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IQ Question

  1. Jan 17, 2004 #1
    I was looking over the IQ threads and I found them quite interesting. But something I've always wondered is how are ICQ tests sufficient? They measure how intelligent you are?

    Dictionary.com defines intelligence as: The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge.

    ICQ tests ask you a various assortment of questions based on different categories. In reality doesnt the test just tell you how much information you know. When in reality it wouldnt be testing your intelligence at all. For example it asks you to solve a math problem? But maybe your an English major. Who is to say if taught you couldn't easily acquire the abilities to solve the problem if you were taught?

    Also when I was younger I got a 139 on an online test. The most recent one I took was probably I year ago I got 109. I'm going on 16 in April so my age problem lowers my ability to get accurate results I'm guessing?

    I suppose I'm being a bit obsessive. Probably because I use my intelligence and wisdom as a method to increase my ego to survive the brutal High School world. Its working for me. :wink:

    Anyway thanks to those who respond. Also for those curtious people who try and explain it in simpliar words its fine. I'd rather have difficulty grasping whatever concept you are explaining and learn something than not learn something at all because it was made easier for me.
     
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  3. Jan 17, 2004 #2
    The capacity to acquire and apply knowledge.

    That's pretty on the money.

    There is no shortage of IQ test websites that return results that are 20 times higher than the real score so that you will send money for the rest of their services. One website told me my IQ was 180. I happen to know I'm nowhere near that smart, but I was smart enough to know it. That was my first experience with one of these sites trying to entice me to send them money so that I could see "the rest of my results" and then I started hearing about it from other people. Caveat emptor, they say. Fools and their money are soon parted.

    Taking the mensa test might help you guage your intelligence. Also, an IQ score should be arrived at by taking several, perhaps 5, IQ tests over a period of time and then averaging everything out. People like to grumble about the validity of intelligence tests; but like the MMPI, which psychologists allow can't tell you everything about someone personality as if you had mind melded with them, but it's close enough! If you score 180, probably you're fairly bright. If you score 80, probably you are not.

    There are personality quirks that are hints suggesting being above average. Above average ppl. don't take things personally, insults or compliments. They have their own thoughts about things (don't care if they're the only one laughing out loud in the theatre or at a joke -- or not laughing). They judge things from a clinical point of view instead of an emotional one. They have their emotions, but they're emotions don't have them. They're resourceful when it comes to dealing with stress (one study of Vietnam vets suggested that Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome was more prevalent among soldiers with below average intelligence -- the psychologists wrote that they thought one explanation might be that the smarter ones, while no less horrified by what they experienced, were more resourceful at coping). They don't drop 10 dollar vocabulary words when a 2 dollar one will suffice. Just some things I've noticed...

    It's still true that tests in school only measure the ability to take tests. If you want me to elaborate on that, let me know. Not enough space here!
     
  4. Jan 17, 2004 #3
    IQ tests do measure the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge. However in the strictest sense, IQ tests do not measure intelligence - they measure, to the best of their ability, "psychometric g," which is the underlying construct inherent to every known mental ability - spelling, reaction time, memory (digit span), and reasoning; you name it, g is part of it.

    (In my opinion as a layman, true intelligence is probably not exactly g, but instead a combination of g, visuospatial ability, verbal ability, and a host of other factors. This is analogous to strength not being total muscle mass but instead muscular development over specific as well as general areas.)

    This stated, however, the way everyone uses words, intelligence and g are essentially the same thing, and, judging by the importance of g, this isn't an oversimplification. It's largely just an academic footnote but hopefully it'll obviate confusion.

    It just doesn't work out that way. People who score badly on tests of mathematical aptitude also tend to score poorly on tests of verbal ability. This is the essence of g: Suck at one thing? Suck at most things.

    My own IQ is somewhere around 170. I compose excellent music (I get rave reviews from friends and strangers) I write excellent poetry, I write and draw and win video game tournaments, and I'm a physics major. I am (perhaps obnoxiously) good at everything, and am a perfect example of how g works - these various skills and abilities seem disparate, but g is present in all of them.

    I've discussed this subject with a professional psychometrician (he administered IQ tests for a living). According to him, and every other source available to me, online IQ tests are bunk.

    In my opinion, this has far more to do with Field Independence than intelligence. In my experience, intelligent humanities majors (who tend to be Field Dependent) take everything personally.

    According to Chris Brand and others, some giveaways for g are:

    * Attractiveness
    * Talking speed & vocabulary
    * Breadth and depth of interests and knowledge
    * Height and slenderness
    * Myopia (wearing glasses)

    Of course, the correlations between these things and g are small, so someone could display each and every one of them and still be a blithering nimrod.

    Actually this can go either way. Someone who uses large words and complex or archaic grammatical forms isn't going to be of below average intelligence, so the question is whether he is "a little smart or a lot smart." The key to reading people who toss around hefty vocabulary is to try and figure out why they are doing this. If they're doing it to prove to themselves how smart they are, they're probably just maladjusted geeks in the 100-130 range. But they may do it simply because it's natural to them; birds don't fly to show off. Many times I'll make an effort to talk down to people and they'll still complain that I'm confusing.

    Personally I have found this style of writing to be most advantageous to me, since a more lackadaisical style encourages disrespect and a more poetic style is confusing. Sadly, people generally lack the logical ability and motivation needed to separate the text from the cover of a book, and the most effective way I've discovered to convince people of my views is to make them fear to even think of disagreeing.


    --Mark
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2004
  5. Jan 17, 2004 #4
    Thats quite interesting. Thanks for the posts. I'm assuming its possible to increase your IQ? Is there any age where an IQ level would reach its prime so to speak and then not increase as rapidly?

    Anyway I guess my IQ whatever it is doesn't have much significance. Most if things I do get accomplished. If they don't its usually because I don't care as much as I thought and don't put alot of effort in them. I'm one of those people who can grasp almost everything but not always quickly - which causes me to ignore somethings.

    Also to Vosh the thing on post tramatic stress disorder. That would have exceptions right? Because J.R.R. Tolkien is said to have suffered from it from it during war time which caused him to be sent home. I'd assume being such a writer he wouldn't be below average intelligence. Or perhaps he somehow tricked people into thinking he had it. Well this is interest.
     
  6. Jan 17, 2004 #5

    selfAdjoint

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    Well you do have to remember that g is the cognitive loading of a particular subject, so it's not really true that "suck at g, suck at everything". Someone could be quite strong at verbal things for example, but poor at understanding abstract relationships.

    Your own gifts are quite remarkable and rare. There is a theorem called regression toward the mean, which says if you have something far out on the tail of a normal curve, the probability that an unrelated but linked thing will also be far out on its curve is small. Example: the children of extremely tall parents are likely to be a little shorter. But also the parents of an extremely tall child are likely to be a little shorter. The point is not children and parents, and it's not causal. It's just the result of sampling from two different populations. If the second curve is not causally related to the first, then the second draw will be random and tend toward the mean.
     
  7. Jan 17, 2004 #6
    The short answer is "not really." Psychometric g fluctuates somewhat from day to day, but despite our best efforts, we haven't found any way to increase it environmentally. This is one of the big reasons why eugenics is so important - it's really our only option if we as a society want to increase our intelligence or even keep what we have now.

    It's just a general trend, the same way it's a general trend that criminals tend to be of low intelligence. As it happens, criminals score around 8 points worse than non criminals on IQ tests and have a mean IQ near 93. This means that around 2 out of every 3 criminals is less intelligent than the average person, but 1 in 3 are more intelligent.

    I wrote "suck at g, suck at most things," and I stand by that statement.

    Yes. The probability that my IQ would be as high as I claim is somewhere in the neighborhood of one in ten thousand. The probability that I am lying is almost certainly higher. Frankly I think IQ stops being meaningful past 160 - the tests work best on people below 130, and as your intelligence gets higher, it becomes more difficult to design accurate tests.


    I love Francis Galton.


    --Mark
     
  8. Jan 20, 2004 #7
    I actually played around with this IQ test available online. I was aghast to find out that its ceiling score was only 145! On my first try, I scored 143.

    I have never taken a proper IQ test before, but I am pretty sure that it is around 120. But I can't really be sure. To give you a scope of my capabilities: I once beat 10,000 students to a prize in a mathematics competition. I am also having trouble at my school (which does not provide advanced placement classes).

    So I do think that I deserve to label myself as having above-average intelligence.

    My experience is that online tests are downright inaccurate.
     
  9. Jan 20, 2004 #8

    selfAdjoint

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    I believe there's a Raven Matrices test online, not one of those phoney commercial ones. Google on raven matrices.
     
  10. Jan 20, 2004 #9
    I just tried that and found 566 hits for sites about it or sites advertizing versions for purchase, and I have no idea which would offer a free online test. Do you remember anything else about the site? Which terms would narrow the search?

    --Mark
     
  11. Jan 20, 2004 #10

    selfAdjoint

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    I'll look around. I remember the large number of returns when I did it last year and I had to fool around with a few before I found what I was looking for.
     
  12. Jan 23, 2004 #11
    It may be beneficial to know that by definition, IQ score of 100 is the average. Some must score higher than 100 and some lower than 100 in any sample group. It just doesn't happen that everyone in a sample group scores higher than 100. Some are bound to come out "dumber" than others.
     
  13. Jan 23, 2004 #12

    selfAdjoint

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    Quite true. As I've said before, the relative IQ's between ethnic groups don't mean there aren't geniuses and dolts in all groups.
     
  14. Jan 23, 2004 #13

    Nereid

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    A certain Austrian gent in the last century agreed with you (though you likely weren't born before he died) and decided to do something about it. You might have heard of him. IIRC, the KKK also agrees with you.
     
  15. Jan 23, 2004 #14

    Evo

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    You're joking, right? No intelligent person would be so self aggrandizing.

    When I was 11, I was put through IQ tests & interviews with psychologists in an attempt by the school I attended to try to figure out why I was so "odd". I don't know what my current IQ is, but at age 11, I was told my IQ was 185, I can't confirm that, maybe my mother can, I didn't know what that meant at the time. My parents were called in and told that I should be placed in a school for the academically able, minimum IQ requirement to even be considered was 140. But you know what? I can't hold a candle to the majority of the people on this forum as far as knowledge goes. IQ tests may show a capacity for understanding, and a smattering of math, but by itself doesn't mean squat. So don't let a high IQ go to your head.

    OMG, "talk down" to people? Condescension is such a lovely quality...

    Nachtwolf, maybe you are smart, but you really need to work on your personality.
     
  16. Jan 24, 2004 #15
    No, he didn't. If he did, his party wouldn't have outlawed IQ tests.

    *Gasp* They agree with me about the earth being round, too! And I'll bet you think the earth is round, too! We all have so much in common. We should have tea together sometime.

    I know other brilliant people who are open about it. There will always be those who feel offended by such candid admissions, yet I can’t help but find their discomfort amusing.

    Hahaha! At the risk of coming off as even more of a meanie, I'd like to point out that sarcasm is generally considered condescending. And of course so is this:

    How shockingly rude! My brain reels in dismay from your bluntness!

    On a more serious note, I have different motivations and goals from most people. I don't view this bulletin board as a personality contest in which the more people like me, the better, since I don't derive my self esteem from the approbation of others and am perfectly comfortable when people say "you're a jerk, but I think you're right."

    So, Evo, let me ask you (since Nereid is having a little trouble getting past knee jerk prejudices) what do you think about dysgenics? Have you an opinion on the statement that "intelligence is partially genetic, and if the smart people are out-reproduced by the dummies, this will have a negative impact on society?"


    --Mark
     
  17. Jan 24, 2004 #16

    Nereid

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    Eugenics?

    Nachtwolf: "...This is one of the big reasons why eugenics is so important - it's really our only option if we as a society want to increase our intelligence or even keep what we have now."

    Nereid: "A certain Austrian gent in the last century agreed with you [...] and decided to do something about it."

    Nachtwolf: "No, he didn't. If he did, his party wouldn't have outlawed IQ tests."

    Perhaps 'eugenics' has a different meaning in the English spoken where you live. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, it's "The study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding."

    A quote from http://www.yale.edu/opa/v28.n21/story10.html:
    "Eugenics describes the process of supposedly strengthening the human race through selective breeding. The Nazis ordered forced sterilization of individuals suffering from diseases thought to be hereditary, among them schizophrenia, epilepsy, alcoholism, manic depression, hereditary deafness or blindness, severe hereditary physical deformity, Huntington's chorea and congenital feeblemindedness."

    Perhaps you have a different view of what happened in Germany at that time?
     
  18. Jan 24, 2004 #17

    selfAdjoint

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    Nereid, the Nazi breeding program was based on an unscientific race mystique. The Nazis were contemptuous of science, and really of rationalt=ity in general.

    Eugenics doesn't cause holocausts, people cause holocausts.

    (Not that I am defending any use of eugenics, it's just your guilt by association argument that bugs me.)
     
  19. Jan 24, 2004 #18

    Nereid

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    SelfAdjoint,

    Point taken. I know I get emotional about this, it's almost always guaranteed to set me off.

    A debate about eugenics may be a good idea - Nachtwolf, would you like to start a thread?
     
  20. Jan 24, 2004 #19

    Moonbear

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    I don't believe there is much heritability to intelligence. You can have two complete idiots breed and somehow wind up with a wonderfully intelligent child, quite possibly because that child had to learn how to fend for his/herself early on. Or, you can have two intelligent or successful people wind up with a complete idiot for a child because they've just handed everything to their kid without ever making him/her work for it or think about anything (e.g., Paris Hilton). I really think most of our potential for achieving a certain level of intelligence is experience-based.

    Much of what is addressed in IQ tests is not how many vocabulary words you know or how many syllables they have, or whether you can solve multivariable calculus problems, it's about how well you recognize patterns and relationships among things. It's not about how much you can memorize lists of facts, it's about how well you can problem-solve. Whether they are predictive of performance in school or work depends largely on what skills are important for your classes or job. Most people can get through high school without ever learning anything other than rote memorization of gobs of facts. The way colleges have been dumbing down their grading curves, you can get through a lot of college courses the same way. Frighteningly, I've seen the same work for medical school. Complete idiots who couldn't problem-solve their way out of a paper bag can pass med school classes with flying colors because they can memorize insane amounts of facts just long enough to regurgitate it onto a fill-in-the-bubble exam. Same with a number of jobs. If your job requires just following the boss' orders, then you're going to do very well if you're not thinking too much about things. However, if you need to understand relationships between concepts, find creative solutions to problems, or even recognize there are problems that need solving, then those situations start to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    As for this nonsensical discussion of eugenics and stupid people breeding, it's basic population genetics that stupid people have more children. If they are truly that stupid, they probably aren't very good parents, and therefore, they need more children to ensure any of their offspring survive to reproductive age. However, where this falls apart is in our society who keeps coddling the idiots rather than forcing them to take responsibility for their own bad choices. We give them handouts, send the children off to be raised by more competent parents, pay their medical bills, etc. On the other hand, there's nothing you can do to make more intelligent people have more children. They are going to do a very good job raising just one or two and know that if they had more, they couldn't give the kids the time and attention they need to develop into responsible adults. But, the biggest limitation to this whole notion is that intelligent women just can't find intelligent men to breed with (Sorry, couldn't resist that last line.)
     
  21. Jan 24, 2004 #20

    selfAdjoint

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    The heritability of g, based on twin studies is between 50% and 70%. That is percent of variance between individuals accounted for by heritage.

    You are right about the difference between memorizing "gobs of facts" and problem solving. Education is structured to be of use to the great middle bulge of the bell curve, and those folks can manage the first task but are weak on the second.

    The highest intellectual professions require both. Witten is a top theoretical physicist partly because he knows so many things about physics and especially mathematics that others don't, but also because he can deploy all that he knows effectively to solve problems.
     
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