IQ stands for ‘intelligence quotient’ and an IQ test is thought to measure intelligence.
An IQ test — which largely measures someone’s innate intellectual ability — gives an indication of a person’s potential.
People with high IQs have all kinds of advantages in life: they have better educations, better jobs, earn more and even live longer.
The test is set up in such a way that an average score is 100 and it provides a comparison against other people of your age.
A score over 130 signals high IQ, with 132 being the cut-off for MENSA, the high IQ society.
Scoring over 130 puts someone in the top 2 percent, meaning that 98 percent score lower.
The majority (68 percent) of people score between 85 and 115.
A score of over 145 puts a person in the top 0.2 percent of the population.
IQ scores test people’s ability to recognise patterns, to use logic to solve problems and to make quick connections between ideas.
There is no theoretical upper limit to an IQ score.
Estimates put the IQs of famous physicists Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking at around 160, although their actual scores or whether they ever took a test are not known.
However, high IQ is far from a guarantee of success and may even be a barrier to a normal life.
Evidence from various studies suggests that, in terms of attractiveness, leadership and other areas, a high-ish IQ of, say 120 is beneficial but a higher IQ can create problems.
The way IQ is conceived, it is supposed to be the same throughout life.
However, IQ can be affected by health, nutrition, access to education, environment and culture.
In other words, living well, being curious, exercising and learning can all help people reach their true potential.
People’s cognitive abilities naturally decline with age, and living healthily and keeping the mind active helps to maintain IQ levels.
Learn more about IQ…
→ Find out more about the mysteries of intelligence.
→ Discover 15 signs that you are smarter than average.
→ This is the biggest myth about IQ.
→ IQ Is A Myth: Intelligence has at least three components.
→ The frightening changes in human IQ in the last few decades.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do