“When you’re one step ahead of the crowd you’re a genius. When you’re two steps ahead you’re a crackpot.” ~ Rabbi Shlomo Riskin
The good news is that the real world accomplishments are not made by those with the very highest level IQs (intelligence quotient) or smartest in the world, but achieved by those who are considered to have normal or slightly above normal intelligence. Many so called smartest people on the planet were known to have problems that make us wonder what is the benefit to be the smartest person if the individual cannot even manage his/her life properly,
Mozart is said to have a very high IQ, however he was financially very poor and full in debt, and there are many other example of people with genius level IQs that have not succeeded. The real question is what are the boundaries for real world success? It turns out that there are actually two: one for practical real world achievements, and a second for theoretical accomplishments.
The first consists of solving real life problems, concrete issues. And the second one consist of solving theoretical problems, some people are good at the first part (real world achievement), and they’re usually people with average or slightly above average intelligence, the latter (the theoretical accomplishments) are for those with very high IQs who can solve complex theoretical problems mainly on tests, but don’t do as well in real world achievements.
However, there are critics who do not dispute the stability of IQ test scores or the fact that they predict certain forms of achievement rather effectively. They do argue, however, that to base a concept of intelligence on IQ test scores alone is to ignore many important aspects of mental ability. Psychologist Peter Schönemann was also a persistent critic of IQ, calling it “the IQ myth”.
In the article “What Different IQ Scores Mean” by James Neill writes: What is a good IQ score? What is a high IQ score? What is a low IQ score? These are common questions, particularly after someone finds out score from an IQ test. Lewis Terman (1916) developed the original notion of IQ and proposed this scale for classifying IQ scores:
- Over 140 – Genius or near genius
- 120 – 140 – Very superior intelligence
- 110 – 119 -Superiorintelligence
- 90 – 109 -Normalor average intelligence
- 80 – 89 – Dullness
- 70 – 79 – Borderline deficiency
- Under 70 – Definite feeble-mindedness
The properties of the normal distribution apply to IQ scores:
- 50% of IQ scores fall between 90 and 110
- 70% of IQ scores fall between 85 and 115
- 95% of IQ scores fall between 70 and 130
- 99.5% of IQ scores fall between 60 and 140
5% of people have an IQ under 70 and this is generally considered as the benchmark for “mental retardation”, a condition of limited mental ability in that it produces difficulty in adapting to the demands of life. Severity of mental retardation can be broken into 4 levels:
- 50-70 – Mild mental retardation (85%)
- 35-50 – Moderate mental retardation (10%)
- 20-35 – Severe mental retardation (4%)
- IQ < 20 – Profound mental retardation (1%)
‘Genius IQ’ is generally considered to begin around 140 to 145, representing ~.25% of the population (1 in 400). Here’s a rough guide:
- 115-124 – Above average (e.g., university students)
- 125-134 – Gifted (e.g., post-graduate students)
- 135-144 – Highly gifted (e.g., intellectuals)
- 145-154 – Genius (e.g., professors)
- 155-164 – Genius (e.g., Nobel Prize winners)
- 165-179 – High genius
- 180-200 – Highest genius
- >200 – Immeasurable genius
Note: Einstein was considered to “only” have an IQ of about 160.
In the article “Identifying the Most Intelligent Person in the World” by Dayahka writes: Howard Gardner, Harvard educational psychologist, has identified nine (9) types of intelligence. Traditional education (and IQ tests) have measured only two of these types (mathematical and linguistic). All people have these nine types of intelligence, but they develop usually only one or two of them. No one is known to have mastered all nine (none of the great masters or gurus or buddhas).
The most intelligent person in the world would have to be the person with the most development of all nine intelligences (Gardner calls them smarts). Since IQ measures only two types of smarts, we’d first need IQ tests for the other seven before we could begin to identify the smartest person in the world. However, since no one (according to Gardner) has developed more than two or three smarts, we would end up in endless wrangling over which of the nine is the best type of smart.
Then we could end in meaningless discussions like asking if someone with a 138 IQ in linguistics is smarter than someone with a 137 IQ in mathematics. The highest IQ score recorded was 228 by Marilyn Vos Savant (at age 10). However, high IQs are notoriously difficult to measure meaningfully. There are many critics who doubt the ability of modern IQ tests to meaningfully measure intelligence…
In the article “Genius Isn’t About Intellect As Most People Believe, It’s More About The Way The Brain Works” by Devon K writes: Contrary to popular belief, genius isn’t about intellect as much as most people believe. Even though they rate genius based on IQ, there are some very smart people who are not geniuses and some very dumb people who are. The reason for this is that genius is actually more about how the brain/mind works than how smart someone actually is. The brain can be trained to focus on intelligence and thus allow the genius to become exceptionally smart.
However, the brain can also be applied (or not applied) too many other things and thus lead to many, many other outcomes (besides intelligence). Don’t confuse all of this with people being called a “musical genius” or other such thing. In many ways that’s a label people use to try and make the person “more than”. That isn’t to say they are not a genius, only that the word ‘genius’ is being used in an arbitrary fashion without regard for what it actually is.
In the article “Is Genius Born or Can It Be Learned?” by John Cloud writes: Is it possible to cultivate genius? Could we somehow structure our educational and social life to produce more Einsteins and Mozarts — or, more urgently these days, another Adam Smith or John Maynard Keynes? How to produce genius is a very old question, one that has occupied philosophers since antiquity. In the modern era, Immanuel Kant and Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton wrote extensively about how genius occurs.
Pop-sociologist Malcolm Gladwell addressed the subject in his book Outliers: The Story of Success. The latest, and possibly most comprehensive, entry into this genre is Dean Keith Simonton’s book ‘Genius 101: Creators, Leaders, and Prodigies’. For most of its history, the debate over what leads to genius has been dominated by a bitter, binary argument: is it nature or is it nurture — is genius genetically inherited, or are geniuses the products of stimulating and supportive homes? Simonton takes the reasonable position that geniuses are the result of both good genes and good surroundings.
His middle-of-the-road stance sets him apart from more ideological proponents like Galton (the founder of eugenics) as well as revisionists like Gladwell who argue that dedication and practice, as opposed to raw intelligence, are the most crucial determinants of success. And, Anders Ericsson who has become famous for the 10-year rule: the notion that it takes at least 10 years (or 10,000 hours) of dedicated practice for people to master most complex endeavors.
“Geniuses are those who have the intelligence, enthusiasm, and endurance to acquire the needed expertise in a broadly valued domain of achievement” and who then make contributions to that field that are considered by peers to be both “original and highly exemplary.” ~ Simonton
In the article “Top 5 Mad Geniuses” by Jane McGrath writes: Is insanity the secret companion to genius? It turns out some of the world’s greatest geniuses were quite mad. In fact, some scientists claim that a far greater percentage of creative types (poets, painters, musicians and the like) have been afflicted with bipolar disorder than the general population. Some of the world’s most renowned creative minds, including writers Mary Shelley, Virginia Woolf, and Ernest Hemingway; composers Irving Berlin and Sergey Rachmaninoff; and painters Paul Gauguin and Jackson Pollock are all believed to have suffered from the illness
Despite evidence of a link between genius and madness, no one has proved that such a link exists. However, scientists at the University of Toronto have discovered that creative people possess little to no “latent inhibition”, that is, the unconscious ability to reject unimportant or irrelevant stimuli.
As University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson puts it, “This means that creative individuals remain in contact with the extra information constantly streaming in from the environment. The normal person classifies an object, and then forgets about it, even though that object is much more complex and interesting than he or she thinks. The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities.”
Think you are smart? Well, if your IQ is 130, that puts you ahead of 98% of people. Of course that means there are still 120 million people who are smarter than you (the other 2%). Also, recent research shows that a person’s level of self-discipline is more predictive of success than their IQ level. In other words, don’t take too much meaning from your score on an IQ scale.
IQ scores measure the ability to carry out symbolic thinking, while intelligence is a multidimensional entity, a human characteristic too complicated to be accurately and sufficiently measured by any IQ test. IQ tests merely photograph one’s cognitive level/mental performance… Being a genius and being successful are two different things, although they can be combined in many individuals…
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer