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The 48 Percent Part 2

At Beyond Belief 2006, when speaking about his work on phantom/paralyzed limbs and the denials that can accompany such phenomena, V.S. Ramachandran related a humorous anecdote about a study that asked people if they were above or below average in intelligence. Ramachandran pointed out the fact that like height, the distribution of IQ scores in a population take on the shape of the iconic “bell” curve (called by mathematicians a “normal” or “Gaussian” distribution). The salient property of Gaussian distributions of variations in a population is that 50% of the population will be below the average value (or arithmetic mean) for the trait in question and the other 50% of individuals in the population in question will be above the average value.[1] The punch line comes when Ramachandran reveals that 98% of the survey respondents indicated that they considered themselves to be of above average intelligence, a statistically impossible result which indicates that 48% of humanity are “in deni…