Intelligence As A Predictor Of Life Success

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Table of contents

  1. Intelligence And Success
  2. Conclusion
  3. References

Intelligence And Success

An individual academic achievement is often recognised by other people as intelligence. Intelligence refers to intellectual functioning. Typically, definition of intelligence is the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. This includes the ability to learn, comprehend, problem solves, memory and the ability to benefit from experience. This could also include the ability to adapt to a changing environment. Intelligence can be experimented and measure by a test called Intelligence Quotient (IQ), is a score derived from a set of standardized tests developed to measure an individual cognitive ability in relation to their age group. (Cherry. K, 2008)

Often, successful in life can be determined by an individual’s economic growth and welfare. Economic growth can be measure as GDP per capita. GDP per capita is calculated by the country’s economic output that accounts for its population, its divides the country Gross Domestic Product by its total population, therefore, this calculation is the most accurate measurement of a country standard living. (TheBalance, 2011)

The first modern intelligence examination in psychological history was developed in 1904, by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon. The original aim of these two researchers was to develop a test that would allow the psychologists to find a way to identify children who would need specialised assistance when attending school. Binet and Simon developed questions that mainly focussed on areas not explicitly that is not related or taught in schools, such as memory, selective and divided attention, and problem-solving skills. Using these questions, Binet determined which ones served as the best predictors of school success and academic achievement. The first Binet-Simon Scale aren’t accurate, as some children were able to answer more advanced question that older children were generally able to answer. Therefore, based on the observation, Binet suggested that the concept of mental age or a measure of intelligence based on the average abilities of children of a certain group. (VeryWellMind, 2019)

The score for IQ test on combination with the participant age, the IQ score was calculated by a mathematical formula that is supposed to be a measure of a person's intelligence. When it was first created, it was defined as the ratio of mental age (MA) to chronological age (CA) multiplied by 100 (thus IQ = MA/CA x 100). (123 Test, 2019)

Singapore population have an average IQ of 107.1 in 2019, and the average GDP per capita of Singapore is approximately 55900.00 USD (2017). (World Bank, 2017). Therefore, this research task lead to the investigation of the relationship between Intelligence Quotient average score and average GDP per capita.

In 2002, psychologist Richard Lynn and Political Scientist Tatu Venhanen published a book called ‘IQ and Wealth of Nation’. The author argued that the differences in national income, per capita gross domestic product associated with differences in the average nation Intelligence Quotient. Lynn and Vanhenen thesis believe to be the average IQs of the World nation, rather than do their own IQ studies, the authors of this research average and adjust existing studies and used other methods to construct an estimate. There were no studies available for 104 out of 185 nations. Therefore, the researchers must use an estimated value by using the average IQs of neighbouring or equivalent countries. (Lynn & Venhanen, 2002)

The study of IQ and Wealth of Nation conducted by psychologist Richard Lynn and Political Scientist Tatu Venhanen show the relationship between average Intelligence Quotient and Gross Domestic Products per capita (PPP) of multiple countries. Figure 1 graph feature the National IQ Vs GDP Per Capita (PPP) of multiple countries. In multiple cases of this figure shows that PPP does not always correspond with the predicted IQ. One such example of outlier was Qatar which have an average IQ of 78 and PPP of approximately $130,000USD. However, Singapore and Hong Kong, both, have an average IQ of 106-108 and Singapore have a higher PPP comparing to Hong Kong.

The study shows a trend which show the majority of countries average IQ are in between 80 to 108. These factors show that majority of third world countries are below the average GDP per capita trend line, however, more than half of the countries that are below the $30,000USD still have an average of 80 and above. This evidence proof that due to the environment of an individual’s and development of the country also have an important factor to its population GDP. For example, comparing North Korea, China and Hong Kong, all of these countries have an average IQ of 102 and above. North Korea for example, have an extremely low GDP per capita and followed by is China, which is below $20,000USD. This evidence suggested that environmental factors such as ‘Enrich or Deprived’, national economical and political factors does have an impact of an individual’s success. Below the 80 IQ and $30,000USD of PPP mainly are African countries. The trend of the suggest that lack of education due to political, environmental, etc factors can impact an individual’s success, in this case, is the GDP per capita. Due to the lack of education in third world countries within Africa, the graph show that GDP per capita does have a correlation to IQ of an individuals.

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This mean, an individual Intelligence Quotient score does determine an individual wealth, and this evidence applies for most first world countries rather than third world countries. Due to some countries does not have an average Intelligence Quotient score, the author of the study have to use neighbouring countries to calculate the average score. Therefore, majorities of the data in this study about the average Intelligence Quotient score are inaccurate. This has limited the research task due to inaccurate data. Due to Intelligence Quotient testing is based on western logically testing, rather than testing the individual’s multiple intelligence. Therefore, this IQ testing result is a limitation on different cultures and countries due to different countries have different education system.

Limitation of this study are insufficient data that could be used to support the thesis and research question. Due to the data of Lynn &Venhenan were published in 2002, this make the research task evidence inaccurate due many influence factors such as the changes of GDP per capita and average IQ of countries. Therefore, its invalidly for the research. Lastly, the use of a correlational of the research topic, linking back to the study of Lynn & Venhenan, its shown that variables such as IQ does not influence an individual success, in this case, GDP per capita.

Intelligence Quotient are cultural specificity which biased the test towards the environments in which they were developed, mainly leaning towards Western society. This make the test potentially problematic in culturally diverse settings. The application of the same test among different communities would be a limitation regarding recognise the different cultural values that shape what each community values as intelligent behaviour. Given that the Intelligence Quotient test’s history of being used to further questionable and sometimes racially motivated beliefs about what different groups of people are capable of, and the IQ’s cannot develop an objectively or equally measure an individual’s intelligence due to different culture have distinct education system and belief. (Martschenko, 2019)


Success in life can be define in vast varieties of ways, depending on how different culture define it. Success can be identified by comparing an individual wealth which are influence by their income. Therefore, it led to the question of:

Does the score of Intelligence Quotient determine an individual GDP per capita?

Overall, all data set suggested that an individual GDP per capita does have influence due to their intelligence. However, there’s other factors that could impact an individual economic growth such as their environments. Therefore, this research had suggested that intelligence does have an impact on an individuals GDP per capita positively and negatively depending on the individual’s Intelligence Quotient score below or above the 100-score mark. If an individual who live in a first world countries have an IQ’s of 100 or above, then this person would more likely to have a higher GDP per capita comparing to the populations.

Therefore, due to the lack of correlation between the 2 factors, it’s concluded that the Intelligence Quotient does not always influence an individual’s Gross Domestic Product per capita. Thus, intelligence does play a role of influencing economic growth and GDP per capita, however, it also depends on the individual self-motivation.


  1. Cherry, K. (2008). Alfred Binet and the History of IQ Testing. [online] Verywell Mind. Available at:
  2. Martschenko, D. (2019). The IQ test wars: why screening for intelligence is still so controversial. [online] The Conversation. Available at:
  3. ‌ (2011). Why the World’s Largest Economies Aren’t the Richest. [online] The Balance. Available at:
  4. ‌Dalliard (2018). IQ and Permanent Income: Sizing Up the “IQ Paradox.” [online] Human Varieties. Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2019].

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