IQ and what it means, and doesn’t

This post: circa 4,750 words, estimated reading time: 24 minutes

Does your IQ really matter?

I have an IQ of…

Well, yes, about that, the thing is, you see, it does, and it doesn’t mean a damned thing, for many reasons, least of which is that on its own, it’s useless.

Plus, in my case, age, depression, advanced kidney failure and other significant physical and mental health problems, many known to cause cognitive degradation, plus other factors mean I know what it may have been long ago, but not what it is now (which is probably a great many points lower).

Then there’s the nitty-gritty of “says who?”

Ignoring cultural factors like reading right to left, or top to bottom, there’s multiple tests (few of which are reliable), multiple interpretations and scales (e.g. SD15 vs SD16 vs SD24, Stanford-Binet vs Cattel etc.), different types (e.g. WAIS-IV vs Raven’s Progressive Matrices vs SAT), varying test conditions and monitoring, the mood of the participant on the day, etc.

Added to this is another problem: IQ tests are designed for ‘normal’ people. Half the world has an IQ of 100, normal. 68% of the world has an IQ in the ‘average range’ of 85 to 114. These tests are designed and tested for the top median 90% of the population, arguably up to around the top 2%, so your basic PhD types. Above or below that, not so much.

Furthermore, which is also a concern, they don’t test your IQ per se; they test your ability to do IQ tests. It may seem pedantic, but science has yet to agree on what ‘intelligence’ is, much less the conscience and sub-conscience. It’s why they can program A.I. to ‘do’, but not to ‘be’.

Beyond this, often, they don’t actually test your IQ as such. Instead, they test your general knowledge, your command of the language, and your specialist skills. Take a common ‘industry’ IQ test. An engineer will do better than most on questions involving levels and pulleys. An English language teacher will do better at word puzzles and so forth.

This problem has been known for at least a hundred years. Around 1917 the US army added IQ tests for non-English speakers, such as ‘circle the missing part’. But, if you’ve never seen a tennis match, how will you know what’s missing? The thoughtless assumption was, “It’s obvious.” (i.e. “I know it. Therefore everyone in the world should know it, it’s common knowledge.” (Cf. Robert Yerkes). Suppose you did a similar test today, and it showed you an edited picture of the start of the bo-taoshi game (a Japanese sport). Would you know what was missing?

Then there’s the Flynn Effect, the essence of which is average IQ changes over time, rising*, so if you scored 130 on tests of 20 years ago, that would only equate to 125 on current tests. *(Though any amount of time spent on social media will have you questioning whether general IQ is rising – or plummeting!)

On top of this, nobody likes a braggart. In 2004, when Deborah Solomon of the New York Times asked Stephen Hawking what his IQ was, he replied that he had no idea, though he hoped he was “near the upper end of the scale”, adding, People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.

I always suspected this was a dig at Mensa, but the salient point of his remark is that it’s what you achieve with the time and brains you have that matters, not simply that you put it on a placard to be admired.

Ignoring the lower end of the scale, as it goes up, it becomes increasingly dubious, unreliable, and ultimately meaningless.

A word on testing

A typical IQ test might have 40, 60 or even 100 questions, and they are timed. In a test, most people will look at the question(s), maybe estimate or scribble on a piece of paper, try to work it out or guess, hoping the options match their ‘guess’ or calculation. People with an exceptionally high IQ won’t do it like that in most cases. Instead, they’ll glance, work it out in their head, sometimes in a fraction of a second, then look for and circle the correct answer.

I’ve seen what happens when you drop someone like that into a room full of manual factory labourers, doing a statutory assessment. At least half the room is pushing on with the first two pages, and you can see them pause, stop and stare as it registers that that person wasn’t flicking through; they had actually finished and appeared to be staring out the window, bored. It rattles them, throws them off their own test.

Nerves and self-doubts aside, sometimes people stumble over a mental block; it works against ‘smart’ people too. They see the ‘obvious’ answer – and ignore it. While the rest have moved on, they are locked, trying to solve it, after they worked out the answer, because, being so clever, they know “it can’t be that simple” and agonise over the ‘real solution’. Funny ol’ world, eh!

Ultimately, not everyone is expected to finish, much less finish in a fraction of the allotted time, far less again to get them all correct, for that would throw a monkey wrench into the machine.

There’s an interesting article on the matter by M Gross, entitled Exceptionally and Profoundly Gifted Students: An Underserved Population, which highlights the problem. If you are even moderately below average, the societal aspects of the schooling system will rush to your aid in the form of ‘special needs’, mentors, etc. If you are gifted, the teachers will rush to your aid. After all, you are their star pupil, the A* prodigy, the brightest child in the class.

Ah, but if you are truly exceptional, well, not so much; you are held back and learn to despise school. The idea that you could be substantially brighter than all of them, the faculty included, no. You’re just disruptive and sullen.

From memory, allowing for the ranges being +/- 10 points, a typical university graduate has an IQ of around 115, a doctor (academic PhD) is around 125, a tenured professor in a top or Ivy league university (such as MIT, Harvard, Cambridge), will be around 140, a Nobel scientist comes in at 154.

From a teacher’s standpoint, there are just 30 points between them and a mentally disabled child and one of the brightest minds on the planet. And here’s this snotty-nosed kid, that’s perhaps 60 points ahead of them.

To put the difference into perspective, that’s like someone who cannot read or write, who lacks the intelligence to grasp even the most basic maths, telling someone with a first-class degree that they (the graduate) are as dumb as a post.

Consider the graph of IQ curves below from relative perspectives.
In the center is how half the world’s population compare to the rest. In terms of numbers, they are the top dog. Seen from the mental acuity of someone with an IQ of 40, they are a regular Einstein. (On which note, Einstein never had his IQ measured, he did not fail at maths in school and is thought to have been on the autistic spectrum. His IQ is estimated to be in the range between 160 and 190, favouring the top at the end.)

Alas, shift the curve 60 points to the right, and, well, that’s awkward.

Move the curve further right to 180 and beyond, and even the top 2% – doctors, engineers, scientists with a ‘genius’ IQ of 130 come across as slow.

True, the graph is ugly science, not even that, at best, it pseudo-science, and yet there it sits, mocking, almost. Those bunched up around 140 to 160 can be arrogant and feel superior (and they hate being corrected!), but I feel, as you pass that, less so. Not so much they have nothing to prove, as they are beyond all that. Indifferent and disinterested. It would, to them, perhaps, be like mocking a dog because it can’t do calculus. (Yes, I’m aware of the Theory of Diminishing Returns, thanks).

iq curves

Well that’s uncommon!

Another issue is the regularity of testing or lack thereof. While SATs are standard in the US for university entrance or high profile jobs, IQ test for the general population doesn’t happen. (Well, ‘aptitude tests’ as, apparently, IQ tests as selection criteria are illegal, as least in the US.)

Plenty of brilliant people have never been tested formally – work in menial and low-paying jobs, and are content.

At the other extreme, at least according to the IQ comparison site, the occurrence rate for an IQ of 180 (SD15) is put at less than 1 in 20 million. For the global population, that is just 372 people. (Noting that most IQ tests are capped at 160).

They also (dubiously) put an IQ of 202 at an occurrence rate of 1 in 190 billion (1 in 10 billion if SD15), which is a bit awkward as The Guinness Book of Records, before it removed the category, listed child prodigy Kim Ung-Yong (now a civil engineer) as having an IQ of 210. Others are similar or even higher. Another child prodigy and polyglot – James Sidis – was thought to have an IQ of over 250; some sources suggest 254, others 250 to 300. A tad more than 200 at any rate.

Talking of extremes, while you have almost certainly heard of Mensa, have you heard of The Giga Society?

With an entry requirement of IQ 196 (SD15), there are only theoretically 7 people in the world who can join (at least according to the IQ comparison site). His home site is here: Paul Cooijmans

IQ and labels

The actual labels and change over time, what’s a medical term one century is a gross insult the next, what’s a standard textbook psychology term one year can, the next, be replaced as it’s not “politically correct”.

Citing Dr Steven Gans, MD, Assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Amy Morin, LCSW, IQ scores are often classified in the following way:

1 to 24: Profound mental disability

25 to 39: Severe mental disability

40 to 54: Moderate mental disability

55 to 69: Mild mental disability

70 to 84: Borderline mental disability

85 to 114: Average intelligence

115 to 129: Above average; bright

130 to 144: Moderately gifted

145 to 159: Highly gifted

160 to 179: Exceptionally gifted

180 and up: Profoundly gifted

(Very Well Mind:How Low IQ Scores Are Determined,
and Very Well Mind: What Is a Genius IQ Score?)

On Genius and Madness

This might surprise you, but ‘genius’ is not really a psychological term, just as ‘insanity’ is not. Not anymore, that is!

As the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology (4e, 2009) notes (in the entry under insanity):

“The term has regrettably been so brutalised by irresponsible writers over the years that its only remaining technical meaning is a forensic one, in its use as a legal designation”.

If psychology textbooks, dictionaries, and encyclopedias enter genius (not all do), it’s generally there to say that there isn’t such a definition. Penguin, for instance, called it a “loosely used term that has no clear set of attributes” and complained that

“the common language has played such havoc with the term that its usefulness is now suspect in even the most technical context”.

The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology (4e, 2015) considers it a ‘person of exceptional intelligence or ability’ (giving as an example the artist Michaelangelo). In (historic) terms, they note a permissible criterion such as an IQ of 140 has been used to define it.’ Oxford, if you wondered, concur on the subject of insanity.

‘Genius’ is, at best subjective and peer-reviewed. Most people would agree Da Vinci was a genius. And Einstein too, though less so. But what about actress Hedy Lamarr? She helped develop radio guidance systems for WWII torpedoes in the 1940s, and it is her you have to thank for your WI-FI and Bluetooth connections.

But how about Tracy Emin’s masterpiece: My bed? A work of artistic genius? Apparently, the woman pretty much got out of bed one afternoon, still drunk and hungover and thought, “Hey, y’ know wot, sod making the bed, sod picking up the used condoms and half-empty booze bottles, I’ll sell it to the Tate as is!” At the risk of being called a philistine, I’d argue that rather than an unmade bed being a work of genius, the Tate Gallery is owned by gullible mugs.

Funnily enough, genius (and madness) is one of my things. I do have many ‘things’ – sciences, computers, nature, grammar, the angle a pan has to be on the hotplate, you know how it goes. Some of it comes from hanging around psychologists for 50-odd years, knowing words like ‘Superman’ (DC version and Nietzsche’s Übermensch), ‘secure facility’, and ‘mental asylum’ at a time and age most kids were watching Andy Pandy, or Bill & Ben, though I watched those too.

Thus the following came as no great surprise to me. NASA*, along with other interested parties, did longitudinal studies on creative genius and found that we are born creative geniuses and the education system dumbs us down. The scientists studied 1,600 children over their schooling, and here’s what they found, based on creative answers to questions, puzzles and dilemmas (like “things to do with a fork”):

Ages 4-5 years old: 98% were considered creative geniuses

Aged 10 years old, this dropped to 30%

Aged 15 years old, it dropped to 12%

By aged 31-years-old (mean age, based on 1,000,000+) is was just 2%

More than a few people have offered the opinion that the purpose of school is to prepare the next batch of unthinking voters and menial workers to keep the wheels of commerce oiled. The modern yokes of serfdom, as it were.

* Note: Some psychologists have claimed this study is apocryphal. That they contacted NASA, and there is no record of it. (i.e. it never happened). I have neither the time nor contacts to research this myself, other than to note that glancing through the thousands of papers on this topic, it appears to have some basic substance, as does NASA’s involvement in related studies. i.e. NASA may not have done ‘this’ study. Or maybe the people reputing it didn’t look hard enough, though. The truth is out there, Skully.

e.g. ‘The National Defense Education Act, Current STEM Initiative, and the Gifted‘, JL Jolly Ph.D, Gifted Child Today, 2009
“Terman’s longitudinal study of 1,500 gifted subjects illustrated that none had gained eminence in adulthood (Terman & Oden, 1959), but “for every genius there [were] hundreds of less eminent but highly competent men and women who also contribute[d] significantly to the nation’s intellectual progress” (Wolfe, 1951, p. 42).”

Terman, L. M., & Oden, M. H. (1959). The gifted group at mid-life: Thirty-five years’ follow-up of the superior child. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

You get the point 🙂

Educational system is not fit for purpose – by design?

More than a few people have offered the opinion that the purpose of school is to prepare the next batch of unthinking voters and menial workers to keep the wheels of commerce oiled. The modern yokes of serfdom, as it were. Such luminaries as Noam Chomsky suggest this extends to universities. The changes in the system – spreading from the US and what he calls ‘the masters of men’ – is focused on churning out intelligent but obedient and indebted wage slaves. I concur.

Noam Chomsky Defines What It Means to Be a Truly Educated Person

To clarify, Chomsky paraphrases a “leading physicist” and former MIT colleague, who would tell his students, “it’s not important what we cover in the class; it’s important what you discover.”
O this point of view, to be truly educated means to be resourceful, to be able to “formulate serious questions” and “question standard doctrine, if that’s appropriate”. It means to “find your own way.”

These are not ‘real’ universities anymore. These are businesses with profit and high wages for admin in mind. They are an assembly line tool of corporations.

Now you essentially pay thousands for a textbook you can buy on Amazon for £20 (if the module even has a textbook, some just direct you to open sites like W3schools!), and you are expected to follow a checklist, preparing model answers in a standard report or essay format. All but whispered the answers.

“Critically think, yes, just only about the passages we tell you. Do not think outside the box.”

It’s like training chimps. You could learn more by reading “Dummies Guides” and Googling than you can ever learn in university. Sad, eh. They want you trained enough to do as needed, but no more.

Granted, the education system has little use for people who don’t fit in any of their narrow boxes, but a quick Google will still make the point.

This is what one of my lecturer’s told me:

In short, what I would be saying to you is to ‘play the game’ for this module and just do what has been asked of you, nothing more! A former OU colleague of mine used to say to students in a half-joking, half-serious manner that at this level of study you are not required to have your own thoughts… these are not really needed until PhD level.

The world is screaming out for artisans, plumbers, carpenters, and fitters. Solution? Cease all the old apprenticeship programmes.

The world (especially in 2020) is screaming out for nurses. Solution? Scrap the old tiered system, such as SEN and SRN and force the nurses to take a degree (or quit the profession). They didn’t want nurses and support staff who could deal with vomit and bedpans. They wanted nurses who could write reports. They didn’t want empathy, they wanted structure.

The world is screaming is for STEM. Solution? Push them aside for liberal arts, for degrees such as a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in hand embroidery or floral design.

Rinse and repeat at every turn. Competence replaced by mindless obedience, charts and reports. A world that manages to be ever more educated but similarly reduces people to mindless drones, fodder for the corporations and their merchandise.

If you have a spare hour, you might want to watch this video. He goes go on like a raving conspiracy nut at times, but it doesn’t mean he’s entirely wrong. Below, retired MIT professor Noam Chomsky has forcefully critiqued what he sees as a corporate attack on teaching institutions.




Though on a different topic, that of risk literacy, Gerd Gigerenzer also talks about how were are not taught how to think properly. I recommend you take the time to watch this one.



Closer to the mark, and at times humourously, Sir Ken Robinson asks, “Do schools kill creativity?



Smart is as smart does?

Another salient point is this:

If IQ measure intelligence and intelligent people can do the most unintelligent, irrational and even stupid things, what is intelligence?

An article on IQ posted on Edublox offered, as examples of the above, the Nobel scientist whose marriage and personal life are in tatters, the CEO working himself into a heart attack, the doctor smoking 60 cigarettes a day, or the world-class composer on the run from creditors because he can’t manage money.

The list from there is endless. For every vice and failing you can list, from alcoholism to drug addiction, from suicide to polygamy, reckless driving to moronic pranks, you will have a ‘smart’ person that’s done it. Repeatedly. Others with a bucket list of failings to their name.

My own IQ, varyingly established by several NHS trusts, mental health facilities, psychology consultants and others (following a catalogue of mental health problems), is considered significantly above average. In fact, it was described as “off the charts” during one, err, hearing. And yet… Suffice to say, my list of past errors – across two continents – covers bankruptcy, reckless endangerment, suicidal and homicidal episodes, way too many regrets, at least one episode of people in a blind panic. At the same time, I laughed maniacally, and the occasional instance of the gentlemen in blue (and once or twice in white lab coats) saying, “We’d like you to come with us please, quietly.” My only saving grace is I managed to keep gambling and substance abuse, and addiction in all its forms off the list!

As I say, IQ as a sole guide is meaningless.

I remember once in high school, chemistry homework, I worked out the answer to several hundred decimal places (until it recurred). (This was before calculators and computers). I couldn’t understand why the teacher was shouting at me – his favourite pupil (I was a natural at chemistry) – why I was suddenly a “stupid boy”. He’d asked for an exact answer; he got one. He didn’t say anything about ‘to two decimal places’ or ’rounding’. He said, ‘work it out’. It was only years later, on reflection of his words, or rather how they increasingly rose in pitch and volume, that I understand why he was angry: he didn’t want to AND WOULD NOT work out if I was right. That anyone would (not could) work it out so precisely rocked him to his core.

Similar disagreements occurred in maths class. The teacher put up binomial equations. I wrote down the answers. He said I got them all wrong. I pointed out that my answers were correct and that I’d worked them out in my head, so he argued, “even if they are right, they are wrong because I can’t see how you worked them out”, and made me write down all the stages.
(I was in my 40’s before I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. Suffice to say, terms like Asperger’s syndrome didn’t exist when I was at school. I was just ‘that weird kid‘.)

Case in point, this was me, below, as a teenager, I think, doing ‘crunches’. Doing crunches seven foot in the air, over a concreted area, held up by my toes! Even now, looking back, I have to wonder, “What the hell was I thinking!?” A fall from that height and position…


Why smart people do stupid things

One of my pet rants, in the past, was directly aimed at the bunch of ‘moronic idiots’ working for Activision-Blizzard, as programmers. In fact, I told them so, usually in less polite terms, many times. Directly. As a psychologist, or at least psychology student, I know the difference between a diagnostic term and an insult, and I flung the latter at them most liberally for years.

Yes, I know their developers are probably highly intelligent, highly educated people, which doesn’t mean they can’t be ‘stupid’. Trust me, this I know.

As one short blog post by Derek Sivers pointed out, There are no smart people or stupid people, just people being smart or being stupid.. I think the irony of me calling them stupid and sending this link was lost on them.

A better article, though, originally in the Wall Street Journal, is Why Smart People are Stupid.

Similarly: Why Smart People Act So Stupid.

You’d be amazed at just how many books, youtube videos, blog, and scientific papers cover the innate stupidity of smart people. Nearly as many as ‘why stupid people think they are intelligent’, but I’m not getting into cognitive behaviour here. Besides, I’ve probably covered things like the Dunning-Kruger effect a few times here in the past.

I’ll leave this section with another question posed by Gerd Gigerenzer in a talk on How do smart people make smart decisions. He asked, “Did you choose your partner by a calculation?” The point is this is completely at odds with the topic. Ignoring things like arranged marriages, you simply do not choose your romantic partner with an algorithm or logic array, and if you decide that, it’s likely to be wrong. Bears thinking about.

IQ and careers

In a lecture on ‘IQ and the job market’ (below), Dr Jordan Peterson talks through the professions, from attorneys, engineers, chemists and systems analysts at the top end (95-98th percentile, 116 to 130), down to messenger, janitors and packers at the bottom end (37th to 21st percentile, 93 to 87).

Importantly he notes that below an IQ of 87, there is just nothing in the job market for you. Additionally, he points out, by US law, you can’t even be conscripted with an IQ of 83 or below; you are too dumb to even serve as cannon fodder! Equally, at the top end of the market, and IQ of 130 is it, more may be better, but it ceases to be a sticking point.



Quora: How do the average IQs rank by profession. Which professions have the highest IQs?

While the main contributor fails to cite his sources, it’s interesting to note that his list, copied below, closely follow the video lecture above by Dr Jordan Peterson above (e.g. Professors at the top, around IQ 130, and packers at the bottom, around IQ 85.)

“Mean IQ score of persons in various occupations, taken from a variety of Western studies” (resorted alphabetically):

Accountants 119, 128
Butchers 103
Carpenters and cabinet makers 97
Carpenters, construction 102
Cashiers 116
Clerks (general) 118
Clerks 112
Cooks and bakers 97
Drivers, truck and van 97
Education administrators 122
Electricians 109
Engineers (civil and mechanical) 125
Factory packers and sorters 85
Foremen, industrial 114
Gardeners 95
General managers in business 122
Labourers 96
Lawyers 128
Machine operator 105
Machine operators 97
Managers, miscellaneous 116
Managers, production 118
Mechanics 106
Nurses 119
Pharmacists 120
Physicians and surgeons 128
Police officers 108
Professors and researchers 131, 134
Salesmen 114
School teachers 121, 123
Senior clerks 118
Shopkeepers 103
Small farmers 96
Stenographers 119, 121
Store managers 103
Unskilled labourer 90
Warehouse men 98

In keeping with roughly the numbers I have in memory, and pairing closely with other lists, EduBlox, citing Know Your Child’s IQ, by Wilson and Grylls, offer the following IQ/career pairings:

140: Professors and Research Scientists.

130: Physicians and Surgeons; Lawyers; Engineers (Civil and Mechanical).

120: School Teachers; Pharmacists; Accountants; Nurses; Stenographers; Managers.

110: Foremen; Clerks; Telephone Operators; Salesmen; Policemen; Electricians.

100: Machine Operators; Shopkeepers; Butchers; Welders; Sheet Metal Workers

90: Warehousemen; Carpenters; Cooks and Bakers; Small Farmers; Truck and Van Drivers.

Final note, on prevalence and morality

A final thing to note, one that goes over most people’s heads – usually the ones proclaiming themselves as the smartest – is that of prevalence.

It is widely accepted and established that the top 5% (125+) and especially the top 2% (130+) are easily bright enough to become a doctor (or doctorate) – but the figures don’t match. 5% of 7.7 billion is 385 million (154 million at 98% percentile), but there is nothing like that number of doctors worldwide. For a country with the population of the UK, that would equate to 3.35 million Drs.

Many would argue that a corporatist and globalist world – such as we are becoming – could not tolerate such an educated planet because it would affect profits! Some, including leading think tanks, assert that this is the case.

Regardless, there is a very long list of barriers, including but not limited to health, wealth, social, economic, cultural, attitude, self-belief, self-discipline, interests, conflicts (personal, home, cultural and political), opportunity, luck…

For instance, for a single child born to wealthy American parents, both are doctors: the path is cleared for them. But consider instead a middle child, one of eight, from a poverty-stricken village in Guatemala, the mum works day and night, the step-dad is a drunkard. Well, they ain’t getting a scholarship to Harvard or Princeton. They’ll be doing well even to finish senior school.

Interestingly, after writing this, I read of a young Mexican girl – Adhara Párez: 8-yo girl labelled ‘weird’ turned out to be a child genius with an IQ of 162.

There are others, like Dafne, a 17-year-old Mexican, the first minor to study a master’s degree at Harvard in the last century. The article notes that “she (Dafne Almazán) is one of the almost one million children who have this kind of talent in Mexico.”)

Or a British family, well to do, good grades, but stuff happens, stuff no-one can plan for. The bright teenager planning on university finds themselves instead carer for one or more family members. Plenty would put themselves first. Plenty would be pushed by those they care for to put themselves first, but it comes down to how you are raised, to bonds. The choice between what is the intelligent choice against the ‘right’ choice. Selfish or selfless.

For some, that would be a battle, one full of resentment or regret. For others – one way or the other – there is no conflict; they do what they do because that is who they are. The person they are and will become.

High potentialities and dysfunction

Gifted People and their Problems, by Francis Heylighen

Developmental and Cognitive Characteristics of ‘High-Level Potentialities’ (Highly Gifted) Children, Laurence Vaivre-Douret, International Journal of Pediatrics, 1st Oct, 2011

“Further it is discussed how these developmental advances interact with the social environment and in certain circumstances may entail increased risk for developing socioemotional difficulties and learning disabilities that often go unaddressed due to the masking by the advance intellectual abilities.”

“Indeed, it has not been demonstrated that prevalence of neuropsychological or neuropathological disorders among high-potential children is any higher than for average children [134, 135]. But the main difficulty resides in being able to assess the boundaries between what is normal and what is pathological, given the exceptional abilities for cognitive functioning (processing) among very bright subjects, where the strategies deployed can mask disorders that are nevertheless present.”

Table 4
Academic problems and behavioural and/or personality disorders among ‘high-potential’ children.

Underperforming, poor student
Lazy, lacking motivation

Identified disorders including dysgraphia, dyslexia, spelling problems, dyspraxia, attentional disorders, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness

Intellectual/psychomotor/affective dyssynchrony

Clowning to gain attention

Destructuring tonus-emotion hyper-reactivity

Psycho-affective immaturity


Frequent psychosomatic disorders

Behavioural fluctuation


Withdrawing attitude


Willfulness and tantrums

Reactional aggressiveness

Violent behaviours

Delinquency, drug, and alcohol abuse

Megalomaniac trends

Links and additional reading

DfE: Identifying gifted and talented learners – getting started

DfE: Gifted and Talented Education: Helping to find and support children with dual or multiple exceptionalities

3 qualities of successful Ph.D. students: Perseverance, tenacity and cogency

“There’s a ruinous misconception that a Ph.D. must be smart.

This can’t be true.

A smart person would know better than to get a PhD.

‘Smart’ qualities like brilliance and quick-thinking are irrelevant in PhD school.”

The Guardian (2018): Should I get a Ph.D

“Employing lots of PhD students is a great deal for universities -they’re a source of inexpensive academic labour for research and teaching. …
The oversupply of early career researchers means they often feel exploited by their universities. According to the University and College Union, which represents lecturers, more than three-quarters of junior academics are on precarious or zero-hours contracts.”

How Smart Do I Need to Be In Order to Earn A Nobel Prize?

Davidson Institute: Vulnerabilities of highly gifted children

Paul Cooijmans: I.Q. and real-life functioning.
He notes that “Regular psychology’s I.Q. tests should not be trusted beyond this range as their validity breaks down here, if such scores are given at all.”

IQ groups, by entrance criteria.

Also of interest: Advocate and model with Down syndrome beats odds to fulfil her lifelong dream.

Positive Outlook: Nine-year-old child genius to graduate university with electrical engineering degree

Some interesting tests here, if the post peaked your interest: IQ Haven.

Curved ball via Treehugger: Slime mold proves that intelligence isn’t that difficult.

Technology Review: DNA tests for IQ are coming, but it might not be smart to take one.

Feature image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay


Been playing with computers since the stone age, online since the '80s, and developing websites since the '90s.

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