How important is a high IQ?

— New York Times News Service
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A lot of factors determine a person’s IQ

London Mayor Boris Johnson’s comments about IQ in a speech at the Center for Policy Studies last month have attracted criticism but they have also raised a big question on does IQ matter when it comes to wealth and being successful in business? So just how important is it?

Claims so far

Huge amounts of research have been done on IQ intelligence quotient and many claims made about it. Holidays and junk food can make IQ drop, while being breastfed and having a big head can make it go up. These are just a few assertions discussed in an article in Psychology Today.

IQ tests as we know them today were developed in the early 1900s, the first being the Stanford-Binet intelligence scales. Many have since been developed and measure slightly different things, say psychologists. The Stanford-Binet and the Wechsler intelligence scales remain the most popular.

It can change

The average IQ score in the U.K. is 100, according to British Mensa. But even if you score at the lower end of the scale all is not lost as IQ can change, say experts.

Given different environments and opportunities IQ can develop and grow, says Professor Joan Freeman, a developmental psychologist who runs the country’s only dedicated practice for gifted children. Something as simple as a bad cold can make IQ go down temporarily.

Also, IQ is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to being a high earner. A study by Ohio State Universitys Center for Human Resource Research is among several that suggest IQ has no relationship to wealth. This is because the tests only measure a persons cognitive ability and being successful is about much more, says Freeman.


IQ tests don’t measure other qualities such as personality, talent, persistence and application. You might not have a high IQ, but if you have a gung-ho personality then you may use what you have more effectively than someone with a high IQ. IQ is like a muscle; you may be born with the muscles of an Olympiad, but if you don’t use them they will diminish.— New York Times News Service

  • Different environments and opportunities influence and develop IQ in an individual

  • IQ tests don’t measure qualities like personality, talent and persistence

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