Elijah L. Armstrong’s Stanford-Binet 5: Here at last!

Here it is, folks, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! In which I present my Stanford-Binet 5 results…and announce the winner of a free sensual massage!

This is probably going to be one of the most excruciatingly detailed case studies of a single individual’s intelligence ever written. Apologies in advance. Also, I don’t have any vested interest in proving myself to be smart (or stupid), so I can just treat this as a case study.

And now, without further ado…


1. The Stanford-Binet 5

The Stanford-Binet has been around, in one iteration or another, since 1905; but starting around the 60s or 70s, it was displaced more and more by the Wechsler. The present revision was normed and released in 2003.

The SB-5 includes two global scores (Nonverbal IQ and Verbal IQ) and ten subtests, five to each global score. There are five “factor indices” (Fluid Reasoning, Knowledge, Quantitative, Visuospatial, and Working Memory); each index has two subtests, one verbal and one nonverbal. There is some debate about whether the ten subtests actually factor-analytically conform to this structure.

The correlations between the NVIQ and full-scale IQ, and between the VIQ and full-scale IQ, are both upwards of .95, suggesting that for most subjects the VIQ and NVIQ are intersubstitutable.

The SB has a very high ceiling (160, with a manual that permits extrapolation of even higher IQs). It also appears to correlate well with other intelligence tests: .78 with the WJ-Cog, .84 with the WISC, .82 with the WAIS, and .33-.85 with various achievement tests. These are in the high range for intelligence tests’ inter-correlations.


2. My full-scale IQ and subtest scores

I received a full-scale IQ of 124 on the SB-5 (135 VIQ, 112 NVIQ).

The five ‘subfactors’ of the SB-5 are measured by different tests, depending on the testee’s ability; for my level, the tests given were as follows.

Nonverbal fluid reasoning was measured by a matrix test like the RPM. On this test I received an IQ score of 115 (despite being intimately familiar with the rules of the Raven’s).

Verbal fluid reasoning was measured by an analogies test. On this test I received an IQ score of 135.

Nonverbal knowledge was measured by a test of picture absurdities (“what’s silly or wrong about this picture?”). On this test I received an IQ score of 115.

Verbal knowledge was measured by a test of vocabulary. On this test I received a score of 145+ (the ceiling).

Nonverbal quantitative reasoning was measured by tests of symbol and image equivalencies and numerical pattern completion (hard to describe). On this test I received an IQ score of 120.

Verbal quantitative reasoning was measured by mathematical word problems. On this test I received an IQ score of 125.

Nonverbal visuospatial ability was measured by a tangram-like test of block design. On this test I received an IQ score of 90.

Verbal visuospatial ability was measured by a test of directions, and by some items somewhat similar to Hoeflin’s Power Test (but without any diagrams). On this test I received an IQ score of 120.

Nonverbal working memory was measured by a test of memory for block-tapping sequences. On this test I received an IQ score of 105.

Verbal working memory was measured by a test of memory for the last words of simple logic problems (which I had to solve in the meantime). On this test I received an IQ score of 115.

It is interesting that my IQ was so low. I discuss some possible reasons for this in the following.


3. Is the SB-5 a good measure of high intelligence?

The SB-5 does not have the same problem with respect to intelligent subjects that most tests do: its ceiling is quite high. However, there is some evidence that it behaves strangely for intelligent subjects.

Firstly, the proctor remarked to me that anecdotally, highly intelligent children received much lower SB-5 scores than WISC or WJ-Cog scores.

Secondly, Minton & Pratt (2010; Gifted and highly gifted students: How do they score on the SB-5? Roeper Review, 28) administered the SB-5 to several gifted children. Children categorized as “gifted” (mean WISC-III IQ score 133; = 25) received an average SB-5 score of 121 (= 36). Children categorized as highly gifted (mean WISC-III IQ score 144; = 31) received an average SB-5 score of 126 (= 37). (The Ns are discrepant because some children did not take the WISC, but qualified for the gifted program on the basis of a different IQ or achievement test.) Also, the SB-5 and WISC-III scores were poorly correlated, although the precise is not given.

Thirdly, Ruthsatz et al. (2014; The cognitive bases of exceptional abilities in child prodigies by domain: Similarities and differences; Intelligence, 44) found that child prodigies obtained IQs of 126 (math average 140, music average 129, art average 108) on the Stanford-Binet 5. Their only extremely high scores were on the working memory subtests. Examining the subtests most closely related to the child prodigies’ domains of success is strange; the math prodigies obtained IQs of only 132 on the quantitative reasoning subtest, and the art prodigies obtained IQs of 88 on the visuospatial subtest! These scores seem much too low.


4. How does this compare to other intelligence test scores?

I have taken other IQ or similar tests in the past. I will only discuss those with high ceilings.

I took the WISC or WPPSI when I was six. My score was around 135.

I took the WJ-III (both Cog and Ach) when I was nine. My WJ-Cog score was 158; my WJ-Ach math score was 140, my WJ-Ach reading score was 135.

I took the SAT when I was thirteen; for that age group the SAT presumably has a very high ceiling. My M+V score was 1410 (790 V, 620 M); a rough calculation yields an IQ equivalent of 158.

The Ferguson formula could be used to derive a ‘true’ IQ from these figures.

In addition, several people have anecdotally estimated my IQ (or my intelligence as expressed in an ‘ideal’ IQ scale). I have thirteen such estimates (range 134-185, mean 161, median 164). Including only estimates from people who knew a decent amount of psychometrics, or gave the estimate in SD units, the mean is 156 (median 160, range 134-175).

One of the IQs included in this collection of estimates was derived from a short biography I sent to a colleague so that he could estimate my childhood ratio IQ (one of his specialties). He derived a deviation IQ of 153 from his estimate of my childhood ratio IQ.

Michael Woodley has suggested to me that women are much better at estimating IQs than men. I received two estimates of my IQ from women; the average of these is 167 (164 and 170).

I took a full battery of memory tests in addition to the Stanford-Binet 5 (viz., the RAML-II); this is probably highly loaded. My scores were as follows:

Fullscale memory IQ: 111

Verbal memory: 111

Attention/concentration: 106

Visuospatial memory: 56 (!)

‘GM’ [not sure what this is]: 91

Working memory: 111

Verbal recognition: 102

Visual recognition: 87

The verbal memory IQ is almost certainly too low, since I have an extremely good memory for quotes and passages of text.


5. A personal Jensen effect?

I had an IQ advantage of 24 points over the average US inhabitant; is this advantage loaded?

The between the loadings of the Stanford-Binet 5 subtests and my scores on them was -0.101, indicating that I did worse on the more g-loaded subtests. However, this should be taken with a grain of salt, since the SB-5 loadings are very range-restricted. The range of loadings for the SB subtests is .69-.84; and the standard deviation of their g-loadings is about 1/3 that of the WISC’s subtests’. Also, the correlation between my WJ-Cog scores and their loadings was +.7 or +.75 or so (I can’t find the analysis, unfortunately).


6. Conclusions

What are we to conclude from this?

Firstly, my Stanford Binet 5 results are anomalously low. This is common for the gifted, but extreme in my case.

Secondly, with such a diversity of IQ results –- combined with the fact that all entrants into the guess-my-IQ contest were quite wrong –– who wins the sensual massage?

I asked the proctor that very question, and he responded: “You’ll just have to give the sensual massage to yourself.” I do this regularly already, of course, but I’ll try to picture the Stanford-Binet booklet next time.


If I Could Tell You (Auden, 1940)

Time will say nothing but I told you so.
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.

The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reason why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.

Suppose the lions all get up and go,
And all the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.

––Auden, 1940

This lovely poem is one of my favorites. The best stanza is the third, which I was tempted to underline.

I could expound my interpretation of the poem at length; but I dislike exegesis, so I won’t.

The best albums of four decades

1960s: Blonde on Blonde (1966).

1970s: In A Glass House (1973).

1980s: Reckoning (1984).

1990s: If the Light Takes Us (1994).


Dear readers,

An interview with me was recently published in the Dutch magazine-for-the-gifted Talent. Therefore I am making my blog more “child-friendly”.



Italian Speakers Needed

Dear readers:

If anyone speaks Italian, can you translate this set of song lyrics? Google Translate is worthless.

Dove stai? Dove sei?
Solo dentro me.

Cosa fai? come sei?
solo come me.
inventarti qua e là
è gioco vecchio oramai:
bussa già
la fretta di te.

Che farei amore mio,
che sorriso avrai?
Dai tuoi si dai tuoi no
cosa imparerò?

Principessa serena del cielo che avrò.
bussa già
la fretta di te.

An…interesting…poem from Clark Ashton Smith (1924)

I guess this has the same position in the CAS canon that “The Platonic Blow” has in the Auden canon. Edit: Now censored for young readers.

The Temptation (Clark Ashton Smith)

In the close and clinging night,
When the rosy-bellied moon
Like a vestal in a swoon
By black hills was taken slowly;
When [...]
With a hot, unwearied, holy
Lust for some [...] leman -
Siren, woman, witch or demon -
Then it was I heard a laughter,
Warm and clear, like amber melting
Through the heavy gloom, and after
Came a rain of blossoms pelting;
Perfume like an ecstasy
Swelling rose triumphantly,
And the darkness cleft with fire,
In a low-lit dawn revealed
Those whereof my flesh was fain -
Erycine and all her train,
Bodies bared for full desire,
Pacing on a sabbath field!…
Now, with hasty gaze, I know
All the cloven Hill has hidden -
Nymphs that rutting gods have ridden
Under suns of long ago;
Givers of a gift divine
Which the Fathers deemed malign;
They that tempted Antony,
Fair or sable succubi;
Vampires by the saints arointed,
Sanguine-lipped and [...];
After whom, in lubric dances,
Now a stranger crew advances,
Tangled limbs and flanks revealing: -
Mountain-roaming oreads,
They whose pleasures icy-keen
Soon benumb the pulse of feeling;
Fountain-fresh limoniads,
All their [...] concealing
Under dripping fleeces green;
Golden-tailed, coquetting sphinxes,
Graceful, mad and silent minxes,
Fain for some enormous lover
Their [...] to cover;
Exile fays with childish bosoms,
And their undevirginate
[...]  like budding blossoms
Cool and small and delicate;
Mild and milky titanesses,
With their autumn-colored tresses,
Who would [...]
in the mode of centauresses;
Umber dryads fleet to shun me -
all are in a lovely rout
That rings me round and round about.

Some their [...]
In a long and swelling row;
Some assail me with their pointed
[...] -
Frantic perfume troublously
Crushed from out their breasts anointed;
Others with their ell-long hair
Seek my thrilling thighs to snare
And my moving body bind
With their [...] joined;
Some their lubric navels proffer-
loins and bellies forward curving
Hard with avid lust unswerving;
One, a [...] would offer,
One, with dim and shielded breast,
Coyly in the shadow lingers,
One, with deft lascivious fingers,
Holds [...].

Oct 27, 1924

“Hap” (Hardy, 1898)

If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love’s loss is my hate’s profiting!”

Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.

But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
—Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan. . . .
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

––Thomas Hardy, 1898


I shall be gone until next Saturday. When I get back, I’ll post my Stanford Binet 5 results, along with some analyses.


A delightful limerick from the 115-IQ Victorians

From the July 1879 issue of The Pearl. Edit: Now censored for my new legions of young readers.

There was a young man of the Tweed
Who [...] thro’ a reed.
When she [...],
He’d let none come near,
For fear they should [...].

1917: A correspondence

I sent a correspondent this email:

In the US in 1917, what were living conditions like? Most people were literate, but how well-informed were they? How strong was the circulation of newspapers? How many people read books for fun? How large was the middle class? How much surplus money did the working classes have? Did most people live in total squalor, as in early industrial England?

I ask because I have found a primitive IQ test given to literate US Army recruits in 1917 (illiterates, or people with less than a 5th-grade education, were not given this test). 90 percent of recruits did not know that an aspen was a tree (as opposed to a drink or fabric). 90 percent did not know whether “compute” and “calculate” meant the same or not. Ditto 50 percent for “masculine” and “feminine”. Virtually nobody knew who wrote Huckleberry Finn. 90 percent of recruits didn’t know how to solve a rather basic division problem. And so on, and so forth. I can send you the tests if you like.

Unless our ancestors were idiots, this means that living and educational standards in 1917 must have been absolutely horrendous, far worse than popular culture would suggest –- and far worse than my reasonably well-informed opinion would have suggested either. My impression was that people in the US in 1917, while rather uneducated by modern standards, still consumed complex literature, including newspapers, at a high rate. (Have you seen grammar-school primers from the early 20th century? I used to own one from 1905 –- it contained lessons on molecular composition and excerpts from Bunyan.) Certainly I would not have expected that 99 percent of WW1 recruits didn’t know who wrote Huckleberry Finn!

His reply:

Brother, just who do you think “recruits” were? The US Army of WWI was composed, overwhelmingly, of farm boys. Yes, there were important units from the cities, including brigades from Harlem who essentially stayed in France after the war. By and large, though, WWI recruits were from farms, as the majority of Americans were in those days. WWI itself was a massive urbanization project, with millions of people migrating to the nearest cities for factory jobs. This led, in New Orleans, to the development of jazz. It also led, as in St. Louis and Chicago, to huge race riots of the worst kind. Those intelligence tests demonstrate that most Americans were poorly-informed (or they wouldn’t have rushed to join the Army for that murderous war), prejudiced in the worst ways, and poorly-educated. At the same time the relatively-wealthy, i.e. the middle class, were enormously better-educated, better-informed, and smart enough to stay out of the war. The gap between the two classes – middle and lower – was huge in every way but, horribly, not nearly as huge as the gap between the truly wealthy and everyone else, which was never larger than at that time. Remember the opening of Reds? When Reed was asked “what’s this war all about”? One word: profits. And he was absolutely right. That war, more than any other, demonstrated the social stratification and rigidity of social barriers worse than any before it, and that’s saying something. The Americans skipped most of the war and still managed, in less than 18 months, to lose over 200,000 men. Thousands of these died of diseases and simple infections. Many more from accidents (including Christy Mathewson, beloved baseball star, who died from the gas that was mistakenly shot at him in training). The soldiers were simple boys, manipulated ruthlessly by muttonchopped scumbags who made lots of Kiplingesque noises about “burdens” of race and the like. Kipling himself lost his son and his literary reputation in the war, propagandizing for England. At his funeral some years later not a single literary friend attended. 

Educational standards were low in WWI, as in most pre-industrial societies. The urbanization that accompanied the war, as well as the war itself, would go a long way to changing that. After the war during the Roaring Twenties was when the middle class really expanded, and with it came the technologies that would improve their understanding, though not enough. The telephone, which was privileged before the war, became standard, as did the phonograph, movies, and literacy. People got smarter, or at least smart enough to be sold stocks, which they promptly misunderstood right into the Depression.

But that’s another story. Best reference work: Hobsbawm’s “Age of Extremes: 1919-1991″.


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