Is There a Difference between 140 IQ and 160 IQ?

Answered on Quora.
I have a 147 IQ, and I have met three people with higher IQ’s: a therapist with a 160 IQ, and two women, both with 156 IQ’s.
Although the therapist is almost a full SD above me, I could not tell much difference between us, and it certainly did not seem like he was smarter than I was. In fact, I knew some things he had never heard of, and I had to explain them to him. He was wicked smart though. I would say we were equals.
The two women – one with a 156 IQ I talked to for three hours one night. I did not think she was smarter than I was, but she was damn smart all right.
The other woman is an Austrian woman with a 156 IQ. That is over 1/2 SD above me. She was literally one of the fastest people I have ever met in my life. She was blazingly fast – as fast as lightning. You don’t often meet someone that fast.
Also, in the course of talking to her, I mentioned a few concepts she had never heard of. They were not simple concepts either. She would ask, “What’s XYZ Concept?” I started to explain these relatively complex notions to her, and she got them very fast, with a minimum of explanation. Most people don’t pick up entirely new concepts so fast like that.
She was one of the most impressive human beings I have ever met. She was also a very good person, I might add. On the other hand, I didn’t really feel like she was smarter than I was, despite her blazing speed.
So, 147–160, I see no differences.
Actually, all the way down to 125 IQ, I typically do not see much difference between them and me. A 125 IQ is a full 22 points below mine – 1.5 SD’s (!). People with IQ’s around that range seem to be about as smart as I am. Anyone from 125–140 IQ seems about as smart as I am.
So, taking them all together, I do not see a lot of differences between 125–160 IQ, and I am right in the middle of the range. Keep in mind that that is a full 35 point IQ gap – almost 2.5 SD’s!
My theory is that at the high end, the IQ’s all wash out, and there is not much observable difference between them. You have a lot of very smart people, and it’s hard to figure out who’s smarter than anyone else.
The differences are much more prominent at the low end.
Compare 1.5 SD difference for me – 147 IQ versus 125 IQ, a 22 point difference which almost seems invisible.
Now compare at the low end. 1.5 SD difference – 100 IQ versus 78 IQ. I can guarantee you that there is vastly more difference between the 100–78 pair than between the 147–125 pair. The differences among the 100–78 pair will be breathtaking.

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5 thoughts on “Is There a Difference between 140 IQ and 160 IQ?”

  1. I’m sure there must be a name for this phenomena where the further you climb the ladder, the less that differences between standard deviations start to matter. For example, there’s a tremendous difference in maturity between a 10 year old and a 20 year old. A significant one between a 20 and 30 year old. A less significant one between a 40 and 50 year old. And an imperceptible one between a 100 and 110 year old. I think as you get toward the extreme end of the scale, 10 years of difference no longer matter. Not sure if I’m explaining this in the best way but I’m sure you know what I mean.

    1. That’s a great theory, Tulio. Now you have an IQ of 125, which you think is too low even though you are smarter than 94% of the population!
      But I would like to point something out here. You often do exactly what you did here – come up with some all-encompassing theory that seeks to tie it all together in a new way that I have never heard of. That’s probably verbal analytical thinking. It also requires problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills and particularly the ability to see connections between things, see the big picture, and what I call “tie it together.”
      Now there are people who say that you only see this thinking at my level – 140+. However, here you are, IQ 125, basically operating at a level of a 140+ IQ!
      What’s really neat are these high end thinking skills like you and I have that tie it all together, see connections everywhere and see the big picture. And it seems like probably everyone with IQ 125+ can do that, and probably even some below that.
      I would call this a “remarkable new insight” or something along those lines. The type of thinking you just did here is IMHO the highest level thinking of all, very high end abstract thinking that looks for big theories to tie things together and explain unanswered questions.

      1. Actually I’m not quite 125. I’ve taken a number of tests for fun when I was younger and would usually get from 117-121. I don’t feel dumb, but can feel inadequate around really sharp people who talk fast.

        1. You never took an actual IQ test? You took one in school. That’s the one you should be referencing. Someone told someone your score. Probably your parents were given the score. Look them up and see what they say.
          I’ve never some really damn smart people at your IQ range and some others who are not so impressive, though they are still intelligent. It’s an interesting range.
          However, even 119 IQ keep in mind is in the top 11% of the population. You are smarter than 89% of the population.
          To me more important than your numbers if your very nice analytical thinking. That’s really nice. Did you always think like this or did it grow on you say from reading good authors on the Net a lot?

        2. Well I’ve never had an official test from a psychologist, I bought a software test back in 1995 that you take yourself. That was when there were actual computer software stores in malls that sold 3.5″ floppy disks. So I bought one of those and took it. Then over the years there were various ones I took on the internet. The scores were always right around the same number plus or minus a few points so I figure they must be measuring something accurately.
          Yes, I believe I have always thought like this. I was always a bit of a day dreamer as a kid. I was never good at sports and was really interested in science. For birthday gifts I asked my parents for microscopes, telescopes and chemistry sets. I still have a strong interest in science and the natural world. My 6th grade Jewish teacher was always frustrated with me because she wanted me in the gifted program but was disappointed because I wasn’t applying myself or working that hard. Then one day she just said screw and said she’s putting me in the gifted program even though she was mad that I wasn’t working hard. She wanted me in there. I don’t even remember what we did. It was called G.A.T.E. which stood for Gifted And Talented Education. We were in this class for about an hour and yeah, I can’t remember what the hell we actually did in there. I think we just sat around talking about things. I was the only black kid in there.
          Then came junior high. I was basically a C+ student. But yet still ended up on my schools academic penthathlon(which is the junior high equivalent of the decathlon). The school were required to choose 9 students. 3 must be A students, 3 must be B students and 3 must be C students. The teachers said the C students are the most difficult to choose because they’re basically looking for smart kids that just don’t do their homework. And that was pretty much me. My school ended up winning the penthathlon and the teachers said the essay I wrote pushed us over the top. And I got a lot of accolades from my teachers. We were even on the
          TV news in L.A. and the newspapers and we were honored by the student body, which was pretty cool.
          A lot of my fellow students has thought I was dumb prior to that, and were even asking why the hell I was chosen for the team. I’m sure some of that was just racism. But I performed well and that shut them up.
          That’s pretty much been my life pattern. I’ve always been an underachiever and am still one in adulthood. I’ve always done the minimum it takes to get by. Even though I wish I wasn’t like that. I admit I just don’t like hard work and I have low energy and low drive. I have the brain power to make good money, but I never really have. I could’ve gotten good grades but never did. My natural disposition when I lived in Socal was being something of a beach bum that would rather be enjoying a nice day outside than studying hard or worried about making a bunch of money. I’ve always been somewhat content doing just enough to get by.
          I often feel whatever intellect I have is wasted, because people I consider less intellectual than me are making way more money than I am and have far more prestigious jobs. I don’t necessarily envy them if they worked really hard. But a lot of people that do well also just had better connections and got a leg up. As an deep introvert I’ve never been good at networking or selling myself so I’ve had few resources that could help me make progress.

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