Higher Doesn't Mean Better: Why IQ Should Be Easier

A life 2023

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Higher Doesn't Mean Better: Why IQ Should Be Easier
Higher Doesn't Mean Better: Why IQ Should Be Easier
Video: Higher Doesn't Mean Better: Why IQ Should Be Easier
Video: Why IQ Tests Are Stupid 2023, February
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IQ, or "intelligence quotient", is just one of many methods that help to measure the mental abilities of a person, which, nevertheless, has managed to become the most popular over the years. IQ tests have been passed, if not all, then many - and the Internet is full of links to various versions of the famous test.

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Alexandra Savina

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The prototype of modern IQ tests appeared in the early twentieth century. It was developed by French psychologists Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon. Binet worked on the instructions of the Minister of Education: his task was to come up with a methodology that would make it possible to determine which children the standard education system is not suitable for - those who need special attention and approach, and vice versa, who may find the school curriculum too easy. Binet identified the criteria on the basis of which, in his opinion, one could reason about intelligence: he proposed measuring the ability to connect concepts, perceive information and reason logically - his idea is still used today. The Binet test was finalized by Stanford University professor Lewis Terman - the new version was called the Stanford-Binet intelligence scale. The very concept of IQ, that is, the intelligence quotient, was proposed by the German psychologist William Stern. Since then, this technique has been rethought many times and extended not only to children, but also to adults. One of the more famous options, for example, is the Eysenck test, developed by the British-German psychologist Hans Eysenck.

Initially, IQ was calculated by the ratio of mental age to chronological age, multiplying the resulting figure by one hundred. For example, if it was found that the mental age of a ten-year-old child was twelve years old, then his IQ was considered equal to 120. If the mental age was considered eight years old, it was 80. Thus, the average value for a ten-year-old child was considered to be 100. Today this idea was abandoned, and The “average” intelligence level is calculated on the basis of the statistical distribution of the sample, that is, how often one or another IQ value occurs among a certain group of people. In addition, modern tests measure not abstract "mind" and "intelligence", but quite specific abilities: the ability to think logically, memory, acquired knowledge and the speed of information processing.

According to researchers, a high result implies a lot of knowledge.

and strong motivation, and low can be obtained in the absence of any of these factors

It is believed that a person's IQ remains approximately the same throughout life. At the same time, the researchers note that the average IQ indicators have increased over the past decades. This process is called the Flynn effect, after the American philosopher James Flynn. In the early eighties, Flynn noticed that IQ test companies were periodically reviewing them. The researcher saw that over the years, people get better at solving tests: the average result of the beginning of the century would be equal to the modern 70, not 100. In the same way, the current average result a century ago would be considered higher - 130. According to Flynn, companies, re-issuing, complicate tests so that the average result is still 100. The effect was observed in thirty countries with different states of the economy, since the First World War.

IQ is believed to grow by about three points per decade, and there are various explanations for this. One of the most popular is an increase in the quality of life, including the development of medicine and an improvement in nutrition. The logic is simple: the more comfortable conditions we live, the more opportunities we have to realize our potential. Flynn himself associates the effect with an increase in the level of education (only from 2000 to 2014, according to UNESCO, the number of students receiving higher education more than doubled, from one hundred to two hundred and seven million people), and how work has changed - today more and more professions imply not only mechanical work, but also cognitive effort. In addition, many people say that today we think better (and more often) in abstract categories - the test is strongly related to this.In recent years, there has been evidence that IQ growth rates are declining and the Flynn effect is no longer working, but recent meta-analysis does not support this theory.

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Interestingly, Alfred Binet himself admitted that his method has limitations. He said that one should not consider the test as a self-sufficient way to assess intellectual abilities in general, and proposed to talk about intelligence in a complex way, believing that "intellectual qualities cannot be measured as a linear surface."

Scientists are increasingly thinking about this issue. For example, a 2011 University of Pennsylvania study found that not only cognitive ability but also motivation affected IQ test scores. Moreover, it has a stronger effect not on those who show high results, but on the contrary. Thus, according to the researchers, a high result implies a lot of knowledge and strong motivation, and a low result can be obtained in the absence of any of these factors - that is, it does not necessarily mean that it is only a matter of intellectual abilities.

Many, like Binet, say that human intelligence is difficult to fit into one test. Psychologist W. Joel Schneider, for example, notes that a lower test score can mean less skill in several different areas. And vice versa - the average result can be obtained due to a large difference in abilities: even if a person is greatly superior to others in one thing, his overall assessment may not turn out so high.

IQ tests in the US have long been used by eugenicists to find support for their views.

The Daily Telegraph and New Scientist magazine have launched their own version of the Intelligence Test, which they believe should provide a more complete picture. Their half-hour test consisted of twelve types of tasks that test different cognitive skills - for example, memory, logical thinking, attentiveness, planning skills - and also takes into account data on the respondent's lifestyle and past. The authors of the test concluded that cognitive ability can be measured by assessing the ability by at least three criteria: short-term memory, logical thinking and verbal component. “When we come to such a complex subject of assessment as the human brain, the idea that there is only one scale of measurement cannot be correct. We can all think of people with poor logical thinking and excellent memory, or excellent language skills who are not good at reasoning,”says Dr. Roger Highfield, Telegraph columnist and co-author of the study.

In addition, there are many controversial moments in the century-old history of IQ tests. Hans Eysenck, who created the popular IQ test, for example, linked the value of the IQ to genetics and drew parallels between it and racial theory - naturally, demonstrating not the most progressive views. Scientists do believe that IQ test results can be partially explained by hereditary factors - but this idea is often superimposed on racist prejudices that ignore such important factors as environmental influences, which help or, conversely, hinder the development of a person's existing abilities. Unsurprisingly, IQ tests in the United States have long been used by eugenicists to find support for their views. Attempts at segregation and revision of views on migration legislation were associated with the IQ - and not so long ago as it might seem.

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At the same time, when talking about tests, they often ignore how much they themselves, and the resulting results are due to culture and cultural attitudes. Daphne Marchenko, a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, notes that what is considered "intellectual" in one environment may, on the contrary, be regarded as a manifestation of ignorance in another.In her opinion, this can be said, for example, about the ability to understand plants and their properties, which in Western society is not considered to be a manifestation of high culture. “Due to the 'cultural specificity' of intelligence, some studies have argued that IQ tests prioritize the environment in which they were developed - predominantly white Western society,” Marchenko said. - Because of this, they become very ambiguous in a more culturally diverse environment. When the same test is applied in different communities, it ignores the diverse cultural attitudes that shape those communities and what they consider to be intellectual manifestations.”

But even within a more homogeneous culture, IQ and increased attention to it seems to be not only a measure of success, but also an artificial limitation. It is customary to associate high IQ results with success in later life: studies show that people with a high IQ are more likely to be more successful at work, earn more, and live longer. It is important to understand that this is only about correlation - scientists do not believe that a high test score in itself guarantees career success and better health. Nevertheless, in the mass representation, IQ is considered, if not a magical means, then a pass to a happy future - it is no coincidence that dozens of lists of celebrities with especially high IQs can be found on the Internet. Conversely, talking about people with low rates, as in Forrest Gump, is structured as a story of coping when a person achieves success despite low rates. The fact that completely different qualities can be important for success in life - for example, empathy, the ability to communicate with people, listen to yourself and find what is important to you - fades into the background.

The fact that completely different qualities can be important for success in life - empathy, the ability to communicate with people, listen to yourself and find what is important to you -

fades into the background

Of course, all this does not mean that you need to immediately abandon IQ tests - however, treating them as the only true and accurate way to assess a person's abilities - and himself in general - is definitely not worth it. Dr. Amanda Potter, psychologist at the British Psychological Society, believes that IQ tests are needed primarily to help determine a person's ability to learn: controversial and complex issues and make decisions quickly”. At the same time, she says that not only cognitive abilities are important for a person, but also emotional intelligence (the ability to recognize one's own and other people's feelings and act in accordance with them), and social intelligence (the ability to understand oneself and others, interact and communicate with them) … In the news every now and then you can find more and more new types of intelligence and their corresponding abbreviations. For example, CQ, or cultural intelligence, is the ability to adapt to new cultural contexts, unfamiliar environments, and new signals. It is useful to everyone to remember that the human personality cannot be reduced solely to logical thinking and the ability to solve problems at speed.

PHOTOS: Evgeniia - stock.adobe.com (1, 2, 3)

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