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Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testing

February 8, 2020













Author: Paul Cooijmans

Numbering: Issue 22.B, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Eighteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain:

Individual Publication Date: February 8, 2020

Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2020

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,829

ISSN 2369-6885


Paul Cooijmans founded GliaWebNewsYoung and intelligent?Order of ThothGiga SocietyOrder of ImhotepThe Glia Society , and The Grail Society. His main high-IQ societies remain Giga Society and The Glia Society. Both devoted to the high-IQ world. Giga Society remains the world’s most exclusive high-IQ society with a theoretical cutoff of one in a billion individuals. The Glia Society, founded in 1997, is a “forum for the intelligent” to “encourage and facilitate research related to high mental ability.” Cooijmans earned credentials, two bachelor degrees, in composition and in guitar from Brabants Conservatorium. His interests lie in human “evolution, eugenics, exact sciences (theoretical physics, cosmology, artificial intelligence).” He continues administration of numerous societies, such as the aforementioned, to compose musical works for online consumption, to publish intelligence tests and associated statistics, and to write and publish on topics of interest to him.

Keywords: disorder, giftedness, heredity, high range, intelligence, I.Q testing, Paul Cooijmans, sex differences.

Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testing[1],[2]

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


While I write this it has been exactly twenty-five years since I began spreading and administering difficult intelligence tests. My primary goal was to find out whether, and to what extent, it was possible to measure intelligence in the high range. Psychologists in the Netherlands, including a few experts on “giftedness”, had told me it was impossible to discriminate meaningfully above the 99th percentile. I found that hard to accept, and tried to create test problems that were suitable to investigate this matter. This project turned out to be the most successful enterprise of my life so far, and I have stuck to it ever since. On this occasion I wish to discuss a number of insights and observations that have become apparent to me over time, and that have particularly puzzled, amazed, or worried me.

In advance, I want to say that some of the things I found are contrary to what I had previously thought or believed. My mind enables me to accept things as they are even when they go against my possible expectations. It lets me acquire insights that more biased people with closed minds would reject. In addition, I have a relentless curiosity that compels me to investigate matters that appear to contradict what I have been previously told or what is generally believed.

Misperception of item difficulty

One of the first things I learnt is that test problems are harder for who has to solve them than for the creator. I had to make the problems ridiculously easy, in my perception, to make them solvable by apparently intelligent candidates. This also meant that the apparently correct norms turned out higher than I had intuitively projected; some twenty I.Q. points higher. This intuitive misperception of difficulty and level of norms is something I still recognize in comments that reach me regularly: “Your test norms are much too high!” or “Why are your norms so low?” Both of those criticisms are frequent, and I mention this so that people who make such comments will realize that their viewpoints are not self-obvious, but that that others see it the opposite way.

The mechanism behind this false perception or expectation, I believe, is the phenomenon of projection. Involuntarily and unawares, we project our mind contents, ability level, ethical level, and further traits, on others, expecting them to be the same as we are. We have this built-in prejudice, or unconscious bias, that all people are the same as we. But they are not. To escape this, it is needed to “step out of yourself” and see the facts in an objective perspective. With regard to test item hardness and norms, this means to go by honest statistics and accept what they show, even when this goes against intuitive judgement.

Sex differences

Another fact that could not escape my attention was the under-representation of females among (self-selected) high-range test candidates, as well as their lower productivity: female candidates take less than half as many tests per person as do males, and make up only 15 to 20 % of all candidates. There are eleven times more male than female test submissions. The average score of females is also several I.Q. points lower than that of males. Of course, one’s initial reaction is to think, “What am I doing wrong? What exactly in the tests is scaring off or disadvantaging females? Where is the sexist bias?” From there on, it takes many years to realize that no, there is no anti-female bias in I.Q. tests, but there really are fewer women than men in the high range of intelligence; not necessarily because women are less intelligent – a larger male spread of I.Q. would also explain the difference.

Someone suggested to me that females might do better on tests designed by females, but of course the sex of the test constructor is irrelevant if a test is objective and unbiased. A test with pro-female bias might or might not let females score higher (it did not when I tried to create such a test) but that would not be a valid test to begin with, and besides, it would not address the matters of female under-representation and lower productivity but only the score level. Actually, among high-range test constructors, females are under-represented too (the male/female ratio may even be infinity) so that we can not establish whether the sex of the constructor makes any difference.

The same under-representation of females at the high end is seen in the real world, as betrayed by demands like, “We need more women in high positions in [business, politics, science, whatever]” or “We need quota for women in high positions”. The media bombard us daily with activist propaganda like that; demands for more women in professions requiring hard physical labour or combat functions are less frequent, for some reason. But could it be that, in general, people just like doing what they are good at and avoid activities or professions that are too demanding for them?

I have thought about these sex differences a lot, and in conjunction with my interest in intelligence and observations of higher-I.Q. groups and communities, I have come to hypothesize that sex differences might be reduced in populations of higher average I.Q., as a within-species extension of the general biological phenomenon that sex differences are smaller in more advanced species. Higher or equal representation of females in currently male-dominated fields could then be achieved by eugenically raising the intelligence level of the population at large. Such a reduction of sex differences through raising average intelligence (as opposed to using quota and “positive discrimination”) would no doubt have additional societal consequences that one can only speculate about.

Sex differences exist not only in mental testing but also in the realms of voting behaviour and political preference or attitude. As can be seen in election statistics and in pertinent personality questionnaires, women are markedly more left-wing and progressive than men. This is the largest of all psychometric sex differences I am aware of, and it has huge societal implications: through female suffrage it affects the way countries are ruled, through women’s over-representation in education, schooling, and academia it determines how children and young people are raised and educated (or indoctrinated) and through women’s disproportional role in justice (the majority of judges are female in my country) it decides the treatment of criminals and thus the safety of society – or lack thereof. Whether one considers the female influence on society positive or negative, the ongoing forced feminization of institutions and positions of power has far-reaching consequences that we will increasingly feel in the years and decades to come.

Something I have also come to suspect is that sex differences and their suppression lie at the heart of the low ceilings and poor high-range validity of some mainstream I.Q. tests. I intuit that constructors of such instruments would be embarrassed – or terrified, rather – to publish a test that shows men to be much more highly represented than women at the high end, and take measures to hide this discrepancy. For instance, since men do better than women on truly difficult problems, those are left out of most mainstream tests, resulting in lower ceilings, less headroom for men to outscore women, and the absence of validity in the high range.

The role of intelligence and heredity in behaviour

Then there is one more thing, crucial and life-changing, that I learnt through my study of intelligence: while intelligence is a major causal factor in human behaviour, having a large hereditary, biological component, there rests a taboo on mentioning this. In public and political debate, and even in much of social science, only viewpoints adhering to the doctrines of social-environmental determinism are allowed to be expressed. That is, the idea that human behaviour and personality are formed through social-environmental experience with the exclusion of any biological influence. This has consequences for policies regarding fields like immigration, justice, and education. In effect, we are conducting a large-scale experiment with human stocks that is analogous to Trofim Lysenko’s agricultural methodology, which was applied for several decades in the former Soviet Union. Lysenko denied the role of heredity in growing plants. If one bothers to read about that period, one will discover how it went with those crops.

“Giftedness” as a problem or disorder

In the world of experts on “giftedness”, and also in some high-I.Q. circles, there exists a notion that high intelligence is a problem, or a cause of problems, and that one may need some species of therapy for it. Some think that intelligent individuals are more prone to suffer from psychiatric illnesses like depression. I believed such things myself before I got involved in I.Q. societies and testing. Somewhat to my surprise however, not by far all of the highly intelligent persons I met over the years had problems like that; rather, it seemed as if having a very high I.Q. protected people from psychosocial problems, and helped them to function normally, in the social respect. To put the preceding sentence in perspective, I must add here that I have been in contact with several thousand people of whom I knew the I.Q. tests scores on one or more out of a few hundred different tests, both high-range and mainstream. My tests statistics have also consistently shown a negative correlation of about -0.3 to -0.4 between high-range I.Q. test scores and psychiatric disorders (and indicators of disorder in the form of personality test scores).

Of course, intelligent persons with psychosocial problems exist, but I have come to believe that those problems are caused by other issues and dispositions one has next to being intelligent, and in some cases those issues relate to growing up as a high-I.Q. individual in a low-I.Q. environment. High intelligence in itself appears to be a positive force toward healthy social functioning. The concept of “giftedness” as a condition that requires help is mainly a money-making device for therapists. It is also my modest impression that often, persons who are at best somewhat above-average in intelligence are incorrectly identified as “gifted” by therapists keen to make money, and by I.Q. societies more interested in membership growth than in quality of membership. And, some not-so-bright people prefer to believe that their problems are caused by “giftedness” rather than to accept their weaknesses and limitations. The inflated concept of “giftedness” has little meaning to me any more, and I do not accept the “gifted” label as a guarantee that the person in question is intelligent at all.

The measurability of intelligence in the high range

Regarding my original goal of finding out to what extent intelligence can be measured in the high range, I do not have the final answer yet, but so far there is no question of that the “g” factor disappears or becomes much smaller in scores on difficult I.Q. tests. Only on the easier tests that lack sufficiently difficult problems, “g” does disappear entirely when the test ceiling is approached. Put in other words, diverse tests that contain sufficient numbers of hard problems to avoid “ceiling bumping” intercorrelate positively toward the tops of their ranges, meaning that a common factor – “g” – is operating.

For clarity, the question as to the measurability of high-range intelligence is really the question as to whether “g”, the general factor in mental tests, is still present at high score levels. To date it seems in my data that “g” loading decreases somewhat (but not much) from the bottom half to the top half of the high range, but even that is only on some tests, while on other tests it is opposite. This is by no means a final conclusion though.

The failure of high-I.Q. groups to solve real-world problems

While topic-based interest groups may have significant societal impact – think of Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and others – societies that select members solely by I.Q. test scores never seem to do anything of societal importance. People ask sometimes, “If they are so smart, then why do they not solve the world’s problems?” Well, my answer is that intelligent people tend to be individualists who always keep debating, arguing, contradicting one another, and never agree on anything, let alone that they would take collective action toward a common goal. They have no sense of collectivism or commonality, of belonging to a group. I have witnessed new or potential members of an I.Q. society being warned off by existing members. Such oikophobia, and such acting against the interest of the group, are typical of groups selected purely for intelligence. And, where intelligent people do cooperate for some reason, it seems that the output level of the group is determined by its least able member; as if intelligence is recessive in groups or cooperation.

These problems with cooperating toward a common goal form one of the very few down sides of high intelligence I have encountered. Another one, probably related, is the intellectuals’ proverbial tendency to sympathize with Marxist ideologies. My view is that the psychological phenomenon of projection is at the bottom of that: intelligent individuals, involuntarily and unawares, assume their own inborn cognitive potential in all or most others, even after it has been pointed out to them that they are wrong in that. This unconscious bias toward egalitarianism disposes them to respond favourably to Marxist propaganda. The cure is an in-depth study of psychometrics and individual differences.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Administrator, Giga Society; Administrator, The Glia Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: February 8, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2020: Image Credit: Richard Sheen.

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Cooijmans P. Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testing [Online].February 2020; 22(B). Available from:

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Cooijmans, P. (2020, February 8). Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testingRetrieved from

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): COOIJMANS, P. Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testing. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 22.B, February. 2020. <>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition):Cooijmans, Paul. 2020. “Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testing.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 22.B.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Cooijmans, Paul “Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testing.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 22.B (February 2020).

Harvard: Cooijmans, P. 2020, ‘Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testingIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 22.B. Available from: <>.

Harvard, Australian: Cooijmans, P. 2020, ‘Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testingIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 22.B.,

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Paul Cooijmans. “Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testing.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 22.B (2020):February. 2020. Web. <>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Cooijmans P. Insights acquired over twenty-five years of I.Q. testing [Internet]. (2020, February 22(B). Available from:

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