Social Question

Sorceren's avatar

If you were smart enough, would you join a high-IQ club?

Asked by Sorceren (669points) December 12th, 2009

For example, to qualify for Mensa you have to score in the top two percentile on one of several standard IQ tests (i.e., 2 out of every 100 people qualify). And there are other clubs that demand even higher scores. So—do you think you could qualify? Would you want to—and if you did, would you join up? Why or why not?

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49 Answers

Berserker's avatar

Pfft, I got nothing to prove.

gemiwing's avatar

I qualify for Mensa. I looked into it and frankly, found it boring and too insular. If you have knowledge- why not share it? Why keep it to a ‘special’ group and not use it to enlighten others and be enlightened in return by their life experiences?

eeveegurl's avatar

I’m scared people will judge me :(

I once had the same curiosity as to whether or not I’d qualify, and so I decided to go for it, satisfy my curiosity, and take the test. Turns out I made it, and the people there weren’t so bad, but it just didn’t feel like my group of people. Only a handful of my friends and familiy know about it, because I was always somewhat ashamed of it, and I barely go to any of the events anymore. So, no, I don’t think it’s anything special, but I was just curious about myself. I happened to be at a stage of my life where I was feeling down about college, and very unsure of myself.

Sorceren's avatar

@gemiwing—I find interesting your assumption that if you join you keep all your knowledge inside the group. What would be the use of that?!

gemiwing's avatar

@Sorceren It’s not an assumption. I talked to several people who were in my local group and that’s how it worked. Perhaps it was just my local group, I can’t say.

The use of that is people who are ‘gifted’ are routinely shunned socially (for a myriad of reasons) and thus later in life tend to congregate around each other. Circling the wagons as it were. It’s to create a ‘protected’ space where thought is encouraged. I just chose not to participate in the idea of needing a protected space. I, of course, don’t look down on anyone who needs that community. It’s simply that I didn’t.

juwhite1's avatar

I’ve been invited to join Mensa, and declined. I felt like it was the same thing as “Whose Who in America” and I’ve always laughed when I get invites from them. What’s the point? I felt that people who are insecure egomaniacs, or who are entirely wrapped up in their IQ, forgetting everything else that is important, were more prone to join.
However, a very close friend of mine who has an IQ seven points higher than me (which is a huge difference in the tail of the top standard deviation) did choose to join. I teased him about it, and ever the rational person, he responded that it is difficult to find people capable of teaching him more, and that this way he can find people who have his interests, then learn more from them. I know him well, and he is anything but arrogant or egocentric, and he actually blushes when people talk about him being a genius because it embarrasses him.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’m smart enough not to.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t know if I would qualify but I don’t care to find out and I don’t see how it would benefit me to join

wundayatta's avatar

I have not met a Mensa member who was not socially awkward or who did not use their membership in Mensa as a way to prove their self-worth. Or at least that others should pay attention to them. When I did pay attention, I wished I hadn’t.

The people I know who are interesting and likable don’t feel a need to belong to some club to prove how smart they are. As if smartness means anything, anyway. I don’t know if the programs are interesting, but I don’t think I would like the company even if they were interesting.

I haven’t taken a test in some thirty years, so I have no idea if I would quality, but I have absolutely no interest in any intelligence test. I think they’re bogus, anyway. They don’t measure anything I find useful or interesting. Of course, I don’t work in an admissions office.

Talimze's avatar

I don’t like to join groups. I feel like it goes against my principles, whatever they may be.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Talimze what principles are these?

Talimze's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I consider the only right way to do things is by oneself, unless it is physically impossible to do it that way.

StupidGirl's avatar

No because everyone in the club would be jealous.

MacBean's avatar

I qualify. I’d never join. It’s just another thing that sets me apart from the majority. While I don’t want to be average or a sheep, I also don’t really want to be a special snowflake. I have enough other stuff that makes me a “freak,” thanks. I don’t need to actively seek out ways to be different.

chyna's avatar

@MacBean Sorry girl, you are already a special snowflake. Everyone at fluther already knows that. :)

MacBean's avatar

@chyna: It’s probably a good thing I’m a special snowflake, really. The universe might explode if there were more than one weirdo quite like me.

juwhite1's avatar

I think it is funny that almost all the responses state they qualify for Mensa… Either Fluther is a community of almost statistically impossible intelligence, or people feel they qualify that may, in fact, not. I’m one of the people who was invited to join, so I’m not calling anyone a liar here… it is just a funny observation.

eternal_serenity's avatar

I don’t care if I qualify or not either way
I probably wouldn’t lol
If I did I would probably join some kind of higher iq community for the simple fact that I would sometimes want people around who know as much as me. For example, I think someone with an unusually high iq might get bored with “low iq” conversation quickly.
Everyone needs to fuel their mind now and again

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I qualify (188) but I’m not a “joiner”.

Sorceren's avatar

@eternal_serenity—“I think someone with an unusually high iq might get bored with “low iq” conversation quickly.”

nobody of below-average intelligence would have thought of that! :) Also, re, ” I would sometimes want people around who know as much as me.” Networking would be much more efficient with the super-smart, wouldn’t it? And networking would be easier if you were a member of their club.

@juwhite1—” Either Fluther is a community of almost statistically impossible intelligence…”

Is it really? Being here pre-qualifies you for a statistical population among which smartness is more likely than not. That being true, I don’t see why this group couldn’t have more than a third qualify for at least Mensa.

Papeversomniferum's avatar

I wasn’t smart enough for them in a well rounded way. I have some learning issues and therefore some issues, and very unconventional ways about me that they simply didn’t appreciate. Oh well… I just tried, to see if I could. My genius is my own… It is unique and they are just jealous! *Or so I tell myself…

Sorceren's avatar

@Papeversomniferum (an interesting spelling of the opium poppy’s scientific name, btw!)
Do you mean you didn’t test well, or that you got in and found no equals?

wundayatta's avatar

@juwhite1 One word: biased sample!

juwhite1's avatar

When asking a group of Flutherites if they are smarter than average, you can predict the answer that they are. Of course, when asking a crew of workers at McDonald’s if they consider themselves to be smarter than average, you can also predict that they will believe they are. I’m not sure the biased sample could account for ⅓ of the people being in the top 2% of IQ scores… that’s a pretty huge bias when membership in this sample is open to all!

Sorceren's avatar

@juwhite1 Membership may be open to all, but how many people of below-average IQ sit around asking and answering Fluther questions on a computer? That’s definitely bias; there’s basically nobody here below normal, so you have to slide the (average) Bell curve of intelligence way to the right.

juwhite1's avatar

@Sorceren – I disagree that no one here is below average intelligence (you’ll agree with me on that one eventually). There may well be a bias, and your argument for bias based on people who are intellectually curious makes sense, but many of our topics are not of an intellectual basis, and those that are tend to get fewer responses. Even sliding the curve to the right a bit, ⅓ of the people falling into the top 2% is a bit too large a bias to be believable. Even to get ⅓ into the top tail at all (the top 5%) would be unbelievable. I’d agree we are probably a little bit smarter than other average populations, but not that much smarter!

Sorceren's avatar

@juwhite1—OK, you win. What percentage would you estimate might qualify?

You’d actually probably have a good time in Mensa; the people in it who do tend to be socially active (notice I did not say “ept”) like to pick just such nits and are quite capable of shredding them!

juwhite1's avatar

@Sorceren I think we can politely disagree.

Sorceren's avatar

@juwhite1—however comma: The top two percentiles qualify, which means that out of 300 million U.S. citizens fully six million should qualify. Mensa has fewer than 100,000 members; I suspect that all 535 members of Congress would qualify since so many have law degrees; since passing the bar automatically qualifies you for Mensa membership, so do all lawyers. I would further speculate that most stock market folks and most lobbyists would probably qualify. And they’re probably all way too busy to Fluther. So you’re probably closer to right than I am.

juwhite1's avatar

@Sorceren Very true! I’d hope that most of the really, really smart people in the U.S. are being more productive than I am, today! I’d like to think they are so busy solving global warming, nuclear arms, cures for cancer, etc. that they don’t have any time to Fluther! ;-)

juwhite1's avatar

Actually, not that I think about it, I’d hope all the really smart people in the whole world are working on that together!

Sorceren's avatar

@juwhite1—It’s a shame, but most of them are working on amassing even more power and/or money!

juwhite1's avatar

Very true, but a girl can dream!

drdoombot's avatar

I’m interested in joining Mensa. I love my friends and relatives, but I have so few people in my life that I can engage with on a highly intellectual level. As of now, I have one old friend (who I only reconnected with a few months ago) who I can talk to about literature, art, etc. Besides him and my brothers, I know no one else who is interested in these things. When I finally get around to taking my law school admissions test, I’m hoping my score will qualify me for Mensa so I can meet some brainy people to have pointless yet entertaining conversations with. Plus, I’ve always dreamed of hooking up with a lady who was smarter than me, but I’ve never found one

ratboy's avatar

Should there be a means to flag “low IQ” questions?

Sorceren's avatar

@ratboy—I think the self-policing works well enough, don’t you? The mods may even remove the really stupid stuff, but I wouldn’t know that for a fact.

@drdoombot—you might enjoy this essay about highly intelligent people. The ones I think he’s mostly talking about, like IQ >170, have a really hard time coping with the rest of us because you have no one to converse with. But being even just barely Mensa qualified (say @ 135) can be frustrating if you don’t know how much quicker you are than “normal.” Usually the local chapter has events happening all the time that visitors are invited to. You could check it out, anyway.

wundayatta's avatar

Sources of bias at fluther.

They have to have access to the Internet.
They have to be interested in social networking sites.
They have to be willing to seek out those social networking sites that focus on questions and answers.
They have to be interested in answering questions.
They have to have seen this particular question.
They have to be interested in the issue of intelligence.
They have to answer this particular question.

It’s a self-selected convenience sample of a very special sort. Let’s see. How many flutherers are there? Maybe between 200 and 1000 active ones (the writers). How many have answered this question? What? 10? 20?
Oh! And what about unbiased measurement? You could climb Mt Everest, and you still wouldn’t be able to see that!

Sorry, but this is a ridiculously biased sample, and you have no business making any generalizations based on answers to this question. You’ll get laughed at not just by people eligible for Mensa, but half the rest of the population as well. Also, go take (or worse, retake) that statistics course. You’ll find out that any data based on what people say here is completely worthless as far as making generalizations about any other population. It’s not even very good for making generalizations about fluther.

Design a good instrument. Survey a random sample of people here. Get a good response rate, and then maybe I’ll listen to you conclusions. Until you do that, you ain’t got nuthin’!

juwhite1's avatar

I’m not saying there is no bias… in fact, I acknowledged that there is. I’m simply saying that enough bias to move the curve so far to the right that ⅓ of the people on Fluther are in the top 2% of intelligence in the world is too far fetched. We are, after all, talking about people spending their daychatting about what’s in their attic, texting and driving, preference for short hair, etc. I’m not insulting any of those questions and have enjoyed their content, but it doesn’t exactly scream that this is a community of super-geniuses. My whole point was that you can’t rely on their answers that they qualify for Mensa as an indicator of actual intelligence. I think we could agree on that. I was simply making a funny observation about so many people responding stating that they qualify for Mensa. And, it is still funny to me. Didn’t intend to touch off a debate on the superior intelligence of Flutherites or get into proper sampling techniques in statistical inquiries.

wundayatta's avatar

@juwhite1 Well, why didn’t you say so? Sounded like you were saying the opposite to me. Never mind.

juwhite1's avatar

From one of my posts above: “There may well be a bias, and your argument for bias based on people who are intellectually curious makes sense, but many of our topics are not of an intellectual basis, and those that are tend to get fewer responses. Even sliding the curve to the right a bit, ⅓ of the people falling into the top 2% is a bit too large a bias to be believable. Even to get ⅓ into the top tail at all (the top 5%) would be unbelievable. I’d agree we are probably a little bit smarter than other average populations, but not that much smarter!”

YARNLADY's avatar

Disclaimer: The wording of this question makes it very difficult for me to give an answer. Too many peope resent the use of the word “smart” because it makes them feel demeaned. The actual “meaning” of scoring high on a conventional I Q test is still under debate.

I have been a member of Mensa for the last 37 or so years. I have met 1000’s of other members, not just the few that some other Jellies have. Mensa membership is currently around 60,000, and I can assure you that they come from all walks of life, and include both socially inept and socially very ept. In fact, in my experience the ept ones outnumber the others by a very large percentage.

As with any social club run entirely by volunteers, the advantage you get out of it will be propostional to the amount of time and effort you are willing to volunteer to bring to the club your talents and abilitites.

People who join the club looking for someone else to provide them with an “experience” are bound to be disappointed. People like myself, who join to see where they can help build an enjoyable experience are far more likely to be happy there.

I met two of my husbands in Mensa, and I have lived with several other members in a shared living arrangement. Yes, we formed our own Mensa commune. We also had some of our household Mensa members drop out of the club because they weren’t satisfied with it. It’s not for everyone – there’s no denying that.

I am also a member of the Society For Creative Anachronism, as are many other Mensa members. In fact, Mensa has between 50 and 75 special interest groups organized by people who wish to meet with others who share their interest in photography, raising farm animals, riding motorcycles, building models, writing, programming, gaming and such.

wundayatta's avatar

@juwhite1 Again, why didn’t you say so? I sure couldn’t parse out your “its” and antecedents and who you thought was three standard deviations from the mean.

The comment was meant to be ironic. I understood that you believed you had said so. I was just trying to hint that I didn’t really understand what you were saying. I may be stupid, but I’m not that stupid.~ ;-)

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

Not my scene,I wouldn’t feel comfortable being in a room full of people still living with their mothers/grandmothers,wearing pocket protectors and sporting atomic wedgies.

MacBean's avatar

Well, that’s not offensive at all…

Sorceren's avatar

Chalk another stereotype up to TV… or youth… or flaxen beauty (I can be inoffensive too)?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Talimze I agree with you. I’m considering joining Prometheus just to get the journal, but no meetings for this autistic guy.

Countrybumkin's avatar

Suposedly I qualified for Mensa. I don’t see how. I think that Dr. screwed my test results up with someone else’s

talljasperman's avatar

I’m smart enough not to.

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