Which IQ is needed to be a Genius?

Ok, let’s look at the role of IQ in raising a genius!

As László Polgár describes it is a huge mistake to make a conclusion about the genius of your child based on IQ.

He analyzed the life of several geniuses, and when he prepared for raising his daughters he found the same result in scientific researches of Géza Révész.

 Exceptional children had in many cases an IQ slightly above the upper-average zone.

The huge longitudinal study by Lewis Terman suggests also the same answer to this question.

He researched this topic based on the assumption that genius is related to high IQ scores.

He choose only children with IQs over 140 then tracked them for several years.

A lot of students were recommended for the study by their teachers.

Among others two talented children were rejected for inclusion in the study, because their IQ scores were too low.

Their name was William Shockley and Luis Walter Alvarez.

William was later one of the three scientists invented the point contact transistor and were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

And Luis Walter Alvarez was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1968.

They are examples such as Richard Feynman, who had an IQ of 125 and went on to win the Nobel Prize in physics and become widely known as a genius.

However, I don’t want to suggest that this experiment was unsuccessful.

These children, called the “Termites” performed well in academic fields, but produced little in the way of true genius.

The conclusion is that intelligence and creativity are only slightly related.

Higher education not necessarily leads to be a Genius.

So as Malcolm Gladwell summarizes the research of Arthur Jensen in the book Outliers, you need approximately 115 IQ to get into university.

And in general higher IQ leads to higher education with several other positive side effects like higher longevity, better health condition, and higher average salary.

Research suggests that there is a minimum level of IQ (120 IQ) to be a genius in specific areas.

Reaching this threshold is not warranting to become a genius.

“But IQ differences in this upper part of the scale have far less personal implications

than the thresholds just described and are generally of lesser importance for success.

More important is personality and character”.

According to the genetic professor Dr. Czeizel Endre,

the low level of general intelligence is a barrier, so that specific skills can’t manifest themselves.

However, there are a few exceptions also from this rule.

There are certain areas, where general intelligence plays not a dominant role like visual arts and music.

One of his favorite examples is Pablo Picasso, the Spanish painter genius.

 Picasso suffered on a small brain injury, so that the left part of his brain did not get enough oxygen.

He was only able to learn to read when he was 10 with the help of a special visual method educated by a private teacher.

One of the sons of Johann Sebastian Bach was unfortunately mentally retarded (G. Heinrich), however his father could teach him to play the organ up to par, and he played this instrument on Sunday in the church.

So the conclusion is:

  • Higher IQ leads to simply higher education
  • Being a Genius needs a minimum level of IQ
  • After a certain point not IQ is critical whether you will become simply a well-educated person or a genius
  • And there are some exceptions like Music and Visual arts where IQ is not a critical precondition for being successful.

Előd Szabó
Előd Szabó