Genius with low IQ

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (latest version is WAIS IV) is used for measuring IQ of people who are of age ranging from 16 years to 90 years. It tests a person on verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory and processing speed.

For standardisation WAIS IV was tested on sample of 2200 people. As it happens with all psychometric tests (a sample is used to predict values for entire population), a range of scores was obtained when plotted on graph (normal distribution) i.e. most people had score of 100, and rest were spread on both sides of mean. The normalised distribution was then used to decide range for IQ testing. 95% of values fall in region between two standard deviations i.e. between 130 and 70. So those with score above 130 are classified as gifted and those below 70 are classified as retarded.

IQ curve

IQ Range (“deviation IQ”) IQ Classification
130 and above Very superior
120–129 Superior
110–119 High average
90–109 Average
80–89 Low average
70–79 Borderline
69 and below Extremely low

While we know of lot of people with high IQ who have done quite well in life, is it possible to find genius in range 70 and below? Genius here means those with extraordinary creativity.


Savant syndrome is a condition in which a person with a mental disability demonstrates profound and prodigious capacities or abilities far in excess of what would be considered normal. These individuals score very low on IQ tests, but show exceptional skills or brilliance in specific areas, such as rapid calculation, art, memory, or musical ability.


One such example is Alonzo Clemons, who is an American animal sculptor. Clemons suffered a severe brain injury as a child that left him developmentally disabled (with an IQ in the 40-50 range), but is able to create very accurate animal sculptures out of clay. Clemons can create a sculpture of almost any animal, even if he has seen only a glimpse of it. He is also able to create a realistic and anatomically accurate three-dimensional rendering of an animal after only looking at a two-dimensional image for mere moments. His art work sells for hundreds of dollars.


Leslie Lemke was born prematurely in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1952. At birth, he suffered from blindness and brain damage. He was abandoned by his parents and was adopted by nurse May Lemke. In spite of slow social and physical progress (he learned to walk at age of 15), he started playing piano at age of 16, and soon showed exceptional talent in playing piano. He has given concerts in lot of countries.

Next time before calling someone idiot, think twice- he may be a genius.



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