Let’s see how intellectual giftedness is related to intelligence tests.
Each and every one of us has certain cognitive abilities, which vary greatly depending on each person. These allow us to be able to adapt to the environment and solve problems, establishing strategies and allowing us to carry out a great diversity of behaviors.
Evaluating the degree to which we have them allows us to make a prediction of the ability to adapt and cope with situations, having developed different mechanisms for this. One of the concepts used to calculate intelligence is the intelligence quotient or IQ, which makes it possible to assess and compare it with the population mean.
In most people we are going to find an intellectual capacity that, although it is variable, is usually within the average. However, we can also find the case of people who either have lower-than-average capacities (in the case of intellectual disability) or surpass it by far, the latter being the case of the gifted.
Establishing at what point one goes from normal intelligence to high intellectual abilities could be difficult at first glance, but that is why concepts such as IQ can be of some use. What is the IQ of a gifted person? We will see it throughout this article.
Intelligence and IQ
Before going deeper into what the IQ of a gifted person is, it is worth mentioning first what we call intelligence and what exactly we mean by the concept of intelligence quotient.
With regard to intelligence or cognitive ability, although the concept is known to all, there is great difficulty in providing a concrete, unitary definition that makes it clear what its limits are in relation to other concepts. There is also a great controversy regarding the definition of this ability or ability, there are various theories about it that even discuss whether we can consider it a single ability or rather a set of multiple capabilities or intelligences.
Broadly speaking, we understand intelligence as the ability of human beings (or other types of beings) to use their cognitive resources efficiently and optimally in order to adapt and respond to environmental demands, being able thanks to it and among other things, capture and understand internal or external information at high speed, generate strategies that allow the achievement of specific objectives, solve problems or even anticipate events and anticipate difficulties.
The measurement of cognitive abilities
Although the concept to be discussed may be this, the truth is that measuring something so intangible is complex. To do this, one of the possible ways to do it is to evaluate the subject’s performance in different tasks that require the resolution of different types of tasks associated with intelligent behavior and from which to observe different facets of it.
In this sense, the first intelligence test would be born, designed to evaluate the intellectual performance of children and carried out by Binet and Simon after having been commissioned by the French government (in order to evaluate the students and establish educational measures for those minors who could not follow an ordinary education). In one of the revisions of said test, the concept of Mental Age would emerge, in which mental capacity was assessed according to the average age at which most children could solve the same problems.
However, after observing that the existence of specific differences had different importance depending on age, the psychologist William Stern would end up generating what is now known as the Intellectual Quotient or IQ. This quotient is a method that assesses cognitive ability based on the division of mental age and chronological age, subsequently multiplying it by one hundred (thus eliminating decimals), and allows obtaining a score comparable with the measurement of other subjects of the same age .
It is this concept that is used today in the measurement of intelligence, although there are several controversies in this regard (for example, it is necessary to take into account the Flynn effect through which the measured IQ increases with the passage of the centuries not due to greater intelligence but to aspects such as greater contact with intellectual activities and technological development).
What is the IQ of a gifted person?
The IQ or IQ is a relative measure of intelligence, the meaning of which only makes sense compared to the population mean. In this sense, it has been established that intelligence follows a normal distribution in the population, considering its mean a score of 100 and observing a standard deviation (a concept that tells us about the expected variability in scores) of 15 points.
In this sense, we would consider normal intelligence (the one that most of the population has) that which reflects an IQ that ranges between 85 and 115. Below 85 and up to 70 we speak of borderline intelligence, and above from 115 to 130 for brilliance or intellectually gifted people.
The existence of capacities well below or well above the average will be considered as such only when they exceed the two standard deviations above or below. Thus, only below an IQ 70 would we be talking about intellectual disability (which, depending on the decline, would become increasingly severe), while above 130 we would be talking about high capacities or giftedness.
In this way, and responding to the question that gives rise to this article, when we talk about gifted people, we are talking about people who in the evaluation of their intelligence or cognitive capacity have obtained scores whose transformation to IQ would indicate an intellectual quotient higher than 130. This is independent of sex or age, as long as we are dealing with a subject older than 12 years of age and the group with which the subject is compared is that of the same age range.
Does being gifted mean having a high IQ?
When we talk about a gifted person, it is easy for us to identify it with a person whose IQ is above 130. But, although this is not uncertain (in fact, the definition made by the WHO is this), for some authors the mere possession of this level of ability would not be enough to speak of true giftedness.
And it is that obtaining a certain score in an intelligence test that indicates an intellectual capacity above the average is not the only requirement to be considered gifted: it is also taken into account that said intellectual capacity is shown in most domains and types of intelligence (that is, it would not be enough to be excellent in logical-mathematical skills or music, but it would also have to be in the rest of the fields, in which case we would be facing someone who is only talented), knowing how to apply their abilities adaptively and the existence of a high creativity or capacity for it.
Examples of giftedness
Giftedness is a very rare characteristic in the population, speaking of which around 2% of it would have high cognitive abilities. However, many of them have made notable contributions and have become well-known figures from different fields, including science, economics or art. Here are four well-known examples.
1. Marilyn Monroe
Norma Jean Baker, better known as Marilyn Monroe, was considered one of the sexiest and most attractive women in the world. But despite being remembered for her beauty, her films, her relationships and her tragic death, the truth is that behind all this was a woman with a higher level of intelligence than Albert Einstein. Specifically, five points higher: Marilyn Monroe had an IQ of 165.
2. Stephen Hawking
The recently deceased genius of physics and astrophysics, known for his studies on the universe and especially for his studies on black holes, was a person with an extremely high IQ, with an IQ of 152.
3. Marilyn vos Savant
Perhaps this name is not as well known in our country as the other two, but this writer and columnist of North American origin, who is also among other things director of finance at Jarvik Heart, speaker (having been named one of the five most outstanding speakers in 1999) and a member of societies such as Mensa or the Council of the National Association for Gifted Children is the person who holds the Guinness Record with the highest IQ, with an IQ of 228.