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Brazilians and Portuguese members of the most selective high IQ societies in the world

By Hindemburg Melão Jr.


The concept of “intelligence” is almost as old as language. Probably our ancestors first created words to represent material objects such as stones, plants and animals, and then created words to represent feelings, processes, predicates and abstract entities. But the interval between the emergence of the first languages and the emergence of a word to represent the level of intellectual ability must not have been very long.


Despite “intelligence” being such an old concept, there is still no consensus on what its exact meaning is. On the other hand, the fact that we do not know how to determine exactly and completely what intelligence is does not prevent us from studying it, exercising it and even measuring it.


For example, it is not known exactly what an orange is. If we had to describe an orange to an alien who had never come to Earth, this difficulty would be evident, because an orange is not exactly a sphere, the sour and sweet flavors would be very difficult to explain, not to mention that maybe the aliens didn't even have taste, eyes and other sensory organs similar to ours. The predominant color reflected by orange, when illuminated by sunlight or artificial light, with a spectral distribution similar to the spectral distribution of the Sun, peaking near the wavelength of 589 nm, would not be the same and would not even be similar if orange was illuminated by the light of a star of another spectral class, where such an alien lived. Perhaps the orange was not even visible to them, even though they had eyes or organs equivalent to eyes, but with cones and rods sensitive to a different range of visible light. It would be unlikely that they would have eyes with sensitivity in a range other than visible light because almost all other stars emit much of their light in the visible range, for although this is a narrow range, it appears to be predominant in the known Universe. However, although unlikely, we could not rule out this hypothesis. Perhaps it would even be easier to explain to this ET what intelligence is, from our perspective, than to explain what an orange is, because Spearman's concept of "general intelligence" or g-factor is probably something more universal than an orange. The ET would probably never have seen an orange, but if he had a sophisticated language to communicate with, he would have intelligence and he would have his own interpretation of the concept "intelligence", so he would only need to identify a few key points from our explanation to associate with the ET. concept that he himself would have of “intelligence”.


Although we don't know exactly what an orange is, we can measure its perimeter, its mass, determine its color, its acidity, we can distinguish an orange from a chair or a lake. Therefore, even without knowing exactly what intelligence is, we can distinguish reasonably well what intelligent behavior is and we can rank different levels of intelligence: a mouse is more intelligent than a bacterium, an elephant is more intelligent than a mouse, a human is smarter than an elephant. However, comparisons become more difficult when the differences are narrower. It is not easy to determine whether a dog is smarter than a cat or vice versa, whether a gorilla is smarter than an elephant or a dolphin, whether a horse is smarter than another horse. But this subjective difficulty can be resolved by introducing objective methods of analysis. Looking at two people with similar bodies, it is difficult to know which one is the heaviest, but using an appropriate measuring instrument - a scale - one can obtain this information. If the weight difference is very small, less than 1%, the balance may not be enough either, depending on its precision, accuracy, repeatability and some extrinsic factors, such as variations in air density, with consequent variations in thrust. , the tidal effect at the instant each one is weighed, among other factors. In addition, the mass of people varies over time, by perspiration, evacuation, eating, the density of people varies when their lungs are full or empty. As a consequence, two people with similar weights could have different weights if measured on different days or at different times, to the point that sometimes one of them could be heavier, other times lighter.


In the case of intelligence, the situation is similar in several respects. You don't know exactly what intelligence is, but you have a pretty reasonable idea of what it is and what it isn't. Intelligence is not to be confused with rabbits, nor with holes. At a more refined level of distinction, intelligence is not confused with perfume or with beauty. On an even more refined level, intelligence is not confused with memory or with culture, however, when this level of similarity is reached, memory and culture already begin to show themselves sufficiently similar to intelligence to interfere with it, or at least interfere with others. results of the measures that one tries to make of intelligence, “contaminating” these results, so to speak. Depending on the interpretation that is made, it can be said that memory and culture are components of intelligence, especially working memory, which is the ability to simultaneously manage large volumes of data.


Aware of these difficulties and limitations, we can now talk a little about the measurement of intelligence. Correctly standardized IQ tests are the psychological instruments that most rigorously and diligently follow all the protocols of the scientific method. As a result, diagnoses based on IQ tests are more reliable than any other diagnosis performed in Psychology.


A fact that few know is that IQ tests produce more accurate results than the methods used to calculate the distances of galaxies, or the methods used to calculate the masses of some subatomic particles (quarks, neutrinos, etc.), or the methods used to calculate the masses of some subatomic particles (quarks, neutrinos, etc.). for loss risk calculations performed by most large banks. They are even much more accurate than the accident risk estimates made by NASA, as demonstrated by the Nobel Prize in Physics Richard Feynman, during the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger accident, in 1986.


This does not mean that IQ tests are flawless. are not. But when compared to other measuring instruments used in Physics, Chemistry, Meteorology, Astronomy, Econometrics, Sociology, Anthropology, Medicine and Education, the reliability of the results produced by the IQ tests is above the average of the instruments used in these areas, including more reliable than most laboratory tests that doctors rely on to assess people's health status. Anyone interested in delving into this topic can read my book “IMCH – a mathematical analysis of errors in the BMI formula”. The book does not deal only with BMI, but with several scientific topics, points out some problems in large international databases used in Medicine, and presents a new formula for calculating BMI, which is more accurate and better founded than the traditional one.


The first recorded intelligence tests began to be used in China, around 3,000 BC, but at that time practically nothing about statistics or scientific method was known, so those tests were not standardized or followed the adopted protocols. in modern tests. These protocols serve to ensure that the variable measured by the test is indeed strongly correlated with intelligence, to ensure that all test items measure approximately the same variable, to ensure that the scores obtained in two random halves of the test are similar, to ensure that the same test given a few days or months later produces similar results to the first application, to ensure that different tests designed to measure general intelligence produce similar results for most people tested. There is a list of precautions that are taken in the process of building a good IQ test, to ensure that the scores produced are good representations of what it is intended to measure.


Furthermore, the theoretical basis on which IQ tests were designed is solidly supported by the scientific method, more than any other construct in psychology. The creator of the first IQ tests, Alfred Binet, started from the premise that human intelligence increases with age, at least between birth and adulthood. He then devised questionnaires with questions in which he tried to minimize the requirement for specialized knowledge and prioritize the use of logical reasoning, as free as possible from cultural factors. These questionnaires were applied to large groups of children, adolescents and adults of different age groups. He then compared the number of correct answers with age, and confirmed his hypothesis that the number of correct answers increased with age. On average, 8-year-olds got more questions right than the average 7-year-old; while the average of the 9-year-olds got it right more than the average of the 8-year-olds and so on, until about 16 years old. From the age of 16 onwards, there seemed to be no further increase in the number of correct answers as a function of age. In more comprehensive research carried out in the following years, it was found that perhaps this limit was at 17 years, in some cases reaching 19 or 20 years, but the growth curve was not linear, and when it approached 16, the person had already came very close to his maximum level of mental development, with little improvement in the following years and decades.


Binet also noted that although the average 12-year-old got much better than the average 8-year-old, there were some 8-year-olds who got more right than the average 9, 10, 11, and even 12-year-olds. The opposite also happened, that is, some 12-year-olds got it right less than the average of 8-year-olds. This gave rise to the concept of “mental levels”, which later received the name “mental age” and finally received the name “intelligence quotient”, abbreviated to “IQ” or “IQ”. This is how the term “IQ” began to be used to represent the ratio between mental age and chronological age. An 8 year old with a mental age of 12 would have an IQ = 100x12/8 = 150. Applying the same formula, an 8 year old child aged 14 would have an IQ of 175. Over 16 it doesn't make much sense to talk about age. mental, because 40-year-olds and 16-year-olds get approximately the same number of questions right.


When these high-IQ children became adults, you could test them and see how many they got right, so you could assign IQ scores to adults as well, based on the IQ that had been measured for these people while they were still young. children, assuming that they continued to develop intellectually at the same rate as the average of other children, and assuming that evolution was approximately linear. These are two reasonable assumptions, they are not exactly correct, but they are close to reality, as verified in studies carried out in the following decades.


Another point that needs to be clarified is what Binet's motivation was to create these tests. A very common problem in French schools at that time, as in schools in all countries at all times, was that teachers were often more sympathetic to some students than to others, and tended to favor their favorite students with higher grades. In a period when racism was much more serious than it is today, this was a big problem, because in all subjective evaluations teachers used to prejudice students they didn't like, and often the reason they didn't like it was simply because they didn't like it. student appearance. Racism was not always the problem. The teacher could simply not like the look of the student, or the teacher could be anti-Semitic, or he could be misogynist, among other reasons. This is how Einstein was considered retarded by one of his teachers, and Thomas Edison was also underrated by his teachers, this is how Henrietta Leavitt, Cecilia Payne and other women were underrated and their merits not properly recognized.


Faced with this problem, Binet decided to create assessment instruments that could objectively measure children's intellectual performance, to prevent them from being treated unfairly and abusively by their teachers. Unfortunately, IQ tests are not enough to prevent all abuse, nor can they prevent offensive comments against intellectually or economically disadvantaged students, nor can they prevent the physical and verbal aggression that teachers used to practice against students. The IQ tests only served to alleviate a part of the problems that existed at the time, and it was not a small part, because it was common for very intelligent and introverted children to be placed in handicapped rooms, because they did not communicate much, and that caused irreparable damage not only to these children, but to society as a whole, since if they had adequate opportunities to develop, they could contribute to curing diseases, to solving social, technological and many other problems.


A question that also needs to be clarified is: but shouldn't all children be given opportunities, rather than just the smartest ones? And the answer is very simple: yes, but good opportunities for all do not mean equal opportunities for all. Some children do not want or would not take advantage of an “opportunity” to learn Integral Calculus, while others would not take advantage of or be interested in learning to play the harp, others would not be interested in learning to build wooden tables, etc. What is considered an “opportunity” for some may be a “punishment” for others.


Continuing the work of Binet, in the 1930s, David Wechsler began to use a different method for standardizing scores, based on the rarity of people who achieved a certain number of hits. With that, it solved some distortions and some problems that were being observed in the old method, however this solution introduced new distortions. It is not our purpose to deepen the analysis of the history of IQ tests nor to critically analyze the quality of the methods used in the assessment of intelligence or the evolution of these methods over time, but only to briefly introduce these themes. So those interested in a more detailed analysis can access this link:


In the late 1990s, with the popularization of the Internet, people with well above average IQs, who until then lived relatively isolated, because there were few geographically close people with whom they shared common interests, took advantage of this opportunity generated by globalization to create communities designed to meet the needs and interests of people with these different intellectual profiles. Until then, there were only 15 high-IQ societies in the world, almost all of them founded in the United States, except Sigma Society, which was founded in Brazil:


Mensa, founded in 1946

Intertel, founded in 1966

ISPE, founded in 1974

TNS, founded in 1978

Mega, founded in 1982 (registered in the Guinness Book of 1990 as the most exclusive high-IQ society in the world)

Prometheus, founded in 1982

TOPS, founded in 1989

OATH, founded in 1992

IQuadrivium, founded in 1992

Giga, founded in 1996

Glia, founded in 1997

Colloquy, founded in 1998

Sigma, founded in 1999

Sigma VI, founded in 1999

Pi Society, founded in 1999


In the following years, several others were created, surpassing 100 societies for people of high IQ, of which about 70 are currently active. The proposals varied greatly from one to another. The Sigma Society proposals were these (from the image below):



The High IQ Society for Humanity, for example, was created in Denmark by David Udbjorg to help underprivileged children in Africa, where he lived for more than 10 years, providing these children with access to Education and to some technological resources, which offered slightly better prospects for growing socially and culturally. Unfortunately the High IQ Society for Humanity closed its activities due to lack of resources.


During the period when High IQ Society for Humanity was active, I devoted considerable time to the projects of that entity and made dozens of donations (all membership fees of the Platinum Society, of which I was president and founder, went to HIQSH). Furthermore, through Sigma Society, I organized assistance projects for victims of the tsunami in Indonesia in 2004, for victims of landslides in Santa Catarina and Itajaí in 2007 and 2008, I contributed to the dissemination of the CliqueFome project, with the dissemination of painters with the mouth and feet (people who do not have both arms) etc., in addition to individual projects carried out outside the entity. At Sigma Society, free courses in Astronomy, Chess, Latin and Sanskrit were offered, as well as more than 1000 articles on various educational, scientific, philosophical and cultural topics.


In my opinion, and in the opinions of many friends and colleagues in major high-IQ communities, intelligence is not an attribute to boast about. It is a divine gift that carries with it a high dose of responsibility and should be used wisely. That's why I try to channel my potential to solve relevant problems in different areas. Sometimes I can't get concrete results. Other times I get good results, like my world record registered in the Guinness Book 1998, or the innovation that I present in my book “IMCH – analysis of the mathematical errors of the BMI formula”, in which I bring to light a solution to a problem that it had been mishandled for over 180 years and was harming over 390 million people. I am the author of a new metric for investment risk that was considered superior to the metrics of William Sharpe (Nobel 1990) and Franco Modigliani (Nobel 1985), according to an assessment published in the most reputable magazine in Brazil in this area. Here is a list of some of my contributions:


Some friends and colleagues from high-IQ communities are also active in intellectual production and engagement on social, environmental and educational issues. The following is a list of Brazilian and Portuguese members in some of the top societies for people with high IQs. Many of them also work for the common good and harmony among peoples.



The World Intelligence Network (WIN) was created on 01/01/2001 by Evangelos Katsioulis, with the purpose of bringing together all existing high IQ societies and is internationally recognized as the main reference in this niche. The complete list of all affiliated societies can be accessed at


Some links presented on the WIN page are inactive, or point to extinct societies. In such cases, please try to locate the group by society name at . In the case of societies that do not have a website and secret societies, the information is unfortunately not accessible to non-members.


To better understand the concepts of intelligence, IQ, mean, standard deviation and correlation, measurement scales, please access the following links:





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