A reader asks:
Are there any cases where an individual’s real-world achievement(s) align(s) with that individual’s stellar high-range test score? If so, what achievement(s), what score, and on what test?
The most obvious example is John H Sununu who exceeded the one in a million level is both Mega Test IQ and real-world power (state governor, White house Chief of Staff under a relatively good President: George H.W. Bush, who unlike his son, was competent enough not to invade Iraq). In 1988 the Washington Post reported:
President-elect George Bush’s new chief of staff, John H. Sununu, is a smart guy by all accounts. His doctarate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one clue. His I.Q. is another. On a scale where “genius” is anything over 140, Sununu has been clocked at 176. That makes him one in a million.
Whether he is smart enough to massage the egos at the top of the administration and smart enough to befriend Jewish leaders and smart enough to outsmart his boss remains to be seen. But there is no question that he is book smart.
In 1985, Sununu picked up Omni magazine’s “mega-I.Q.” test while on a plane flight. At the time he was governor of New Hampshire and was busy with the state legislature, but when the session adjourned for the summer, Sununu got serious about the test. You might say it’s his idea of how to spend a summer vacation.
When he and more than 3,000 other Omni readers turned their tests in, Sununu had tied with two others for second place. He correctly answered 44 of 48 questions, where a score of 15 ranked the contestant as a genius with an I.Q. of 141. His score of 44 put Sununu’s I.Q. at 176.
“This test was one of the most enjoyable exercises I have gone through in some time,” Sununu wrote to the magazine, “a superbly stimulating diversion.”
It should be noted that the Mega Test annoyingly uses a standard deviation of 16, so an IQ of 176 is equivalent to 171 on the 15 sigma scale used by the Wechsler and recently even adopted by the Stanford Binet. It equates to the one in a million level. Since the Washington Post wrote that article Sununu’s score has been upgraded to the one in 3 million level.
Among the Omni reading test takers who reported their SAT scores, only two had 44+ Mega Test scores and only two had 1586+ self-reported SAT scores (not the same two), which at least in the 1980s, equated to the one in 700,000 level, so at the very least, I would put Sununu’s Mega score at +4.67 SD, especially since he achieved it on his first attempt and in the pre-internet era (before answers got leaked or became easier to research). Maybe post-Omni data allowed Ron Hoeflin to refine the score upward. Such a spectacular IQ gave Sununu the authority to belittle the intelligence of a man as intellectually respected as Obama.
Sununu is not the only U.S. governor with a reported test score equating to perhaps 170 (sigma 15). In 2006, Eliot Spitzer told the New York Times that he scored 1590 on the (pre-recentered) SAT and a perfect score on the (old) LSAT. In the Omni sample, I noticed Mega Test takers with self-reported old LSAT scores averaged 722 (SD = 30) on the LSAT and IQ 152 (SD 9) on the Mega Test. Assuming linear extrapolation, that would equate a perfect 800 LSAT with a Mega IQ of 175 (equivalent to 170 on the WAIS).
Sununu and Spitzer were not governor at the same time, and did not achieve their scores on the same test, but perhaps at any given time, about one of the 50 U.S. governors would score over +4.5 SD on any particular highly g loaded test (whether the Mega Test, college admission tests, or conventional IQ tests with sufficient ceiling). Similarly, one in 100 U.S. senators (Chuck Schumer) had a self-reported perfect or near-perfect SAT score, as does about one out of every 100 or so self-made members of the Forbes 400 richest Americans (Bill Gates, Paul Allen). If the top one or two percent of self-made real-world elites have IQs around +4.5 SD, it suggests the average (self-made) real-world elite has an IQ around +2 to +2.5 SD.
Sununu may not be the only Mega Test luminary who has achieved so spectacularly in the real-world. Circa 2000, a highly credible person stated “I am told one member of the Mega Society is a billionaire.” It only took $725 million to rank among the 400 richest Americans, but his person, if he exists, probably never appeared in Forbes, but just as different IQ tests don’t correlate perfectly, different ways of assessing and identifying wealth don’t correlate perfectly. But given how few people have qualified for the Mega society, it would be pretty fascinating if one of them was a USD billionaire by any credible measure.
Well done, P. Thanks for the series. Please check your e-mail.
I don’t know about a billionaire Mega member, but that remark reminded me of this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjVDqfUhXOY
It seems that he applied his mathematical expertise to his hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, which was doing big data before Big Data was a big thing.
What would happen if I took the mega test?
The world would explode Anime. It would explode into a million pieces and you would be responsible by answering a single question on that test. For this reason I highly advise you against doing so.
King meLo said:
Thank god somebody told him.
Dodged a bullet there.
“What would happen if I took the mega test?”
While I wouldn’t venture a guess as to how you (or anyone else) would score, I suspect that if you were to fully, seriously engage, there might come a point at which you’d ask yourself “Is this really worth it?” For me, I believe it was at roughly thirty-problems-deep. My sense at that point was that it was not a worthwhile endeavor. Still, there was the irrational notion that nagged and gnawed (there are times when I can’t resist mediocre alliteration): Should I simply call it “quits” and scrap all of the energy and hours expended – seemingly fruitful effort suggesting that there would be a favorable outcome? I concluded that I should not and would not. In retrospect, I am ambivalent concerning that conclusion/decision… concerning the entire undertaking for a number of reasons that I won’t enumerate. On the sunnier side, the result was favorable. Never again!
The Philosopher said:
It possible the test would explode anime.
Vegan DHA said:
Thanks for this series – I really enjoyed it.
Was George H W Bush a relatively good president? Maybe the bar is very low? He did love wars…
Is it true that Netanyahu having achieved a 44 score on the Mega test is a myth?
Also, Hoeflin has stated that he tried to contact Alicia Witt in order to ask her to join the Mega Society, because she had had a ration IQ of 500 at age 3. What would that mean in a SD 15?
Austin Slater said:
I’m skeptical of Netanyahu and Schumer’s alleged scores because dishonesty and ethnocentrism have a negative correlation with IQ. At least I think so.
But if you’ve been socialized since birth to be that way, the function gets shifted pretty far upward.
How are these tests normed?
Hahaha what a joke.
“The fourth norming of the Mega Test was based on scores reported by Mega Test participants on five previously taken tests: the Army General Classification Test, the California Test of Mental Maturity, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, the Stanford-Binet, and the Langdon Adult Intelligence Test.”
“To this day I have no idea what “unphysical” test scores are by they sound fascinating!”
Because it’s nonsense.
From the context, I’m nearly certain that “unphysical” scores are just ones extrapolated above the ceiling (or below the floor) of the test, which is a simple statistical abstraction that shouldn’t be problematic in and of itself, especially since you’re already working with psychometric statistics that are abstracted away from the test itself.
how many pictures of sununus did bob guccione publish? said:
you know it’s a joke because a guy with a joke for a last name claimed he scored high on it and it first appeared in a magazine published by a pornographer.
Austin Slater said:
But given how few people have qualified for the Mega society, it would be pretty fascinating if one of them was a USD billionaire by any credible measure.
This wouldn’t surprise me at all. I can easily imagine a billionaire wall street guy/STEM entrepreneur taking the mega for fun on a sabbatical or something.
pumpkin I sent you a new email.
>Has a BSc, an MSc and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering
>Head is low-broad
very high scores on ACTUAL high IQ tests like the LSAT, etc. may not be reliable...above a certain threshold high score, scores are just a matter of chance. said:
for once wikipedia gets it right.
that is, if spitzer isn’t lying and he took the LSAT again he’d score very high, but probably lower than before…at least in raw score. on the old GRE-V it was possible to miss 4 questions and still get an 800, yet this was still far rarer than missing none on the A and Q sections.
He had probable tied for second score (44) and not second place. I remember that the n1 core on first attempt was 46 (Langan scored 47 under Eric Hart name after scoring 42) and there were three people tied ( so that Sununu tied for 4th position).
It’s interesting to notice it was two women (Vos Savant and a Canadian Jane Clifton, I believe a psychology PhD student ) and the would be womanizer sex trafficker Keith Raniere. It’s an unusual bunch of persons for sure.
I would guess that the quasi billionnaire is Edward Thorp hedge fund manager. He is a math teacher interested in talent search. He wrote the book beat the dealer. He was probably using the alias Ron Lee.
I found this list of Mega Society members in Noesis #152 (July 2001): https://megasociety.org/noesis/152/members.html
A Ron Lee is on there. Do you have proof or strong evidence that it’s Edward Thorp? From a quick look at the guy’s Wikipedia bio, I can believe he could qualify.
No that is why I wrote « I would guess » . & yes Chances are good Ron Lee is Edward Thorp .
Besides a billionnaire and a famous scientist (Golomb) on the first 15 member, they have at least 3 famous people (Sununu, Savant, Raniere). That’s high.
Also an Eric Erlandson was a member in 1992 and an editor. Despite existing many EE, it would be funny if this one were the ex hole guitarist and ex Courtney Love partner. I haven’t read many Noesis issues, but it is probably guessable by searching dropped information in it.
Vegan DHA said:
For years I’ve been wondering who the other woman was! I was actually thinking of emailing Hoeflin asking him to tell me. Thank you!
How do you know about Clifton and Raniere? (I knew the latter was a member, but not his score)
It was in several Noesis issue commenting on scoring. Jane Clifton is mentioned several times as the first highest woman scorer. Same for Raniere.
Vegan DHA said:
I see. It’s annoying how I have to check each number in the address bar to see if the noesis issue corresponding to that number is available online or not.
“It’s interesting to notice it was two women (Vos Savant and a Canadian Jane Clifton, I believe a psychology PhD student ) and the would-be womanizer sex trafficker Keith Raniere.”
I believe it was Jim Ferry in the company of the two women mentioned, all tying for highest first-attempt Mega Test score, viz., 46/48. Keith Raniere’s score is questionable.
Even with my care, I handed in my result sheet and found shortly thereafter I had copied one of my answers incorrectly (one of the easier problems on the test!) I called Ron who had missed my mistake. Although I had not received my score in the mail, I received a 46 depending on if you count the phone call with 1 answer changed as a second attempt. To me it felt more like closing the trunk of my car and, at the last minute, seeing my keys too late to stop my motion.
Didn’t Raniere get brought to court on charges of sexual assault and financial fraud? Lol
Much has been written to suggest that Mr. Raniere’s illustrious bio and enlightened worldview – inclusive of his cult-related “work” – were cultivated in bullshit. Perhaps if there were a mega test to gauge psychopathy, he would again impress, this time with a PQ of 186 (16 points per SD).
P, my response to the question “What would happen if I took the mega test?” appears to have evaporated. Did it not make the “cut”?
LOL! WordPress can act weird sometimes.
The Philosopher said:
Wasn’t sunnunu the same guy that hinted obama was an ape or something? I have a vague recollection he said something really un-pc once.
The Philosopher said:
Eliot Spitzer was taken out by the likes of robert rubin and steve schwarzmann for being a boy scout governor. The scandal that took him down was such an obvious attempt by powerful wall street people to get him off their backs.
i wish meghan had killed herself. said:
the scandal was he consorted with prostitutes…like meghan markle.
very UN-high IQ behavior.
harry is a hot ginger retard.
i'm tired of pretending i'm not charlie sheen. said:
[redacted by pp, march, 8, 2021]
it’s possible to score at the 1 in a million percentile on any test (or “test”) given to a million or more people with an impossible ceiling.
the differene between 1 in 30,000 and 1 in a million may be CHANCE, LUCK.
there’s no way to know except…
1. lots of retests on alternative forms of the same soi-disant IQ test or lots of scores on other soi-disant IQ tests.
2. the test has so many questions that raw scores can be measured for “internal consistency”.
college and graduate school entrance exams satisfy criterion 2.
[redacted by pp, march, 8, 2021]
The “?” is not me laconically citing another’s unclarity. It was a random (albeit unfortunate) entry made simply to trigger the registering of an earlier post. For some reason, my posts have been disappearing, re-appearing only upon making follow-up entries.