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Is IQ A Static Trait?

The Realities Of IQ, Faults With Jordan Peterson's Ideologies, Plus My Personal Story Of IQ Change

By Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.Published 4 months ago 16 min read

So, I'm a human being, and I got into an online debate recently.

I know, the common knowledge is to just "let it be".

However, when someone claims my work is "misinformation", I do want to know why they think that.

Again, I am human, and I have made mistakes before (and likely will make more in the future).

When I have learned that I've made an error, I'll admit it as I did with my second story of the "Leadership Lessons From A Sea Turtle And A Shark" Series.

However, I do become irritated when someone claims I am spreading misinformation and won't tell me why.

It took a hot minute for them to state what "misinformation" I was spreading, but finally, I got it from them!

I also appreciate that they gave me their thoughts, it indicates to me that there is research that I need to explain better in my work!

So, that is where this article derives from!

The Genesis

See, it revolves around some of the work of Jordan Peterson.

I have in the past said that I do not subscribe to Jordan Peterson.

I will admit that he is Intelligent, and an engaging communicator.

However, I do find that some of his Ideology is very flawed and in the wrong hands could (and indeed has in History) lead to devastating problems.

I am not the only person to have claimed this, there are many people who have talked about Jordan Peterson's lack of understanding within certain Philosophical ideologies.

However, my personal qualm was not against this specifically, but rather his ideas around IQ.

Specifically, I believe that his Ideology around Intellectual Determinism is extremely dangerous.

Now, there was a statement made that Jordanson is not a proponent of this, but there are videos where he is teaching this very concept.

Teachings like that make me question the overall body of work and hesitant to "Subscribe" to his other ideas.

I think is wise to question any body of work if you find significant flaws with it, potentially even mine!

However, I also believe that you should look further into the research because there are many "common" beliefs that simply are false when you actually look at the deep research.

So, moving past that, my previous article went into depth about the flaws of Intellectual Determinism.

Now, I think that "most" people would agree that using Intellectual Determinism to justify Eugenic-Based Genocide and Mass Sterilization of populations is bad.

Sadly these have been done in History.

However, this wasn't what was in question.

The biggest problem that was seen in my article is the idea that IQ is not static.

There is a commonly held belief (sadly) in the world that IQ is a static number that cannot change more than 10 Points in a lifetime.

Many people have used the idea of IQ being static to claim that it is also a good measure to use on a number of things.

Some of these claims have stated that having a higher IQ is an indicator of higher levels of Success and Happiness.

I would personally argue that a 10-Point change is still significant as that change can easily be the difference between categories of Intelligence.

However, it really doesn't matter because this is a Myth that has been proven false by IQ research!

Plus, there is a lot of other research that shows that IQ really isn't a good measure of success or happiness!

So, let's dive into these Myths, research around IQ, and at the end I'll present my own story around this for fun.

Can Anything Raise IQ More Than 10 Pts?

Let's take the first claim that IQs are fixed, with the potential to only move 10 points "max" in a lifetime.

There are a number of research papers over the past 20 years that say otherwise.

In fact, I only need 1 supplement among all of the other ways you can accomplish IQ increases (sleep, hydration, exercise, and education to name a few).


There are Meta-Analyses (the highest level of scientific research) that show how just this 1 supplement (which we can get naturally from Protein sources) can improve IQ by 15 points (by itself).

Already, we can see that IQ can move more than the 10 Points "max" myth.

However, there have been a lot of other things that have been proven to increase IQ in statistically significant ways, such as Dual N-Back Training, among other methods.

In fact, there are companies that GUARANTEE 10-20 point IQ increases through methods like the Dual N-Back Training!

Companies don't guarantee anything unless they KNOW it can be done!

But there's more!

IQ Increases Over A Lifetime With Education

Here's another study showing that in some forms of Intelligence (as IQ is technically multiple types of "Intelligence", not 1 singular measure), they were getting 15 points higher as well BUT that's not why I included this.

What I wanted us to look at here is how they point out how IQ changes with education and age.

Their research showed that IQ increased 4.3 points per year of education in young adulthood, and 1.3 IQ points per year in adults in mid-life.

This shows that those with access to continuing education (even in adulthood) can gain higher increases than 10 points of IQ in a decade (and changes of up to 40 in children!).

This is another point showing that IQ is a skewed measurement, especially toward those who are "more educated".

Thus, it should at least make us question how valid of a measurement IQ is, ESPECIALLY for determining people's entire careers based on it (as Intellectual Determinism would like us to).

But let's keep going.

The Memory Problem

One of the measures of IQ is memory, how much you can remember.

Have you ever watched the competitions where people try to outdo each other based on who has the greatest memory?

They all basically attribute one thing to their success - Memory Palaces.

Some people have utilized this method to actually memorize entire dictionaries!

Definition memorization is used in IQ tests, so memorizing the dictionary would be beneficial.

Now do you want to know what is interesting about these?

Creating these is a skill that can be learned and developed to great extents!

In fact, some people make their career around helping others improve their memory in this manner!

A great example of this is the work of Jim Kwik, who himself had a childhood brain injury that left him struggling in school which he was able to overcome to become on the the top masters of memory!

Of course, your goal may not be to compete against these masters, but Memory Palaces is a skill that can absolutely be developed which will improve IQ scores.

This also fits in with the science of Embodied Cognition.

You can look at the research of Michael Mannino to learn more about this topic.

Essentially, our relationship with our environments plays a crucial role in how our brains develop, and further our IQs.

So the idea of "building" a Mind Palace and "moving through it" to build your Memory and Intelligence is exactly the kind of thing that Embodied Cognition researches and proves.

However, I'm not done yet!

The Role Of Flow States

Let's look at Flow States, a favorite topic of mine!

If you want to learn more about this topic, I highly suggest going through the Flow Research Collective (whom I am certified with).

They conduct a lot of research around Flow and have done in-depth research into the science of Flow States.

Their certifications are also based deeply on an extensive work of studies.

One of the things that Flow has been shown to drastically improve is our Pattern Recognition System.

This happens to also be one of the things measured in IQ tests!

The ability to get into Flow or not get into Flow has significant outcomes when it comes to all test taking, and the biggest factor here is Dis-Stress.

If we have too much Dis-Stress, we literally become blocked out of Flow States!

In the Flow Cycle, this would be known as the Failure to Release from Struggle.

This one factor can end up having a significantly bigger difference than 10 points on any IQ test.

Flow States is one of the bases of understanding how our VQ can have a more significant impact on our success than IQ or EQ.

Plus, the cherry on top of it all!

The Flynn Effect

Let's talk about the Flynn Effect.

It is the substantial and long-sustained increase in IQ scores across populations.

Without fail for the past 70 years, we have watched IQ scores increase across the world by about 21 points.

That is only 1 average lifetime!

How can IQ increase across the population by DOUBLE the supposed 10-Point myth?

It's because IQ is based on a set of skills, favored in Western Society's forms of Education, which can be mastered and improved upon with the right understanding.

Western forms of Education have continually become the dominant force in the world.

As more people are trained to "Think" like a Westerner, the "Skills" related to IQ continue to improve, creating a more than 10 points improvement across populations in a single lifetime.

The research blatantly shows that IQ is not stagnant.

There are a number of methods that can either be utilized or trained to improve IQ.

IQ can also be dramatically increased, by more than 10 points in less than a year, let alone the 21-point average that occurs in a singular lifetime!

Is IQ A Good Measure Of Future Success?

Now, let's take your claim that IQ is a good measure of future success.

I don't know of any legitimate organization today that still believes this anymore if I'm going to be honest.

It was really the work of Daniel Goleman about EQ that changed this perspective around the world.

If you want to look deeply into Goleman's work, you should read his book and research from, "The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace: How To Select For, Measure, and Improve Emotional Intelligence in Individuals, Groups, and Organizations."

The research in that book clearly shows that IQ is not a good measure for determining future success, the correlation simply is not strong enough.

EQ has been shown to be a significantly better predictor of both success and happiness and that is why EQ has blown up in popularity over the years.

Is IQ A Good Measure Of Happiness?

But what about Happiness?

There has actually been research that shows extremely high IQ may also have increased rates of mood and anxiety disorders.

A survey of over 3,500 Mensans (Top 2% IQ in the world) found that 75% of them reported having mood and anxiety disorders!

In other studies, higher IQ has been found 2X as likely to have mood and anxiety disorders compared to the rest of the spectrum.

Again, this just goes further in proving that IQ as a mark of determining people's future is extremely flawed

Believing that having a certain IQ will make you happier in certain types of jobs simply isn't true.

In fact, if you have a high IQ and are prone to mood disorders or anxiety disorders, being in an extremely stressful job will likely make your life worse!

This again goes back to our Psychophysiology.

All Stress Adds.

So if you have the Stress of a mood or anxiety disorder, adding the Stress of a high-stress job, simply because your "IQ Demands It" is a recipe for disaster.

This hasn't even gotten into the research on Autonomy!

Taking away people's Autonomy has also been shown to lead to higher levels of mood and anxiety disorders, as well as lock people out of the Flow State where we feel our best and do our best work.

When you take these aspects into consideration, utilizing IQ Determinism can be dangerous.

We have also seen, multiple times in history, where it HAS become dangerous for different groups of people who have become discriminated against due to this flawed metric.

My Own Story Around IQ

Though I know a "Case Study" is not a great method of "proof", I think it has relevance for this topic.

In my own life, I have seen how IQ is a bad measure and how it can change drastically in our lives.

When I was young, I struggled to read (requiring me to go to a special class apart from my classmates), had "borderline ADD/ADHD", and had a speech impediment (a different class I had to go to apart from others).

I have strong reason to believe that if I sought a doctor today, I would also have a number of other "Labels" placed on me.

I know for a fact I struggled when I was a child and would have been on the low end of IQ, far below average.

According to current standards, Average Intelligence is between 85 and 114, so I would have been lower than that.

However, I've had great teachers in my life who have helped me through some of my challenges, and Improved Education has shown to have a great impact on IQ.

I also learned how IQ can be improved, and developed the skills necessary to improve my own IQ.

Yes, I know that there are companies that guarantee IQ increases because I've been through some of their programs!


I am proud to say that I am a Mensan (Top 2% of IQ in the world).

I also did not ask or need any "special considerations" to achieve access to Mensa.

The Top 2% of IQ is around 130 or higher (depending on the test utilized).

That would NOT have been possible to achieve when I was young and struggling to speak and read.

The "10 Points myth" also would not have allowed me to join Mensa by any stretch of the imagination.

I needed closer to a 40+ point increase in 20 years to achieve this.

Had I been born in a different time and place, I likely would have been sterilized or worse for my "conditions" as a child.

If I had been forced into an occupation based on my IQ even as late as College, I would likely have been forced into a career like Accounting for the rest of my life.

The Kicker - I started my career in Accounting work and hated it!

It's a great career for many people, and desperately needed in the world, but it made me miserable.

It didn't matter that I worked with great people and had an amazing boss that I still look up to!

The work itself made me miserable.

My IQ at that point didn't make something I hated bearable, and it never will.

That is simply not how Human Beings work.

If you want a better measure of Workplace Success, look at EQ and VQ.

If you want a better measure of Life Happiness, look at VQ and Flow States.

Again, I understand my singular case study does not speak to science on its own.

But when you combine it with the plethora of research that shows IQ is not stagnant, and further research showing there are significantly better ways to determine success and happiness?

Then we should ABSOLUTELY question the logic of determining people's futures based on the singular measure of IQ.

There are a large number of skills outside of "Intelligence" that can help determine success in one career or another.

Not all successful careers require having a high IQ, nor should they.

This is true even at the Executive Level!

No matter which direction you approach this from, utilizing IQ as a singular measure for people's futures is a terrible idea.

On the "nicer" end, the idea is flawed, and as we see from history, the extreme end can lead to horrifying results.

Final Words

My conclusions are based on a plethora of scientific research, many of which are Meta-Studies.

I do not need to fabricate anything when amazing researchers have told the Truth about this, and new unbiased research continues to come out.

IQ is not stagnant.

There are a number of factors and methods that can change IQ over a lifetime and by significantly more than the "10 Point myth", some of which can be accomplished in a matter of months.

IQ also simply doesn't work as a strong measure of Success or Happiness, and there are other measures that work significantly better.

I am someone who believes that we need to look at deep research before we come to conclusions.

If I have not read the actual research papers myself, I do make any claims about science.

When I see the research and understand it, that is the only time I begin to talk fully about the subject.

The research, and especially Meta-Analyses, speaks very clearly here about IQ.

I would like to say thank you to the person that questioned my work!

Though, in fairness, I was absolutely irritated at first for having my work called "misinformation" (I'm still human), I'm glad now.

It allowed me to quickly, in a matter of 48 hours, pull together all the data needed, and write another article to put this matter to rest.

It also has allowed me to improve my body of work, and improve myself along the way.

So thank you, we all need to be questioned at times so that we gain the opportunity to grow!

Now, if you have read my work for any period of time, you know that All Stress Adds.

This has Stressed me out more than I would like to admit, so I need a bit of time to Recover as that is an important factor for long-term Peak Performance!

I will, of course, have another article written tomorrow though I doubt it will be anywhere near as thought-provoking or as in-depth as this article.

Though... I could be wrong, tomorrow is a new day!

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About the Creator

Cody Dakota Wooten, C.B.C.

Creator of the Multi-Award-Winning Category "Legendary Leadership" | Faith, Family, Freedom, Future | The Legendary Leadership Coach, Digital Writer (400+ Articles), & Speaker


[email protected]

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  • Scott Christenson4 months ago

    It's a great irony that our northern european ancestors were considered hopelessly illiterate low-iq barbarians when they stormed down from the north and attacked the borders of the 'superior' Roman empire. People and cultures change and the human brain is infinitely adaptable. And in business EQ & VQ have been proven to be more important as you say. Jordan Peterson sounded more academic and calm when I first heard about him ten years ago. Looking at human history, there's always been one side that moves too fast with new ideas, and another side that moves too slow. Over time, things seem to sort themselves out and people agree on things eventually

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