Paul Broca and Sir Francis Galton were the main scientists who thought of measuring intelligence. The idea was to measure the human skull to determine intelligence – the bigger the skull, the smarter the person. Another scientist, Wilhelm Wundt, used introspection to determine intelligence.
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Modern IQ test
In 1905, psychologists Alfred Binet and Théodore Simon devised a test for children in difficulty at school in France. This test was designed after the French Ministry of Education asked researchers to design a test that could distinguish mentally retarded children from normally intelligent children. The test was designed to determine which children required individual attention and formed the idea of an intelligence test. The test was named the Simon-Binet Intelligence Test.
At the end of the 19th century, researchers hypothesized that cognitive abilities such as verbal reasoning, memory, and visuospatial skills reflected an underlying general intelligence or g-factor.
Simon and Binet devised a series of tests to determine each of these abilities and blend the result into a single score. The questions were adjusted for each age group, and a child’s score reflected how well they performed compared to others their age.
Calculation of IQ score
Dividing someone’s score by their age and multiplying the result by 100 gives an IQ score. Today, an IQ score of 100 represents type of a sample population with 68% of the population scoring 15 out of 100 points.
Simon and Binet believed that the abilities assessed by their test would reflect general intelligence. But, to date, there is no single specified definition of general intelligence. This left the door open for people to use the test in commissioning their own preconceived assumption about intelligence.
Why was an IQ test necessary?
What started out as knowing how to spot people who needed academic help quickly grew into the habit of sorting people out in other ways, often in commission of deeply flawed ideologies. One of the major large-scale implementations occurred in the United States during World War I, when the military used an intelligence test. The test was used to select recruits and later screen them for officer training.
At this point, many people believed in eugenics, the concept that desirable and undesirable genetic traits could and should be controlled in humans through selective breeding.
There were many issues with this line of thought, one of which was the concept that intelligence was not only fixed and inherited, but also related to an individual’s race. Under the influence of eugenics, scientists used the results of the military initiative to create false claims that some racial groups were intellectually superior to others. Not taking into account the fact that many of the recruits tested were recent immigrants to the United States with no formal education and no knowledge of English.
Discriminatory uses of the IQ test
In 1924, Virginia created a policy allowing the forced sterilization of people with low IQs, a choice the United States Supreme Court supported.
In Nazi Germany, the government allowed the killing of low IQ children. The Holocaust and therefore the Civil Rights Movement, uses of the IQ test have been challenged for both moral and scientific reasons. Scientists have started to collect evidence of environmental impacts on IQ. Example: As IQ tests were periodically recalibrated throughout the 20th century, newer generations scored consistently higher on older tests than each previous generation. This phenomenon is called the Flynn effect. The cause was probably environmental – better education, better health care, and better nutrition.
In the mid-twentieth century, psychologists attempted to use IQ tests to judge things outside of general intelligence, especially schizophrenia, depression, etc. These diagnoses were based in part on clinical judgment of the elevators and use a subset of tests to determine IQ. – a practice discovered later does not provide clinically useful information. Today, IQ tests use many similar designs and question types, due to early testing, although we have a better technique for identifying potential biases in the test.
Is the IQ test worth it?
A similar practice using subtest scores continues to be used at times to diagnose learning disabilities, against the recommendation of many experts. Psychologists around the world still use IQ tests to detect intellectual disability, and the results are also often used to determine appropriate educational support, job training, and assisted living. Intelligence test results are used to justifying horrific policies and scientifically baseless ideologies. However, that doesn’t mean the test itself is worthless – in reality, it measures reasoning and problem-solving skills. But this may not be equivalent to measuring the potential of an individual.
So, to sum up, there are many complex political, historical, scientific and cultural issues associated with IQ testing, more and more researchers agree on this point and reject the idea that a numerical score can categorize individuals. .
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