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An Interview with Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community Member on Family, Intelligence Testing, and Worldview (Part One)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/08/22


This is an interview with an anonymous Canadian member of the high-IQ communities. He discusses: the family background; experience with peers and schoolmates; the purpose of intelligence tests; high intelligence; the extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses; the greatest geniuses in history; a genius from a profoundly intelligent person; some work experiences and educational certifications; some social and political views; science; some of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations); the range of the scores; and ethical philosophy.

Keywords: intelligence, IQ, The University of British Columbia.

An Interview with Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community Member on Family, Intelligence Testing, and Worldview (Part One)[1],[2]*

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

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was the family background, e.g., geography, culture, language, and religion or lack thereof?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community Member: I was born in Ontario, Canada. My parents came from China and immigrated to Canada with little proficiency in English. My mom did not attend university, but my father received an M.Sc. Applied Physics degree at the Chinese Academy of Science, China, and is now working as a software engineer. My father has two brothers. One had received a medical degree at a university in China, and his other brother received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). 

2. Jacobsen: How was the experience with peers and schoolmates as a child and an adolescent?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberTypically poor. Most of my classmates saw me as awkward. However, I have been influenced by schoolmates and peers a lot. Although I was detached continuously and struggled to fit in, there remain times where I’d miss everyone from high school and elementary. In school, the only real connection I had was the tennis team and the chess club. My relationships with teachers were often just as poor, but I had a fairly good rapport with a few teachers. I was always poverty-stricken at appreciating social cues and was quite vexatious to others. I was regularly a person who could be joked about.

3. Jacobsen: What is the purpose of intelligence tests to you?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberIt isn’t easy to assess one’s own intelligence relative to others, but IQ tests do a good (but far from perfect) job at it. IQ is a comparative measure that is a score achieved on a test relative to a group or person. In contrast, intelligence is one’s pure learning potential and is ideally measured in absolute terms. Intelligence increases from childhood onwards but starts to decrease somewhere in early adulthood slowly. 

Let me describe some problems with IQ tests, but do not destroy the usefulness of the tests. The validity of an IQ test lies in its g-loading, which you can take as an index of a mental task’s complexity. Different IQ tests differ on g-loading, hence its validity. In terms of reliability, even the best IQ test has a reliability of 0.9 when re-testing an individual. IQ tests do not only measure g, as they also measure group factors (numerical, verbal, and spatial) and test specificity. The g factor is the only predictive aspect of an IQ test, and it is possible to reduce the g-loading of a test (which would increase test specificity) and lower the validity of the test. There are also problems with the test ceiling as most tests are not designed to measure exceptional intelligence and top out at 160 (extrapolations are rare and inaccurate), or mostly below 150. The further you move away from the mean, the lower the reliability and validity.

IQ and intelligence are correlated, but not the same. Average IQ scores have been rising in the twentieth century (Flynn effect), without an increase in the general factor, which shows that IQ tests measure things that are not related to intelligence. IQ tests are indirect and imperfect measures of intelligence but are still predictive of outcomes. 

It is also true that extremely intelligent people can score low on IQ tests, and not so bright individuals may score highly. IQ scores will always overestimate or underestimate someone’s intelligence. For highly intelligent people who score low, it can be explained by the fact that the tests measure things not related to intelligence, which can be affected by motivation, concentration, poor sleep, nerves, pain, and mental illness. Some of these things influence an individual for an entire lifetime but are irrelevant concerning their real intelligence. On the other hand, those who score highly on the tests might have been those who are more exposed to thinking and problem-solving in those ways, while intelligence has not increased. James Flynn believes that higher education in our society helps us think in ways that allow us to score higher on those tests. People will get better at them through practice or thinking in ways that can strengthen one’s performance on a test, despite no gain in actual intelligence. 

Educational achievement is a reasonably good proxy for someone’s intelligence. However, the grades an individual achieves are heavily influenced by factors unrelated to intelligence, such as work ethic, interests, and motivation. Standardized test scores are even more trustworthy as a measure of intelligence since the problems presented are less likely to be exposed to in the classroom, but scores are still significantly affected by factors other than intelligence. IQ scores are, of course, the best proxies for psychometric g, the essence of intelligence. Even though IQ test scores are the purest measures of intelligence around, they are still far from perfect and miss out on things.

Therefore, despite all the criticisms, IQ tests are valuable because they are the best measures of intelligence (especially comprehensive tests) that correlate with performance in activities that require information processing/learning/problem-solving ability. An IQ score at age 11 correlates with an IQ score at age 18 at .6, and it should be noted that the heritability of IQ scores increase as people age. The heritability of IQ in childhood is around .4-.5, whereas the heritability in adulthood is about .7-.8 (in developed nations). Despite this, an IQ score in childhood is predictive of adult SES and future academic performance.

People like to mention Richard Feynman’s IQ score of 125 on some unknown school test, without the standard deviation and the test name. His actual intelligence relative to all adults is more likely to be 170-180 or higher. 170 (SD = 15) is almost at the 1 in a million mark, so it doesn’t matter how he scores on an IQ test. Einstein would not likely score highly on every test, but his intelligence is off the charts. The principal purpose of the IQ test is for me to get an idea of how likely it is for me to succeed in the future, but to see how my intelligence stacks up relative to others by indirect methods.

4. Jacobsen: When was high intelligence discovered for you?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberUnfortunately, too late. When I entered university, I assumed that I had merely average ability relative to other science students at a relatively elite institution. Realistically it should have been evident that I was above average given that I never cared about my school achievement, but only did it because everyone else cared (I studied about three times less than most of my peers in high school and paid little attention in class due to boredom). Although now I have come to accept that I am far above the norm. It is somewhat likely for me to be the most intelligent person on the entire campus. There were hundreds, if not millions, of signs just waiting on me to recognize that my level of intelligence was something that needed attention. Only after being administered a comprehensive IQ test that measures a wide range of cognitive skills was when I have fully come to fruition with it. I always liked to think I had a reasonably high IQ, but nothing too extreme, so I was in a bit of shock. I started looking back at my life to see what could justify extreme learning ability since I was suffering from imposter syndrome. I did not believe my current level of achievement was commensurate with the score I had achieved. Thinking deeply about my past, it seemed like I had found the solution at last. 

It is challenging to self-estimate one’s IQ, but later I began to reflect on my exceptional cognitive abilities. Educational achievement is somewhat reasonable to estimate an IQ, but by itself, it only correlates at .5 with IQ scores, so there is room for much error. The correlation should rise if we consider the difficulty of one’s major and the quality of students in an institution. The average IQ at UBC is high, but most accepted individuals had very high levels of conscientiousness for schoolwork, which may overestimate their intelligence. 

The average IQ of UBC STEM and philosophy graduates is likely to be around the 98th percentile, and I was sure I was above average among this group. STEM fields are complicated and more g-loaded than non-STEM fields; thus, their students’ average IQ is higher. Based on educational achievement (difficulty of major, grades, # of years, the rank of institution), I had self-estimated my IQ to be around the 99th percentile among the general population. I was confident I was above average among the STEM students, but the problem was how far above. I was a bit insecure back then (apparently almost everyone in university is, to be honest), given that I wanted to achieve the most extraordinary things but did not want to waste my time pursuing unachievable things. It is crucial for me to have a higher IQ than others because I had a poor work ethic, some mental illness, social awkwardness, and spent a lot of energy finding out what I should pursue. These facts all make it much more difficult for me to succeed.

It is impossible to know my true intelligence relative to the general unselected adult population due to the lack of validity for higher range IQs. No professional IQ test claims to measure above 160, so any individual who claims an IQ above 160 is merely just guessing. I’ll do some guessing as well. 

I wanted to accomplish the most amazing things, so I needed to be world-shakingly smart. I realized I didn’t need IQ tests to confirm my intelligence. Based on academic achievement alone, I could estimate my intelligence to be about the 99th percentile of the general population. However, it is obvious that this is a far underestimate of my true intelligence relative to individuals near my age group. 

If IQ tests did not exist, I realized that there was enough evidence that my intelligence was unusually higher than most. However, I was slightly insecure (like everyone is) and decided to confirm my intelligence, even though I now see myself as a fool for having to do so. In terms of grades alone, I would not be in the top 5% of my class overall. Still, there are instances where I seem to have been near the top of my class, such as in Calculus and Philosophy courses (which indicate high verbal and mathematical intelligence). For example, the average for a Calculus class may have been around the high 60s, whereas I managed to earn a grade in the high 90s. Majoring in a STEM field is a reasonable proxy for high IQ, whereas philosophy majors typically score among the highest on verbal reasoning. Being a student of both a verbal and mathematical domain indicates very high general ability. These types of individuals will almost always score highly on standardized tests such as the GRE.

A 150 IQ score (1 in 2330) indicates being the most intelligent in a high school. A 160 IQ (1 in 30,000) may mean you are among the most intelligent people in an entire school district. An individual with a true IQ of 180+ (1 in 2 million) may be among the most intelligent in a country. An individual with a 190+ true IQ (1 in several billion) would be among the world’s most intelligent.

I apologize if this sounds like bragging, but here are the most essential things (combined with high academic achievement) that indicate prodigious intelligence and have helped me make sense of everything. I don’t care about my intelligence anymore, but my future achievement should decide how extreme my intelligence truly is:

1) I self-taught myself (autodidact) various academic disciplines for two full years and spent an entire year dedicated to the subject of intelligence. I had read hundreds of books, peer-reviewed journal articles, YouTube videos, blogs, and more. If I keep going, I do believe I have a chance to make a profound contribution to science. I think I have been able to gain the amount of knowledge equivalent to an undergraduate degree in only one year. 

2) At the age of 13, I had become fascinated by true crime documentaries and studied controversial, in-depth, and emotional investigations and documentaries thoroughly. My favorite shows were 48 Hours Mystery, Dateline Mystery, and Crime Scene Investigation. 

3) I self-taught myself tennis without coaching from a trained professional and managed to reach a level comparable to high-level provincial level tournament players around my age (around top 50 in the province for those under 18). My parents did not encourage me to play as they are not familiar with sports at all. I started around the age of 12 and reached that level in around five years. I have never practiced with players much better than I am, nor did my parents buy me expensive tennis rackets, strings, shoes, or have the time or money to send me to a coach or participate in the most competitive tournaments. I practiced amongst recreational level adult players and amateur level players my own age at a local tennis court and then joined a tennis club at the age of 14. In club tournaments (non-ranked tournaments), I managed to beat provincial level players several times. These players not only love tennis, but they are pushed by their parents, taught by a top coach, have many friends at a high level to practice with, and have lots of necessary equipment, training, and resources. I had created my own playstyle, which helped me virtually become the best non-coached player in the world. The reason I can win matches is because of my composure, mental fortitude, my agility, and my exceptional problem-solving ability. I will likely hold my skills throughout life and continue to win awards from my tennis club. I have won various awards from my high school, but also in club tournaments and league matches for my club. I do not play much tennis now, but I should continue to be at the top of club-level tennis for the rest of my life. (held with competence).

4) I self-taught myself chess at the age of 14, and in less than six months, I had already reached a level where I could take a 2000 rated player down to endgame when I entered my first tournament. The point is, if I started early and were coached, I would have won that match easily. Since I quickly quit chess after a year of serious study, I can not know how far I could have reached. 

5) I was always very good at various video games and ended up competing in one of them. I became a professional level player in a competitive video game in my teenage years. I showed signs of being a child prodigy (as others have tried to label me), which led to others encouraging me to attend tournaments. When I attended my very first tournament, I managed to win without dropping a single game. The rarity of an individual winning their first tournament is likely to occur in 1 in 10000 cases. I lived in a city where there was no one to play with, and I lived far away from tournaments; and on top of that, my parents did not support me and often looked down on me for competing in video games instead of studying. When I relocated to British Columbia for my studies, the next iteration of the game came out. I became dominant nationally very quickly despite a long hiatus. At UBC, I am the best player in the school by a longshot and likely among the best among all University students in North America. Among university players right now in North America (Canada, USA, Mexico), I would say that I am somewhere in the top 10 (I like to think I’m #1). If there are around 50000 competitive level players in North America and university simultaneously, that would mean I’m about three to four standard deviations above the mean in terms of skill. Prior to the pandemic, my results would indicate that I am somewhere in the top 15 in Canada, which would equate to being around the world’s top 100. 

5. Jacobsen: When you think of the ways in which the geniuses have either been mocked, vilified, and condemned if not killed, or praised, flattered, platformed, and revered, what seems like the reason for the extreme reactions to and treatment of geniuses? Many alive today seem camera shy – many, not all.

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberThe mockery of the genius is due to the fact that they are an outlier in numerous salient characteristics that portray an individual, such as one’s personality and intelligence. Ordinary people vastly outnumber brilliant people because it is a consequence of the bell curve’s nature. Too often, geniuses are treated like they have no place in this world. Besides, many geniuses have trouble understanding allegories, jokes, irony, and sarcasm. They may also have problems with conforming to unwritten social norms or recognizing social cues.

6. Jacobsen: Who seem like the greatest geniuses in history to you?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberGalileo Galilei and Charles Darwin are two individuals I consider to be great geniuses who have changed the world. The greatest geniuses are those in science, but creative brilliance also occurs in music composition, art, and video games. 

Given the recent passing of James Flynn, I would like to discuss his contribution to science briefly. He was an honest and objective scientist, regardless of any political view he may have held. He respected those who disagreed with him and responded to every argument one by one, instead of making fallacious arguments. His work is already somewhat being discussed in scientific literature and lecture halls. I am hesitant to call anyone a true genius in the 21st century, but his contributions will undoubtedly influence future generations.

7. Jacobsen: What differentiates a genius from a profoundly intelligent person?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberCompared to the genius, a profoundly intelligent person likely never achieves anything of extreme intellectual note but does have the capacity to learn very rapidly and solve difficult problems. Most of the STEM and philosophy professors at an elite university are profoundly intelligent, but a potential genius is rare, let alone a true genius. 

I would first like to discuss the characteristics of genius. A genius is an individual that occurs when a constellation of necessary but not sufficient traits exist at maximum expression. Geniuses are born, not made. However, environmental factors can prevent the genius from becoming a true genius. The necessary traits are intelligence, creativity, zeal, and persistence. Intelligence = general ability (g) = efficiency of information processing, productivity = endogenous cortical stimulation, and creativity = trait psychoticism. Combining these traits form a brilliant individual who can somehow focus on some complex problem and stay determined to find the answer for a long period of time. The endogenous personality requires mainly to be allowed to do what they intrinsically want to do and thus has a strong inner motivation. Their goals may or may not come to fruition as some who are late-bloomers may change paths so often that it will be difficult for them to succeed, but they are desperately trying to find their interest and follow their destiny. Therefore it is likely for geniuses to make their hobbies into their lives, or completely fail to find them, and fail to flourish in today’s society. A person is more likely to be creative if one is focused on what his inner drive tells them they ought to do, rather than focusing on conforming to a social group. The individual who derives satisfaction from being noticeable of social cues of the group cannot be a genius as this shows that creative thinking is not likely to be involved. For a genius to flourish, society must accept the importance of geniuses and their willingness to contribute to solving problems that seem to be virtually unsolvable. However, this isn’t easy given that geniuses are not given any attention. They find it hard to function in normal society, making it very difficult for them to achieve what is possible. 

Thus far, these definitions of genius are related to their characteristics, but a true recognized genius must accomplish something of profound intellectual note. A genius in this regard is not a degree of intelligence, but someone who achieves something written in encyclopedias and shapes human culture and knowledge. An IQ test score itself is utterly meaningless, as no professional IQ test has a remarkably high ceiling; most top out at 160 or less. IQ tests may also fail to measure critical aspects of intelligence. Like I said before, IQ and intelligence are not exactly the same but are correlated. Just being smart is not an accomplishment, but it takes some of the most brilliant people to understand and solve complex topics quickly. Almost all geniuses have outlier high intelligence, although neither an IQ test score nor any standardized test would capture it entirely accurately, and will likely underestimate their correct intelligence relative to others. In terms of an ideal measure of general intelligence, most geniuses will be well above average; there is no question. I can’t offer numbers, but a “true IQ” of 160 is 1 in 30,000, a “true IQ” of 175 is 1 in 3.5 million. I define true IQ as someone’s perfectly objective intelligence rarity relative to the general unselected adult population.

8. Jacobsen: What have been some work experiences and educational certifications for you?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberI have graduated high school and am currently pursuing a degree at the University of British Columbia. I originally came into university in the faculty of science, intending to major in Computer Science (first year is general for everyone), but I have dabbled in various academic fields. Currently, I am hoping to graduate with a mix of Mathematics, Statistics, and Philosophy, but I have not completely decided on the combination. I will likely either complete a double major (Stats/Math) and a minor (Philosophy), or just a double major across the faculty of science (Math or Stats) and faculty of arts (Philosophy).

I am currently interested in a career in science, and I will do my best to produce original, honest, and creative contributions to whichever field I find passionate about. 

I also have a Royal Conservatory of Music certificate after passing the grade 10 (grades range from 1-10) piano exam.

Lastly, I worked as a private tennis coach when I was a teenager.

9. Jacobsen: What are some social and political views for you? Why hold them?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberPolitically I would be near the center, leaning to the left. It is essential to stress equal opportunities for everyone. Although, I am much better suited to become a scientist rather than a politician, so I try to stay out of politics as much as possible.

10. Jacobsen: How much does science play into the worldview for you?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberScience plays a huge role in my worldview. Science seems to have the answer to everything, but science cannot provide us with faultless answers at a fundamental level. Science cannot provide us complete solutions because there are limits to what we can observe and measure. It is most desirable to rely on information and data from peer-reviewed articles published in scientific journals rather than blogs and sites with political bias. Ideally, data should determine one’s views and how they are sustained.

11. Jacobsen: What have been some of the tests taken and scores earned (with standard deviations) for you?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community Member: A big pet peeve of mine would be those misleading celebrity reported scores where the test and standard deviation are not mentioned. It makes a great news story to report a child having somehow outscored Einstein, even though the standard deviation used on those tests is 24, and they scored in the top 1%, as opposed to the top 0.003 percent (as it would be if the standard deviation were 15). An IQ of 160 is 1 in 30,000 when the standard deviation is 15 but 138 when the standard deviation is 24. Thank you so much for asking about standard deviations. Childhood ratio IQs are also inflated, relative to adult deviation IQs, which are more informative overall. Einstein likely wouldn’t have scored perfect on every IQ test, but his true IQ would be between 180-190. Richard Feynman’s true IQ would be at least 170, although he could score far lower when tested. There are limits to relying solely on a test score; no matter how valid the test is, they are far from perfect.

My score on a professionally administered intelligence test estimated my general intelligence to be around the 99.99th percentile or top 0.01% (1 in 10,000 rarity among the general unselected adult population). Although, it is likely for it to be somewhat lower than this, or possibly even a lot higher. IQ test scores are not perfect measures of psychometric g, and as we approach the ceiling of IQ tests, they become less and less reliable and valid. No IQ test claims to measure above 160, and most of them can’t measure too accurately above the 145 mark (3 standard deviations above the mean) or top out at this level.

On high-range tests (hobby tests), I had scored quite highly on my first attempts when I decided to take them up as a hobby during the COVID-19 pandemic since I had nothing more salutary to do. On a pure verbal test, I scored 154, and on a pure numerical test, I scored 166, by different test authors. The standard deviation is 15. If we use the Cattell scale, the scores would be 186.4 and 205.6, respectively, when the standard deviation is 24. If I spent more time on these tests and practiced more, I should reach the 180s and 190s, but I have better things to do in my free time at the moment. 

On standardized tests for admissions to higher education institutions, my scores are consistent with an IQ of 150-160. They are well above the scores you would expect from the average student at an elite institution. The g-loading of most standardized tests are reasonably high and are a step below IQ tests as an indication of general intelligence. Still, they do their job at predicting university success reasonably well because the skills gained do influence academic performance. 

Overall, I consider my true IQ to be somewhere between 150-180 (SD = 15) or 180-228 (SD = 24). Notice the vast range as an IQ of 150 SD 15 is around 1 in 2330 people, whereas an IQ of 180 SD 15 is approximately 1 in 20 million from the general unselected adult population.

12. Jacobsen: What is the range of the scores for you? The scores earned on alternative intelligence tests tend to produce a wide smattering of data points rather than clusters, typically.

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberA range for my scores on fairly reliable alternative tests would be between 150-170. If I took a hundred untimed hobby tests, the range could very well be between 145-190. Several different authors’ hobby tests were entertaining, especially since I decided to take up the challenge during the pandemic. I immediately scored in the 160s, which is harmonious with what I view as my true intelligence. The top scorers on certain tests were called the smartest in the world, but I am not exactly happy about this, given that some have claimed to be some of the brightest minds in all of humanity based on this. 

I am purely interested in hobby tests to interact with the highest scorers and challenge myself to achieve incredible feats. I should be able to become one of the best test-takers in the high range community if I put in the effort. However, they are neither valid for general intelligence, nor are they necessarily great uses of my time. Notwithstanding, I enjoy the challenge and competition to reach the top in any activity I take up. In essence, a part of defeating high IQ snobbism would be scoring higher than those who claim ridiculous IQ levels with no real accomplishment or evidence for scientific understanding. 

Overall, I consider my true IQ to be somewhere between 150-180 (SD = 15) or 180-228 (SD = 24). Notice the vast range as an IQ of 150 SD 15 is around 1 in 2330 people, whereas an IQ of 180 SD 15 is approximately 1 in 20 million from the general unselected adult population. You don’t have to take my word for this, but I will let my future achievements speak for themselves. Everything depends on my occupational achievements from now on. I do not need validation from an IQ test to prove I’m more intelligent than those who score in the 180s or higher on hobby tests, but I will probably beat them at their own game anyway.

13. Jacobsen: What ethical philosophy makes some sense, even the most workable sense to you?

Anonymous Canadian High-IQ Community MemberLive life to its fullest and follow your inner motivations. In a world fixated with money, notoriety, and sex, it is easy to get lost if you are different. If you stare at something long enough, you might discover the things you enjoy and are proficient in.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, International Society for Philosophical Enquiry (ISPE).

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 22, 2020:; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2020:

*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.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. 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 with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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