Researchers have found out which groups of people – men or women, young or old – most often overestimate their IQ. Here’s what they found.


Greek researchers, whose article was published in the journal Brain and Behavior, set out to test how different genders and ages differ in their actual levels of mental and emotional intelligence and their perceptions of what they should be.


A total of 159 male and female participants, with an average age of 72 years, took part in the study. Participants were asked a series of questions, the answers to which determined how they themselves judged their IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient, i.e. the capacity to understand other people’s feelings and intentions, and to recognise and control their own emotions). The young and old then underwent standardised testing for different types of intelligence.


Two groups of participants were found to overestimate their intellectual abilities and social skills – young men and older women – while young girls and older men had a more realistic view of themselves. On average, their self-esteem is 5 to 15 points higher than their realistic counterparts.

At the same time, the more intelligent older women think they are, the more physically attractive they think they are. As the researchers suggested, this may be due to the greater self-confidence that women develop as they get older.