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What Is the Highest IQ Ever Recorded?

Michele Debczak
Jolygon/iStock via Getty Images
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If your IQ falls between 85 and 115 points, you align with the majority of the population. A score above 130 indicates exceptional intelligence, and anything higher than 160 makes you a genius (at least when it comes to taking intelligence tests). The appropriately named Marilyn vos Savant is in a class of her own. According to Guinness World Records, her astonishing IQ of 228 is the highest ever recorded.

The daughter of an Italian and a German immigrant, vos Savant was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1946. Her advanced cognitive abilities were apparent from a young age, and according to one IQ test, she already displayed adult intelligence levels at age 10.

She decided to show off her impressive smarts to the Guinness World Records committee in the 1980s. Using two tests—the Stanford-Binet test and the Mega Test—she demonstrated an IQ score that placed her above Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. From 1986 to 1989, Guinness listed her as the person with the highest IQ on Earth.

Whether vos Savant still holds that title is difficult to prove. Guinness discontinued the category in 1990, stating that IQ tests were too unreliable to warrant a single record holder. That means some IQ test-takers may have scored higher than vos Savant in the past 32 years, but without official recognition from a third party, they're unlikely to unseat her in the public eye.

Instead of studying quantum physics like some of her genius-IQ peers, vos Savant has worked as a columnist for Parade since 1986. Readers are invited to pose logic puzzles for her to answer in her "Ask Marilyn" column. Since 2008, she's also devised the Numbrix puzzles for the publication. If you're up for a brainteaser from the person with the highest IQ ever recorded, check out her work here.

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