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As we saw in in part 1, a reader had some questions about high range power tests.

The reader asks:

What, if any, capacities might tests of the high-range “power” format disclose that standard IQ tests cannot, or, at least, do not?

As I mentioned in part 1, they probably measure the personality trait TIE (Typical Intellectual Engagement) and perhaps some cognitive abilities that conventional IQ tests miss like executive function. And as discussed in the comment section, they’re probably less sensitive to test anxiety because you can take them in a relaxed non-threatening environment.

But there’s more.


Chris Langan stated:

Certain high-ceiling intelligence tests, generically called “power tests”, are composed of extremely
difficult items requiring higher levels of problem-solving ability than the items on ordinary IQ tests. Since these items
usually have no known algorithms, their solutions cannot be looked up in a textbook, and where subjects do not know each
other, one must rely on intrinsic problem solving ability.

From Discussions on Genius and Intelligence Mega Foundation Interview with Arthur Jensen pg 23

Arthur Jensen replied:

…Solving problems, or even thinking up problems, for which there are presently no algorithms, takes us into the
realm of the nature of creativity. There are as yet no psychometric tests for creativity in a nontrivial sense. We can’t
(yet) predict creativity or measure it as an individual trait, but can only examine its products after the fact.

From Discussions on Genius and Intelligence Mega Foundation Interview with Arthur Jensen pg 24

I find Jensen’s reply curious. He just admitted that the type of psychometric test Langan was describing involved creativity and then denied any tests measure it. Although I was extremely impressed by the questions Langan asked, he should have asked for clarification here.

The so-called distinction between creativity and intelligence is interesting. Intelligence is commonly defined as your ability to problem solve, but what is creativity if not original solutions to problems? So I guess people deny conventional IQ tests measure creativity because the solutions aren’t original enough. Why don’t conventional IQ tests require original solutions? Because such solutions would be so numerous that the test scoring manual could not include them all, or if there’s only one, in order for it to be original, too few people would discover it, making it useless for mass testing.

But because untimed power tests include many problems very few people can solve, by definition they measure original problem solving and thus creativity. One could claim that the problems must have social significance to be true measures of creativity, but what is significant is context dependent and creativity, like all traits, is relatively stable.

For example, before coronavirus became a global pandemic, creating a vaccine would have been unimportant but if someone had created one in 2018, they wouldn’t think “if I had only waited until 2020, I could have been creative, instead I’m merely extremely intelligent”. There could be a parallel universe where problems on the Mega Test have enormous real-world implications, while discovering relativity is merely a hard item on the Mega Test. Creative is something you either are or aren’t, it’s not something that changes with the social value a particular society puts on a given problem at a given time.


Commenter “Mug of Pee” jealously goes ballistic when anyone values tests other than the ones he scored high on (SAT, GRE). In order to devalue such tests, he’s claimed, somewhat facetously, that the Mega Test measures autism. While it’s true that the Mega Test requires you to focus for very long periods of time (an autistic trait), it also requires you to be interested in a wide variety of subjects, as opposed to the narrow autistic focus. I suppose there could be some autistics whose area of obsession is just puzzle solving in general, but I know of no confirmed cases.

Without doing brain scans, autism is much harder to measure as objectively as IQ but if forced to do so, I would use one’s composite score on the following four variables:

  • income adjusted for IQ (the lower the more autistic)
  • occupational status adjusted for IQ (the lower the more autistic)
  • head size adjusted for IQ (the larger the more autistic)
  • theism adjusted for IQ (the higher, the less autistic)

In other words, autistics would tend to be those who are poorer, less respected, bigger brained and less theistic than their conventional IQs predict. Anecdotal evidence suggests people with high Mega Test scores would fit the first three criteria, but perhaps not the fourth. However I’m assuming a linear relationship between IQ and all these variables. If at the highest levels, IQ predicts “success” in a curvilinear way, we might find that the socio-economic underachievement of some Mega society members is not atypical of their IQs as measured by conventional tests (with high ceilings).

More research is needed.