- Mensa International
Formation 1 October 1946 Legal status Non-profit company Purpose/focus High IQ Society Headquarters Slate Barn, Church Lane, Caythorpe, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom Location Worldwide Membership about 110,000 Website www.mensa.org
Mensa is the largest and oldest high-IQ society in the world. It is a non-profit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardised, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test. Mensa is formally composed of national groups and the umbrella organisation Mensa International, with a registered office in Caythorpe, Lincolnshire, England.
Mensa ( //; Latin: [ˈmensa]) means "table" in Latin, as is symbolized in the organization's logo, and was chosen to demonstrate the round-table nature of the organization; the coming together of equals.
Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister, and Dr Lancelot Ware, a British scientist and lawyer, founded Mensa at Lincoln College, in Oxford, England, in 1946. They had the idea of forming a society for very intelligent people, the only qualification for membership being a high IQ. It was to be free from all social distinctions (racial, religious, etc.), represented by the name of the organisation, which comprises two Latin words: mēns, which means "mind"; and mēnsa, which means "table", indicating that it is a round-table society of minds. Mensa was also to be a non-political organisation, reflected in its constitution: "Mensa encompasses members representing many points of view. Consequently, Mensa as an organisation shall not express an opinion as being that of Mensa, take any political action other than the publication of the results of its investigations, or have any ideological, philosophical, political, or religious affiliations."
American Mensa was the second major branch of Mensa. Its success has been linked to the efforts of its early and longstanding organizer, Margot Seitelman.
Mensa's only requirement for membership is that one score at or above the 98th percentile on certain standardised IQ or other approved intelligence tests, such as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales. Because different tests are scaled differently, it is not meaningful to compare raw scores between tests, only percentiles. For example, the minimum accepted score on the Stanford-Binet is 132, while for the Cattell it is 148. But most IQ tests are designed to yield a mean score of 100 with a standard deviation of 15; the 98th-percentile score under these conditions is 130.82.
Mensa also has its own application exam, and some national groups offer alternative batteries of culture-fair, non-language tests. These exams are proctored by Mensa and do not provide a quantified score; they serve only to qualify a person for membership. In some national groups, a person may take a Mensa offered test only once, although one may later submit an application with results from a different qualifying test. For some national Mensa groups, such as American Mensa, having a high enough score on some graduate school admissions exams is enough to qualify for Mensa membership.
Mensa's constitution lists three purposes: "to identify and to foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members".
Mensa International consists of more than 110,000 members in 50 national groups. Individuals who live in a country with a national group join the national group, while those living in countries without a recognised chapter may join Mensa International directly. The two largest national groups are American Mensa, with more than 56,000 members, and British Mensa, with about 23,500 members. Larger national groups are further subdivided into local groups. For example, American Mensa has 134 local groups, with the largest having over 2,000 members and the smallest having fewer than 100.
Additionally, members may form Special Interest Groups (SIGs) at international, national, and local levels; these SIGs represent a wide variety of interests, both commonplace and obscure, ranging from motorcycle clubs to entrepreneurial cooperations, reflecting the wide diversity of members in occupation and social class. Some SIGs are associated with various geographic groups, whereas others act independently of official hierarchy. There are now quite a number of electronic SIGs (eSIGs), which operate primarily as e-mail lists, where members may or may not meet each other in person.
The Mensa Foundation, a separate charitable U.S. corporation, edits and publishes its own Mensa Research Journal, in which both Mensans and non-Mensans are published on various topics surrounding the concept and measure of intelligence. The national groups also issue periodicals, such as Mensa Bulletin, the monthly publication of American Mensa, and Mensa Magazine, the monthly publication of British Mensa.
Mensa has many events for members, from the local to the international level. Several countries hold a large event called the Annual Gathering (AG). It is held in a different city every year, with speakers, dances, leadership workshops, children's events, games, and other activities. The American and Canadian AGs are usually held during the American Independence Day (4 July) or Canada Day weekends respectively.
There are also smaller gatherings called Regional Gatherings (RGs) held in various cities that attract members from large areas; the largest in the United States is held in the Chicago area around Halloween, and features a costume party for which many members create pun-based costumes.
In 2006, The Mensa World Gathering was held from 8–13 August in Orlando, Florida to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of Mensa. An estimated 2,500 attenders from over 30 countries gathered for this celebration. The International Board of Directors also had a formal meeting there. In 2010, a joint American-Canadian Annual Gathering was held in Dearborn, Michigan, to mark the 50th anniversary of Mensa in North America.
Since 1990 Mensa also sponsors the annual Mensa Mind Games competition, whereat the Mensa Select award is given by American Mensa to five board games that are "original, challenging and well designed."
Individual local groups and their members also host smaller events for members and their guests. Lunch or dinner events, lectures, tours, theatre outings, and games nights are all common.
Many national Mensa groups have a members-only hard copy newsletter, such as those in Australia, Sweden, Singapore and elsewhere.
American Mensa's flagship publication is the Mensa Bulletin, published 10 times per year, which includes articles and columns written by members. The Mensa Bulletin also contains International Journal, "a separate publication featuring news from other national Mensas and Mensa International." Mensa also publishes the Mensa Research Journal.
Mensa also has published a number of books, including Poetry Mensa (1966), an anthology of poems by Mensans from all over the world, in which languages other than English are represented. Third party profit publishers also sell commercial products using the official Mensa name.
Mensans come from many different backgrounds, vary in job and profession, and are represented among all age groups. There are many famous and prominent members (see list of Mensans). Members pay annual membership dues that vary by country; some national groups offer a "Life Membership", but it is not transferable between groups.
All national and local groups welcome children; many offer activities, resources and newsletters specifically geared toward gifted children and their parents. Both American and British Mensa's youngest members joined at the age of two, such as Beatrix Townsend, Elise Tan Roberts, and Oscar Wrigley. The Mensa Research Journal, which is published quarterly, includes a TAG (Talented and Gifted) Progeny section especially for younger members.
At the other extreme, American Mensa's oldest member is 107, and British Mensa had a member aged 103. According to American Mensa, 41 percent of its members are baby boomers between the ages of 47 and 64, and there are more than 1,700 families with two or more Mensa members.
- ^ "Mensa is 65 on 1st October – how Brilliant is that?". Mensa International. http://www.mensa.org/news/mensa-65-1st-october-how-brilliant. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- ^ Percival, Matt (8 September 2006). "The Quest for Genius". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/09/08/quest.genius/index.html?section=cnn_latest. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
- ^ Moore, Hilary. "American Mensa and Activepackets Team to Provide Mobile Users With Mensa Genius Challenge". American Mensa. http://www.us.mensa.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=4984. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
- ^ Sharma, Mukul (30 January 2007). "IQ tests are about innate intelligence". The Times of India (India). http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/OPINION/Editorial/QA_IQ_tests_are_about_innate_intelligence/articleshow/1524557.cms. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
- ^ a b "Mensa Information". Mensa International. http://www.mensa.org/index0.php?page=10.
- ^ a b "What is Mensa?". British Mensa. http://www.mensa.org.uk/mensa/what_is.html.
- ^ "Home." Mensa International. Retrieved on 11 May 2010. "Mensa's registered office is Slate Barn, Church Lane, Caythorpe, NG32 3EL, United Kingdom."
- ^ a b c "Submit Test Scores". American Mensa. http://www.us.mensa.org/testscores. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
- ^ "Mensa Constitution". Mensa International. Archived from the original on 29 November 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071129121751/http://www.mensa.org/constitution2005.pdf. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
- ^ "Mensa Bulletin". American Mensa. http://www.us.mensa.org/Content/AML/NavigationMenu/Publications/iMensaBulletini/Mensa_Bulletin.htm. Retrieved 11 October 2007.
- ^ "Welcome to British Mensa – The High IQ Society". British Mensa. http://www.mensa.org.uk/. Retrieved 11 October 2007.
- ^ "World Gathering 2006". American Mensa. http://wg06.us.mensa.org//AM/Template.cfm?Section=WGHome.
- ^ Loew, Tracy (21 May 2006). "Mensa still plays mind games after 60 years". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-05-21-mensa_x.htm. Retrieved 16 January 2007.
- ^ Arsenault, Anne (22 April 2005). "Brainiac Central". St. Petersburg Times. http://www.sptimes.com/2005/04/22/news_pf/Northoftampa/Brainiac_Central.shtml. Retrieved 16 January 2007.
- ^ "Mensa Bulletin". American Mensa. http://www.us.mensa.org/Content/AML/NavigationMenu/Publications/iMensaBulletini/Mensa_Bulletin.htm. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- ^ "Mensa Research Journal". Mensa Research Journal. http://www.mensafoundation.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Journal. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
- ^ "Prominent Mensans". Mensa International. http://www.mensa.org/index0.php?page=15. Retrieved 7 April 2007.
- ^ Ringle, Haley (26 May 2009). "2-year-old joins group for high IQs". East Valley Tribune. http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/article_0ec29a81-aaa0-5dd8-a82a-f59472499fa0.html. Retrieved 18 August 2010.
- ^ Brooke, Chris (22 March 2010). "Joining Mensa? It's child's play for two-year-old Beatrix who is one of the clever club's youngest ever members". Daily Mail (London). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1259699/Joining-Mensa-Its-childs-play-year-old-Beatrix.html.
- ^ Harris, Paul (30 April 2009). "Meet Elise, the girl of two with an IQ higher than Carol Vorderman!". Daily Mail (London). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1175141/Meet-Elise-girl-IQ-higher-Carol-Vorderman.html.
- ^ "Mensa tot Karina, 2, is brainier than Carol". The Sun (UK) (London). 9 June 2009. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2471803/Mensa-tot-Karina-2-is-brainier-than-Carol.html. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
- ^ "Two-year-old accepted by Mensa". BBC News. 12 October 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/berkshire/8303880.stm.
- ^ a b "American Mensa Demographics". American Mensa. http://www.us.mensa.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&CONTENTID=8700&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- ^ "MENSA FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS". British Mensa. http://www.mensa.org.uk/download/1472/FAQs-_Apr-2008_2.pdf.
- Websites of all Mensa National Groups
- Map of Mensa National Groups
- CBS video on Mensa (part1)
- CBS video on Mensa (part2)
High IQ Topics Groups Testing RelatedDensa (parody)
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