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In 1926, psychologist Dr. Catherine Morris Cox and a group of Stanford psychologists including the founder of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale Dr. Lewis Terman, published a study of the "most eminent men and women to live between 1450-1850." The study estimated IQs based mainly on the degree of intelligence exemplified before the age of 17. It is one of the most referenced studies when discussing possible IQ's of past geniuses. Here are some more of her findings.

IQ Classifications

According to the Stanford-Binet and Wechsler Scales, Intelligence Distribution is exemplified in these charts.

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Stanford-Binet

 

Wechsler

 

     
 

IQ Scores

Percentage of Population

IQ Score

Percentile Distribution

Classification

   

130+

2.2%

130+

98%

Very Superior

     

120-129

6.7%

120-129

91-97%

Superior

     

110-119

16.1%

110-119

75-90%

High Average

90-109

50%

90-109

25-74%

Average

80-89

16.1%

80-89

9-24%

Low Average

70-79

6.7%

70-19

2-8%

Borderline

 
 

Below 70

2.2%

Below 70

1%

Mentally Impaired

 

IQ vs. Occupation:

Cox's study found that the "average" genius IQ varies for each profession. Based on the IQs of acknowledged geniuses in each field Cox recorded an "average" genius IQ for seven professions.

25-7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profession

Number Studied

Average IQ

 

Philosophers

22

160

Scientists

39

159

Fiction Writers

53

152

Statesmen

43

150

Musicians

11

149

Artists

13

153

Soldiers

 

27

136

 

 

 
 
Genius Timeline

This timeline further illustrates the geniuses that Cox studied and when they lived.

 
 
timeline
 
Timeline courtesy of Ulf Norlinger
   
   
   
Estimated IQ's of the Greatest Geniuses

Cox's original study, published in 1926, estimated the IQs of 300 eminent societal figures from 1450-1850. The study concluded an average of 155 among the first 300 hundred subjects. The study has been revised 3 times, most recently in 1964. Here are some of the high scorers.

 
   

 

 

Genius

 

 

Occupation

 

 

Estimated IQ

 
     

Goethe

Poet and Writer

210

       
     

Emmanuel Swedenborg

Religious Writer

205

       
     

John Stuart Mill

Political Scientist

200

       
     

Blaise Pascal

Mathematician

195

       
       

Galileo Galilei

   

Scientist

   

185

       
     

Rene Descartes

Mathematician

180

       
     

Immanuel Kant

Philosopher

175

       
     

Sofia Kovalevskaya

Mathematician

170

       
     

Charles Darwin

Scientist

165

       
     

Mozart

Composer

165

       
   
     
 
 

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