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High-IQ society

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A high-IQ society is an organization that limits its membership to people who have attained a specified score on an IQ test, usually in the top two percent of the population (98th percentile) or above.[1][2] These may also be referred to as genius societies.[1][3] The largest and oldest such society is Mensa International, which was founded by Roland Berrill and Lancelot Ware in 1946.[4][5]

Entry requirements[edit]

High-IQ societies typically accept a variety of IQ tests for membership eligibility; these include WAIS, Stanford-Binet, and Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices, amongst many others deemed to sufficiently measure or correlate with intelligence. Tests deemed to insufficiently correlate with intelligence (e.g. post-1994 SAT, in the case of Mensa and Intertel) are not accepted for admission.[6][7][8] As IQ significantly above 146 SD15 (approximately three-sigma) cannot be reliably measured with accuracy due to sub-test limitations and insufficient norming, IQ societies with cutoffs significantly higher than four-sigma should be considered dubious.[9][10][11]


Some societies accept the results of standardized tests taken elsewhere. Those are listed below by selectivity percentile (assuming the now-standard definition of IQ as a standard score with a median of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 IQ points). Since the 1960s, Mensa has experienced increasing competition in attracting high-IQ individuals, as various new groups have emerged with even stricter and more exclusive admissions requirements.[12] Notable high-IQ societies include:

Name Established No. of members Approx. no. of countries Eligibility / Rarity Approx. IQ
Mensa International 1946 ≈ 145,000 (as of 2022)[13] 100 Top 2 percent of population (98th percentile; 1 person out of 50) 130
Intertel 1966 ≥ 1,500 (as of July 2023)[14] 40 Top 1 percent (99th percentile; 1 out of 100) 135
Triple Nine Society 1978 ≈ 1,900 (as of September 2022)[15] 46 Top 0.1 percent (99.9th percentile; 1 out of 1,000) 146
Prometheus Society 1982 < 36 (as of October 2020)[16] 13 Top 0.003 percent (99.997th percentile; 1 out of 30,000; not reliably measurable with current tests) 160
Mega Society 1982 26 (as of January 2014) Unknown Top 0.0001 percent (99.9999th percentile; 1 out of 1,000,000; not reliably measurable with current tests) 171.3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Groeger, Lena (January 1, 2015). "When High IQs Hang Out". Scientific American. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  2. ^ "The rise of children joining high-IQ society Mensa". BBC News. November 26, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  3. ^ "American Mensa Celebrates Its Diamond Jubilee". American Mensa. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  4. ^ Percival, Matt (September 8, 2008). "The Quest for Genius". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  5. ^ "American Mensa Celebrates Its Diamond Jubilee". American Mensa. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  6. ^ "Qualifying test scores". American Mensa. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  7. ^ "Intertel - Join us". www.intertel-iq.org. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  8. ^ "Test Scores". www.triplenine.org. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  9. ^ "IQ values explained". www.triplenine.org. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  10. ^ Perleth, Christoph; Schatz, Tanja; Mönks, Franz J. (2000). "Early Identification of High Ability". In Heller, Kurt A.; Mönks, Franz J.; Sternberg, Robert J.; et al. (eds.). International Handbook of Giftedness and Talent (2nd ed.). Amsterdam: Pergamon. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-08-043796-5. norm tables that provide you with such extreme values are constructed on the basis of random extrapolation and smoothing but not on the basis of empirical data of representative samples.
  11. ^ Urbina, Susana (2011). "Chapter 2: Tests of Intelligence". In Sternberg, Robert J.; Kaufman, Scott Barry (eds.). The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 20–38. ISBN 9780521739115. [Curve-fitting] is just one of the reasons to be suspicious of reported IQ scores much higher than 160
  12. ^ Schregel, Susanne (December 1, 2020). "'The intelligent and the rest': British Mensa and the contested status of high intelligence". History of the Human Sciences. 33 (5): 12–36. doi:10.1177/0952695120970029. ISSN 0952-6951. S2CID 227187677.
  13. ^ "About Us". Mensa International. 2022. Retrieved September 9, 2022.
  14. ^ "Intertel - Home". www.intertel-iq.org. Retrieved July 6, 2023.
  15. ^ "What is TNS?". Triple Nine Society. 2022. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  16. ^ "The Prometheus Society". Prometheus Society. 2022. Retrieved September 13, 2022.

Further reading[edit]