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Correlation Between IQ and Success

Simply put, IQ of a person measured by an IQ test is an index of his/her general ability to solve problems and understand concepts.

IQ and intelligence are synonymous but not analogous. High IQ is not the whole and sole formula for success. There is much more to the success recipe.

A handful or even lesser of our ever exploding population are vouched with a versatile IQ. Then why the world is not ruled by those with two hundred plus IQs? If IQ was of such overwhelming importance, this particular minority should have ruled the roost, right? But that isn't the scene. Have these questions ever crossed your mind?

The following Gedankenexperiment helps providing a mathematical explanation.

Imagine that you have a highly authentic IQ test that is normally distributed and correlates positively with some real world criterion that is also normally distributed. If you plot all the data pairs from these measurements, you should obtain a scatter diagram that looks like this ellipse.

Three corollaries follow from the above plot:

  1. The highest achievers in life are not essentially people with highest IQ.
  2. Those gifted few with the highest level IQs have a tendency to embrace success, just below the highest levels.
  3. Amongst those falling in the IQ range most conducive to real world achievement, most do not reach the highest level of success, nor achieve those levels of success achieved by people lying in the bracket of having highest IQs.

IQ scores can ascribe you the league in which you would be playing but not tell you how well you would play or perform.

Thus the million dollar question that spawns in our heads is - what are the boundaries for real world success? It turns out that there are actually two:

  1. Practical real world achievements
  2. Theoretical accomplishments.

The first spreads its wings over an IQ span of about 30 points between 120 IQ and 150 IQ. The second is also comprised of a 30 point span from about 150 IQ to 180IQ. IQ scores measure the ability to carry out symbolic thinking. Those in the practical range use symbolic systems to solve problems, while those in the latter invent and modify the symbolic systems themselves.

To a child, his intelligence and IQ is his most valuable asset. Parents and teachers heap praise upon him for doing well in academics and being a quick learner. Although his peers may envy him slightly, but he will continue to enjoy a sense of superiority for being a better performer. This sense of superiority will only last as long as the role played by IQ counts. School work and getting your degree with top grades directly relate to your IQ scores. In fact, the correlation between high IQ and good grades is over 95%!

But pause,

What happens to these very high IQ kids after they enter their careers and start earning a living based on their natural gift? Studies have shown that despite the high correlation between IQ and grades the correlation between IQ and success or even achievement is much lower - 20%!

Researchers have studied this paradox and in the past decade have begun to question the correlation between IQ, Your browser may not support display of this image. success, and happiness. They've found another type of intelligence, one that has to do with emotions, may be a more appropriate parameter of assessing overall Your browser may not support display of this image. success in life.

Dilip Saraf, Career & Life Coach reports scientists to have tabulated five different intelligences that play a vital role in shaping a person's ability to deal with life's challenges:

  1. Raw Intelligence (IQ)
  2. Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  3. Political Intelligence (PQ)
  4. Cultural Intelligence (CQ)
  5. Contextual Intelligence (XQ)

Thus we can conclude that IQ is not the sole determinant of success, there are a lot of other key factors that are essential for kissing success.

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