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I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.
Stephen Hawking, when asked about his IQ[1]

IQ (intelligence quotient) is a psychometric method considered to measure general intelligence (or g) and derived from the fact that various tests of cognitive ability tend to have highly correlated scores for an individual. The correlations are due to a hypothesised general factor of intelligence or g. IQ correlates with educational achievement and job performance (with a coefficient of 0.65-0.75 for educational achievement[2] and about 0.5 for job performance[3]). Since IQ is simply a score, it is inaccurate to claim that one "has" a high IQ or a low IQ, when it more or less means "scored high" and "scored low".


IQ has been criticised for only measuring some sorts of intelligence[4][5] and for being inadequate in that it unfairly emphasises certain types of abstract problem solving (ones which are not exactly common pastimes in poorer parts of the world). This perception has probably been reinforced by common tropes in movies and books of high IQ characters who have little "street smarts", or who possess little "common sense". Some go even further and argue that IQ tests measure social class, not intelligence.[6]

By contrast, obsession with IQ tends to minimize the varied nature of crystallized and semi-fluid intelligence factors as described in Cattell–Horn–Carroll theory.Wikipedia[7] IQ (as a proxy for g) has become an oversimplified tool for approaching intelligence in academia, and particularly among lay people with superiority complexes. In fact, one of the key markers of good science, an underlying causative mechanism, is very poorly established for g, and thus IQ.

Another issue is that it is a normalised measure, calibrated to have 100 as the average and 68%[8] of people in the 85-115 range under Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. So an IQ of 140 measured now is not the same as an IQ of 140 measured 10 years ago. By this measure, people are getting less intelligent.[9] It was never designed to be an absolute measure. Groups that boast about their high IQ generally don't retest their members periodically, presumably to avoid the embarrassment of having to cashier one of their members every now and again.

Testing outside of a formal environment for bragging rights should probably be looked on as something of a scam. Fun for bragging on social media, but little else (although there is the question of why you would brag about something you have no real control over, similar to bragging that you were born in the right place at the right time). Paying for IQ tests means that, by definition, you have an IQ below 100. Don't do it, but if you must, never own up to it.

Importantly, most adult skills heavily depend on what is called crystallized intelligence, the ability to tune one's intellectual ability towards solving particular kinds of problems, rather than fluid intelligence, the kind of broad analytical ability that IQ is intended to measure. This is not a failing of IQ as a measure of intelligence, but certainly something that people who place a lot of stock in the concept tend to gloss over.


Though numerous familial and twin studies have found high heritability estimates for IQ, all attempts to find direct genetic relationships that drive IQ scores have failed to deliver on the expectations of that heritability.[10][11] This "heritability paradox" has some explanations with serious academic weight, such as by epigeneticWikipedia characteristics,[10] such as imprinting, which can be passed from parent to child without any permanent multi-generational genes attached, and common developmental factors such as nutrition and prenatal hormone exposure. (Plus, the aforementioned non-absolute nature and continual recalibration of IQ means that it's nigh-impossible to use it to track the intelligence of a population over multiple generations anyways.)

Racist BS[edit]

Various Racial Supremacists like to pull IQ studies as "proof" of their superiority. The problem is, intelligence is much more a product of overall health than of inherent ability. Iodine deficiency can lower an overall population's average IQ by around 15 points,[12] to say nothing of disease and malnutrition overall. If a region or ethnic group has "low" IQ, that's more likely to be the result of poor public health than any systemic genetic issues.

High IQ society[edit]

See the main article on this topic: High IQ society

The high IQ society is for people who score high on the IQ test and are most definitely not insecure in any way, shape, or form.

See also[edit]


  1. The Science of Second-Guessing The New York Times Magazine 12 December 2004
  2. IQ tests hurt kids, schools -- and don't measure intelligence Salon 7 July 2013
  3. Ken Richardson & Sarah Norgate. Does IQ Really Predict Job Performance? Applied Developmental Science (Volume 19, Issue 3), Taylor & Francis. 3 July 2015
  4. Adam Hampshire, et al. Fractionating Human Intelligence Neuron (Volume 76, Issue 6), Cell Press. 20 December 2012
  5. What Does IQ Really Measure? Science Magazine 25 April 2011
  6. Ken Richardson. What IQ Tests Test Theory & Psychology (Volume 12, Issue 3), SAGE Publications. 1 June 2002
  7. Lazar Stankov. Overemphasized “g” Journal of Intelligence (Volume 5, issue 4), MDPI. 1 October 2017
  8. IQ to Percentile Conversion IQ Test for Kids
  9. Bernt Bratsberg & Ole Rogeberg. Flynn effect and its reversal are both environmentally caused Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Volume 115, Number 26), National Academy of Sciences. 26 June 2018
  10. 10.0 10.1 Paul Haggarty, et al. Human Intelligence and Polymorphisms in the DNA Methyltransferase Genes Involved in Epigenetic Marking PLoS One 25 June 2010
  11. Sanja Franić, et al. Mendelian and polygenic inheritance of intelligence: A common set of causal genes? Using next-generation sequencing to examine the effects of 168 intellectual disability genes on normal-range intelligence Intelligence (Volume 49), Elsevier. March-April 2015
  12. The effects of iodine on intelligence in children: a meta-analysis of studies conducted in China, Ming Qian