Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Intelligence

When my husband was young, he took an IQ test. He had been excelling in school, so I guess they wanted to see his test results. It turned out that he does have a high IQ, so he was put in gifted and talented classes. Back then in California, the gifted and talented classes were really good, and took the kids on outings on the ocean, and to tide pools and such. These days they are pretty much stuck in the class room because of budget cuts. But I digress.... I have never taken an IQ test. I wasn't particularly gifted in school, but I think part of that is probably due to a little ADD. I distinctly remember spending much of my time at school day dreaming instead of listening to the teacher. I didn't get horrible grades, but I didn't really do well in school until I started college and had developed a little more ability to pay attention. I admit that even today, I have a hard time paying attention when someone is teaching, unless they are really speaking dynamically, or telling something very interesting. It's a constant battle to keep my mind on the speaker. But I never had my IQ tested, and I grew up feeling like I wasn't particularly intelligent because of my struggles in school.

In recent years I found these IQ tests online. I have taken several, and I always get the same result. I also saw a television show once that had a "virtual" IQ test that you could take while watching the show. Once again, I got the same result that I had gotten with the online tests. I kind of doubt any of them are accurate, but I do think it's interesting that I always get the same result.

The other day my kids were watching "Rob Dyrdeks'Fantasy Factory". It's not my favorite show. In my opinion, it's a bunch of adults who never grew up. It is funny at times, but I don't think it sets a very good example for children. And there is swearing, although it is "bleeped" out. I have seen some of these shows in the past, and always wondered why these grown people spend their entire life playing children's games. Well, this particular show focused on IQ. They decided they were going to all take IQ tests, and Rob would give a prize to the person with the highest IQ. I was SHOCKED that they had such low IQs! I guess I thought that if you are successful in business, you probably have higher intelligence. Most of the people on the show had an IQ of 100. I guess that technically is average, but I really wonder if that is average. I should ask "Dr. Psycho", but I really thought most people would have higher numbers than that.

So here is my dilemma. Part of me would like to know my IQ. But if I have an IQ of 100..... that would be hard to take, especially considering my husband's IQ. Part of me wants to know, and part of me is afraid to know! lol

In all fairness, I have seen really smart people make really stupid decisions, so maybe I shouldn't put so much stock in IQ afterall. I do have some very smart friends. And I follow some very smart bloggers. I'm sure that bloggers like Looney, and Bunc, and Beetle Blogger have much higher IQs than me. I just like to follow along for the intellectual ride. :)

I do have to say that I think I have a fairly high EQ. (emotional quotient). My high IQ husband can't even begin to grasp some social situations, or emotional struggles of people. So while there is something to be said for high intelligence, it isn't the sum of all intelligence. But I sure hope my score isn't low. :)

10 comments:

Mediocre Renaissance Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mediocre Renaissance Man said...

**Spelling correction.**

I hope you don't mind if I share a little of my recently acquired insight into this topic.

I too had taken several online, free IQ tests and gotten fairly consistent results for the last several years. There was still a bit of a spread (a 20 point difference) between the highest and lowest scores I received, but the results were consistent enough that I felt they were fairly accurate.

I recently (this year) had the opportunity to have the real deal, full IQ test administered to me by psychologists. It was quite an experience, and I had a pretty good time. If you ever have the opportunity to do it, you should. Not to get an IQ number, but to learn things about yourself.

The real test measured so much more than those little online tests could ever measure, and a real IQ score is more than just a single number.

I'd like to summarize what I learned from my experience for you in these two points:

1. The online IQ tests are weighted and scored inaccurately. My intuition tells me that they are designed to score people with an average or low IQ a little higher (to make them feel good) and people with high IQs a little lower (from what I know of you, I'd say you fall into this second category). My actual overall IQ score was about twenty points higher than the highest score I ever got from an online IQ test. I'd be interested in seeing if your husband's true IQ is also higher than the scores those tests give, but since his score is a snapshot of his IQ at the time he took the test (when he was young), the comparison wouldn't be valid.

2. The IQ number that people toss around is not important - not just because it's not a true measure of a person's complete reasoning ability, but because it is merely a composite score derived from several more accurate, specific scores that are useful for measuring a person's abilities in particular areas of reasoning and mental performance.

While I don't have all of the numbers from each category, nor do I remember precisely what those categories were, I do remember that in several categories I was at or a little below average, and in other categories my IQ was even higher than the composite score.

One interesting thing I learned about myself through all of this (and an example of why I think you should take the real test too) was that my memory isn't as bad as I thought it was. I went through my whole life (thus far) feeling like I had a terrible memory, but when I got the IQ test scores back my memory IQ score was actually right on the average line. The psychologist reasoned that I probably felt that my memory was inadequate and faulty compared with my enhanced logical capacities in other areas. Thus, what felt like a handicap for me was really just a normal ability that was only inferior relative to my other strengths.

So if you have a chance to take a real IQ test (the kind that lasts all day and is administered by psychologists), you should. Just don't expect to walk away from it with an IQ like the one you get from online tests.

Delirious said...

That is a really great comment Brian. I was very interested to hear what you had to say about the online tests. My online score was higher than average, so I hope I fall in to that second category, but somehow I doubt it. lol

One thing I have heard, that I hope Dr. Psycho can confirm, is that your IQ test score should stay pretty consistent throughout your life. My husband took one as a child, but then took one again as an adult, and got the same score. I wonder if he would agree to do an online test so that I can see what results he gets.

I have to say that I do think I have a lot of weak intelllectual areas, although I do have some strong ones. I've always been a little "math phobic", so those left brain skills aren't strong for me. If that is a large part of the test, I probably wouldn't do well....

Mediocre Renaissance Man said...

I don't know how much variance can occur in the score over the course of a lifetime, but it was explained to me that your age is actually a factor in calculating the score, so it seems to me that an individual who stops learning and developing their mental acuity would end up with a lower score later in life. That's logical, but it doesn't mean I'm right. ;)

I'm sure you're above average, if the "average person" I meet everyday is any indication then you may be well above average. :D

I don't remember there being any one part of the test that was more prominent than another. All the aspects they measured seemed pretty well balanced to me. Like I said, it was actually a lot of fun. That day of testing was one of the most enjoyable days I've had (as far as days away from my family go) in a long time.

Ramana Rajgopaul said...

What on earth for? I had to take one a long time ago for a job opening and I refused to. I still got the job. I have lived a very comfortable life and have had a rich and varied career the contacts made during which, are still among my good friends. Why go looking for something that will nothing to my current state of existence?

Inklings said...

Dee Ice and his 3 brothers had IQ tests when they were in the National Guard. They were all 4 in the same unit and their commander wasa psychologist who wanted to do a study on the brothers. They were all 4 high and only 1 point apart in score.
I have never had one, but I'm like you -once your husband announces his high IQ score it's a little intimidating to take it yourself. :0)
Do you remember when the Reader's Digest had an article on Mensa and a sample test there to see if you qualified for membership? Dad was valedictorian of his high school class in Los Angeles so he wanted us all to take that RD test, in fact he insisted on it. Several of us took the test and it was so funny because everyone who took it outscored Dad! :0)

Max Coutinho said...

Hey D,

These IQ tests are not primordial in testing one's intelligence for several reasons, being one of them the fact that there are several levels of intelligence. Plus, when people take them we have to bear in mind their state of mind, the meals they have had that day, the level of stress etc...

"I just like to follow along for the intellectual ride" - I loved this sentence :D!

As far as I am concerned, you are extremely intelligent!

Cheers

PsychDoctor said...

Low IQs remain constant throughout someone's life. If a child scores low, they will generally have struggles even as adults. A high IQ score as a child might not remain as high as an adult. Often children score very high and then later on they score closer to average.

The IQ tests I administer at work measure the following:
Verbal Comprehension skills (Defining words, finding abstract relationships between words, and providing knowledge about history/science/geography/literature)

Perceptual REasoning (Visuo-spatial processing, Nonverbal reasoning, abilities to see patterns and sequences, abilities to break a whole object into its composite parts, ability to rotate objects in one's mind)

Processing Speeds (how quickly one can process simple information such as copying information from one place to another or visually scanning symbols) Those with high processing speeds are better at multi-tasking, etc.

Working Memory (the ability to hold information in one's short-term memory while conducting some mental operation with that information)

the overall combined score is the Full Scale IQ...

But yes, most people score around 100...very seldom do I test people above 120 and I consider someone above 110 to be extremely bright and able to succeed at college/university/master's program, etc.

I did test one guy from Salt Lake that had an IQ of 156...nearly aced the test...

Nene said...

This was all really interesting and I enjoyed reading everyone's comments.

Epitome of Sweetness said...

IQ just means that you're capable of being smart...doesn't actually mean you are smart. If you don't learn, you're still dumb!