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An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators (Part Three)

September 1, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 21.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seventeen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,936

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin founded the Prometheus Society and the Mega Society, and created the Mega Test and the Titan Test. He discusses: faux and real genius; validity to Professor Robert Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of intelligence with practical intelligence, creative intelligence, and analytical intelligence; validity to Multiple Intelligences Theory of Professor Howard Gardner with musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, existential, and teaching-pedagogical intelligences; validity to general intelligence, or g, of the late Charles Spearman; the general opinion on the three main theories of intelligence; self-identification as a genius; personal opinions on the state of mainstream intelligence testing and alternative high-range intelligence testing; statistical rarity for apparent and, potentially, actual IQ scores of females who score at the extreme sigmas of 3, 4, and 5, or higher; reducing or eliminating social conflicts of interest in test creation; multiple test attempts; data on the Mega Test and the Titan Test; pseudonyms and test scores; and possible concerns of the test creators at the highest sigmas.

Keywords: Charles Spearman, Francis Galton, Hereditary Genius, Howard Gardner, intelligence, IQ, Mega Society, Mega Test, Robert Sternberg, Ronald K. Hoeflin, The Encyclopedia of Categories, Titan Test.

An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators: Founder, Prometheus Society; Founder, Mega Society (Part Three)[1],[2],[3]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

*Caption provided to the photo from Dr. Hoeflin in the third footnote.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Before delving into the theories, so a surface analysis, what defines a faux genius? What defines a real genius to you? Or, perhaps, what different definitions sufficiently describe a fake and a true genius for non-experts or a lay member of the general public – to set the groundwork for Part Three? 

Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin: I would say that genius requires high general intelligence combined with high creativity. How high? In his book Hereditary Genius, Francis Galton put the lowest grade of genius at a rarity of one in 4,000 and the highest grade at a rarity of one in a million. Scientists love to quantify in order to give their subject at least the appearance of precision. One in 4,000 would ensure one’s being noticed in a small city, while one in a million would ensure one’s being noticed in an entire nation of moderate size.

2. Jacobsen: By your estimation or analysis, any validity to Professor Robert Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of intelligence with practical intelligence, creative intelligence, and analytical intelligence?

Hoeflin: I like Sternberg’s attempt at analyzing intelligence, but clearly just three factors seems a bit skimpy for a really robust theory.

3.Jacobsen: Any validity to Multiple Intelligences Theory of Professor Howard Gardner with musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, existential, and teaching-pedagogical intelligences?

Hoeflin: Here we have a more robust set of factors, but Gardner fails to show how his factors cohere within a single theory.

4. Jacobsen: Any validity to general intelligence, or g, of the late Charles Spearman?

Hoeflin: General intelligence was based on the fact that apparently quite diverse forms of intelligence such as verbal, spatial, and numerical have positive correlations between each pair of factors, presumably based on some underlying general intelligence.

5. Jacobsen: Amongst the community of experts, what is the general opinion on the three main theories of intelligence listed before? What one holds the most weight? Why that one?

Hoeflin: These are three theories in search of an overarching theory of intelligence. My guess is that the so-called “experts” lack the intelligence so far to create a really satisfactory theory of intelligence, perhaps analogous to the problem with finding a coherent theory of superstrings.

6. Jacobsen: Do you identify as a genius? If so, why, and in what ways? If not, why not?

Hoeflin: I think my theory of categories shows genuine genius. It even amazes me, as if I were just a spectator as the theory does its work almost independently of my efforts.

7. Jacobsen: Any personal opinions on the state of mainstream intelligence testing and alternative high-range intelligence testing now? 

Hoeflin: I’m not up on the current state of intelligence testing. I do feel that it has focused way too much on the average range of intelligence, say from 50 to 150 IQ, i.e., from the bottom one-tenth of one percent to the top one-tenth of one percent. Testing students in this range is where the money is in academia. It’s like music: all the money to be made is in creating pop music, which is typically of mediocre quality. Background music for movies is probably as close as music comes these days to being of high quality, presumably because there is money to be made from the movie studios in such music. I saw a movie recently called “Hangover Square,” which came out in 1945. The title is unappealing and the movie itself is a totally unsuspenseful melodrama about a homicidal maniac whose identity is revealed right from the start. The one amazing thing about the movie was that the composer, Bernard Herman, composed an entire piano concerto for the maniac to purportedly compose and perform, with appropriate homicidal traits in the music to reflect the deranged soul of the leading character, the maniac. One rarely sees such brilliant musical talent thrown at such a horrible film. So I guess genius can throw itself into things even when the audience it is aimed at is of extremely mediocre quality. Maybe intelligence tests, even when they are aimed at mediocre students, can show glints of genius. The fact that I could attain the 99th percentile on tests aimed at average high-school students despite my slow reading due to visual impairment suggests that some psychometrician (or group of psychometricians) must have been throwing their creativity and intelligence into their work in an inspired way that smacks of true genius!

8. Jacobsen: Do the statistical rarities at the extreme sigmas have higher variance between males and females? If so, why? If not, why not? Also, if so, how is this reflected in subtests rather than simple composite scores?

Hoeflin: By “variance between males and females,” I presume you are alluding to the fact that there tend to be more men at very high scores than women. This is especially obvious in spatial problems, as well as kindred math problems, presumably due to men running around hunting wild game in spatially complex situations while women sat by the fireside cooking whatever meat the men managed to procure. But it is also true that men outperform women on verbal tests. On the second Concept Mastery Test, a totally verbal test, of the 20 members of Terman’s gifted group who scored from 180 to 190, the ceiling to the test, 16 were men but only 4 were women. This is a puzzling phenomenon, given women’s propensity for verbalizing. Perhaps chasing game involves verbal communication, too, so that nature rewards the better verbalizers among men in life-or-death situations. Warfare as well as hunting for game probably has a significant role in weeding out the unfit verbalizers among men.

9. Jacobsen: Following from the last question, if so, what does this imply for the statistical rarity for apparent and, potentially, actual IQ scores of females who score at the extreme sigmas of 3, 4, and 5, or higher?

Hoeflin: It obviously would be possible to breed women eugenically to increase the percentage of them with very high IQ scores. Even now, there are more women graduating from law school than men in the United States, which suggests no deficit in verbal intelligence at the high end of the scale. Although, there may be other reasons why men of high verbal intelligence avoid law as a career compared to women. Maybe, they are drawn away by other lucrative careers, such as business or medicine.

10. Jacobsen: In the administration of alternative tests for the higher ranges of general intelligence, individuals may know the test creator, even on intimate terms as a close colleague and friend. They may take the test a second time, a third time, a fourth time, or more. The sample size of the test may be very small. There may be financial conflicts of interest for the test creator or test taker. There may be various manipulations to cheat on the test. There may be pseudonyms used for the test to appear as if a first attempt at the alternative test. There are other concerns. How do you reduce or eliminate social conflicts of interest?

Hoeflin: Some people have used pseudonyms to take my tests when they were afraid I would not give them a chance to try the test a second or third time. There is not much incentive to score very high on these tests, except perhaps the prestige of joining a very high-IQ society. People cheat on standardized college admission tests, as we know from news reports, by getting other people to take the tests for them, for example. Considering how expensive colleges have become these days, my guess is that they will go the way of the dodo bird eventually, and people will get their education through computers rather than spending a fortune in a college. One guy cheated on my Mega Test by getting members of a think tank in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area to help him. He was pleased that I gave him a perfect score of 48 out of 48. He admitted cheating to Marilyn vos Savant, who informed me, so I disqualified his score. This was before my Mega Test appeared in Omni. Why he wanted credit for a perfect score that he did not deserve is beyond my understanding. I’d be more proud of a slightly lower score that I had actually earned. Another person has kept trying my tests, despite a fairly high scoring fee of $50 per attempt. I finally told him to stop taking the tests. His scores were not improving, so his persistence seemed bizarre.

11. Jacobsen: The highest score on the Mega Test on the first attempt by a single individual with a single name rather than a single individual with multiple names was Marilyn vos Savant at 46 out of 48. Similarly, with other test creators, and other tests, there were several attempts at the same test by others. Do the multiple test attempts and then the highest of those attempts asserted as the score for the test taker present an issue across the higher sigma ranges and societies?

Hoeflin: Some European guy did achieve a perfect score on the Mega Test eventually, about 20 years after the test first came out in 1985. The test is no longer used by any high-IQ societies that I know of due to the posting of mostly correct answers online by a malicious psychiatrist. He probably needed to see a psychiatrist to figure out what snapped in his poor head to do such a thing. I guess it’s a profession that attracts people with psychological problems that they are trying to understand and perhaps solve.

12. Jacobsen: What were the final sample sizes of the Mega Test and the Titan Test at the height of their prominence? How do these compare to other tests? What would be a reasonable sample size to tap into 4-sigma and higher ranges of intelligence with low margins of error and decent accuracy?

Hoeflin: A bit over 4,000 people tried the Mega Test within a couple of years of its appearance and about 500 people tried the Titan Test within a similar time period. Langdon’s LAIT test is said to have had 25,000 participants. His test was multiple choice, whereas mine were not. A multiple-choice test is easier to guess on than a non-multiple-choice test. My tests were normed by looking at the previous test scores that participants reported and then trying to create a distribution curve for my tests what would jibe with the distribution on previously-taken tests. So I did not need to test a million or more people to norm my tests up to fairly high levels of ability.

13. Jacobsen: What are the ways in which test-takers try to cheat on tests? I mean the full gamut. I intend this as a means by which prospective test takers and society creators can arm themselves and protect themselves from cheaters, charlatans, and frauds, or worse. Same for the general public in guarding against them, whenever someone might read this.

Hoeflin: If people’s wrong answers are too often identical with one another and out of sync with typical wrong answers, that is a clue that they are copying from one another or from some common source.

14. Jacobsen: Why do test takers use pseudonyms? How common is this practice among these types of test-takers? It seems as if a brazen and blatant attempt to take a test twice, or more, and then claim oneself as smart as the higher score rather than the composite of two, or more, scores, or even simply the lower score of the two, or more, if the scores are not identical.

Hoeflin: I know of a group of 5 M.I.T. students who collaborated and gave themselves the collective name of Tetazoo. There was also a professor at Caltech who tried the test but did not want his score publicized so he used the pseudonym Ron Lee. In both cases, the score just barely hit the one-in-a-million mark of 43 right out of 48. One person scored 42 right and wanted to try again so he used a pseudonym and managed to reach 47 right out of 48 on his second attempt.

15. Jacobsen: What have been and continue to be concerns for test creators at the highest sigmas such as yourself or others, whether active or retired? This is more of a timeline into the present question of the other suite of concerns.

Hoeflin: I do not know what are the main concerns of test designers, past or present, other than myself. I was fortunate to have Triple Nine members as guinea pigs to try out my trial tests, so I could weed out the less satisfactory problems. One could usually tell just by looking at a problem whether it would be a good one or not, but the inspiration to come up with good problems would involve steady effort over the course of a year or so, yielding for me on average about one good problem per week, plus about four not too good problems per week.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, Mega Society (1982); Founder, Prometheus Society (1982); Founder, Top One Percent Society (1989); Founder, One-in-a-Thousand Society (1992); Founder, Epimetheus Society (2006); Founder, Omega Society (2006); Creator, Mega Test (April, 1985); Creator, Titan Test (April, 1990); Creator, Hoeflin Power Test; Author, The Encyclopedia of Categories; Ph.D., Philosophy, The New School for Social Research.

[2] Individual Publication Date: September 1, 2019: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hoeflin-three; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2020: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Image Credit: Ronald K. Hoeflin. Caption: “Kitty porn? No, just the author and his pals.”

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators (Part Three) [Online].September 2019; 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hoeflin-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2019, September 1). An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hoeflin-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators (Part Three). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A, September. 2019. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hoeflin-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2019. “An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hoeflin-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 21.A (September 2019). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hoeflin-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hoeflin-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2019, ‘An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 21.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hoeflin-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 21.A (2019):September. 2019. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hoeflin-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Dr. Ronald K. Hoeflin on Theories of Intelligence, Sex Differences, and Issues of IQ Test Takers and Test Creators (Part Three) [Internet]. (2019, September 21(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/hoeflin-three.

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Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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