Good and Bad Stigmas Attached to High IQ Test Results

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Colorful brain lobesEver since the I.Q. test was created by Alfred Binet and Theophile Simon, there has been a stigma, both good and bad attached to the results of the test. For some, the results are helpful in determining possible mental health issues. For others, it is a crushing blow or an instant pedestal that they don’t want to be on. No matter what your age (this two-year old has an IQ of 160, 60 points over the national average) a high score can have some consequences both good and bad.

About the I.Q. Test and Results

The I.Q. number is the result of a mathematical formula whose numbers are based on the age of the person taking the test as well as the results of the test itself. There are a variety of different tests that are included in the process. Each test measures its own distinct feature of the personality. Things like spatial relations, vocabulary and awareness of one’s surroundings are the things that are assessed during the procedure.

Scores and Uses

When all the results are compiled, what’s left is what is called a “mental age”. The mental age is then divided by the person’s actual age to come up with what is known as the “mental quotient”. The mental quotient is then multiplied by one hundred to reveal the “intelligence quotient”, or I.Q., which essentially reveals the level that a person is able to function at.

Up until the last couple of decades, it was standard practice or anyone who sought mental health assistance to be given an I.Q. test. The results were considered to be the foundation from which the treatment plan was laid. Unfortunately, this often worked against the patient because every facility they went to would repeat the test rather than having the results transferred. Undoubtedly this was for financial reasons, but it caused problems with accurate results. Though the facility could bill for the test, the results were often inaccurate due to the fact that the patient has already taken the test enough times that they were now familiar with it. The more intelligent patients even learned to manipulate the test.

Today the I.Q. test is generally given in order to determine a baseline number to start with and may be given later to compare results. This information would indicate progress or regression given that enough time was allowed between tests. Some mental health professionals believe that I.Q. results are the single most important indicators of a patient’s state of mind and intellectual abilities. It is often the basis for determining a status such as levels of mental retardation or brightness.

The average I.Q score is somewhere between 84 and 113, with some interpretations being varied depending on which scale is used. According to the DSM-IV, borderline retardation starts as high as 84 and the levels of retardation become more pronounced as the score gets lower. Most professionals consider anything over 115 to be gifted with scores of 164 and over being considered genius.

Translating the Scores into Real Life Meanings

Once the tests are complete and the I.Q. score has been assessed, it’s time to share the news with the patient or the guardian. There are two extremes to this scale and to be honest, either extreme can have the same strength on impact. The only difference is in the perception of the score and at what end of the scale the score falls on. For instance, you would be hard pressed to find someone who is anxious to hear that their score or the score of their loved one falls anywhere within the mental retardation range. (Please note that the term for “mental retardation changes from time to time, but essentially means that the individual has scored well below average on the I.Q. test.) Believe it or not, there are also those that dread hearing the words “gifted” or “genius” as much as the parent dreads “retardation”.

The problem with the labels themselves is that they often have an impact on how the person is treated or how they perceive themselves. They are somehow raised or lowered respectively within their own mind’s eye or the eyes of their loved ones. Yet, this person has many facets within them that have nothing at all to do with their intelligence quotient. The trials of those who are considered mentally retarded are well documented and even feared. The trials of those with a high I.Q. are just as diverse and painful, but are not as well documented or even considered.

Gifted or Cursed?

Those who are considered to be mentally retarded are often thought of as retarded in more ways than intellectually, and to be fair, this is sometimes the case, but may often be the result of how the environment has responded to the individual. There seems to be a correlation between the I.Q. and the social abilities of the individual. Those who are deemed s mentally retarded are often found to be very observant of other people and in some cases, even empathetic to an unusual extent.

For the person with the high I.Q., this correlation tends to work in reverse. They are often socially inept and awkward. People perceive them using higher expectations than they do for other people. These higher expectations added to the already inept social abilities can lead to a life of misery and preferred solitude as the one who is gifted seeks to find a comfortable environment and soon finds that solitude may be the only answer.

Issues Specific to High I.Q.’s

There are several issues that are specific to people who have high I.Q.’s. The higher the I.Q., the more acute these specific issues tend to be. One of the general problems is that it can be difficult for the individual to seek out assistance with these issues because they simply consider themselves to be odd, accept who they are and embrace those issues, or have found that after seeking out assistance, therapists and other mental health professionals tend to focus on the I.Q. rather than the individual.

Physical Problems

Those who have a high I.Q. tend to be physically inactive. The fact is that sometimes the thought processes they have tend to be so diverse and intense that they find little motivation or inclination towards physical activities. They are more comfortable performing tasks that require a great deal of articulation, logic, computation and research. In fact, sometimes their minds are what is known as “manic”, which in mental health terms means that they have racing thoughts and may act oddly. This situation can lead to a multitude of physical problems as the individual experiences a lack of sleep and physical exercise. Sometimes they become so preoccupied with their thoughts that they even forget to eat. Obviously this kind of lack of focus on physical well-being can lead to serious health complications.

To the individual, it simply means that there is so much cranial activity that they don’t know which thought to grab first and yet they want all of them at once. To understand this, consider the situation below.

You are in a room with your favorite things floating all around you. You attempt to grab one, only to find that another has just floated by at high-speed. You can’t grab them all because your hands are already full, so you try to get a bit from each one. Every now and then you are able to grasp one and focus on it, but then it becomes your complete focus, with everything else just rapidly floating by, nothing more than distractions at this point.

Lack of Social Skills

Sometimes there is a complete lack of social skills that comes with having a high I.Q. and should not reflect on you perception of the compassion of the individual in question. There is a certain lack of attention that makes the individual seem as if they don’t care about anyone around them. This is not the case at all, but perception is in the eye of the beholder.

Those thoughts that are rapidly flowing by are always present and able to be altered seemingly of their own whim. There is never a quiet moment in these minds. Hence, there is very little ability to grasp onto some social nuances that other people find so easy to identify and use. As a result, the person with the high I.Q. is often found to be staring into space or intensely watching some simple activity. Sometimes the activity is really just something for that person to focus their vision on while their mind does what it will. Other times they are trying to determine exactly what the activity is or fathom some simple detail of it. They may not even respond when you speak, but they aren’t intentionally ignoring you. They are simply lost in those random, floating thoughts.

Academic Problems

You might be shocked to learn that those with a high I.Q. very often experience serious academic problems. Academics would reasonably seem to be the easiest thing for them to do. In some cases, this is true, but there are instances when the details of a topic are so elusive in their simplicity that the person with a high I.Q. is simply unable to grasp them. Another problem with academics is the lack of stimulation. For example, someone who simply knows calculus inherently is going to be bored by simple geometry.

Math is the most common front to explain this phenomenon with. Below are some examples of how a person with a high I.Q. might struggle mathematically.

When it comes to geometry, every step has to be listed for every proof. If you are working with an obtuse triangle, you must first determine that it is an obtuse triangle, which comes with its own set of rules. A person with a high I.Q. might very well be unable to explain to you how they got the answer to the proof, never even realizing that they were supposed to list the reasons that the proof worked. They simply come to the conclusion so fast that they are unable to explain how they got there. This will of course result in the problem being marked wrong, even though the answer was correct.

Another example would include algebra. There are those who cannot do even pre-algebra, but can flawlessly work their way through calculus. Again, they don’t think of the steps singularly. They simply come to the correct conclusion without being able to explain how they got there. Likewise those same people will repeatedly check their work when it comes to simple addition and subtraction.

Intimate Relationships

Most people seek to have intimate relationships. In doing so, they are aware that they will be expected to offer some level of attention and bits of themselves. The problems start before the relationship is even active. The person with a high I.Q. and logical thought process will be processing every possible outcome and avenue that could occur with this relationship. Over a simple cup of coffee and in just a matter of minutes, the one with the high I.Q. can completely analyze the potential outcomes of the relationship before it ever begins and even if the relationship is pursued, they are likely to continue this process through the entire course of the relationship.

How to Deal with Someone Who has a High I.Q.

Perhaps you’re reading this because you have a high I.Q. and are wondering if it’s ever going to be possible for you to have a normal relationship. Or, maybe you know and care for someone who has a high I.Q. and you’re wondering if they are ever going to just embrace the moment or seem more emotionally available than they currently do.

Keep in mind that many people who have a high I.Q. seem to either feel cursed by it, or go to the other end of the spectrum and seem to be a bit pompous about it. It’s still possible to get close to them. You simply have to stop seeing them as an I.Q. number. Sometimes you may have to gently persuade them to see themselves as more than an I.Q. number as well and keep in mind that a large part of their social experiences have included people reacting to the intelligence and not the person.

Have patience. Be willing to give some space. Quiet time to a person with a high I.Q. isn’t quiet for them at all. Rather it may be the time when they are finally able to grasp just one thought and do something useful with it. It wouldn’t hurt to remind them of the simple pleasures of life either, even if stopping to smell a flower also means listening to a detailed explanation of how and why that particular flower has that particular scent.

Test your IQ

Want to see how you measure up? Watch this video which asks 10 quick questions to test your knowledge and see how you think.

About The Author:

Kimberly is always up for an adventure. She’s used to living out of a suitcase and travels consistently. Her first time out of the country was to Thailand, where she spent 4 1/2 months traveling throughout southeast Asia. Kimberly enjoys exploring new places and diving into new cultures. While Kimberly isn’t traveling you can find her trying a new recipe in the kitchen, spending time outside or just lounging at home.

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Pascal
No offense but for someone who has been “diagnosed” … no wait detected with an IQ of +3 standard deviation and a 99,9 percentile range, all of that at the tender age of 43, I can tell you that a lot ideas in that articles are based on misconceptions, preconceptions and worst of all, stereotypes. The kind that the press but also Hollywood like to spread around.

So, first of all, in my particular case, it’s not that it’s a blessing, it’s not that it’s curse, it’s not that it makes better (in intellectual area) or worse (in the social one), it is simply that my brain works … well … quite differently that the vast majority of the population.

And like many articles I see on the subject, different scales are mixed up without so much as an explanation as to why. Take your article for example “an average IQ is between 84 and 113”; which scale are we talking about here? Cattell, Weschler, Stanford-Binnet, SD16, something else? Looks like something pn the Weschler scale, so standard deviation of 15, a minimum of 40 and a maximum of 160 (standard deviation is between -4 and +4).

And what do we have after that, “a score of more than 164 is considered to be genius or something like that”, so, clearly, an IQ on the Cattell scale (which has I believe an SD of 24).

Seeing this, why on earth do you try to pass on an authority on the subject while, apparently, ignoring something easy like knowing that there are different scales?

And because of this, the rest of your article falls down into a cascade of cliche and stereotypes (some of which are frankly condescending).

I could go on like for a while but, there are different ways to live with an high IQ. But it vastly depends on your entourage and circumstances. For me that was far from being the case for a very long time. Fortunately, things are changing for me but not just because of my IQ but, also, with the other “gifts” that I was granted by nature (which sometimes feel as a blessing and others as a curse, and by this I mean namely my unusual empathy … not always fun especially when other psychiatrics patients and, at other times, very useful to see what people are really feeling … a double edged sword if you will).

And since there are so many ways to live with such divergeance, basing your view on this from an article quite full of stereotypes and misconceptions might not be what people like me need, quite the contrary in fact.

It only reinforce prejudices and stigma towards our part of the population.

And the research looks like more advanced in some european countries on the subject. Granted, it is still too full of stereotypes and preconceptions, same as in the US, and there is a growing to get your child detected as a “high potential”. But, at least, research is being made and so are advances, there is still a problem with the “fad” (especially when it comes to children, there is a chance you might not see how unbeliably annoying it is to focus so much on children detected with an high IQ compared to adult like me).

Also, how could someone possibly says that an high IQ comes very often with lacking the understanding to lack social cues. I’ll have you know that, in the WAIS IV, weschler scale for adults, the subtest “Information” (general knowlege, you know testing “crystalized” intelligence) can replaced with the subtest “Comprehension”, in other words the ability of an individual to undertand the rules, both overt and hidden, of how society works.

Granted, understanding and being able to act appropriately is not always easy but it be possible with a very high IQ. In fact, in some ways, it is easier, thus why it is being tested in WAIS IV and having a high score there considered a part of having a high IQ.

Unfortunately, if you did a modicum of research, you would have realized that.

Also, I am seeing that the article is written by someone who likes to travel (nothing wrong with that here), but I am not seeing where the author has acquired “credentials” to be able to talk on the subject with “autorithy”.

And putting a youtube video only further degrades what little authority or, should I say, almost inexistant authority on the subject that you might have had in the first place.

If you want to talk on the subject, back to research and the drawing board I am guessing …

Ardnas Sandra
Beautiful article in a sea of articles…Although I don’t support everything written and I don’t actually like those kind of generalization because people who may have a high IQ but low self-esteem (unfortunately and very often that goes hand in hand) and some other characteristics could not find himself or herself in it and he or she could miss to find the reason of their social exclusion. I’s so shitty to be a high IQ person in a world of statistics. All the time, you see everything way before it happens, it’s so stupid, so stupid and so boring. You can very clearly see why someone wants you, what is going to happen, what problems are ahead, and bla bla bla. The most stupid thing of all is that you are always questioning yourself, you can’t believe people don’t see it clearly as you do, so you of course start to think you are the problem and something is actually wrong with you (that, a cause of low self-esteem development). You would like to have everyone to listen to you and understand it is as you see it, but of course everyone has the right to think, act and see the thing as they want. The problem is that 9.5 out of ten you was right, even if you didn’t want to be. It just happens. And it circles over and over again. And you start to be angry, very angry on people, on the world, on everything, no one is listening to you, no one is seeing the truth. It can be very frustrating. You come to the point where you understand nothing can be done then accept it and do the best you can: take care of yourself. Isolation is a way of handling it. Because a lot of time, because of the collected frustration, you start becoming very sarcastic towards everyone. And you close yourself. It’s a pain and loneliness. But, then, somewhere between that, you find your thought to be entertaining and amusing (if you do well with yourself of course and you start respecting you for who and what you are). What angers me the most is that people with no competences are full of themselves, while people with real capacity and full of potentials are hindering themselves because of the feelings of inadequacy. God bless you and good luck (and I do apologize for my English).
Dee
Ardnas! That is so on the money. That is me, myself and I. I am a Gemini I don’t have multiple personalities but escape on Dee, Duane and Dunner. {Dooner) . Duane can pretty well handle his IQ and live pretty comfortably. Dee has the ability to carry business as a professional. Dunner? He worries constantly about weather people love or like him. Constantly tearing himself and the other two apart. That’s what happens when they are not multiple. They are just me. Make so dam many mistakes. Sleep 3 then 2? I guess thinking. 8 hours sleep takes me 2 days. Kinda like it that way. Loneliness is the easiest way to handle my life just hoping in the long run, if you don’t have to put up with me? Maybe that way you will love me as much as I do you. I live with a nuclear medicine graduate and it drives me crazy when she can’t add! Look me up.
breit brendy
hey..if we view ourselves as different and impossible to accept ,everyone will view us the same way, just be yourself and be positive do what you can do best be proud to be the outstanding one…please.
Secret Squirrel
This can all be true. I had an IQ in the top tenth of a percentile, never passed pre-algebra, scored a 31 on my act and a 1700 on my sat and still do manual labor for a wage. My mom is mentally ill and my dad was never around. I turned to drugs and resented everyone who said that I was different because, quite frankly, I never wanted to be. My cousin with an IQ of 68 can beat me at card games. Yet supposedly I’m “smarter” than 99/100 people qualified for mensa. Doesn’t mean I’m better. I never thought of genius as being a 140 IQ any more than I thought of myself as being a genius. I have problems and I’m wrong a lot and I’m hard on myself. I’m not talking about an internet test. I’m talking about the weschler test I took in school. It was a bunch of blocks and shapes and word association crap. It doesn’t make you succeed in life. I haven’t gained any fame or fortune for having a 149 IQ there’s only pain. I can’t ever be happy with anything. I’m always scrapping ideas and starting anew, over and over and over and over until it’s perfect, which it never is. And I hate everything. Every type of music is power chords and drum machines. I hate all pop music. I can’t have a conversation with anybody. I’m a loner forever and i can’t ever be happy. You’re welcome to some of it.
rose nduta
Hey don’t be so hard on yourself…I am 16 from Kenya…I take basic classes I also hate being different but it is out of our control. I don’t know my real IQ….we are perfectionists lets be proud of that and if you feel you don’t fit in just close your eyes and think of the advantages an disadvantages of being different it ain’t so bad…n pop music is nyc… just try to think of it differently…we think differently so try to think different about your situation…I am also struggling with it…but just change the mentality towards yourself.
Dee
I like playing music and learning musical instruments. I am a really good musician. That’s easy right? No! But the thing is, is that I can express myself. Being happy some times is really hard. I like to burry my self in to myself. I always feel the best way to whom I am is to be alone. You will never get out of people what you expect them to be. You are always so hard on yourself that no one can compete.
Miserably Cursed
I know how you feel squirrel, my IQ is high as well, a friend looked up the percentile of mine. I will never be able to be happy either, the likeliness of finding someone like me, is unheard, your most likely to find a bigfoot or a unicorn. And almost everything she wrote here describes me. It really sucks being different, we feel like freaks, because people look at us and act like were something different and all we really want is to be loved, want people to be around us because they like us, not because we can do things. We just want to be accepted as a normal person.
Dee
The biggest problem is that you care so much and you think they don’t. That’s because you have a lot more time invested in it. Your mind comes on like a computer and relays things to you so fast that you feel you thought about crap as long as they should, Not true. In order for a person to think about things long enough to match you would be hours. You will pull that out in minutes. It not only upsets you but you can also become board with their reaction. Causes you to abscess and they don’t have a clue. Don’t get down on yourself because the truth is, is out of sight? Out of mind. Impossible for high IQ’s.
Dee
My friend, Simple awareness is boring to anyone with anything close to 135. You automatically think everyone has it. Unfortunately, they don’t. You will find that your pears will be a lot happier with when your happy with yourself. You can never be happy with yourself because you are to exact to what you leave and most can not understand. They really can’t help it when they cant add. You see it and they don’t. Your heart is so big, Your Pissed. Are not we all? No! Just they are. So you have to commit to educate. They need that. It is no different them understanding you then you understanding them. I don’t think we will ever be happy with ourselves but being intelligent enough to make them know you care will help them. You don’t need long words to complete a sentence. Don’t think of yourself as a genius, there is really no such thing because a genius wont question.
Christopher Den Hartog
Ridiculous test….stop polluting the internet with this stuff.
thehiddenbow
Why are you being like this? I can personally say that I have seen every bit of what this article says proven true in the people around me, and even more so, in myself. Please don’t be a jerk about it.
rose nduta
true it is really true…I can say that the article is about me….you guys need some attitude adjustment how do you expect people to view you different if you view yourself this way?
a seeker of happiness
Your statistics are inaccurate. The line for mental retardation begins at the IQ of 70. Also, for someone to be considered “gifted” they would need to be at least 130 in IQ. Very rarely do gifted and talented programs accept children who are within the IQ range of 128 or 129, although these children are considered bright, they are not often and talented. A genius IQ begins at the IQ level of 140.

The average IQ in the United States is 100. That accounts for 66.6% of the American population.

I also noticed you were trying to qualify when talking about the downfalls to the very first IQ test created by Binet, but you failed to make similar connections to the IQ tests today. For example, IQ tests given today are still considered slightly biased toward white middle class culture than to urban low-income African American culture which can not only skew their results but potentially make the statistics we have of ethnicity and IQ statistically insignificant.

Lastly, you should have elaborated on the statistics of relationships and those with high IQ. For example. You could’ve thrown in the fact that if there is more than a 15 point difference in IQ among two individuals the chances of them having a successful relationship are extremely low because they would lack the right amount of communication for a healthy relationship.

Your argument could have gained credibility if you talked more about the Bell Curve, who it was created by, and the pros and cons of this system.

Also. I am personally offended by your last point of how to “deal” with someone who has an IQ. Those with high IQs do not feel as though they are fundamentally different from the rest of the population, ad many are told their IQ as a child, so they don’t believe that they are defined by a number. That is extremely offensive and it would be a bit narcissistic for an individual to feel as though they are better because a number told them so. This is far from the truth.

Lastly, when going into detail about IQ, it would be nice to point out (during the time you were talking about the difficulty of simple math) that those who are truly gifted and talented actually have slower brain development than those of average or above average intelligence. This can only be seen in children because by the time the brain completes development all brains look the same (on a developmental standpoint)

i hope I broadened your approach to IQ and you didn’t take this as hurtful criticism, but constructive. Good luck with all your endeavors in life, and I wish you the best! It was a well written article, so don’t think you are a poor writer. Excellent diction and the most thorough part of your article was discussing the mathematics portion.

Sam
In all fairness though, there is a much higher chance of narcissism for those with higher IQs. I feel a little narcissistic about my IQ. So, that part wasn’t too far fetched.
Secret Squirrel
I can agree with a lot of what the article said. I gave up on school in the fourth grade and put my head on my desk through most classes, but I had personal issues other than being “smart.” I never tried to be anything but a regular person but I was always different. When a standardized test came up I’d always score in the top percentile. I even got a letter from Duke offering a trip to test with them, but my parents were kind-of crappy and didn’t do anything about it. Then when high school came protocol changed but I didn’t. I got IQ. tested junior year and I couldn’t be expelled since I was “special ed”, so I became a trouble-maker. I was rampantly truant and lazy and smoked pot like there wouldn’t be enough pot to smoke in the new world. I ended up in an alternative high school and did really well. They had really great teaching methods there that pitted students against one another in knowledge based combat. And I excelled there for about a year. I single-handedly won every history trivia game that I participated in (two-team game) and won for myself every Jeopardy game (single-player) in my ultra-fun history class. For the trivia thingy, we split the class into two and had a “speaker” on each side who would answer the questions. I was the speaker and I won literally every time. however, my renegade attitude eventually screwed me. I had a spat with my history teacher when she showed us the movie, “Schindler’s List,” and I argued that it had nothing to do with English. I went back to the main school until Ismoked too much and walked into the swimming pool and there was a meeting in which I was encouraged to drop out and take my act. I regret every stupid thing that I’ve ever done, and I have no clue why I chose the path I did. Super-intelligent people don’t tend to advertise and I personally could have benefited from people not telling me how much better I was from grade-school onward. I felt entitled, and now I feel cursed. I don’t always follow proper grammar etiquette or give two flying farts about it. All I have is a 1/1000 IQ and a life full of regrets.
Elijah Scott
So wait, hypothetically speaking, if I want a successful relationship (from a statistically perspective) I need to aim for someone with an IQ of 129 or higher. Well F me.