Trump and IQ

There he goes again—President Trump bragging about his own high IQ and the IQs of his close colleagues (click here to read the article).

Of course, in most cases, we don’t actually know about the IQs of these individuals.  IQ, as conventionally measured, is a quick measure of how one will do in a certain kind of school. Accordingly, we can assume that graduates of elite institutions and recipients of prestigious fellowships will on the whole have reasonably high IQs… as well as those who dropped out of selective institutions because they sensed a way to become very rich very quickly (think Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg).

In this context, Trump stands out in two ways.  First of all, he not only refuses to release his grades or transcripts or test scores, but actually threatens jail sentences for those who might be tempted to do so.  (Does this seem like someone who is proud of his academic achievements?) Second, in Trump’s case, I would bet that his IQ would vary significantly, depending on whether the test was written or oral (Trump does not like to read and, if his spelling of tweets is any cue, he may be somewhat dyslexic), whether it involved language, or was completely non-linguistic (like the Raven’s progressive matrices).

I suspect that when Trump assesses an individual’s IQ, he is instead paying attention to gender, height, quickness of response, ability to quip, speed with figures, and perhaps, alas, willingness to cut corners and to go along with him. Indeed, the speculated IQ is likely to go down a standard deviation if someone breaks with Trump, as did Cabinet Secretaries Tillerson or Mattis, and to go up a standard deviation if one protects Trump, as do his current favorites, or is a member of his family, as in the case of Jared Kushner. (We don’t discuss certain members of the family). And if the person is Steve Bannon, the IQ probably fluctuates like the stock market.

Interesting that Trump praises the ‘poorly educated’.  Presumably he makes an exception for low IQ individuals who support him.

So, what does the multiple intelligences person think about Trump’s IQ? Let’s read what I wrote ten days after the election (click here for link.) And let’s look at what Mindy Kornhaber wrote months before Trump’s (click here for link.) And of course, you should read this article.

By Howard Gardner