How Intelligent Was Adolf Hitler?

I often wonder if Hitler’s intelligence has been overstated.

He was a charismatic megalomaniac with traits of Antisocial Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder (then known as Borderline Schizophrenia) which could have been attributed to early onset Parkinson’s. He can also be described as a Vulnerable Narcissist and a Type 2 Psychopath. These traits can enable somebody to throw a country in a vulnerable position into a state of mass hysteria. David Koresh and Charles Manson did the same thing at a smaller scale.

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As far as raw intellect though: he was a poor student and a mediocre artist. His book is said to be a poorly written manifesto akin to Roger Elliot’s with worse grammar. The only thing he seemed to excel at was public speaking.

He was certainly smarter than average in certain aspects, but I’m not sure where they get the estimated IQ of 140 from that seems to pop up everywhere.

Similar Case Study: Jim Morrison

Though an entirely different pathology than Adolf Hitler, Jim Morrison bore striking similarities.

He had significant traits associated with Borderline Personality Disorder, he fancied himself a artist/writer, and was known to indulge in fetishism.

Unlike Hitler, Jim Morrison’s artistic pursuits maintain an air of integrity; Morrison doesn’t appear to have suffered from Hitler’s same need for narcissistic supply.

It’s widely reported as being 149, at least in the two biographies I read. His intelligence seems to be a bit lopsided though as he didn’t take interest in anything other than the humanities and the arts. My hypothesis is that his “verbal” IQ was 149 and his non-verbal intelligence was significantly lower. He likely took the similar type of test on which Richard Feynman scored 125.

His school school performance was also above average, but not amazing, which is odd for such an academically inclined individual. This could also indicate “verbal dominant” autism.

Finally, his SAT score was slightly above average at 528 in Math and 630 for verbal. This is significantly lower than would even be expected a high verbal IQ and low non-verbal IQ as you’d expect a score close to perfect for that intellectual range.

This was also back in the day when SAT scores more closely correlated with IQ tests.

Both of these seem to be cases of pathological personalities creating a cult of personality of lasting vigor.

What is an IQ score?

IQ scaleInterpretation of IQ score% of population
above 130Very Superior2.1%
121-130Superior6.4%
111-120Above average intelligence15.7%
90-110Average intelligence51.6%
80-89Below average intelligence15.7%
70-79Cognitively impaired6.4%

An IQ test score is a psychometric score calculated based upon a norm group with an average score of 100 and the most common standard deviations of 15 or 16. The standard deviation is a measure of range, in this case it refers to a range of IQ scores. A standard devation of 15 means 68% of the norm group has scored between 85 (100 – 15) and 115 (100 + 15). In other words, 68% of the norm group has a score within one standard deviation of the average (100).

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