Why the IQ test itself is not smart

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Have you noticed the “free IQ tests” that appear all the time on your Facebook feed? The Cambridge Analytica scam has proven that these can only go so far as to trick your device into stealing data.

However, growing up, we surely heard about IQ testing and why Einstein was the smartest man in the world with an IQ of 160 (a myth, by the way). Over time, the finer details of this legendary intelligence measurement test unfold. Despite the mass appeal, hundreds of researchers have seriously questioned IQ tests as to its legitimacy.

The intelligence of IQ tests

The IQ or intelligence quotient test is the most widely used and well-known tool for measuring human intelligence. Its measurements have changed countless times. However, today’s IQ test works on working memory, verbal reasoning, and visuospatial skills.

All of these metrics are combined and presented in a single score – the IQ score. An IQ score of 80-120 is the average, and statistics show that 68% of the population falls within that range. Scores outside this range are considered exceptions, for better or worse.

IQ test and its dark past

The IQ tests crossed a dark and rocky trail on his long journey. It was first used in 1905 to classify children for academic help. Since then, the test has been used and abused by many parties.

The first large-scale confirmed IQ test took place in the United States before WWI. Said experiments on children marked ethnic minorities as intellectually inferior, leading to their social segregation. In 1924, the state of Virginia permitted forced sterilization of people with low IQs. Under Hitler, Germany went one step further and simply “wiped out” at least 5,000 children with below-average IQ scores.

IQ tests are fundamentally flawed

Even though IQ tests lasted almost a century, this method has a biased and flawed conception. First, intelligence is an abstract idea. The intelligence categorization approach is a common complaint itself.

Second, researchers have proven that the IQ test has low statistical validity since any individual will generate different results by taking the same test over and over. Additionally, IQ tests tend to focus only on fluid intelligence (which is simply task oriented) and overlook our crystallized intelligence (which we bring together through life experience). For these reasons, the IQ test was characterized as incomplete, impractical and partially invalid.

What methods to rely on?

After this unpopular discussion, you might wonder if IQ tests are flawed on so many levels, then what actually works? Scientists and psychologists have worked diligently for decades to correct the errors in IQ tests. “NeurOlympics” is as advanced as a neurological assessment tool can be and well received by health and performance experts.

However, IQ tests can be supplemented by an array of tests that measure different parts of human intelligence. These tests include Social Quotient (SQ), Emotional Quotient (EQ), and Success Tests.

IQ tests can only “measure” a fraction of the ever-changing human intellect. Now you know, those who without irony associate the intelligence of people with only two or three digits probably wouldn’t score very high on IQ tests.

The references

1. The New York Times (July 22, 1984). Rethinking IQ tests and their value.

2. The Conversation (October 11, 2017). The IQ Testing War: Why Intelligence Tracing Is Still So Controversial.


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