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Measures of Spread/Dispersion

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How Smart Was Einstein?
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Credit: Laura Guerin
Source: CK-12 Foundation
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Albert Einstein, credited as one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century, was thought to have an IQ ("Intelligence Quotient," or the score you get on an intelligence test) of 160. But what does that mean? Is that especially high or was his IQ average?

Amazing But True

IQ scores are used as descriptive statistics of individuals. Interestingly, IQ scores for people follow a standard distribution or bell curve, meaning that most people will fall into the middle of IQ scores. In fact, 50% of the population has a score between 90-110. The average IQ score is 100 and the standard deviation for IQ scores is about 15. Very few people have scores that are greater or less than two standard deviations away from the mean.

Credit: Laura Guerin
Source: CK-12 Foundation
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Einstein did, indeed, have a high IQ. His IQ score is more than two standard deviations above the mean—only 2.2% of people have an IQ of 130 or more. However, Einstein isn’t the smartest person to have lived; Bobby Fisher, a world-famous chess player, has one of the highest determined IQs, a score of 187!

See more about interpreting IQ scores and measuring intelligence:
http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/intelligence.html

Explore More

If the mean and median of IQ scores is 100, what is the mode based on the distribution and variance discussed above?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Laura Guerin; Source: CK-12 Foundation; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Laura Guerin; Source: CK-12 Foundation; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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