Take the 2-minute tour ×
Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there a correlation between high IQ for example over 125 and creativity?

Is creativity improved or does its importance simply diminish?

Maybe there could also be confounding variables as well? It can be easier to be creative if you're not the best in the world in something (surprisingly enough), since then it might motivate you to get off the beaten path.

share|improve this question
Could you be more precise? Creativity is a broad and lousily defined word. For some artistic creativity it might be the case that it is not an issue; for academic mathematics I guess that every boost in IQ is beneficial (but even there it is not the only factor). Moreover, it would be hard make a numerical estimate of one's creativity. –  Piotr Migdal Jan 19 '12 at 8:47
I also think this question may be too subjective... –  Josh Gitlin Jan 19 '12 at 13:28
I believe this question is in regards to the IQ/creativity Threshold Theory, which I'm having a heck of a time finding a good, single page description of. If anyone finds one we should probably add it to the body of the question. –  Ben Brocka Jan 19 '12 at 15:30
@BenBrocka: It's having to make assumptions like that which are signs of a bad question. -1 until he rephrases it to be more specific/adds sources. InquilineKea, please don't take this personal. Consider reading this meta post. –  Steven Jeuris Jan 19 '12 at 15:47

1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

The article The Threshold Theory Regarding Creativity and Intelligence: An Empirical Test with Gifted and Nongifted Children found results that do not support this "Threshold Theory" of creativity.


Results of divergent thinking tests (administered to 228 intermediate school students, of whom about 43 percent were gifted) and calculated correlations between creativity and intelligence measures did not support the threshold theory which posits that creativity and intelligence are related only up to an intelligence quotient of about 120.

Can Only Intelligent People Be Creative? A Meta-Analysis by Kyung Hee Kim found a negligible correlation of IQ and creativity and does not support the Threshold Theory.

The mean correlation coefficient was small (r = .174; 95% CI = .165 – .183), but heterogeneous; this correlation coefficient indicates that the relationship between creativity test scores and IQ scores is negligible. Age contributed to the relationship between intelligence and creativity the most; different creativity tests contributed to it secondly. This study does not support threshold theory.

Several studies dispute the claims of Threshold Theory but the most interesting is probably Biochemical Support for the “Threshold” Theory of Creativity: A Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study which appears to show some support for the idea in a fairly rigorous biochemical method.

There is at best contentious support for the threshold theory, and perhaps more importantly the association between creativity and IQ seems rather weak.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.