We need better psychometric instruments

Author: Claus D. Volko

The intelligence tests that are currently in use do not suffice to detect extreme talent. We need new instruments to detect intelligence levels that correspond to an IQ of 160, 170, 180, 190 or even higher.

I recently visited the website of Syncritic Institute, an institute for academics with an IQ of 175 or higher. The founder states that science has been stagnating since the 1970s because the IQ of scientists has diminished and his institute has the ambition to change this.

I do not know any intelligence test that reliably measures IQ scores of 175 or higher. I recall my own history of intelligence testing: The first official test I took was the Mensa admission test, on which I scored only IQ 134. I immediately thought that this was an underestimate of my intellectual abilities, and, indeed, on the next test I took (a test on the Internet) I already scored IQ 156, more than a standard deviation higher. It turned out that my test scores were in the IQ 150 - 160 range on most serious tests, and some even above 160, the highest being IQ 172 on ENNDT.

So the Mensa admission test is not useful for detecting extreme talent. It may be used to find out if you are above 130 but not if you belong to the 140s, 150s, 160s etc.

The primary problem of high range testing is that intelligence tests are normed only based on small samples. Usually scores above 145 are extrapolations since they did not appear among the probands based on which the test was normed.

Should we use grades achieved at school and uni instead of intelligence tests? I doubt that grades are a better assessment of intelligence. Many exams at school and uni are about rote memorization, which is not what intelligence tests measure. If we take a look at biographies of eminent scientists we can also see that many of them were not excellent students.

I think we need more reliable tests normed on large samples with millions of probands. Until we have such tests, it is impossible to reasonably estimate the intellect of extremely talented academics.


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