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Poll: Childhood happiness, adult intelligence

  1. overall unpleasant early childhood and IQ <135

    0 vote(s)
  2. overall unpleasant early childhood and IQ 135+

    7 vote(s)
  3. overall pleasant early childhood and IQ <135

    2 vote(s)
  4. overall pleasant early childhood and IQ 135+

    5 vote(s)
  1. Feb 14, 2005 #1
    The text of this post is in white to have less influence on poll results.

    I have a theory that children may have stunted brainpower as a result of unhappy conditions--more intelligence would bring the world into unpleasant focus, so as a defense mechanism the child might learn to think less clearly.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2005 #2


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    I was a very happy child. I am a very happy adult, which I think is hereditary; I seem to be a "serotonin" type, occasionally irritated but never depressed. Bad stuff rolls off my back like water off a duck.

    I estimate my childhood IQ at 160. This is because I fell in a swimming pool when I was 11, and was underwater for several minutes before I was rescued. I believe I suffered some brain damage from this. Since my adult IQ has been measured at 155 I conclude my early IQ was higher.

    Although happy as a child I was isolated from most other kids. I had a few good friends, but was very slow at becoming socialized (like, not till grad school).
  4. Feb 16, 2005 #3
    Well, I hate to counter Bartholomew's theory, but I didn't have a happy early childhood (issues of abuse, neglect, abandonment...all that Freudian stuff), and my I.Q. has been (recently) tested at between 155 and 160.
  5. Feb 16, 2005 #4


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    That paragraph very well describes my current state of mind, but I have no idea what it was like as a child. I've been told that I was irritable and very strong-willed, but I have no memory of my general level of happiness before the age of 5. I believe my IQ was tested at 158 when I was 16. (What's with this, by the way? The first three respondents all have about the same IQ.)
  6. Feb 16, 2005 #5
    :P I guess I should have made the dividing line a bit higher than 135!
  7. Feb 16, 2005 #6
    I don't think i've ever been generally happy. Moments here and there, but i'm always a rather "down" person. My IQ was 144 at 13.
  8. Feb 16, 2005 #7


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    Well, Bart, you either chose a bad sample given that posters on a science forum that takes itself so seriously and is inhabited largely by PhDs are going to skewed badly in favor of high intelligence, or people are lying, or only people that have high IQs are choosing to answer. Either way, this likely isn't the best way to conduct research.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2005
  9. Feb 16, 2005 #8


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    I never did care about my IQ.I haven't had a happy childhood,that's for sure...And i'm not too happy now,either...I frankly doubt there is a direct connection between IQ at small age (which would determine in high percent the IQ as an adult) and the conditions in which your parents (or someone else) brought you up...

    As a proof that the IQ means nothing to me...I HONESTLY do not know how many points are maximum ??180,200,220???


    P.S.I just figured it out...It can't be 220,coz those are Volts,right...? :uhh: :tongue2:
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2005
  10. Feb 17, 2005 #9
    IQ as a deviation measurement

    IQ is measured as a deviation from a population mean. There can be neither a minimum nor a maximum. Nevertheless, +7σ is generally thought to be roughly the highest IQ seen in adult members of human populations.
  11. Feb 17, 2005 #10
    Actually there is a minimum.

    IQ must be on the range (0, infinity), where zero is not reachable. Well, unless you're dead.
  12. Feb 17, 2005 #11


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    Weird,IIRC i've read somewhere that standard IQ tests involve a total maximum of 200 pts...What would the relevance be,if the total would be 500000 points and one managed only 147...?

  13. Feb 17, 2005 #12
    The scores can theoretically go down infinitely below zero and infinitely above 200. After a point in each direction it's untestable by normal methods. The test designers could have easily chosen 0 as the mean instead of 100; there's nothing that prohibits a negative score except that it's unlikely.

    Yes, I figured people in here would be significantly smarter than the mean (that's why I chose 135) but I understimated how much smarter.
  14. Feb 17, 2005 #13
    I think that happiness has nothing to do with how smart you are later in life.I was a relatively happy kid and my IQ is about 133,but I don't take tests seriously.You can be the most unpleasnt kid and grow up to be a rather smart adult.Similarly,you can have the best childhood in the world and grow up to be a dumba$$.

    In my opinion,it all depends on how good your study habits are and if you parents actually make you sit down and do the homework when you're young.When you reach middle school it's up to you.

    See,when we're young our minds are broad but as we grow older our minds tend to narrow onto a certain "field".For some this field is science,math,social sciences or something else.It all depends on people's interests.
  15. Feb 17, 2005 #14


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    distribution is fat tailed has been known since the 1930s.

    It's OT, but realistically, measured scores can not be lower than zero. This, plus the problem of "fat tails"* suggests to me that the actual distibution of IQ is not the normal one, but something with a natural zero and fatter tails than the normal curve. The log normal distribution seems like a good candidate. The normal distribution is what the sum of many individual normally distributed random variables show. The log normal distribution is what the product of many individual normal random variables show. Thus the normal is the curve for many independent factors, that just add, but the log normal represents interacting factors, which multiply.

    *"Fat Tails" means that more individuals of higher IQ are found than predicted by the normal distribution. That the IQ distribution is fat-tailed has been known since the 1930s.
  16. Feb 17, 2005 #15
    NO they can't. By the definition of an IQ you cannot go below zero.

    Except for THE DEFINITION of an IQ, sure.

    IQ represents your mental age divided by your actual age. TO get zero you would have to be dead. To get below zero...not possible.
  17. Feb 17, 2005 #16
    No, current IQ tests do not deal with mental age. It's still called "IQ" but the Q doesn't mean quotient in modern tests.
  18. Feb 18, 2005 #17
    I was happy when I was a child. There were times when I wasn't happy. I am happy now. I guess it just depends on what you do when you are happy or not happy that varies your IQ.
  19. Feb 18, 2005 #18
    I am honored to be included in such company as LYN and SA :approve:.
  20. Feb 18, 2005 #19


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    And I am honored to be with you, and LYN too! Excelsior!
  21. Feb 19, 2005 #20
    lol, me too. Feynman thought the same way too, and if I'm not wrong, he had a pretty much average IQ. I have not had my IQ measured, but I figured I would get perhaps a below average score because for the one fact that I can't be arsed to do an IQ test and its too damn boring.

    my childhood was pretty average too.
  22. Feb 19, 2005 #21
    I think you'd be surprised at how you'd score. What you think about as "normal" is probably well above average.
  23. Mar 11, 2005 #22
    I once scored 126 on some web test, but I answered randomly on the non-metric questions, since I didn't bother really taking it seriously. Another test, I believe, gave me 130 something, but still below the "smart" boundary here. Can this be around average for such a forum?

    For my childhood I have been very happy with my parents and a few friends, but I think that might have something to do with me growing up in a real cootie-town were the people probably actually would score negative by adding their own alternatives to the multiple choices! :P

    I used to hate all sorts of group-work, but when I started IB I suddenly found myself talking to people, and generally have a great time at school. Although I can characterize my life earlier on as pleasant, I can hardly call it very rewarding, and only recently I feel like my life really has a meaning other than 'doing what you gotta do in today's society'.

    I wouldn't rely on this poll as scientific evidence, although it's interesting, it's not based on equal tests, and how pleasant the childhood is would be very subjective. And this is actually the first time I venture into the realm of social sciences...

  24. Mar 11, 2005 #23
    I wouldn't be suprised at all if a happy child hood improved intelectual development. I know from experience that the happier I am the more intelligent I am, and it can be quite significant.
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