Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bush's IQ

Found a really interesting article by Dean K. Simonton published late last year entitled "Presidential IQ, Openness, Intellectual Brilliance, and Leadership: Estimates and Correlations for 42 U.S. Chief Executives," published in the journal Political Psychology, Volume 27, number 4.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any free copies on the web anywhere. But you can probably get it through your local library's website using your library card. At least that's the case here in Seattle. Or you can pay to access it here.

An excerpt:

"First, Bush is definitely intelligent. The IQ estimates range between 111.1 and 138.5, with an average around 125. That places him in the upper range of college graduates in raw intellect (Cronbach, 1960). Admittedly, this average is influenced by Cox’s (1926) corrected scores, which may be overestimates. Yet even if we focus on just the uncorrected IQs, the range is between 111.1 and 128.5, with a mean around 120, which is about the average IQ for a college graduate in the United States. In addition, the figure is more than one standard deviation above the population mean, placing Bush in the upper 10% of the intelligence distribution (Storfer, 1990). These results endorse what has been claimed on the basis of his SAT scores and his Harvard MBA, namely, that his IQ most likely exceeds 115 (Immelman, 2001). He is certainly smart enough to be president of the United States (Simonton, 1985).

Second, Bush’s IQ is below average relative to that subset of the U.S. citizens who also managed to work their way into the White House. In fact, his intellect falls near the bottom of the distribution. When compared with twentieth-century presidents from Theodore Roosevelt through Clinton, only Harding has a lower score (at least on three of the four estimates). A similar conclusion is suggested by the Intellectual Brilliance measure, albeit in this case there are now two twentiethcentury presidents with lower scores, namely, Harding and Coolidge. Moreover, Bush’s IQ falls about 20 points—more than one standard deviation—below that of his predecessor, Clinton, a disparity that may have created a contrast effect that made any intellectual weaknesses all the more salient. Clinton’s intellectual attainments as a Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law School graduate, his demonstrated capacity for mastering impressive amounts of complex and detailed information, his verbal eloquence and fluency, and his logical adroitness and sophistication—at times, as during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, verging on sophistry—places Clinton head and shoulders above his successor in terms of intellectual power."

I guess this isn't exactly super surprising

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