IQ Is Different From Intelligence – This Is Why


What’s your IQ? 120, 91, and what does it all mean? Is it even possible to define a person’s intelligence by test?Does who is setting the test and why make a difference to your score? Relax, because everything is addressed in this article.

Origin of Intelligence Quotient

IQ really started with Alfred Binet, who was a Frenchman. His government asked him to develop a test that could determine whether people need remedial help with education.

They later became dubbed “IQ” – intelligence quotient. He warned against that name because, he said they weren’t tests of intelligence. What they were, were tests of a certain kind of ability.

Binet was the originator of intelligence testing, and that led to the concept of IQ that we have today – The idea that somebody could have a general intellectual level that could be measured between 1 and 100.

What happened next was that, it crossed the Atlantic I was adopted by an American psychologist. They decided that:

  • IQ was innate, that you were born with it.
  • There’s nothing you could do to change it.
  • The different population groups, different ethnic groups had different innate Intelligence Quotient.

Historical application of the scores

By 1915, new immigrants trying to get into the USA were IQ tests. Ashkenazi jews tended to score low in these tests, they were discouraged from entering the USA. People from Nordic countries tended to score higher, and were encouraged to enter the country.

Modern empirical view of IQ

The view of the early IQ tests in United States has been subsequently decisively disproved. With Ashkenazi Jews, at the time of the first World War, they had lower than average IQ. But by the time of the second World War, higher than average. The reason for that was, they had better education, better nutrition, and that on average, the parents had become better educated as well. Those factors shifted the average IQ.

Reasons for score variation of IQ test

The reason different groups score differently on IQ relates to the fact that, IQ tests measure abstract intelligence. In other words, your ability to deal with abstract logic. That is determined very significantly by what happens in your early years of your life. So, if you come from a community where there’s a lot of argument, where you’re encouraged to read, where you’re encouraged to discuss things, on average, it’s likely that that community will have high Intelligence Quotients.

IQ tests in the early twentieth century, sometimes women did far worse. That wasn’t always the case. Intelligence tests were based on completing activities, such as completing a puzzle, completing a task, looking at reaction times.

If someone had not engaged in those activities before, if they were for example, a girl that had never been allowed to access these kinds of activities, they wouldn’t perform in the same way as somebody who had done them.

Dangers of Intelligence Quotient tests

One of the dangers of IQ tests is that, people see them as a measure of intelligence, whereas really what they measuring is abstract logic. There are other forms of intelligence, like emotional intelligence, practical intelligence, long term memory, wisdom. Those intelligence, IQ tests don’t measure.

I’m not opposed to IQ test per se, I think they are useful in measuring abilities, and things like maths, science, computer science. This is because, they’re measuring the same kinds of things that Intelligence Quotient tests measure.

I think the biggest misconception about IQ is that, it’s the same thing as intelligence, which it’s not. We’ve seen that Intelligence Quotient can change, so if you practice the tests, your score will go up. Environmental conditions and education can change your score, it’s not fixed.

Brightness is a multi-faceted thing, and multi-faceted things can’t really be measured in terms of a single number. Conversely, that is what IQ tests give you.

They’ve looked at the genetics of intelligence, there are thousands of genes that are responsible, so it is a much more complex thing than what is measured by a single scientific test.

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