a mental note about it. However, I notice that some people don't seem to learn, some even seem to refuse to learn, and it confuses me dreadfully. I haven't actually researched any of this, but this is my uninformed two cents.

When I posted the link I didn't even think anyone was paying attention lol! Glad to see I can still stir the pot a little. I scored a 1540 on the SAT right before I dropped out, but I would rather take the test at a Mensa facility. And maybe not even just that one. As has been made aware, many test results will differ, due to many variables. I would like to get a mean estimate, rather than one shot in the theoretical dark.


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