There’s a story in the Daily Mail about a woman named Alicia Englert accused of leaving her baby in a neighbor’s trashcan, but the neighbor heard noises and the baby was luckily rushed to the hospital and saved. Englert took a court ordered IQ test (apparently the Wechsler) and scored 51. The Wechsler scale is normed so that Americans have a mean IQ of 100 with a standard deviation of 15, but because of massive demographic changes that have occurred in America over the last several decades, the white IQ distribution tends to be higher (but narrower) than America’s as a whole (103, SD = 14.5). As a result, scholar Richard Lynn converts IQs based on American norms onto a scale where Whites have a mean of 100 and an SD of 15, because this makes scores more comparable with older IQ tests normed when the country was more white. Compared to whites, the average American has an IQ of 97, and Englert would have an IQ of 46.
Now, presumably the reason Englert took an IQ test is that people with IQs below 70 (below 66 on white norms) are not legally responsible for their alleged crimes in certain states so scoring low would help her defence. What’s interesting about her having a white IQ of 46 is that she has an online dating profile, graduated high school, and was apparently literate enough to write the following:
‘hi my name is alicia im 23 years old I work full time I have brown hair im 5’1 I have no kids I do drink but only on the weekends I have my own car I still live with my mom and dad for now!!! if you want to know more just ask
Back in 1980, scholar Arthur Jensen talked about the expected achievements of people with different IQ levels. Jensen didn’t distinguish between IQ and white IQ because back in 1980, America was overwhelmingly white, so IQs based on American norms were pretty much the same as IQs based on white norms, so it was pointless to make that distinction. Jensen wrote the following:
The four socially and personally most important threshold regions on the IQ scale are those that differentiate with high probability between persons who, because of their level of general mental ability, can or cannot attend a regular school (about IQ 50), can or cannot master the traditional subject matter of elementary school (about IQ 75), can or cannot succeed in the academic or college preparatory curriculum through high school (about IQ 105), can or cannot graduate from an accredited four-year college with grades that would qualify for admission to a professional or graduate school (about IQ 115).
So based on Jensen’s thresholds, someone with an IQ below 50 should not have been able to attend a regular school, let alone graduate high school.
But then thanks to the Flynn effect, which is probably mostly caused by rising nutrition improving brain size and brain function over the 20th century, a white IQ of 46 is probably a lot smarter than it used to be. Indeed Richard Lynn argues that the average bushman has a white IQ of 54.
The alleged crime itself indicates a lack of IQ on Englert’s part. Why not just give the baby up for adoption when there are so many loving couples that would provide it with a wonderful home? And if she wanted to do something as terrible as putting her baby in a trashcan, she should have known that a trashcan that belongs to a neighbour greatly increased the odds of her getting caught.
Even still, it does seem suspicious that someone with an IQ this low would be smart enough to graduate high school, drive a car and use the Internet. I hope she didn’t score low on purpose for legal reasons.