It is statistically likely that, according to IQ tests, many of our great-grandparents would today be considered mentally retarded. The word 'retarded' may seem insensitive, but it is a definition used by the UK Mental Health Act 1983, and one common criterion for diagnosis of mental retardation is a tested intelligence quotient (IQ) below 70.
Because of something called the 'Flynn Effect' (named after the political scientist who came up with it, James Flynn) the entire population of the world tends to get better at the IQ test over . On average we’re getting 0.3 points better per year. For this reason, the tests need to be regularly re-valued to ensure that we average 100 - someone who scores a 100 on a new test has tested better than someone who got a 100 on the old test.
As a result, an average person who lived 100 years ago would have scored 70 points on today's tests and would have been technically mildly retarded.
Flynn's theory for this effect is that people today think differently than they used to - we're better at the tests because our environment allows us to think more logically.
A result of the Flynn effect means that a number of people who are members of MENSA (the qualification for which is that you are in the top 2% of the population by IQ) should not actually be in the club. Unless you've recently taken an IQ test, your score is lower than you think.
Of course, IQ tests only really show how good you are at completing IQ tests, but they are often used by scientists as they are just about the best thing we currently have to estimate what we call 'intelligence' for a person in relation to the rest of society.
The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other going in opposite directions.
In Rome, the 'genius' was a god-like soul that lay in the foreheads of men. The female equivalent was called the 'iuno'.
Mensa doesn't get its name from the Latin for 'table' – not originally, anyway. The club was originally called the 'high IQ club' and had a magazine called Mens, the Latin for mind. It was only when they realised the implications of calling their publication 'Mens magazine' that they added an 'A'.
They say of the new name, seemingly without intentional irony: 'It's Latin for table, and it represents the round-table equality of Mensa. Everyone is equal. There is no elitism at Mensa.' Mensa also claim that it's meaningless to say 'I have an IQ of 150' because there are various different scales. You have to say 'I'm in the 98th percentile'.
If you're too intelligent for the thickos at Mensa, then you can join the Mega Society, which is theoretically limited to one person in a million (the 99.9999th percentile). James Randi once said: 'People who are smart get into Mensa. People who are really smart look around and leave.'
The Mensa are a tribe who live in Eritrea.
The measure of our intellectual capacity is the capacity to feel less and less satisfied with our answers to better and better problems
What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.
Men have broader IQ range than women. There are more mentally subnormal males, as well as more geniuses.
According to researchers at Kings College London, email can be addictive. They claim that this addiction saps cognitive abilities more than drugs. Email addicts saw their IQ scores fall by 10%, more than twice the fall experienced by users of marijuana.
In French, IQ is QI.
Breastfed babies have an IQ 3-8 points higher by age three than their bottle fed peers.