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The Intelligencer: Inside the Hypercompetitive World of High IQ Societies

Ronald Hoeflin talks about IQ tests the way some people talk about cars. With perfect recall, he reels off stats and special features, the advantages of one model over another. He speaks softly and rapidly, pointing out the "beautiful, elegant" shape of a bell curve. Hoeflin is part of a small community of uncommonly intelligent people obsessed with their own IQ scores. The goal is to build a community of the smartest people in the world.
Ronald Hoeflin talks about IQ tests the way some people talk about cars. With perfect recall, he reels off stats and special features, the advantages of one model over another. He speaks softly and rapidly, pointing out the "beautiful, elegant" shape of a bell curve. Hoeflin is part of a small community of uncommonly intelligent people obsessed with their own IQ scores. The goal is to build a community of the smartest people in the world.

The trend in intelligence research is to downplay or qualify the significance of IQ, and some people in the societies see this as a kind of denial of who they are. Although IQ tests fail to really define what intelligence is (often knowledge gets blurred with ability), most psychologists can agree that they measure something valuable - whatever that is. In the 1920s and '30s, Leta Hollingsworth, a professor at Columbia's Teachers College, followed a group of gifted students and found that they had trouble effectively communicating with those more than 30 IQ points below them. Since then, similar studies with adults have reaffirmed her conclusions.

This article, written by Rachel Aviv, appeared in the August 1st, 2006 publication of The Village Voice.

Published Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2006

The Intelligencer: Inside the Hypercompetitive World of High IQ Societies

Ronald Hoeflin talks about IQ tests the way some people talk about cars. With perfect recall, he reels off stats and special features, the advantages of one model over another. He speaks softly and rapidly, pointing out the "beautiful, elegant" shape of a bell curve. Hoeflin is part of a small community of uncommonly intelligent people obsessed with their own IQ scores. The goal is to build a community of the smartest people in the world.

The trend in intelligence research is to downplay or qualify the significance of IQ, and some people in the societies see this as a kind of denial of who they are. Although IQ tests fail to really define what intelligence is (often knowledge gets blurred with ability), most psychologists can agree that they measure something valuable - whatever that is. In the 1920s and '30s, Leta Hollingsworth, a professor at Columbia's Teachers College, followed a group of gifted students and found that they had trouble effectively communicating with those more than 30 IQ points below them. Since then, similar studies with adults have reaffirmed her conclusions.

This article, written by Rachel Aviv, appeared in the August 1st, 2006 publication of The Village Voice.

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