There have been recent news clippings about Madonna and Shakira being members of Mensa. Are they really members? Some sites say so. For instance, the Huffington Post here.
The answer, frankly, is: we don’t know.
Reason: Mensa does not disclose the IQs of its members, does not disclose membership per se, and does not issue announcements accordingly without the express approval of its members, even if they’re celebrities.
So unless Madonna or Shakira themselves come out and proclaim themselves as Mensa members, the fact is that we can’t really say. Contrarily, if they claim to be Mensa members but are not, then perhaps that’s when Mensa can step in and say “No, you’re not.”
Here’s the official Mensa International statement about the matter, as reposted from the International website.
Mensa International, the international High IQ organisation, would like it to be known that it does not issue lists of Mensa members to the Press or outside Mensa, nor disclose individual IQ scores to anyone.
This applies whether members are celebrities or ‘ordinary’ members, unless it is given explicit permission by the member to do so. Nor does Mensa International confirm or deny whether someone is a member or not – that is the individual’s business to disclose or not.
Mensa International has NOT issued a list of celebrity members recently, as many on-line stories have been claiming. Attempts are being made by Mensa to discover the source of these stories and to have false claims removed.
Where a celebrity member has put their membership into the public domain and given Mensa permission, that member may be listed on the website of the national Mensa organisation to which they belong. The Mensa International website also carries a list of some high profile members or former members of the national groups from these sources. Nowhere are IQ scores listed.
To understand what an individual IQ score represents, it is necessary to know which test the person took. Mensa admits persons who have attained a score at or above the 98th percentile (top 2%) of the population in a standardised, properly supervised IQ test. The minimum top 2% score may be 130, 132 or even 148 on the different tests available in different countries, so the number is meaningless unless the test taken is known. As all members are equal, the score is not important to Mensa or its other members once the person has qualified in the top 2%.
Mensa has around 120,000 members in around 100 countries across five continents. All but a few are members of their local national group, while Direct International Members generally live in countries where there is no recognised national group.
For further information about Mensa International or the national Mensa groups, please check out this site – www.mensa.org.