Does Sheldon Cooper have a low EQ

Education: What a high IQ really says

The girl who sits with school psychologist Karina Staffel from the Augsburg high school near Sankt Stephan has a problem. It just can't learn those darned Latin vocabulary. The school grades have plummeted, the world is upside down. After all, the girl is from a model class for gifted students that has existed at this high school since 2009.

There are plenty of clichés about gifted people. They range from “unsportsmanlike” to “constant know-it-alls” to “arrogant” and “socially incompetent”. Gifted people, aren't they nerds who nobody understands and who live in a completely different world? And who can always do everything anyway? Not even close.

Intelligence isn't everything. It's also about learning strategies

For Karina Staffler it is not at all unusual that gifted people also need help. Because the intelligence test is not everything. “It's about the right learning strategies,” she explains. How does a person learn whose brain works much faster than that of most people? After all, he has to put in a lot less effort than his classmates. But gifted people also have to learn how to learn for their further development. "Girls in particular adapt quickly to their classmates, with many of them being gifted only through a test," says Staffler.

Intelligence tests are done quickly these days. If you enter the term on Google, you will get a wealth of offers - not all of them are serious. The magic number that needs to be cracked is 130. This is the definition: Only two percent of all people have an intelligence quotient (IQ) of over 130, which is why they are considered highly gifted. But what about those who “only” have an IQ of 129?

IQ tests often produce different results for the same person

Tanja GabrieleBaudson is a substitute professor for methods of empirical educational research at the Technical University of Dortmund and is involved in the cafeteria association. Only people with an IQ of at least 130 are admitted there. She explains with a wink that she deals professionally with gifted people. She emphasizes the arbitrariness of this limit. “Beyond these 130, no other world opens up with unicorns hopping around,” she says. How should that work when tests can reveal different results? She recommends taking two tests, especially for children of preschool age. Research is well aware of the reasons for different results. On the one hand there is the daily form, on the other hand the different design of the individual tests, but also especially with small children the willingness to take part at all.

In Augsburg's Stephansgymnasium, therefore, people not only rely on the intelligence test to select new students for the model classes. On the one hand, “you usually reduce yourself to just two percent of the students,” says school psychologist Karina Staffler. On the other hand, this is only one indicator out of four. Because the IQ does not represent everything. Motivation, personality and social behavior also play an important role in the selection.

Very few gifted people are socially problematic

So do gifted people have deficits in other areas? Most intelligence tests are based on three levels: math, language, and non-verbal logic. Social components are hidden there. That is why critics introduced the emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). But what happens when gifted people take an EQ test? “If there are differences in individual aspects, then even more in favor of the gifted,” says cafeteria expert Baudson. Very few gifted people are socially problematic like Sheldon Cooper from the TV series "The Big Bang Theory". Then where does this cliché come from? Baudson has a suspicion: “There may be a balancing striving for justice in people. You also try a little to restore the ideal world. ”In other words, if they have to be that smart, then they can't be nice and sporty too. That would be unfair.

But back to the girl who is not learning Latin even though she is highly gifted. Not all people with an IQ over 130 are equally good at everything. School psychologist Staffler explains that every now and then she has specialists as students. These are highly gifted people who are only excellent in one aspect, but have weaknesses elsewhere. This is only partially reflected in the IQ. Because that's an average. “It can happen that a student does excellently in the mathematical part, but only average in the linguistic part,” says Staffler.

Schools pay too little attention to the needs of the gifted

Although the gifted can be very different, schools like Karina Staffler's set up their own gifted classes. In 1987 the first of these classes was introduced at the Christophorus School in Braunschweig; today there are eight state schools with a corresponding profile in Bavaria alone. The gifted receive special support - just like the poorly gifted. Doesn't that contradict all ideas about inclusion? Researcher Tanja Baudson sees no problems in this: “Such classes are a very good crutch. Some teachers are not prepared for the different levels of students. You can also see that with inclusion. ”Beyond all pedagogical romanticism, many teachers would orientate themselves towards the medium level of proficiency. The needs of the gifted are seldom taken into account.

And that can have fatal consequences for society: “As a gifted person, you first have to have the feeling that the system is doing something for you,” says Baudson. “If you always feel slowed down by society, you are probably less willing to get involved with it.” After all, the IQ only measures the potential of intelligence. And not what people make of it.