Posted on June 9, 2009

Meet Britain’s Brainiest Toddler: Two-Year-Old Karina Has the Same IQ As Stephen Hawking

Beth Hale and Claire Ellicott, Daily Mail (London), June 9, 2009

A toddler has amazed experts after scoring 160 in an IQ test–the same as Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates.

Two-year-old Karina Oakley is officially one of the smartest children in the country after her test results put her on a par with the 67-year-old author of A Brief History Of Time and the 53-year-old Microsoft billionaire.

At the moment little Karina–who likes to draw, paint and play make-believe–is not too concerned about being one of the smartest children in the country.

However, the bald statistics show her score sits her in the top 0.03 per cent of children her age, placing her mental age on a par with that of a four- or five-year-old.

As for mother Charlotte Fraser, she knew her daughter was bright, just not quite how bright.

She only decided to have Karina tested after watching a television programme about child geniuses.

She took her to see Professor Joan Freeman, a specialist education psychologist.

‘Quite a lot of people had said to me that Karina is quite smart, quite bright, quite clear with her speech and quick to pick things up,’ she said.

‘So I looked Professor Freeman up on the internet, and gave her a call see if she would see her and get her tested, it was just a bit of fun really.’

Katrina scored the same IQ as Microsoft chairman Bill Gates (left) and Brief History Of Time author Stephen Hawking

Karina, who turns three this summer, undertook a complex, 45-minute IQ test in which she was asked to complete challenges in a range of different categories, including verbal ability, memory, handling a pencil and numbers and shapes.

At the end of the test, which Karina took to with ease, the professor found that she had a special bias towards words, with a ‘wonderful imagination.’

‘Karina is a lovely, responsive and friendly little girl,’ said Professor Freeman. ‘She is more than very bright and capable, she is gifted.

‘Karina enjoyed the test. The pleasure she took in the mental challenge in itself I have found to be a sign of intelligence.’

The professor noted that Karina gave imaginative responses to questions.

For instance when asked, ‘What do you use your eyes for?’ she answered, ‘You close them when you go to sleep’ and then also said, ‘You put your contact lenses in them’.

Prof Freeman said she had been particularly struck by Karina’s maturity, describing her as ‘very articulate and confident’.

‘When I ask on the vocabulary tests “what is an orange?” most two-year-olds can’t answer, those that can say “it’s round” or something very simple. But Karina immediately said it’s a fruit.’

The toddler’s IQ is expected to change as she gets older.

But as if 160 isn’t high enough, Professor Freeman thinks it is more likely to rise than fall.

Karina’s proud mother said: ‘She has a very good memory. She seems to be quite aware of her surroundings, what’s going on around her, she’s very observant, she talks all the time, asks questions all the time.’

As for where her intelligence comes from, she said: ‘The nature verses nurture argument is a very interesting one.

‘I have stayed at home with her for almost three years, I have always talked to her a lot, always tried to answer her questions, we do a lot of things, we go to the park and we are part of various groups, that must make a difference.

‘I don’t know whether it’s that, combined with something that she was born with.

‘I just think of her as Karina, I don’t have anyone to compare her to.’

The mother used to work in marketing while Karina’s father Nick, works as a computer programmer.

Professor Freeman used the Stanford-Binet IQ test, originally devised by Alfred Binet at the beginning of the century.

Karina’s score of 160 was arrived at by converting a single raw score for the entire test to a figure indicating mental age.

She then used a formula to arrive at the IQ figure. An IQ of 100 means the child’s chronological and mental ages match.

Traditionally, scores of 90 to 109 are considered average and anything above 140, gifted.

Two months ago the Mail told how Elise Tan-Roberts–aged two years, four months and two weeks–had just become the youngest member of Mensa, with an estimated IQ of 156.