What to do with a high IQ?

Suffering from a high IQ

In 1985, psychologist Dean Keith Simonton studied the connection between IQ and persuasiveness in leadership. [3] He discovered that professional relationships work best when two people share a "window" of 15 IQ points. He called this window the Window of Comprehension.

Communication with people outside of the Window grows increasingly strenuous. When the IQ difference is too big, some ideas cannot be communicated at all, no matter how much time the more intelligent of two dialog partners invests.

The Window of Comprehension is a limit that people with a standard IQ rarely experience. A person with an IQ of 100 can easily communicate with others in the 85..115 range, which is about two thirds of the population. [f1]

With growing IQ, the window becomes smaller and smaller. A person with an IQ of 130 is "compatible" with about 14% of the population [f13] and at an IQ of 150, this number has decreased to less than 1%. [f14]

So a person with an IQ of 150 or greater has to meet more than 100 people to find one inside of their Window of Comprehension, given a Window of 15 points (W15). [f15] Some researchers have suggested that a Window of 20 points (4/3σ) is still acceptable, while others argue that 12 points (4/5σ) is a reasonable limit for close relationships.

The following table summarizes various Window sizes for various IQ values [f16] ("% Wn" indicates the percentage of people in a Window on n points):

IQ Score % W20 % W15 % W12
130 23.1 14.1 10.0
135 14.3 8.0 5.4
140 8.1 4.1 2.6
145 4.2 1.9 1.2
150 1.9 0.8 0.5
155 0.8 0.3 0.2
160 0.3 0.1 0.05
165 0.1 0.03 0.02
170 0.03 0.009 0.004
175 0.009 0.002 0.001
180 0.002 0.0005 0.0002
185 0.0005 0.0001 0.00004
190 0.0001 0.00002 0.000007

A more interesting way, maybe, to express the above, is: "how many people does a person with a given IQ have to meet in order to find one person inside of their window?" The below table summarizes some answers to this question [f17] (incongruities with the above table are due to rounding; "1/x(Wn)" indicates the number of people to meet given a Window of n points):

IQ Score 1/x(W20) 1/x(W15) 1/x(W12)
130 4 7 10
135 7 12 19
140 12 24 38
145 24 52 86
150 52 122 216
155 122 319 598
160 319 924 1,824
165 924 2,968 6,289
170 2,967 10,571 23,824
175 10,570 41,747 100,014
180 41,744 182,558 464,352
185 182,549 881,819 2,376,694
190 881,793 4,687,793 13,350,704

Of course the table disregards age, gender, and chemistry, so even if you are very optimistic, you have to multiply the numbers in the table by two to get a realistic real-life approximation. So 150 is the lowest IQ where you literally have to meet more than 100 people to find one person on common intellectual ground. [f18]

The function grows exponentially, because high IQs grow exponentially rare. E.g., at 155 (which is 1 out of 8131, or 897,000 people world-wide), you already have to meet almost 250 people -- still taking the optimistic approach. [f18]

So what do you do when you seem to be the only one of your kind?


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