Bill O’Reilly recently stated that in his lifetime, the three most charismatic men he had ever witnessed were JFK, Elvis, and Muhammad Ali.

When I heard him say this I immediately realized that all three men have IQ scores in the public record.  In the book  A Question of Intelligence, Daniel Seligman reported that JFK tested at 119 while in school, and I previously cited data showing that Ali’s army testing equated to an IQ of 85.  Meanwhile The Guardian claims that school records show Elvis had an IQ of 70.

So here we have a list of three men, selected not by me, but by Bill O’Reilly, on the basis of nothing but charisma, and we just happen to have the IQ of all three, and their average IQ is 91 (white norms).  Roughly 0.6 standard deviations below the mean of American men.

I estimate the three most charismatic American men of O’Reilly’s life would be +5.47 SD in charisma on average.  Picture a scatter plot where you have charisma plotted on the X axis and IQ plotted on the Y axis, for every single American man who lived in O’Reilly’s life.  If there was any positive correlation at all between IQ and charisma, we’d expect the slope of the line of best fit to rise as we moved from left to right on the X axis, but instead, as X increases to +5.47 SD, the mean Y decreases to -0.6 SD, suggesting a negative slope of -0.6 SD/5.53 SD = -0.11 SD.

But before we jump to the rash conclusion that IQ and charisma correlate -0.11 in American men, we should ask ourselves how reliable a sample size of only three men is.  The standard deviation of our sample is a whopping 25 IQ points.  In order to calculate the standard error, we must divide this standard deviation by the square root of the sample size.  When we do this, we get a standard error of 14.45.  Since the true value has a 95% chance of falling within 1.96 standard errors of the sample mean, we can say with 95% confidence that the most charismatic men have a men have a mean IQ between 63 and 119.

The below average mean IQ of 91 may just be a statistical fluke caused by small sample size, and the true correlation between IQ and charisma might even be weakly positive.

However if the correlation between IQ and charisma is indeed negative, as this very preliminary analysis suggests, that can probably be explained by scholar J.P. Rushton’s r/K hypothesis.

And if high IQ people are indeed less charismatic on average, it makes the positive correlation between IQ and worldly success even more impressive, because high IQ people have figured out how to adapt the situation to their advantage, despite being less likeable.