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IQ tests are bogus

by Zero
Tags: bogus, tests
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Mar20-04, 10:16 AM
P: 4
Again, very much enjoy reading the replies. In 1983 Dr. Howard Gardner wrote a fascinating book, "Frames of Mind", in which he discussed the Seven Intellingences. They are: Logical/Mathematic,
Verbal/Linguistic, Visual/Spacial, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Musical, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal and Naturalist (this was recently added).
He can be contacted at Harvard University at: There are also several websites that address this, just search under The Seven Intelligences.
Dr. Gardner's study of how people learn and use intelligence can be very helpful as he focuses not so much on numbers, but what intelligence is and that all persons posses strengths in each of the categories. In addition he explains how one can use this information.
Hope this will be helpful.
Mar21-04, 06:11 AM
hitssquad's Avatar
P: 1,382
Originally posted by dyslexic
In 1983 Dr. Howard Gardner wrote a fascinating book, "Frames of Mind", in which he discussed the Seven Intellingences.

Howard Gardner has been perceived as a critic of g theory and of tests that mainly reflect g, such as the IQ. I suspect that this is partly, if not largely, the basis of the popularity accorded Gardner's views, especially in educational circles, as many teachers feel desperate over the wide range of individual differences displayed in their classes. If a child has a low IQ and is doing poorly in school, there are, according to Gardner's theory, [tex]^{[32]}[/tex] several other kinds of "intelligence" in one or more of which the child may excel. Two of the seven "intelligences" claimed by Gardner -- linguistic and logical-mathematical -- would considerably overlap the conventional IQ. The remaining five "intelligences" are spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, and two kinds of personal "intelligences," intrapersonal, or the perception of one's own feelings, and interpersonal, or the perception of others' feelings, motives, and the like (also called "social intelligence"). As exemplars of each of these "intelligences" Gardner mentions the following famous persons: T. S. Eliot (linguistic), Einstein (logical-mathematical), Picasso (spatial), Stravinsky (musical), Martha Graham (bodily-kinesthetic), Sigmund Freud (intrapersonal), and Mahatma Gandhi (interpersonal). In an interesting book [tex]^{[33]}[/tex] Gardner gives biographical analyses of each of these famous creative geniuses to illustrate his theory of multiple "intelligences" and of the psychological and developmental aspects of socially recognized creativity. When I personally asked Gardner for his estimate of the lowest IQ one could possibly have and be included in a list of names such as this, he said, "About 120." This would of course exclude 90 percent of the general population, and it testifies to the threshold nature of g. That is, a fairly high level of g is a necessary but not sufficient condition for achievement of socially significant creativity.

Gardner's seven "intelligences" were not arrived at through the factor analysis of psychometric tests, but are identified in terms of several kinds of categorical criteria, such as the extent to which an ability can be impaired or preserved in isolation by brain damage, the existence of idiots savants and prodigies in the particular ability, a common set of information-processing operations, a distinct developmental history, evolutionary plausibility, type of encoding in a symbolic system, modular or domain-specific abilities revealed by laboratory tasks, and the finding that psychometric tests such as IQ have low correlations with at least three of Gardner's seven "intelligences."

The boundaries of these criteria seem vague or elastic and one can easily imagine other "intelligences" that could be admitted by such criteria. Why is there no "sexual intelligence" (Casanova) or "criminal intelligence" (Al Capone)?

Some of Gardner's seven "intelligences" clearly correspond to well-identified group factors, such as linguistic (or verbal), logical-mathematical (or quantitative reasoning), and spatial. Tests of these abilities are all highly g loaded, and many elements of musical aptitude have been found to be moderately g loaded (see Chapter 8, p. 223). Other of Gardner's "intelligences" are not yet quantified or measurable in a way that makes it possible at present to assess their g loadings or their place in the factor analytic hierarchy. Some may not meet the criteria of mental abilities as set forth in Chapter 3, but are rather products of psychometrically identified abilities and certain personality traits (see Chapter 14, pp. 572-578). The completely nonquantitative nature of Gardner's theorizing about "intelligences" makes it impossible to assess their relative importance in terms of variance accounted for in the total range of human variation or in terms of their predictive validity in real-life situations.

As interesting as his theory of "multiple intelligences" may seem from the standpoint of literary psychology, in which Gardner has no betters, it is hard to see that it contributes anything substantively new to the taxonomy of abilities and personality discovered by factor analysis.

In fact, it is hard to justify calling all of the abilities in Gardner's system by the same term -- "intelligences." If Gardner claims that the various abilities he refers to as "intelligences" are unrelated to one another (which has not been empirically demonstrated), what does it add to our knowledge to label them all "intelligences"? All of them, of course, are abilities (as defined in Chapter 3), several qualify as group factors, and at least three of the seven are known to be substantially g loaded. To assign to the remaining traits the label "intelligences" makes no more sense to me than regarding chess-playing ability an athletic skill. (After all, playing chess requires some little physical activity, and chess players are jokingly called "wood pushers"). Bobby Fisher, then, could be claimed as one of the world's greatest athletes, and many sedentary chess players might be made to feel good by being called athletes. But who would believe it? The skill involved in chess isn't the kind of thing that most people think of as athletic ability, nor would it have any communality if it were entered into a factor analysis of typical athletic skills. Gardner's analogous extension of the ordinary meaning of "intelligence" probably serves more to make people feel good than to advance the science of mental ability.

In summary, I find nothing in Gardner's writings that could be considered a technically meaningful or coherent criticism of g theory. Gardner is at his best in writing about persons with some unusual accomplishment to illustrate his theory of different kinds of "intelligences." Galton, in his Hereditary Genius (1869), recognized that a high level of general ability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for outstanding achievement. Besides an above-average level of g, an exceptionally synergistic combination of special abilities or talents and personality traits is always found in the kinds of outstanding exemplars of Gardner's several kinds of "intelligences," such as the famous persons mentioned above. Most psychomtricians would probably agree with the criticism of Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligences" in a recent textbook [tex]^{[34]}[/tex] on "intelligence": "I have argued that a consideration of several sources of evidence used by Gardner to establish the existence of independent intelligences may be used to support the existence of a superordinate general intelligence factor. Thus I find his taxonomy to be arbitrary and without empirical foundation. Neither his rejection of a superordinate general factor [g] nor the specific subset of intelligences that he postulates appears to have a firm theoretical or empirical basis" (p. 40).

The g Factor. pp128-130.

32. Gardner, 1983. This is the main exposition of Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligences."

33. Gardner, 1993.

34. Brody, 1992.

dyslexic wrote
Dr. Gardner's study ... can be very helpful as he focuses ... on ... that all persons posses strengths
Then he is what is known as a motivational speaker.
Mar23-04, 08:30 AM
P: 3
Originally posted by Evo
I remember reading recently of a nobel prize winning scientist that scored horribly on IQ tests.
That makes sense. IQ tests only measure a narrow range of mental faculties namely pattern recognition (ie. Raven Progressive Matrices). There are so many facets of "intelligence" that I feel IQ tests just totally skimp out on.
Mar27-04, 10:30 PM
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Kerrie's Avatar
P: 1,192
okay, i didn't want to read through every post here, but i completely agree with zero's initial point that IQ tests are bogus...they only measure a small perspective of intelligence, over a broad range of talents (creativity, musical ability, artistic ability, social ability, etc)...unfortunately, the "IQ" or typical book smart has become the indicator of real intelligence in society.

i was given all sorts of geomety and puzzle tests when i was school i was put into TAG programs, and i became intimidated by school and education because of the "push" to do my best...i agree with doing your best, but pusing a child into it is almost discouraging the free and creative use of their own talents...although i was labeled as TAG, i never finished college because of the pressure to do my best perhaps, but i still use my brain in fun activities--such as PF :)
Mar27-04, 10:34 PM
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hitsquad...i have read up some on Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences...very fascinating...
Mar30-04, 03:16 AM
hitssquad's Avatar
P: 1,382
Quote Quote by Kerrie
IQ tests are bogus...they only measure a small perspective of intelligence
Do you mean

1. IQ tests don't largely measure the g factor?


2. the g factor -- instead of being the common source of variance in a broad range of abilities -- is itself actually a narrow ability?


3. the g factor is the common source of variance in a broad range of abilities, but its variance accounts for little variance in success compared with that accounted for by variance in ability-profile?

unfortunately, the "IQ" or typical book smart has become the indicator of real intelligence in society.
Children rescued from severely adverse conditions (such as years continuously isolated in dark attics with no toys or other intellectual stimulants) have been found -- though they had, initially upon rescue, zero literacy and almost no ability to communicate -- to have normal or higher IQs. What do you mean by the "IQ" or typical book smart?
Mar30-04, 05:08 AM
P: 454
From the replies here it seems very few, if any, have actually done a real IQ test. They do not measure only a small range of mental faculties. They do not only measure pattern recognition capabilities.
Mar30-04, 08:14 PM
motai's Avatar
P: 496
My personal experience with IQ tests have been frustrating. I remember back in elementary school I was never accepted into the "gifted" program and it rather demoralized me, as I knew that I could have done better. According to them I was unable to succeed in higher-level courses. They were wrong. Some of the people that I knew in the "gifted" program weren't so gifted at all, some eventually fell into the wrong crowd and resorted to juvenile-like behavior.

I also think that the IQ test establishes a negative effect on study habits. Those with self-proclaimed high IQ test scores will think that they can slide through school while doing little to no work (i.e. "My IQ score is high so I dont have to study or do my homework").
Mar30-04, 09:47 PM
P: 4
Just finished reading the latest replies to the I.Q. question. HitSquad, very much enjoyed your dissertation concerning Dr. Gardner, well written. I have read and taught extensively about g factor (I am a former special education high school teacher), and indeed this must be taken into account when doing workups on students. Typically we administered a battery of written and oral tests to get a detailed analysis of the student (this often took many months). Special Education tests are usually administered twice during high school. Once this was accomplished, we then worked up an Individual Education Plan. The I.E.P., when used correctly, and with parent involvement / support, is a wonderful tool for the student and the teachers involved. Usually when a student is about a sophomore in High School they are prompted to start writing the I.E.P. themselves with some guidance from teachers and parents. By the time the student is a senior they should be able to write the I.E.P. themselves and present it at the I.E.P. meeting at the beginning of the school year. Unfortunately this does not always happen, nor do most parents and students know much about this program or section 504 of the education laws. I.E.P.'s can be written for students in Special Education or Gifted Programs. College students can even write a type of I.E.P. under section 504. I know this is somewhat off the beaten path of the tread, but thought this may be in some small way helpfull to the overall I.Q. question.
If a person is to be tested for learning ability, or some lack thereof, one must look at what we called the 'Fund of Knowledge' of the individual. If one is given several types of I.Q. Tests (each test is designed to test specific brain function to a more or less degree), pyscomotor ability, cognitive function, application of knowledge, retrieval and storage ability,etc., the researcher, teacher and student/client can get a fairly accurate picture of how their specific mind works. My task was to assist the students with developing their strong areas, and using those strong areas to compensate for areas that were weak. An individual test by itself was of use, but only gave me information about specific areas of the students brain. Some tests, such as for g, give a broad overview (sometimes much more specific) of the individuals brain functions. Couple this with MRI results and other such tests, it is truly amazing what one can learn! Of course this type of testing can be very expensive.
However, despite all of the advances made in the last 20 years regarding I.Q., brain function, learning styles; there are still many areas that are not adequately addressed, and far too many people fall through the educational system (note some of the replies to this forum). Some are lucky and make or find their own path through pure stuborness, will to succeed, what have you. Some are just overwhelmed by circumstances (I was also a crisis/suicide counselor for many years in adolescent/adult mental health).

In my own case I did not read above the 3rd grade level until I was a junior in high school. A dedicated English teacher taught me how to read and most importantly how to interpret and decipher words, sentences, etc. I was accepted to a junior college. There another English teacher taught me how to write so that others could understand (still not too good at this) a little of what I was trying to write. Later, I was accepted to a private university and after 9 years of college finally graduated. It was not until I was teaching special ed that I finally found out that I also was not too different from my students. Up to that point I was given the usual diagnosis for students that do not perform well in school (not much was known about learning disabilities/differences in the 60's 70's). As with many, my I.Q. testing was totally baffling, as I expected it to be much, much lower than what the tests indicated. I still read about 25 words a minute, have little or no math ability (yet understand quantum physics and the mathematics that goes with it as if were basic adding/subtraction. My mentors have not yet figured out why I can). Cannot spell without an electronic dictionary, stutter quite a lot when not working in my profession (teaching pilots about Human Factors, advanced aircraft systems, weather, flying advanced aircraft, all the usual pilot stuff). Yet, I would not trade my situation for another--I enjoy my challenges to a great degree, even though at times the challenge is very difficult, but there are also many more advantages than challenges.

So to conclude this rather lengthy disertation. To obtain a true picture of I.Q. a battery of tests should be taken. Once the results are in, one must seek guidance as to how to interpret the information so that maximum benefit of the information can be used. Finally, one must learn to apply the intelligence so as to be of benefit to themselves and society. It is a life long quest.
Again, I hope this was of use to someone, and pardon for the long reply, I generaly don't write lengthy replies-in future I will keep my replies shorter.
Mar30-04, 11:13 PM
hitssquad's Avatar
P: 1,382
Quote Quote by dyslexic
HitSquad, very much enjoyed your dissertation concerning Dr. Gardner, well written.
I can't take credit for it since I cut-and-pasted it from Chapter 5 ("Challenges to g") of Arthur R. Jensen's 1998 book The g Factor (as noted in my post).
Mar31-04, 09:39 AM
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P: 8,147
Dyslexic, your testimony belies the claim you made that you have trouble with writing. It was wonderful! Clear, passionate and cogent.

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