Logo of the Mega Society
|Type||High IQ society|
Founded in 1982 by Ronald K. Hoeflin to facilitate psychometric research, the Mega Society is a high IQ society open to people who have scored at the one-in-a-million level on a test of general intelligence claimed to be able to discriminate at that level. The Guinness Book of World Records once stated that the most elite ultra High IQ Society is the Mega Society with percentiles of 99.9999 or 1 in a million required for admission.
The public profile of the Mega Society increased with the publication of the Mega Test in 1985 by Hoeflin. In his article, Omni reporter Scot Morris noted the claim that Mega Society is the most selective high-IQ society:
- Mensa, the most famous [IQ] group, is open to one person in 50 ... The Triple Nine Society has a 1-in-1,000 cutoff (the 99.9th percentile, hence the name). And the Prometheus Society shoots for 1 in 30,000. But the most restrictive group is the Mega Society, which is theoretically limited to one person in a million (the 99.9999th percentile).
Notable people who have taken the Mega Test, meeting the Mega Society entrance requirements, include Chris Langan, author and columnist Marilyn vos Savant, mathematicians Solomon W. Golomb and Keith Raniere, and the former governor of New Hampshire and former White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu. Similar reports about the actress Uma Thurman are an urban myth.
Criteria for acceptance
No professionally designed and validated IQ test claims to distinguish test-takers at a one-in-a-million level of rarity of score. The standard score range of the Stanford-Binet IQ test is 40 to 160. The standard scores on most other currently normed IQ tests fall in the same range. A score of 160 corresponds to a rarity of about 1 person in 30,000 (leaving aside the issue of error of measurement common to all IQ tests), which falls short of the Mega Society's 1 in a million requirement. IQ scores above this level are dubious as there are insufficient normative cases upon which to base a statistically justified rank-ordering. High IQ scores are less reliable than IQ scores nearer to the population median.
The Mega Society accepts members on the basis of untimed, unsupervised IQ tests that the test author claims have been normalized using standard statistical methods. There is controversy about whether these tests have been properly validated. The Mega test specifically is described as a "nonstandardized test" by a psychologist who wrote a 2012 book on the history of IQ testing.
To qualify for membership in the Mega Society via the Mega Test, aspirants must earn a score corresponding to an IQ of 171 or more (SD = 15) on a test accepted for admission by the society, although no currently normed and professionally validated IQ test yields such a score.
Mega Society's publications
The society's journal, called Noesis since July 1987, has been published since January 1982, when it was called the Circle. Currently the journal is published on an irregular basis.
- Lemley, Brad (March 17, 1985). "The Mind of Genius". The Washington Post Magazine. pp. 14, 23.
vos Savant, Marilyn Mach (1985). Omni I.Q. Quiz Contest. McGraw-Hill. pp. 31–36. ISBN 0-07-039377-X.
Aviv, Rachel (August 2, 2006). "The Intelligencer". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2006-09-23.
Fella, Answer (March 1, 2006). "World's Smartest Fella". Esquire. Retrieved 2006-10-29.
Cox, Jack (June 21, 2005). "Smarter than 99.9% of the rest of us". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2006-10-29.
Derfner, Larry (August 8, 2003). "It smarts!". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2006-10-29.
- Mega Society (August 2005). "Constitution of the Mega Society". Retrieved 2006-07-25.
- Guinness Superlatives Ltd., ed. (1983–90). "Highest I.Q.". The Guinness Book of World Records. p. 18. ISBN 0-85112-433-X.
- Morris, Scot (April 1985). "World's Most Difficult IQ Test.". Omni. pp. 128–132.
Graham, Ellen (April 9, 1992). "For Minds of Mega, the Mensa Test, is a Real No-Brainer". The Wall Street Journal subs. req. p. A1. Retrieved 2006-07-26 also archived at . Check date values in:
Berliner, Uri (December 28, 1992). "Mega smart is very, VERY smart, indeed". The San Diego Union-Tribune subs. req. p. C1.
Simonton, Dean Keith (1994). Greatness: Who makes History and Why. Guilford Press. p. 225. ISBN 0-89862-201-8.[verification needed]
Lawrence A Pervin, Oliver P John (editors), ed. (1999). Handbook of Personality. Guilford Press. p. 632. ISBN 1-57230-695-5.[verification needed]
Jacobs, A. J. (2004). The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Man in the World. Simon & Schuster. p. 243. ISBN 0-7432-5060-5.[verification needed]
- Chotzinoff, Robin (November 20–26, 1985). "It This the Smartest Man in America?". Westword.
Thompson, D (July 5, 1986). "Marilyn's Most Vital Statistic". The Courier-Mail (Australia).
Seipp, Catherine (November 1987). "Brains – They’re the smartest people in L.A.". Los Angeles. pp. 210–216.
Anderson, Jack; Dale Van Atta (November 28, 1988). "Is 176 I.Q. Enough for White House?". The Washington Post.
Baumgold, Julie (February 6, 1989). "In the Kingdom of the Brain". New York Magazine. This article also discusses Dr Hoeflin and the Mega Society.
Morris, Scot; Ronald K. Hoeflin (April 1990). "Mind Games: the hardest IQ test you'll ever love suffering through". Omni. pp. 90 ff.
Lichfield, John (June 30, 1991). "Profile: Fat Man on a Jet Plane: John Sununu". The Independent (London). p. 23.
Derfner, Larry (August 8, 2003). "It smarts!". The Jerusalem Post. p. 5.
Sager, Mike (November 1999). "The Smartest Man in America". Esquire. pp. 143ff. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
"Introduction to the Hoeflin Tests". Retrieved 2006-07-29.
- According to this 2001 article, Thurman has never taken an IQ test.
- Roid, Gale H. (2006). "Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales (SB5), Fifth Edition". The Riverside Publishing Company. Retrieved 2006-07-25.
- Hunt, Earl (2011). Human Intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-521-70781-7. Lay summary (28 April 2013).
- 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. 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.
- Urbina, Susana (2011). "Chapter 2: Tests of Intelligence". In Sternberg, Robert J.; Kaufman, Scott Barry. The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 20–38. ISBN 9780521739115. Lay summary (9 February 2012).
[Curve-fitting] is just one of the reasons to be suspicious of reported IQ scores much higher than 160
- Lohman, David F.; Foley Nicpon, Megan (2012). "Chapter 12: Ability Testing & Talent Identification" (PDF). In Hunsaker, Scott. Identification: The Theory and Practice of Identifying Students for Gifted and Talented Education Services. Waco (TX): Prufrock. pp. 287–386. ISBN 978-1-931280-17-4. Lay summary (14 July 2013).
The concerns associated with SEMs [standard errors of measurement] are actually substantially worse for scores at the extremes of the distribution, especially when scores approach the maximum possible on a test . . . when students answer most of the items correctly. In these cases, errors of measurement for scale scores will increase substantially at the extremes of the distribution. Commonly the SEM is from two to four times larger for very high scores than for scores near the mean (Lord, 1980).
- Roger D. Carlson, Ph.D. (1991). Daniel J. Keyser, Ph.D., Richard C. Sweetland, Ph.D. (General Editors), ed. Test Critiques. Test Critique: The Mega Test (Volume VIII ed.) (PRO-ED). pp. 431–435. ISBN 0-89079-254-2.
From the article: "Although the approach that Hoeflin takes is interesting, inventive, intellectually stimulating, and internally consistent, it violates many good psychometric principles by overinterpreting the weak data of a self-selected sample."
- Castles, Elaine E. (6 June 2012). Inventing Intelligence. ABC-CLIO. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-4408-0338-3. Retrieved 31 August 2013. Lay summary (31 August 2013).
And what is that makes Marilyn vos Savant so uniquely qualified to answer such questions? There is only one reason: she is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the highest IQ ever recorded. Never mind that this record is based on a nonstandardized test put out by an obscure group known as Mega, supposedly the world's most selective organization of geniuses. Ignore the fact that test scores at the extreme ends of any distribution are notoriously unreliable.
- "The Mega Society". The Mega Society. Retrieved 16 May 2011.