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November 30, 2004

Uber-geekdom (or I can cast 8th level spells!!!)

(Related, read "The gaming mind and intuition" at my blog)

Recently I had lunch with a friend from my community college days (ten years back). We originally met in a psychology class and our conversation turned to that. In that class the teacher set aside a time for students to voluntarily take the Stanford-Binet IQ test administered by an outside expert (he brought it up, I had completely forgotten it until he mentioned it). He remembers me being upset when I got my score (he always had a better memory than me, I have a horrible memory) as I thought it was too low. So we exchanged the score sheets, and were both stunned. He scored a 128 which I thought was mediocre, and I scored a 142, which he thought was amazing. He asked me why I was so upset, and this is where my story enters into geekdom so for our non-geek readers I will put the rest below.

My answer to his question was "well, 142 is high but it isn't above 170, what I was hoping for"

Him " Man that's high I think you're being unrealistic. Why did you pick that number?"

Me "Because Mages in AD&D are only mediocre until they have INT score of 16, 17, 18 and I figured that IQ was comparable to INT times 10"

He laughed it off thinking I was putting too much faith in a game we both enjoyed, and that I was a little nutty.

When I finished lunch and went back to work, I started to think about whether the two scores (IQ and INT) are translatable. Both are more-or-less Gaussian, both center around a number that is easily convertable (100 for IQ and 10.5 for INT, just times INT by 9.52 to get 100). I dug up the data on the probability distribution for a 3d6 die roll, and what I found was something that at first glance was not very encouraging to my thought experiment.

The "bell-curve" for 3d6 die roll was "squashed" in the middle due to insufficient data-points, so obiously a forumula of 9.52INT=IQ would not work (among other reasons), so I focused on percentile. Looking at my score, 142, which is within the to 0.25%, and comparing it to my distribution breakdown of INT rolled scores gives a INT score for me of 18.

Whoot! I can cast 8th level spells!

Now, I know this is an exercise in futility and means nothing, and there are always problems comparing two bell-curves, and the INT curve drop-off completely at exactly 18, but it just made me feel good.

Now I can go about finishing creating myself as a AD&D character. Let's see strength 12, Con 10, Dex 11, Wis 12, CHA 11, 4th level wizard (closest to a chemist IMO), NG....

Addendum I think it's interesting to note that my friend is a mid-level manager on the way up in a technology firm in town (he got a business major), while I have a Chemistry degree and four years of Basic research experience. And one note of unfairness, he makes twice as much now as my highest salary, there is no justice!

Also I have recently taken another IQ test and scored at 139, I'm getting dumber! ;)

Posted by scottm at 04:53 PM