Are people with higher IQs more successful?

Although it may be natural to assume that people with extremely high IQs have a knack for success. From Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby to Lex Luther in Superman comics, we have begun to associate super wealthy with super smart.

Even President Donald Trump claimed to have “one of the highest IQs” in a well-known tweet in 2013, which shows that his wealth is to some extent related to his intelligence.

But for everyone we consider to be “genius”, from Mark Zuckerberg to Steve Jobs, there are like Nobel Prize winner John Nash (known for his “smart mind”) and mathematician Kurt Gödel is a person who struggles with mental illness and personal crises. In fact, some studies have shown that there is a correlation between high IQ and mental health problems.

When calculating difficult numbers, is there any real evidence that IQ can predict a person’s probability of success, whether it’s financial, academic or creative?

Understanding the IQ test

The first IQ test was designed to identify schoolchildren who need additional academic help. Over time, this intention changed, and the test quickly became a way of identifying people with above-average intelligence.

In standardized tests, such as the Stanford-Binet test, the average IQ score is 100. Anything above 140 is considered a high IQ or genius level IQ. It is estimated that between 0.25% and 1.0% of the population fall into this elite category.

Terman’s research on genius

With the advent of IQ tests, researchers have begun to study whether higher tests affect a person’s academic success.

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In the early 1920s, psychologist Lewis Terman began investigating the emotional and social development skills of children with genius IQ. After conducting a study in California, Terman selected 1,500 children between the ages of 8 and 12, with an average IQ of 150. 80 of them scored more than 170.

Over the next few years, Terman continued to track these children and found that most of them were socially and physically adapted very well. Not only do they succeed academically, but they tend to be healthier, stronger, higher, Compared with a group of matched children with normal IQ, they are less prone to accidents.

After Terman’s death in 1956, other psychologists decided to conduct this research, called the Terman genius study. This research has continued to this day and is the longest running longitudinal research in history.

The correlation between intelligence and achievement

The initial participants in the Terman study included the famous educational psychologist Lee Chronbach, the author of “I Love Lucy” Jess Oppenheimer, child psychologist Robert Sears, scientist Ancel Keys, and more than 50 other college and university faculty members who later became college and university faculty members. Workers.

When viewing the entire team as a whole, Terman reports:

  • Compared with the national average of US$5,000, the average income of Terman’s subjects reached an impressive US$33,000 in 1955.
  • Two-thirds of people have obtained college degrees, and many continue to obtain graduate and professional degrees. Many of them have become doctors, lawyers, business executives and scientists.
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Although these results seem impressive, success stories seem to be more exceptions than routines. In his own assessment, Terman pointed out that most of the subjects were engaged in occupations “as humble as police officers, seamen, typists, and archivists”, and concluded that “intelligence and achievement are far from completely related.”

Personality and success

Merita Oden, a researcher who continued the research after Terman’s death, decided to compare the 100 most successful subjects (Group A) with the 100 least successful subjects (Group C). Although their IQ levels are basically the same, the income of the people in group C is only slightly higher than the average income at the time, and the rate of alcoholism and divorce is higher than that of people in group A.

According to Oden, this difference is largely explained by the psychological characteristics of the group. People in Group A tend to show “prudence and foresight, willpower, perseverance, and the desire to strive for excellence.” In addition, as adults, they exhibited three key characteristics not found in most group C subjects: goal orientation, self-confidence, and perseverance.

This shows that although IQ can play a role in success in life, personality traits are still the decisive feature of achieving success.

Criticism of Terman Research

Although Terman’s findings are convincing, they are often criticized for excluding factors that may lead to a person’s success or failure.This includes the effects of the Great Depression and World War II on a person’s education and gender politics, which limited women’s career prospects.

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Other researchers have since stated that any randomly selected group of children with similar backgrounds will be as successful as Terman’s original subjects.

What does this tell us

One thing that IQ scores can reliably predict is a person’s academic success at school. Research also shows that people with high IQs tend to be more successful at work.However, in some cases, the situation may be just the opposite.

In fact, some studies have shown that children with special academic skills may be more prone to depression and social isolation than their less gifted peers. Another study found that people with higher IQs are more likely to smoke marijuana and use illegal drugs.

According to the researchers, one explanation for this is a personality trait called openness to experience. This trait is one of the key personality dimensions described in the five personality theories.

Openness is a feature that essentially eliminates unconscious barriers that would otherwise prevent a person from experiencing experiences that are considered socially unacceptable. In addition, it is moderately related to creativity, intelligence, and knowledge. In contrast, the closure of experience is related to routines, traditional behaviors, and narrower interests.

Very good sentence

Although researchers continue to argue about Terman’s research, most people agree with this key finding: Although intelligence may suggest the potential for success, achieving this potential requires skills, traits, and support, which are not measured by IQ tests alone. of.

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