Stephen King's IQ is 40

By Stephen Kunk ►

Augusta, ME (AP) - A leak from the records division of the Maine State Board of Education has revealed that Stephen King, the best-selling horror author of all-time, has an IQ of 40.

Stephen King, with just a wisp 
of an innocent smirk
According to the leaked documents, the teenage King scored 40 on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales (third edition), a popular test of cognitive ability at the time. Statistically speaking, this places King more than 4 standard deviations below the population mean, meaning his intelligence is drastically inferior to that of the average person. Typically, a score as low as King's indicates considerable intellectual and cognitive impairments.

In order to characterize these sorts of deficiencies, psychologist Henry H. Goddard sorted people with particularly low IQ scores into subcategories. These included "morons", who had IQs of 51–70, "imbeciles", who scored 26-50, and "idiots", who scored 0-25.

Given his score of 40, Stephen King is, in admittedly archaic terms, an "imbecile". Still, his imbecilic status has not prevented him from writing over 60 bestsellers with massive appeal to hundreds of millions of readers throughout the English-speaking world and beyond.

"The brain is a remarkable thing," offered Andreas Nabovsky, a neuroscientist at Florida Pacific University who has undertaken extensive research in the area of intelligence and its neural substrates. "The brain can compensate for massive deficits in a given area—math, reasoning, spatial ability—with relative facility in other areas: in Mr. King’s case, storytelling, imagination and, to some extent, verbal ability.

An early plot conceptualization of The Stand 
drawn by King himself, age 29
"Looking at his massive body of writing," Professor Nabovsky concluded, "King has done extremely well with his severely limited abilities. I would consider Stephen King a genius-level imbecile."

When approached for comment on the IQ leak, King responded with a spoken word rendition of ZZ Top's "Tube Snake Boogie."


Stephen Kunk lives with his wife and two daughters on the Pacific coast of the United States.

Image attribution (King Photo): By bunkosquad / Michael Femia ( [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons