Donald Trump is a Genius – But That’s Just His IQ!
by Samuel Orrin Sewell, PhD
SATURDAY, AUGUST 1, 2015
The most well known high IQ society is Mensa. To join Mensa one must score in the top 2% of a standardized IQ test. That really isn’t all that outstanding. One out of 50 people have IQs high enough to join Mensa.
Numerical IQ scores are not an accurate indicator of intelligence. For instance a score of 72 on the U.S. Navy GCT test is about equal to score of 150 on the WAIS (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale). Percentile IQ scores are a more informative measurement.
Way back during the 2004 presidential election I wrote an article that shook up the major news networks and the New York Times. I was able to document that George Bush had a higher IQ score and better grades than John Kerry. I belong to one of those high IQ societies, and I am a psychotherapist, so I have a credible background to evaluate Mr. Trump, even though my opinions are speculative.
Please keep in mind that IQ is a measure of intellect not character. I will comment on Donald Trump’s character later in this article.
Donald Trump graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and anthropology. Mensa doesn’t accept SAT scores from after 1994. However Mr Trump was a student at Wharton when it was possible to derive an accurate IQ core from known SAT scores. Given the usual requirements for admission to a top school like Wharton, I estimate that Mr. Trump has a 156 IQ at the minimum.
The standard description of this level of intelligence is “Genius – Exception intellectual ability and capable of looking beyond known facts.” However, the percentile rating is more revealing than the raw score. A 156 IQ is at the 99.9905490555 percentile. That means that Donald Trump is smarter than 99.99 percent of the people on planet earth. Not only does Trump qualify for membership in Mensa but he could join the Triple Nine Society.
People with this kind of intellectual ability can do things with their minds that can’t even be described to ordinary people. Remember that quote from the above paragraph, “capable of looking beyond known facts?” These highly intelligent minds process and organize data into solutions and insights, and the individual person is not even consciously aware of the process. The cartoon light bulb that goes on over someone’s head happens to people like Mr. Trump on a regular basis. I would not be surprised if Mr Trump’s IQ actually measures significantly higher than the minimum estimate mentioned above.
Enough about how smart Mr. Trump is. I was motivated to write this article because of the personality traits that are revealed in Mr. Trump’s behavior. His character traits are every bit as fascinating as his intellect.
Abraham Maslow, the American Psychologist and philosopher best known for his self-actualization theory of psychology, spent most of his professional career trying to identify what was right with people, rather than looking at pathology. Maslow did extensive research to define the traits of a “self actualized” person. My wife and professional partner is also a high IQ person. She makes the point that a better term is “self actualizing,” correctly pointing out that there isn’t state of personality to be achieved, but rather the individual is in the process of becoming his best self.
Donald Trump’s observable behavior informs us about the degree to which he is “self actualizing.” Quote from a Psychology Professor I once had; “People are not whoyou think they are. People are not who they think they are. People are what they do. That is why this is called a behavioral science”. Forget the labels. They are all misleading. Pay attention to the behavior.
Here are some examples of the Traits of a Self Actualized Person, from Maslow’s own research:
- They resist enculturation.
Self-actualizers tend to be nonconformists, since they are inner-directed people. If a cultural norm is contrary to their personal values, they simply will not adhere to it.
They are almost always loners, or leaders. They are never joiners. Yup. That sounds like the “Donald” to me!
- They are creative.
Maslow found this trait in all of the self-actualizers.
“This is a universal characteristic of all the people studied or observed. There is no exception. This creativeness appears in some of our subjects not in the usual forms ofwriting books, composing music, or producing artistic objects … It is as if this special type of creativeness being an expression of healthy personality is projected out upon the world, or touches whatever activity the person isengaged in. In this sense there can be creative shoemakers or carpenters or clerks. This creativity comes from the fact that self-actualizers are more open to experience and more spontaneous in their feelings.”
Yes, Donald is always coming up with new creative ways of seeing things differently and solving problems.
- They are autonomous and therefore tend to be independent of their environment.
“Because self-actualizers are B-motivated rather than D-motivated, they are more dependent on their own inner world than on the outer world. Deficiency motivated people must have other people available since most of their main need gratifications (love safety. respect, prestige, belongingness) can come only from otherhuman beings. But growth motivated [B-motivated] people may actually be hampered by others. The determinants of satisfaction, and of the good life, are for them inner & individual, and not social. They have become strong enough to be independent of the goodopinion of other people, or even of their affection. The honors, the status, the rewards, the popularity, the prestige and the love others can bestow must have become less important than self-development and inner growth.”
Donald frequently says that he doesn’t plan what he is going to say. It is obvious that his strategy is to simply be authentic.
- They have a strong ethical sense.
Although their notions of right and wrong are often unconventional, self-actualizers, nonetheless almost always know the ethical implications of their own actions.
Right and wrong (good and evil) are part of every decision Donald makes.
- They tend to accept democratic values.
Self-actualizers do not respond to individuals on the basis of race, status or religion. They can be and are friendly with anyone of suitable character regardless of class, education, political belief, race or color. As a matter of fact, it often seems as if they are not even aware of these differences, which are for the average person so obvious and important.
Donald is as likely to treat his chauffeur or secretary as equitably as CEOs or politicians.
- They tend to identify with all of mankind.
The concerns that self-actualizers have for other people do not extend only to their friends and family, but to all people in all cultures throughout the world. This feeling of brotherhood extends also to individuals who are aggressive, inconsiderate, or otherwise foolish. Self-actualizers have a genuine desire to help the human race.
Donald consistently shows a universality of concern for all people.
- They exhibit spontaneity, simplicity and naturalness.
Self-actualizers tend to be true to their feelings; what they really feel they tend to say and/or experience. They do not hide behind a mask, and do not act in accordance with social roles. They are true to themselves, speaking candidly and authentically.
One of the traits that makes Donald so popular with voters is that he is “real.”
There are many other observations to be made about Mr. Trump being a “self actualizing” person. However, let it suffice to observe that Donald Trump is a brilliant man with a healthy personality. It should be pointed out that “self-actualizing” people are not what most human resources departments are looking for. Most executives want those who will follow the manual and fit into the corporate culture. That does not describe Donald Trump.
Maybe the voters of America share some of the same biases as executives. Perhaps what we need is a rebel genius with self actualized traits to be our President. Lord knows we have tried enough of the other kind of leader.