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What Does IQ Really Measure?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the how-quickly-you-get-angry-when-you-lose-at-chess dept.

Education 488

sciencehabit writes "Kids who score higher on IQ tests will, on average, go on to do better in conventional measures of success in life: academic achievement, economic success, even greater health, and longevity. Is that because they are more intelligent? Not necessarily. New research concludes that IQ scores are partly a measure of how motivated a child is to do well on the test. And harnessing that motivation might be as important to later success as so-called native intelligence."

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488 comments

Your Intelligence Quotient. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35935894)

Duh. Look it up.

Re:Your Intelligence Quotient. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35935912)

To the extent that repeat testing gives similar answers, IQ measures how you do on IQ tests.

Re:Your Intelligence Quotient. (2, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936180)

And whether or not you are bored. I scored a 156 but was bored out of my mind and piddled around more than anything for the last hour or so. The problem with those kinds of tests is they are designed to aim straight for the middle of the bell curve so that one on the low end will be frustrated and give up, those on the high end will be bored shitless.

Perhaps we should have a very basic preliminary test, and then give one more designed around which part of the bell curve you appear to be on? After all if someone on the low end slaughters the test you could always give them the next one up and continue until you found the correct IQ, but as it is now frankly it is just irritating for those of us with brains and frustrating for those that are sucky at word problems.

Re:Your Intelligence Quotient. (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936240)

The problem with those kinds of tests is they are designed to aim straight for the middle of the bell curve

That's why if you're really smart, they make you take further IQ tests that are aimed progressively higher up. Answering interesting questions can eventually become an exercise in tedium though, so they have to spread it out.

Re:Your Intelligence Quotient. (3, Funny)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936256)

Yes, I'm sure you only scored a paltry 156 because the test was so easy that you got bored.

Ugh, the indignity of taking something designed for normals.

Re:Your Intelligence Quotient. (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936402)

You're right. An IQ test is designed to measure things well near the norm and not so well away from the norm. That's because people who use IQ test are worried about accurately measuring most people and not worried about accurately measuring you. Once you're below 75, nobody much cares about your score other than the fact that it's below 80. Once you're above 125, nobody much cares other than that you're above 125. My parents didn't tell me my score because they thought it would be demotivational because I had a high score and wouldn't work hard because of it. Sorry Mom and Dad, I was smart enough to negotiate with my teachers to avoid work that I didn't want to do.

Back in the old days, when we didn't have "gifted and talented" programs, they didn't care what your score was as long as it wasn't too low. The teachers found out soon enough how much of a smart ass you were, and those annual "Iowa Basic" or "Stanford Standardized" tests told them that you were reading and doing math at a 12th grade level in 4th grade.

Re:Your Intelligence Quotient. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936204)

To the extent that repeat testing gives similar answers, IQ measures how you do on IQ tests.

Well it certainly does that; obviously that is the primary measure. But, it is an indicator of how well you do in real life situations that require intelligence. Many of the people on this board are in the top few percent and I'm sure they can all attest to how lots of folks who did "less well" on the test aren't so bright, make many suboptimal life decisions, etc. When it is experienced so commonly across the board it ceases to be an anecdote and is data. Heck, I did pretty well on the old SAT (which was an IQ test in the past). Others in my class did equally as well - and by and large they were the smart folks. Some who did poorly were the "not so smart" folks. Is an IQ test a perfect indicator? No. Is it a useful tool among other useful tools? Absolutely. (Heck, my score on the old IQ test based SAT got me into Mensa without a special Mensa test so it was good for something right there!)

Re:Your Intelligence Quotient. (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936446)

To the extent that repeat testing gives similar answers, IQ measures how you do on IQ tests.

On the contrary, it measures whether you're going to get special ed. or join the "gifted and talented" program. I aggregate, they might measure how much money the school is going to get from the state for such things.

Problem Solving (1, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35935914)

I always thought it mainly measured the ability to solve problems.

Re:Problem Solving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35935964)

Not when they ask you who various historical figures were...

Re:Problem Solving (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936008)

I don't think IQ tests do that, or at least, I haven't seen any that do. I seem to remember logic questions, pattern recognition, sequence continuation, etc, but no general knowledge.

Re:Problem Solving (2)

arikol (728226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936060)

he may have taken some internet survey pretending to be an IQ test. The online tests that can be taken for free are wildly different in quality.

Re:Problem Solving (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936134)

Yeah, there's a lot of "IQ tests" on the web which are complete garbage. IQ tests are supposed to eliminate anything cultural, memorizable or "general knowledge" type questions.

Re:Problem Solving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936268)

They don't eliminate the 'how much practice have you had at taking these types of tests" factor though...

Re:Problem Solving (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936430)

You're *supposed* to practice IQ tests before you go for a final score - the more the better!

Re:Problem Solving (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936198)

I should add here that I think software developers have a bit of an advantage in doing these tests as they're generally more practiced at solving this sort of problem. Most of the developers I know (while being very bright) score higher than is probably warranted. Of course, I may be wrong and all my developer friends really are that bright.

IQ is bullshit (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35935920)

I recommend Steven Jay Gould's "The Mismeasure of Man" for a thorough look at IQ tests over the ages and how that 99% of the time they are bogus.

Re:IQ is bullshit (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936244)

For those who are interested in the opposing viewpoint, The Debunking of Scientific Fossils and Straw Persons by Arthur R. Jensen can be found here:

http://www.debunker.com/texts/jensen.html

Citation:
Contemporary Education Review
Summer 1982, Volume 1, Number 2, pp. 121- 135.

Re:IQ is bullshit (1)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936270)

Just like most statistics!

Re:IQ is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936374)

Sure, and 99% of all the stupid and retarded people I've encountered over the decades are just unmotivated, right? And I always thought it was because there is actually something wrong with their brains or genetics.

Re:IQ is bullshit (2)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936556)

> and 99% of all the stupid and retarded people I've encountered over the decades are just unmotivated, right?

No, but don't discount the value of motivation. (Although I have no idea what the particular book preaches. IQ tests are certainly limited in certain ways.)

The stupid people, most of them have limited intelligence as applied to the areas you were evaluating AND lacked motivation. Sucking at things makes most people not want to do them. Girls do better in CS classes taught by women, and it's not because they're smarter if they have female teachers.

For the retarded people, motivation is still relevant, but the primary factor in their ability is not motivation. (I am thinking of the profoundly retarded--there are certainly others who are only partially retarded and who can achieve as much as a less retarded person by working more.)

It measures your ability to perform the IQ test (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35935924)

Duh. #winning

IQ measures IQ (2)

Artem Tashkinov (764309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35935928)

Certainly there's a correlation between IQ and real intellect, but there's no causation between one and another one.

So, it's safe to say that IQ tests ... measure "IQ" (exactly these two letters) and nothing more.

Re:IQ measures IQ (4, Funny)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936146)

Oh yeah? I'm fairly certain my high IQ score is the cause of my intelligence.

Re:IQ measures IQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936350)

I'm fairly certain your intelligence is the cause of your high IQ score.

Re:IQ measures IQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936412)

And all this time I thought my intelligence was the cause of my high IQ score.

Re:IQ measures IQ (5, Funny)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936500)

Oh yeah? I'm fairly certain my high IQ score is the cause of my intelligence.

I'm fairly certain your intelligence is the cause of your high IQ score.

And all this time I thought my intelligence was the cause of my high IQ score.

Flawless double whoosh.

It measures a test score for a smart monkey. (2)

Kuruk (631552) | more than 3 years ago | (#35935940)

Created by another monkey to rate you on a monkey scale.

What it really measures is pointless. Its only a made up monkey test.

I have done several different IQ tests (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35935956)

...and my scores have varied by 40 IQ. I know it's slightly off topic, but I have a hard time trusting something that can't decide if my IQ should be "quite smart" or "genius".

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (3, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936050)

On the upside, you got to post on Slashdot how really smart you are.

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936112)

But he did it anonymously, so how will he receive the credit??

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (1)

arikol (728226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936070)

did you take several different ACCREDITED IQ tests, or are you referring to online tests which are not all created equal?

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936194)

When my mom studied to become a psychologist she had to take the tests on a couple of test subjects before she could do them for real, so no I don't think they count legally but yes they were fully real, done correctly and were the ones usually used in official tests.

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (1)

slackzilly (2033012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936162)

Different tests use different standard deviations.

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (1, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936226)

I've lost some, about 8-10 actually

I got cancer when I was 7, was going to do the whole radiation and chemo thing, part of the research cohort I was enrolled in was measuring IQ and other abilities before and after cranial radiation and chemo.

Took Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities, Standard and Extended Battery four times, once right before the therapy, once a year after and then two years after that.

First two tests - 99.94th percentile, then after all the chemo and radiation, 99.63rd percentile. A fourth test 10 years after the first confirmed the 99.63rd percentile score.

My math was really hit hard by it, so were fine motor skills (measured at the same time as the IQ tests).

By the time I was done, after four years, they'd already taken a couple of the drugs and radiation out of the treatment rotation.

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (5, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936248)

Hah, I got 100.

Perfect score, bitches.

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (1)

cshay (79326) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936326)

IQ tests are highly sensitive to timing and setting. The time allowed on the online ones is often generous. Also the online ones are often not the offical standardized tests, but are instead a ploy meant to flatter you into buying whatever they are selling.

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936404)

I know. I had a friend who were far from bright (in fact probably a bit below average) who was very proud when he got 160-something one some online IQ test. I just kept my mouth shut on that one. The ones I did were regular official ones though.

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (1)

starsky51 (959750) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936566)

I had a friend who were far from bright

The ones I did were regular official ones though.

I wouldn't be too sure about that, if I were you!

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936370)

I think it shows a reasonable standard deviation, given that the tests are all slightly different and almost certainly have different blind spots. Luck is also a factor. The tests all showed you to be above average, merely in variations thereof. If two had shown you to be a moron, three average, and one a genius there would be more cause for concern.

Also your post lacks a lot of details that could help explain the discrepancy. How many tests did you take? What was the spread? If you took three tests, two of which rated you "quite smart" and one of which rated you a genius, it's possible you got lucky on that one or the test happened to overstate the importance of something you're particularly good at. Conversely if one of them was notably lower than the others it might have a particular hole for subset of "intelligence" that you happen to be particularly good at, or you just got unlucky.

Relevant to the article we're discussing, how did your scored do as a function of time? Perhaps your early success caused to get bored and perform less well later. Perhaps your earlier mediocre performance caused you to try harder on later tests. Maybe you were just having a shitty day when you did poorly on the one test.

Re:I have done several different IQ tests (1)

SETIGuy (33768) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936472)

I take the test drunk and wearing my wife's glasses just to even things out for the rest of the people taking the test.

Well, duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35935974)

It's the Prime Attribute for Magic Users; high levels give them a bonus for accumulating Experience Points.

What?

Re:Well, duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936042)

No. Intelligence (int) is the prime attribute of wizards. There's no such thing as IQ in D&D or AD&D.

Re:Well, duh! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936352)

But there is such a thing in Palladium RPG. Expand your role playing mind.

Re:Well, duh! (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936124)

Almost. It's the intelligence modifier, not the intelligence quotient that matters.

Easy (0)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35935980)

An IQ test measures your ability to perform those specific questions on your IQ test

Scientifically, in order to measure something and have a meaningful result you can compare across different samples, it has to have a strict and well understood definition

What, exactly, is the scientific definition of "human intelligence"?

Re:Easy (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936220)

What, exactly, is the scientific definition of "human intelligence"?

Here ya' go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence [wikipedia.org]

IQ tests are supposed to measure the aspects of intelligence which aren't related to culture, experience or knowledge (i.e "abstract thought", "reasoning" and "problem solving") ... and how fast you are at those sort of tasks. Sudoku is a good example of this.

Yes you can (and should!) practice IQ tests to get better. When you plateau, that's your final score.

Re:Easy (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936378)

IQ tests are supposed to measure the aspects of intelligence which aren't related to . . . experience.

Yes you can (and should!) practice IQ tests to get better.

If you can practice it to get better, isn't your performance on the test related you your experience? Who is to say that where you end up with experience is an accurate reflection of your overall intelligence, since people are often faced with novel challenges? Is it worthwhile to practice taking a test for the sake of the test itself? Is someone who enjoys spending their time this way actually smarter than someone who does not, or does the test simply rate them higher because of their personal preferences?

Re:Easy (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936266)

Almost, an IQ test is the best way to tell how well you will do on an IQ test. Obviously, this will be self-evident to anyone who has taken an IQ test or looked up 'self-evident' in the dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-evident [merriam-webster.com] . Beyond the obvious, it is the quickest way to see if you can join Mensa (score 135 or better). As for everything else in life, the IQ test may tell you how big your blade is, but it will never tell you how sharp.

An obvious answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35935986)

It measures test-taking ability under specific conditions.

It may or may not be a useful measure depending on how well the test and conditions map to any other thing. They map sort of well to traditional academia through roughly mid-level undergraduate work, which means it's still a useful educational metric. But it does not in any other way predict "intelligence" or "smartness" or "successfulness" or any other thing like that. Success in obtaining academic credentials is a decent statistical indicator of other forms of success (financial stability, family, life span, etc.). But at that point we're at least two or three layers away from the IQ test, so uncertainty is getting rather high. Other factors are starting to mean much, much more such as encouragement from family or mentors, cultural factors, and the availability of financial support for further education.

Re:An obvious answer... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936254)

It measures test-taking ability under specific conditions.

No it doesn't.

(eg. A general knowledge quiz or spelling test both fall under that definition but they're the antithesis of IQ testing)

In my opinion (4, Interesting)

Tanman (90298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35935992)

I've always felt that the score from an IQ test was actually the real test. Reason being is that some people get a big score, think they're all that and a bag of chips, and let life beat them into the ground because they thought success was predestined. Other people get a low score, think they are stupid, and let life beat them into the ground because they thought failure was predestined. The most successful people, in my experience, see the score from an IQ test, say, "hmm, that's interesting," and then continue to try to do their best at whatever it is they want to do with their lives.

In other words, I feel that IQ tests are largely curiosities that are frequently harmful and only rarely actually useful.

Lets not even get started on the blatant testing demographic bias (target vs actual demographic/etc) that makes the scores skewed against people based on background.

Re:In my opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936100)

Vonnegut wrote a story like this, where a HS office assistant confused IQ scores and weight in pounds. Hilarity ensues...

Re:In my opinion (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936274)

One could make a similar argument about college degrees, for that matter.

Re:In my opinion (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936324)

I don't think it's very different than participating in a timed race. Some people will be faster than you, some people will be slower (hopefully) and you get a feel for where you stand. Whether you work harder or give up doesn't really depend on your time. I think all of us have at one point asked ourselves "Am they slow or am I just not making any sense?" when it seems people can't grip what you're saying. IQ is at least part of the answer, yes you *do* see logic and patterns the average person don't.

Personally, I've just taken it as a reminder to try sketching the logic to those I'm talking to so people follow me from the premises to the conclusion. Even when I feel I'm stating the obvious it usually turns out to be useful. That is, I never bothered to take an official test, if I did I'd probably be around borderline for Mensa - certainly past the 90th percentile but possibly not the 98th. I just never felt the need to put that kind of "score" on me, if you are impressed by what I do fine but not just from an IQ score.

Re:In my opinion (2, Funny)

postermmxvicom (1130737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936480)

"Am they slow or am I just not making any sense?"

Emphasis mine. That's kinda funny really.

Re:In my opinion (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936568)

Heh, that's what I get for swapping order after I started typing out the sentence. Another reason not to go around bragging, some variation of Murphy's law will make sure you end up with egg on your face.

Re:In my opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936432)

I tend to agree. Not sure if this is still true; but when I was a kid, they gave us IQ tests in elementary school, but we weren't told the scores. I think our parents were sent the information, but I'm not even sure about that.

Comprehension with minimum effort (2)

slackzilly (2033012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35935994)

TFA mentions that intelligence is connected to dedication and how interested you are in a subject. Well duh.
Anyone can learn something if they really want to.
Intelligence is, I think, about how quickly and how easy it is to understand something. I believe that the ability to understand something without (much) effort is the sign of intelligence.

In other words, I am stupid.

Re:Comprehension with minimum effort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936082)

Like that stoner in high school who aced through all his tests in calculus. Fucker. He can smoke his brain cells and still have enough IQ to rank genious!

Re:Comprehension with minimum effort (2)

slackzilly (2033012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936312)

Kids who are great at sports feels no need to practice because they are already better than their peers. Until they grow up and the other kids that trained diligently suddenly outperform them.
br> I think it is the same with intelligent people in school. They think they don't need to study.

IQ is bullshit ... so? (5, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936000)

Lemme be an iconoclast here for a moment.

So IQ doesn't measure intelligence. So what? If IQ score is, as claimed, highly correlated with success in life, and if it's measuring motivation and determination rather than intelligence, and if it's motivation that determines success in life, doesn't that make the IQ test pretty damned useful?

Who even knows what "native intelligence" means, anyway? If I've got a test that tells me whether someone understands problems, can find solutions to them, and is motivated enough to carry through, isn't that as useful a definition of "intelligence" as any?

Or to put it bluntly: of what use to anyone is a brilliant mind who doesn't give a shit?

Re:IQ is bullshit ... so? (0)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936140)

Because IQ is supposed to be a measure of intelligence not future success. The fact it predicts future success moderately well is interesting but the fact it fails to measure what it is supposed to measure is profoundly problematic. By failing to accurately measure the desired specific factor the resulting value is rendered fairly meaningless.

If I had a speedometer that gave me useful information about my fuel consumption it would be interesting and possibly useful but it wouldn't help me avoid getting speeding tickets.

Re:IQ is bullshit ... so? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936342)

I can envision an alternate state of the world where it would be inaccurate but not rendered fairly meaningless.

For example, let's say you design a test as follows: Someone is asked to lift first a 5kg weight from the ground to chest height as many times as they can in 5 minutes, then a 10kg weight, then a 20kg weight. This is scored according to a set scale and results in what is called "The Lifting Quotient".

Now, you could probably say that the LQ does not measure ability with regards to anything specific, except for scoring highly on the LQ, and that it's all supremely imprecise. No clearly defined terms, all the borderline cases, etc.

In spite of this, if I was running a furniture warehouse, I would rather have as my shelf stocker someone with a high LQ than someone with a low one.

Re:IQ is bullshit ... so? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936476)

Because IQ is supposed to be a measure of intelligence not future success.

What's the point in measuring someone's intelligence if the value of that knowledge is useless? And if intelligence is a predictor of future success and IQ test scores are a predictor of future success, wouldn't an IQ test be as useful for that measure as actual intelligence?

By failing to accurately measure the desired specific factor the resulting value is rendered fairly meaningless.

If it did measure intelligence with 100% accuracy, what would you have them do with that knowledge? How would that answer differ from what they can and do do with IQ results?

If I had a speedometer that gave me useful information about my fuel consumption it would be interesting and possibly useful but it wouldn't help me avoid getting speeding tickets.

You are asserting that IQ doesn't give a relative intelligence score. Not just that it's an inaccurate approximation, but that the information is no better than asking for speed and getting MPG. I think that's a false assertion. They are not trying to measure anything other than intelligence. The difficulty is in the measurement. In your analogy, it would be like speedometers being calibrated from the factory for 205/60R15, but with all cars being delivered without wheels and anyone could put on anything they wanted. The speedometer would be very accurate for differences in speed (when it reads 100 mph, you are going exactly twice as fast as when it reads 50 mph), but to compare the readings between cars would be problematic. Did they put on some big wheels? Little ones? What's their actual speed? Those are some issues with it that can't be handled well.

But asking for speed and getting MPG? That's not how it works. It's looking for exactly what it says it's looking for. It may not be correct 100% of the time (and may be correct 0% of the time), but it isn't looking for something other than what it says it's looking for.

Re:IQ is bullshit ... so? (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936150)

Lemme be an iconoclast here for a moment.

So IQ doesn't measure intelligence. So what? If IQ score is, as claimed, highly correlated with success in life, and if it's measuring motivation and determination rather than intelligence, and if it's motivation that determines success in life, doesn't that make the IQ test pretty damned useful?

Seems more like it would make it redundant. Motivated people are going to actively seek out opportunities for advancement. You don't need a test to identify them.

Re:IQ is bullshit ... so? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936408)

Lemme be an iconoclast here for a moment.

So IQ doesn't measure intelligence. So what? If IQ score is, as claimed, highly correlated with success in life, and if it's measuring motivation and determination rather than intelligence, and if it's motivation that determines success in life, doesn't that make the IQ test pretty damned useful?

Seems more like it would make it redundant. Motivated people are going to actively seek out opportunities for advancement. You don't need a test to identify them.

And there are plenty of not quite so motivated people that might benefit greatly with additional direction.

Ah but in the funny world of feedback loops... (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936006)

Couldn't it also be that higher intelligence makes you more motivated? After all, we all like to go in and show something we do well in. If you suspect you're not really all that bright, you're not very motivated to have it confirmed. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." and all that.

Duh! (1)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936012)

It measures IQ of course!

Your IQ must be in the (Celcius) room temperature range.

IQ measures (0)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936014)

The extent of your ability, motivation to perform, and luck in that sitting of the IQ test.

The degree of correlation of IQ score from a sitting in an IQ test to intelligence versus correlation of IQ score to other factors remains an open question; with now this reminder that 'motivation' is a factor that influences the score when taking almost any test.

What if you're motivated, but dumb? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936028)

Can you get a high score on IQ tests on motivation alone?

Re:What if you're motivated, but dumb? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936278)

No.

Gullability (2)

Jimbookis (517778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936032)

It's a measure of your propensity and stupidity to buy into another form of elitism and exclusivity. Like the world doesn't have enough of those social partitioning devices already!

Motivation (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936040)

Wow, so IQ measures motivation and intelligence? It's an even more useful test than we thought!

Granted this distinction may be useful, since the remedies (if any) for lack of motivation vs. lack "native intelligence" may be different - or maybe not. I suppose the assumption is that native intelligence is more genetically determined, whereas motivation is more determined by environment, but I find that questionable. Some people have exceptional drive and energy throughout life, even despite circumstances, and most of us don't.

I also take issue with the article:

Duckworth suggests that admissions to programs for "gifted and talented" children should not be based on IQ scores alone, but also on "who wants to do the work."

Why? If IQ scores measure motivation as well as intelligence, then admissions based on IQ already do favor those who want to do the work.

IQ (3, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936052)

This is a subject I've studied before. IQ means different things to different people. Looking over some major tests, I found several schools of thought:
1) Mental quickness and flexibility
2) Factual knowledge
3) Ability to do problem solving
4) Spatial recognition.

IQ is *supposed* to be a general measure of how "smart" someone is (general intelligence), but while it does seem true that general intelligence does exist (doctors can pick up new knowledge in unrelated fields faster than people in some low-level fields), generally the tests just measure specific intelligence.

For example, when trying to test for mental quickness, they might give a kid a jigsaw puzzle to solve (this is what they did on my test in 2nd grade, actually - I spent half my time trying to put it together in unusual ways). But a kid can be "smart" and still be bad at jigsaw puzzles. Since its a timed event, there's also a certain amount of luck involved in how well a kid scores. The difference between "gifted" and "normal" might just be the time span it takes an unlucky kid to try the wrong pieces before he randomly pulls the right piece.

Factual knowledge is also a very difficult to assess subject. I looked over the Titan test (http://www.eskimo.com/~miyaguch/), which is supposed to identify the top 0.0000....01% most intelligent people on the planet. Ok, cool. But one of the answers was an analogy involving Kuru, the prion brain disease contracted by cannibals in Papua New Guinea. I think the test only allowed you to miss a few questions (out of 45) before it ruled you out of the cool kids club. But my objection is, how does knowing what Kuru is make you a smart person? You might just be a trivia buff. And how can you rule someone out for not knowing it? The potential knowledge space for humanity is so impossibly large, that the probability of knowing individual random tidbits of knowledge like that is correspondingly low. How do you differentiate between smart, super-smart, and super-duper-smart? I don't think that any IQ test can provide that level of resolution, really.

More unanswered questions:
Another problem is, of the four categories above, and others people have thought of, which do you assess on an IQ test, and how do you average them together?
Why do we assume that IQ follows a Gaussian distribution?
What role does linguistic fluency and creativity play into the assessment?

I'm not saying that IQ tests are bullshit, but I think people assign them too much value. When you can have the same person take five different IQ tests and get scored between 150 and 230 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_vos_Savant#Rise_to_fame_and_IQ_score), I think we could agree the person is "smart", but beyond that, I don't think tests really mean that much.

Re:IQ (1)

cinderellamanson (1850702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936186)

If I remember correctly the Titan test does not rule out the use of reference materials, such as the library or encyclopedias. It does however restrict the use of the Internet. I haven't taken it, but I don't think any higher level tests like that specifically test trivia. Oddly though, you can't totally eliminate the affect of trivial knowledge on an IQ test. A rubiks cube, for example, is a good measure of spatial intelligence until someone has put in the required hours of practice to make the puzzle trivial.

Re:IQ (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936544)

Solving a rubiks cube requires memorization and knowledge, not spatial intelligence. I don't believe anybody could just pick up a cube and solve it, no matter how good their "spatial intelligence" is.

Re:IQ (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936366)

2) Factual knowledge

..should never be on an IQ test. Ever.

What role does linguistic fluency and creativity play into the assessment?

Should be 'zero' otherwise it's not an IQ test.

This is a great result for IQ testing (1, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936058)

Ever since that stupid book "The Bell Curve", talking about IQ has been considered to be in bad taste, because to many it sounds like a step away from outright racism. And in general, society doesn't feel comfortable with discriminating between people based simply on native intelligence.

However, we are perfectly comfortable with rewarding people for effort, motivation and concentration. So if this is what IQ tests largely measure, it becomes politically OK for, say, an employer to use an IQ test as a part of an application screening. Pretty understandably, every employer will prefer employees capable of higher levels of effort, motivation and concentration (for a fixed reward).

So let's get away from thinking of the IQ test as an intelligence test and start thinking of it as a motivation/concentration test. That will make its relevance much broader.

Self Motivation (1)

dreampod (1093343) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936068)

I'm glad that they are identifying how much motivation is important in success compared to the numeric value you get on an IQ test.

I scored very highly on my IQ testing from an early age. I was able to coast through school achieving high marks and all the praise and benefits that entailed without putting almost any effort into it. Then I hit university and was completely bludgeoned by the fact I had to self-motivate to produce and that there was actual efforted required to succeed and I couldn't just pound out my assignments in 20 minutes and get back to playing computer games. That early engraining that success doesn't require work, along with significant mental illness has left me far less successful than the numbers say I should be. My general conclusion is that IQ is an interesting number but other than indicating how well you perform on a limited variety of tests it doesn't have much value.

150 divided by (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936072)

1 + log(# of slashdot posts)

Re:150 divided by (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936206)

Wow, then I must easily have the highest IQ.

It measures... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936078)

How readily you buy into made up bullshit.

Humans have a real high IQ.

uh... (1)

jsprenkle (2009592) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936086)

If a child isn't motivated to succeed then it won't really matter what their IQ score. They will never do well. They'd be a lot better off measuring impulse control.

IQ correlates to academic success. (1)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936096)

IQ is a correlation to academic success. It is measuring some combination of "intelligence" (whatever that is because no one agrees on a definition) and motivation. However doing well at most IQ tests is skewed by being familiar with Western standardised testing which is overly represented in Western education systems.

I wish this had been more widely understood when I was a child as I was bought up on the cult of Intelligence* and have a severe lack of long-term motivation.

* And unfortunately standard Western schooling doesn't challenge many intelligent kids like me who coast through with minimal effort.

Re:IQ correlates to academic success. (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936308)

And unfortunately standard Western schooling doesn't challenge many intelligent kids like me who coast through with minimal effort.

I am afraid I have to agree with you on this. Coming to this land from a "3rd world" country, I was surprised that I could do mathematics 2 grades above my classmates with ease. For most of them, it was a struggle to even complete their mathematics exercises.

One thing though, is that the system over here encourages guess work with multiple choice questions. Where I came from, one gets a few marks for each relevant step taken to solve a problem. This encourages critical thinking which I find lacking in today's school going children.

Depends.. (1)

tpjunkie (911544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936116)

In children, IQ measures mental age/chronological age. It's useful for assessing developmentally delayed or precocious children. In adults...your mileage may vary.

Anecdotal disagreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936144)

My IQ is in the genius range, and was recognized as 'gifted' very early on in life. I can *very* specifically remember not trying very hard at all in school, much to the frustration of my teachers and envy of classmates. By 2nd grade I'd exhausted my elementary school's reading curriculum. I'm sure it wasn't that I was more motivated to read, but that my aptitude in that subject was simply beyond the norm. When I went home I turned on the TV and watched cartoons like everyone my age, and read the same books as them, only when absolutely required or someone found a dirty word same as them. It just came more naturally to me, it was clear that my friends had to put more effort in than I did.

Almost every parent of a two year old reads them story books, and almost every two year old enjoys being read to, but not every two year old just suddenly starts learning to read. That's IQ.

simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936314)

An IQ test measures the ability to solve IQ tests

Re:simple (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936558)

A 100 meters race measures the ability to run fast. Your point is...?

Pfft to IQ tests as measurements... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936318)

for anything other than the only thing they can measure.

I know a couple people who boasts high IQ's. Even if their claims are 100% true I believe they suffer from IDD...intelligence deficit disorder. The problems with high IQ's are the people that use them to measure intelligence...usually intelligence that they don't yet have because they haven't applied themselves.

IQ, in my opinion, has only ever successfully measured ability. You cannot measure intelligence in anything other than an abstract form. Measure a childs IQ and the only thing you've successfully measured is his ability to learn and apply the information that has been learned to fit other purposes. It's like humans learning to use fire to cook with, or to produce steam. Any dumb ass can do math if they apply themselves, but will that same dumbass be able to do algebra? Technically he should be, but does he have the ABILITY to see the connection between y=x-1 and y+1=x? This is where IQ comes in. The higher your IQ is, the easier it is for you to connect these dots.

Where IQ is a measurement of the ABILITY to apply information intelligence is the actual application of information. Is a cable technician who can find signal egress less intelligent, when it comes to rf signals, than one who can not only find it but tell you where its coming from, how/why it happens and how to avoid it? Yes. Is there a chance they have the same IQ? There sure is. Why the difference? Because one took the time to learn more when the other stopped at "hey this box in my hand tells me there is a signal here and there shouldn't be a signal here." You cannot accurately measure intelligence because even the most intelligent person in the world is still a dumbass when it comes to certain things, if only because they haven't bothered to learn about those things.

Why this rant? Because IQ as a measurement of motivation is...ridiculous. Just because I have a high IQ doesn't make me any more motivated than the next guy. Most people with high IQ's are actually procrastinators...where is the motivation in procrastination? Keeping with TFA - of course some will be motivated. Who the hell wouldn't be motivated to do something when they have a strong feeling they'll be able to succeed?

The Answer (1)

Javagator (679604) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936384)

OK. I had a course in the theory of psychological testing, so I know the answer. IQ tests are designed to (and sometimes do) correlate with things such as success in school, general problem solving ability, occupational success in fields such as science, etc. To say that they measure “intelligence” is a very vague way of saying this. And, of course, the correlation may not be very strong in some cases because of the limitations of the tests, and the influence of other factors.

Makes sense (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936388)

I'm pretty unmotivated, and I turned out to be a loser.

Cause and effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936424)

According to "The Millionare Next Door," most self-made millionaires are niether academically nor intellictually outstanding, but they do work their butts off and save their money, among other things. Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" points out that "genius" looks more like 10,000 hours of practice than any kind of "magic super neurons." Have their been studies that show IQ really does predict long term success? Is there any reason to suppose that this isn't the same principle as muscle mass; where your genetics matter but the gym matters more?

Seems reasonable (1)

robcozzens (1835894) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936440)

Sounds to me like it is saying that those who try harder, do better.

I'm not sure there are many people who didn't expect this to be true, but I guess it's nice to have common sense verified.

Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35936454)

Folks with low scores are looking for excuses as to why their scores are lower.... I guess if it makes em feel good about themselves, why not.

the hidden bias. (1)

stixn (1881538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936460)

The educational system caters to students who try, care, are awake, etc. The Onion New Network has more. [theonion.com]

can't score highly without some intelligence (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936506)

New research concludes that IQ scores are partly a measure of how motivated a child is to do well on the test.

Sure, that makes sense. And they're partly a measure of how smart the child is. Probably something like a smart * motivated (with other factors thrown in) = IQ.

That "smart" is a particular kind of smart, too. Emotional intelligence is very important, but not covered by IQ tests.

There are all kinds of smarts (1)

postermmxvicom (1130737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936528)

I've got students who lament their lack of prowess. They have to work very hard for every A or B they earn and are discouraged by those who breeze by without any effort. I try to console them. I tell them that they are learning how to work hard, which is at least as important (possibly more so) than being 'smart'. I tell them I've seen 'smart' kids who never learned how to work hard and went nowhere in life. I tell them getting to work and solving a problem is more valuable to an employer than being able to solve a problem quicker, but not having the discipline or follow through to do so. Of course, some kids are both smart and hard working and my hat is off to them.

Bottom line: knowing how to work is a kind of smartness that is no less valuable than book smarts.

IQ tests measure success at doing IQ Tests (1)

glatiak (617813) | more than 3 years ago | (#35936546)

In my 40 odd years in and out of Mensa I have taken a few IQ tests and met a lot of smart, capable people -- some of them in Mensa. Problem is that some of the brightest would never have passed a test because their intelligence was expressed in other ways than the things IQ tests measure. IQ tests demonstrate ability to solve certain types of problems -- this is a tiny subset of the skills needed to function effectively and creatively in the world. These tests are not a Krell brain power measure, although they are often represented as though they were. And of course, it makes perfect sense that if you are too bummed out about life, responding thoughtfully to the questions in an IQ test could be just too much -- and I am sure the converse is true as well. So this new revelation seems pretty obvious. But some incredible musicians and artists might not do too well, because their minds go elsewhere. And weird cases like Buckminster Fuller (who I met when he was chairman of international Mensa) might like Einstein be classified as failures before they found what interested them. And there are certainly lots of folks in these high IQ societies who are similarly dubious.

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