Many years ago, late 1990’s I think, a big craze about IQ started and a lot of shows were on TV where you could test your IQ. Other shows had segments about intelligence and what the IQ is. It was in magazines, in the papers, and all over the internet.
IQ, as per definition, means Intelligence Quotient.
So what happens in an IQ test is this:
You solve little puzzles, memorize things, answer questions, etc.
It depends a little on where you do the test and who created it.
But in the end you will receive a score that depends on how well you did at solving all the exercises. The score will be an average.
I see a few problems with this system of ranking people and even countries.
- It is an average so it does not actually show a number that is representative. Not even by a far stretch.
- If you have an average IQ for a big group of people, it is even less representative. It gets worse, the bigger the group.
- Why define your own intelligence by a number that averages different fields.
- All tests are different. And I mean completely different. In scoring, in types of problems, and in areas being tested.
Why am I so critical about this, you may ask.
Intelligence is something that can get lower or higher, depending on how much you work your grey matter.
You can be massively intelligent in one area and close to retardation in another. So how does your IQ (the average of all the areas being tested) matter at all? Do you function? Can you breath, work, understand? Are you able to learn? Can you adjust to your environment?
Those are the important questions.
I have gone through several IQ tests: At school, at the psychologist, on the Internet, at Mensa, etc etc. Every single test was completely different. And I scored pretty much everything on the scale from 65 to 150.
My score of 65 was the score of my mathematical understanding for example.
But in another test, my mathematical score was 150. So… what now?
While 65 is an extremely low score, pretty much retardation, 150 is extremely high, pretty much genius.
So what the hell am I? A retarded genius?
As a matter of fact, the way it was tested was different in both. And while one way of testing was simple for me, the other one was not.
In reality, my mathematical skills let me navigate everyday life just fine. I add, substract, multiply, divide… Like a 4th-grader. I don’t need more. I understand a few more concepts, but really, whatever I was supposed to understand after 5th grade (many moons ago), it was useless for my life and I forgot it all within a matter of minutes.
My usual average IQ score was always somewhere between 120 and 130. This is still considered above average but my above-average-scores have never helped me finding a job. In real life, no one is interested in your IQ because it really does not tell your future employer if you can do the job. How many completely un-intelligent people have studied and became lawyers and doctors? There is a difference between being book smart and life smart.
Try to think about this:
The lowest average IQs that I was able to find online (please use google, I am too lazy to link stuff atm) were in some parts of Africa with an average of about 70. The highest IQ scores by country. with an average around 99, I found in Asia. And right in the middle of the two extremes were places like Europe or Australia.
How do patterns of triangles or great language skills matter to the person living the middle of Sahara desert? They need other skills, and those skills are not being measured in those IQ tests. That same person with the very low IQ, would probably do just fine surviving that rough life in the desert, because maybe they do well with simple tasks that always stay the same like find water, care for the camels, build a tent, etc.
In places like Japan though, those skills are not needed. School and work 6 days a week and very intense. You will only succeed in live if you keep passing tests well and if you are able to think in those specific ways, that an IQ test checks.