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June 2nd, 2003


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10:59 pm - Smart bomb
I estimate that the average IQ of the people on my Friends list is about 125.

People say that IQ is only a measure of how well people can answer intelligence tests. Indeed, I'm not suggesting that if people were to take a commercially-available test tomorrow, people would necessarily score a particular number. I'm envisioning a score based on a hypothetical ideal intelligence test, which tested not just the traditional measures such as logic and inference but all facets of behaviour that is generally considered clever, smart, brilliant, capable or genius-like by modern society. I also envision that this test would take about two weeks to administer, all participants would get (say) eight weeks of practice beforehand and some suitable motivator would be applied (maybe a different one for each person...?) so people really did perform to the best of their ability. Definitely a hypothetical ideal test.

It's also worth pointing out that the figure of 125 is based on a standard deviation of 16 points, which is the standard measure used in the US and on the BBC's televised tests. (UK Mensa traditionally quote figures based on a standard deviation of 24, so the average there would turn out to be 135+.) This means that I think the average person on my Friends list is about one and a half standard deviations above average, or brighter than about 93% of society in general. You're not "one in a million", but you are pretty literally "one in fifteen". I also use "average" very generally; the arithmetic mean and median shouldn't differ much, though I'd guess the mean might be a shade higher than the median.

What does this mean in practice? It means that (almost?) all of you are smarter than most, most of you are more intelligent than pretty considerable swathes of the population, a sizeable minority of you are brighter than everyone they'll meet on the streets most days of the week and there are a few scary (but nice) freaks of nature as outliers who I tentatively estimate at somewhere over IQ 155 - a good three and a half sigmas above the mean, or at least 1-in-4,000 rarity. You know who you are; keep quiet or I'll be forced to explain just why I think you've demonstrated you're so clever. ;-)

Happy 0th birthday to Jonathon Avi Tandy and many congratulations to his wonderful mother, heidi8.
Current Mood: i am so smart, s-m-r-t
Current Music: "MegaMan Elecman OC ReMix" which reminds me of Space Harrier

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:brigbother
Date:June 2nd, 2003 03:24 pm (UTC)

IQ

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If Test the Nation is anything to go by, my IQ has jumped 24 points in the last year. If that feat is repeated, in three years time I will have an ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE IQ of 202. Blimey, eh?
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:June 2nd, 2003 05:44 pm (UTC)

Re: IQ

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Yes, but the way TTN works, you will need to be aged 146 and score 85/70 in order to rack up your 202. You scoring 85/70 I can just about imagine, but you ain't aged 143 right now, so something's got to give along the way.
From:songmonk
Date:June 2nd, 2003 04:05 pm (UTC)
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Interesting post. How did you form the basis of your numbers? Is it gut intuition? Or are you using some sort of reference point?

When I was relatively young, my parents had me take an IQ test and I scored pretty well. IQ is supposed to measure your intelligence relative to others of your age, correct? If that's the case, I suspect that my IQ now would be siginificantly lower than it was then. I'm getting dumber. :-)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:June 2nd, 2003 05:52 pm (UTC)
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How did you form the basis of your numbers? Is it gut intuition? Or are you using some sort of reference point?

Two parts of the former (the middle, I suppose) and one part of the latter. This generic chart helps a lot - I thought in terms of people being "1 in 4", "1 in 6", "1 in 15", "1 in 50", "1 in 1000" and so forth and looked up how many standard deviations above the mean that made them.

As to how I decided whether someone was "1 in 6" or "1 in 60", a large part of that was based on perceived academic achievements, but very much shunted up or down based on how I regard them and how I think they regard themselves based on what they've said in their LJ because academic achievements' correlation with intelligence, while positive, is some way from 1. For British folk, I can get a starting-point for the order of magnitude of figures based on the proportion of people who go to university and the universities they go to. For overseas folk, it's harder, but I can try to compare people in my mind.

IQ is supposed to measure your intelligence relative to others of your age, correct?

Indeed so.

If that's the case, I suspect that my IQ now would be siginificantly lower than it was then. I'm getting dumber. :-)

So am I. :-) Seriously! (And this isn't just because I had to look up how to do almost all of glissando's A-level maths questions and still wasn't able to do all of them...)
From:coffeesama
Date:June 2nd, 2003 04:24 pm (UTC)
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On a very vaguely related note, d00d. Birthdays count the UNIX (*cough cough right cough*) way! I never realized it until now, but yes, the baby's day of birth, their first birthday, is their 0th. cool.

[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:June 2nd, 2003 05:54 pm (UTC)
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Jonathon will be a whole milliyear old by now :-)
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From:leiabelle
Date:June 2nd, 2003 06:54 pm (UTC)
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I was given an IQ test when I was ickle, and even my parents don't know what the results were. They said they didn't want to know. Interesting, I think.

Haha, I think it'd be funny to make you explain. It could be the new meme. :p

And like songmonk, I definitely think I've gotten dumber. Mostly since going to uni, I believe.
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From:wreny
Date:June 2nd, 2003 07:00 pm (UTC)
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Heh. I feel the same way about University. It zapped the majority of my creative impulses and made me quite lazy. On the bright side, it (indirectly, of course) introduced me to poker, which is a good thing (I think?)
From:songmonk
Date:June 2nd, 2003 08:41 pm (UTC)

Clarification

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When I said I am getting dumber, I meant relative to my peers, not to myself at a younger age.

I was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but there was some degree of seriousness. I do feel that I was more "outstanding" when I was younger. Now I don't even feel like the smartest of my friends. Granted, some of that has to do with the people that I associate with now vs. then (I know some pretty bright people), but relative to the population as a whole (of my age group), I feel like I have slid back in the pack.
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From:glissando
Date:June 3rd, 2003 12:22 am (UTC)
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I have the method for doing that first maths question, if you're interested! It was interesting to see how you worked through some of the questions - I got the same answers but in slightly different ways. On a side note, when you did Trig, did you ever use the "All Stations To Cambridge" rule? I just wondered if we were unique in using that because we are in Cambridge.

I refused on principle to do the TTN quiz on the BBC - I forget what my principle was now, probably that I'd be embarrassed if I got a lousy score *grin*.
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From:mrstrellis
Date:June 3rd, 2003 02:09 am (UTC)
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Which scale are you using? On one scale, 160 is top 1% but on another 160 is "practically most intelligent person on the planet". My understanding is that the general media and Mensa themselves quote the higher-valued scale where 148 is top 2%, except for some reason the BBC test uses the lower scale where it is 134.

By the way, I was pleased to see I (TRELLIS) was mentioned on the seven-letter word-fit puzzle in the latest WPC test.

Mrs T
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From:bopeepsheep
Date:June 3rd, 2003 03:29 am (UTC)
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I took a trickcyclist test when I was a child, and the Mensa test at 19, and again about three years ago, and every time got a figure on the "145=genius, 148=Mensa entry" scale. (Not telling but I am eligible for membership and not just a scrape-through.) The TTN test gave me quite a low figure first time round, and I was irritated by that. (This time I was on a plane when it was broadcast and haven't bothered looking for the web version.) Realising that they're scored on different scales came a bit slowly to me (doh) but by then I was so CBA about the whole thing I forgot to even remember my score (although I did score higher than DH, who says Anne Robinson put him off).
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:July 30th, 2003 07:06 pm (UTC)
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Well, 'sall relative; when I say 155, I think of that as being the 1-in-4,000 level, as discussed. (Or, rather, I have defined my figural scale so that 155 corresponds to 1-in-4,000.) OK, 1-in-4,000 isn't one-in-a-million, but it's still pretty damn rare - it's "one in a big school every few years".

I also noted that their estimate was "somewhere over IQ 155", not least because I would find it difficult to tell whether they were 1 in 4,000, or 1 in 14,000, or 1 in 40,000, or so on. Not that expert, dude. :-)

"1 in 4,000" roughly translates to "best result in a particular year out of an entire county", for the sizes of counties we have in this country, or "one of the best students in their field in the one of the best universities in the country". It's nice to think that 1 in 4,000 might well be a significant underestimate for some of 'em, though. (I am starting to consider 125 as being a not-too-generous estimate for the average, too.)

Care to compare numbers in your experience?
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[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:July 30th, 2003 08:05 pm (UTC)

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