RE: Mensa, was Re: IQ tests

From: Barbara Lamar (
Date: Thu Aug 09 2001 - 13:21:08 MDT

Natasha wrote:

> >Hmm, SATs are sufficient? I had thought it had to be one of a
> short list of
> approved IQ tests.<
> It's a specific Mensa test, unless there has been a change in admittance.

Many years ago a friend persuaded me to join Mensa so I could go to the
monthly dinner meetings with him. Since I wasn't all that excited about
being a member, there's no way I would've spent time taking a special test,
but they accepted my GRE scores (The GRE is the graduate school equivalent
of the SAT).

> Why does society consider a person who can memorize words and
> formulas, or discern problems presented in a written test be more
> able to "think" than someone whose cognizance is highly skilled
> in dealing with life's varied problems and applying knowledge to
> clear-headed analysis? I don't.

I think most people would agree with you, Natasha, that common sense is as
important as IQ. The two kinds of intelligence aren't mutually exclusive,
though. I haven't followed the discussion about Mensa on Cryonet, but the
people I met at the Mensa dinner meetings seemed quite ordinary; some seemed
to be well endowed with common sense and others didn't, as with any other
gathering of people.

I agree with Eliezer that you don't see anything interesting until you go a
lot farther out on the scale, at least to the top .00001 per centile. I
haven't noticed that people at this level are less likely to possess common
sense than people lower down the scale, but I think they do tend to find it
difficult to socialize with "normal" people and thus might come across as
weird or deficient in common sense and social skills. This is due in part, I
think, to different interests. Even where there's a common topic of
interest, the high-IQ person will likely be interested in the topic at a
different level.


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