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Is IQ misleading?

  1. Jan 23, 2017 #1
    What is interesting is that IQ is based on percentile. Isn't this number a misleading in an intuitive sense?

    For example, consider Einstein. It is estimated that his IQ is somewhere around 160. Obviously this is well within the top one percent.

    But the number doesn't really say how many times more intelligent( computational speed, creativity, being analytic etc) he is compared to someone of an IQ of 100.

    And I think a misconception is that the score implies 60% greater.

    Consider the effects of the tasks. In a few brief moments, he is able to derive things that would normally take an expert entire lifetimes to do. From this viewpoint, the computational/creative power of this brain is obviously far more than 60% greater than average. I would argue that it is so much greater that it is in a sense transcendent.

    IQ is a relative measure. I suspect that it far under represents those at the top.

    I'm just using Einstein as an example. But there are some tasks that those with higher IQ can do many times faster than one that is lower. So this is a general observation.

    Another example are people with eidetic memory. They can perhaps memorize up to hundreds of times faster than a regular human. So that area of the brain is obvious going to be computationally greater by a wide margin.

    So then what encapsulates brain power?
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 23, 2017 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    There are a lot of different metrics that measure different aspects of peoples' cognitive abilities. You might want to start with a search for psychometrics.

    Unless you have a specific reason for wanting to quantify something, i.e. you're studying how exposure to a certain drug changes a person's cognitive function, it's best not to worry too much about such things. Too many people get too worked up over what, when applied incorrectly or out of proper context, essentially amounts to arbitrary numbers.
  4. Jan 23, 2017 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    IQ is of value to specially trained psychologists looking for problems with patients and in schools for help in school placement for mentally disabled students. It was originally developed to identify students that needed special help. Any other use is questionable. It was not developed to see how smart someone was. Thread closed.
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