Hi! I'm a member of Mensa Sweden, and hold a functionary position as a local membership coordinator. One of my "jobs" is to answer questions about Mensa and IQ. Since I notice a very large lack of understanding for the concept of IQ, and have seen Mensa mentioned a number of times in this thread, I feel obligated to step in and correct any misinformation.
Only about 5% or so of the population is over 130.
First of all, assigning a number to your IQ is absolutely pointless as long as you don't specify a scale. There are multiple scales in which you measure IQ, sort of like there are multiple scales to measure weight or distance. Think of it as the difference between the metric system and the imperial system. 130 IQ Wechsler translates to 148 IQ Cattell, for example. But both scores are achieved by 2% of the population. Therefore, it is helpful to either specify a scale if you're submitting a number, or specifying your percentile.
Each scale has an average value of 100 - this means that 50% of the population have a lower value, and 50% have a higher value. What makes the scales differ from eachother is the standard deviation. Wechsler, which is quickly becoming universal standard, has a standard deviation of 15. This means that within 15 points of 100 on each side (85-115), you find 68% of the populace. Within additional 15 points (70-130), you find 96% of the populace. So within two standard deviations - 100 +/- 30, you find 96% of everyone in the world. Only 2% of the population have an IQ greater than 130 Wechsler, and only 2% have an IQ less than 70 Wechsler. 70 IQ and 130 IQ are equally common.
Cattell, which is a scale favoured mostly by tabloids and gossipmongers, uses a standard deviation of 24 rather than 15. This greatly bloats the numeric values - so saying you have an IQ of 160 while using the Cattell scale is equal to saying you have an IQ of 138 using the standardized Wechsler scale. Either way, the number is high, but getting 160 on the Wechsler scale is impossible. Not because there isn't anyone that smart - there certainly is. After all, the population is in excess of six billion. The reason nobody can get a score of 160 Wechsler is because there are no accurate tests that measure that highly. Because the score of an IQ test is set based on how the test group performs on it, you would have to have an astronomically large test group in order to create such a test - it would simply cost ten fortunes and a half. In order to have an IQ of 160 Wechsler, you would need to be in the 99.9968313965'th percentile - meaning that only ~0.003% of the world would have a higher score than you. You would need a control group of several millions in order to get a test to measure accurately on that level.
Regardless of how intelligent or stupid the human race gets, the average will always be 100.
Lost In The Void:
IQ tests are an inefficient method of testing intelligence. They are bias by nature and thus cannot be trusted to produce unbiased results. I prefer the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
I'm not sure what to say about this, because Wechsler measures IQ. IQ tests are not biased in the slightest - in order for an IQ test to be accepted as accurate and reliable, it needs to be "culture-fair", meaning it can only test qualities unrelated to culture or upbringing. This means that such tests cannot test language or math, for example. The most common form of testing includes progressive matrices, that mostly uses logical abstraction and pattern recognition - qualities that are not dependent on culture or previous knowledge. It is impossible to train for an IQ test, your IQ will always be the same no matter how hard you study... Actually, you can train your IQ one or two points through rigorous repetition, but it won't really affect your placement among the percentiles. And remember - the main issue here is not the number, but the percentiles. Numbers mean different things depending on the scale.
When they come out with an IQ test that is proven to be accurate, I'll take one. Until then, all I know is that I catch on to things quicker than most other people.
All "culture-fair" and properly standardized IQ tests are reliable. Note that none of the IQ tests you can find online are properly standardized. If you want a reliable result, I recommend either Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices (RAPM) or the Figure Reasoning Test (FRT), as these are the most commonly used tests among professionals. You can take the latter via your national Mensa branch, usually at a very low fee in comparison to what you would pay anywhere else.
IQ tests are un-reliable for one simple reason: You can fail and IQ test and get a score of zero. And you need an IQ of 27 or something to be smart enough to breathe... sooooo.
No. You can't. Remember - the average is 100, and the standard deviation is 15 with the standardized Wechsler scale. Within two standard deviations, you find 98% of the population. You can never get 0, because that would require an infinite amount of people to be smarter than you. There aren't an infinite amount of people in the world. For an IQ of 1, you need to be dumber than 99.9999999979% of the world... And there aren't that many people, unless you count multiple personality disorders. That said, you could never get that result anyway - because again, there are no tests that measure that far into the extremes.
IQ tests are only good for diagnosing retardation from a low score, a high IQ score alone is not indicative of high intelligence. I'm about 130 abut am struggling in school because I have a terrible memory and attention span.
While you are correct that IQ tests are good for diagnosing retardation, they are also good for diagnosing various mental conditions - and to exclude certain mental conditions, as there is often a positive or negative correlation between a certain score and a certain diagnosis.
If you have 130 Wechsler, that puts you in the top 2%. And your description is a textbook case. You are a product of a failed educational system - you'd be surprised how many intelligent people share your characteristics. A high IQ does not guarantee academic stardom. It only increases your statistical likelihood of achieving it. However, because the educational system in pretty much every country in the world is directed towards the general populace - quite logical really - it will be incredibly poor for tending to the needs of the extreme minority, such as yourself. Lack of intellectual stimulation has caused you to develop a disinterest for study, because said studies were already below your capacity when you began with them. As time went by, your disinterest caused you to fall behind the rest of the group and end up in a self-perpetuating circle of destructive disinterest.
I'm not sure where you're from, but I advise looking up your national Mensa branch and reading up on the Gifted Children Programme. It explains what I just said rather more elaborately and does a better job at giving you a general idea of the concept.
When I was 20 my I.Q was around 184
First of all, IQ is independent of age. Your IQ will never increase or decrease, it is the same from birth to death. Different tests will be required to measure your IQ depending on your age, however.
But all that aside, I can guarantee you never got that score - on any scale. Because again - there are no accurate tests in the whole wide world that measures that far into the extreme, the control group would simply need to be too large. Assuming you're talking about a Cattell score, you would be one in 5000, which means the control group would have to consist of several hundred thousand people. If you mean 184 Wechsler, you'd be one in 94 MILLION, requiring a control group of several billion. Seriously, stop throwing those numbers around like they were sandwiches.
The IQ test was invented in the 40's to test your military rank. It only boosts your ego these days.
No. It wasn't. It was devised in 1912 as a method of measuring the development of children, so you could help those who were in need of it.
When I was three, it was 152.
Now, it's 174.
22 points in 14 years.
IQ stays constant throughout all your life, and those numbers are far too high. You took an internet test, and those are not reliable. I advise you to contact your national Mensa branch or a psychologist if you want the true value.
I.Q. only show how good you are at I.Q. tests, as they say.
That is simply not true. IQ measures an attribute known as the G-factor. The G-factor is sort of like the main server of the network that is your brain. Having a high valued IQ correlates heavily with a strong G-factor, which makes you "generally talented". This general talent doesn't necessarily show up noticably, it works subconciously and invisibly. Having a strong G-factor means you understand things a little bit quicker, make connections that most others wouldn't and have an easier time recognizing patterns. This aids all of your mental activities, but can display more obviously for some than for others. IQ, and the G-factor has been scientifically proven to correlate highly with income, academic performance, job performance, health, crime and so on and so forth. It correlates with pretty much everything - hence why it's called G - "General aptitude". Note that this does not mean that a high IQ guarantees you'll be successful. It only makes it statistically more likely. It doesn't mean you're automatically awesome at everything you do either, it only means that you learn a little bit quicker and do it a little bit better than you would if you had had a low IQ.
Personally, I have an IQ of 131, barely making me qualify for membership of Mensa. I took the test in February 2009, and became a member of Mensa in April. It cost me 300SEK, which is roughly €30. Had I taken the test with a psychologist, it would've cost several hundred euros instead.
And finally, because people tend to doubt my membership... Here's my membership card.
If anyone has any further questions, I would be happy to answer them.