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IQ 'a Myth,' Study Says

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the guess-we-need-a-new-metric-for-feeling-superior-to-others dept.

Science 530

An anonymous reader send this quote from The Star: "The idea that intelligence can be measured by a single number — your IQ — is wrong, according to a recent study led by researchers at the University of Western Ontario (abstract). The study, published in the journal Neuron on Wednesday, involved 100,000 participants around the world taking 12 cognitive tests, with a smaller sample of the group undergoing simultaneous brain-scan testing. 'When we looked at the data, the bottom line is the whole concept of IQ — or of you having a higher IQ than me — is a myth,' said Dr. Adrian Owen, the study’s senior investigator... 'There is no such thing as a single measure of IQ or a measure of general intelligence.'"

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lemme guess (5, Funny)

DECula (6113) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341631)

"If there is something in the brain that is IQ, we should be able to find it by scanning."

The test group consisted entirely of politicians and the control group was Slashdot readers?

Re:lemme guess (4, Insightful)

Nialin (570647) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341665)

The whole notion of IQ has been discussed ad nauseam here on the boards. We all know it's bullshit, so there's really no point in discussing it further.

Re:lemme guess (5, Funny)

neiljt (238527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342055)

No point for you, obviously. Mind if the rest of us carry on without you?

Re:lemme guess (4, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341679)

"Sixteen healthy young participants undertook the cognitive battery in the MRI scanner."

So, no politicians. Also, this isn't the kind of experiment you use a control group in.

Re:lemme guess (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341707)

Well shit, the Mensa boys won't be happy to hear that ...

Re:lemme guess (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342151)

Considering how little is know about the brain, current scanning technologies are more like radio telescopes looking at the sky. You can look, compare, theorize, but can't get any closer for validation.

True (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341637)

I have an IQ of 150, am a member of a 3 sigma IQ society. But I cannot remember names, and if I had to do manual skilled labor, I would starve to death. There are people with a much lower IQ who I admire greatly for their skill sets and abilities that I will never have

-- MyLongNickName

Re:True (0, Offtopic)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341773)

I worked in factories in summer, and, while boring (but not as boring as some programming tasks) I wasn't shitty at it.

Contrary to The Breakfast Club, I also got As in shop class. Quite frankly, that ignorant assumption by Hollywood always irritated me.

Or maybe I am some bizarre Kwisatz Haderach, child of a man with phenomenal spacial relationship and a woman who won Gold Key writing awards.

I shall now generalize from myself to the rest of humanity, which is the obvious thing to do: we are all lazy fatasses.

Re:True (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341893)

My point wasn't that all high-IQ folks are inept in other areas but that high-IQ does not guarantee high performance in all areas. I am glad you are well rounded, but I agree with the summary in that intelligence is not reducible to a single number.

Re:True (5, Insightful)

aix tom (902140) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342097)

Definitely true. IQ is just a number. It measures the skill at solving a defined set of cognitive problems.

But on the other hand claiming that "IQ is a myth" is just as claiming "Height is a myth" just because there is not measurable correlation between a persons height and their overall performance in basketball. The performance in basketball is just rooted in A LOT more factors than just height, the same way that "real life" problem solving skills and success is rooted in a lot more factors than just the IQ.

Re:True (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342115)

Everyone has the same capability of being stupid, but some of us at times have a greater capability of intelligence.

Re:True (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342137)

It is possible to quantify a human's worth in one number, hence the concept of IQ is valid. QED.

Re:True (4, Insightful)

Rakarra (112805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341963)

I have an IQ of 150, am a member of a 3 sigma IQ society. But I cannot remember names, and if I had to do manual skilled labor, I would starve to death

Manual skilled labor doesn't have too much to do IQ. The 'skilled' part, but not the manual labor part. It should be noted that IQ shouldn't determine a person's worthiness or value.

As for names, I can remember strange stuff. Chatting with my partner in the car, I could remember that Galadriel crossed into Middle Earth with Feanor after Morgoth stole the Silmarils and killed King Finwe. I then confessed that I didn't know what it meant that somehow I was able to remember Finwe's name easily, even though it'd been years since I'd read the Silmarillion, yet I had a hard time recalling names of co-workers I had worked closely with a few years back. What does that mean? How does THAT fit into 'IQ?'

Re:True (5, Funny)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342287)

Emotions make things easier to remember. It means that your co-workers are more boring than the Silmarillion, if such a thing were possible.

Re: Does the paper say IQ is a myth? (5, Insightful)

poity (465672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342199)

They should just call it Pattern Matching and Spatial Reasoning Quotient. "Intelligence" is too ambiguous a term.

Re:True (5, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342213)

I have no idea what my IQ is, never cared, and this study shows I was correct in never giving a damn about it.

Re:True (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342295)

Are you me?

I don't quite believe it... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341641)

... there are obvious trends that some people learn more and learn faster then others and I'm certain this can be measured at a gross level. I bet there are methodological flaws with the study that will be debunked soon.

Re:I don't quite believe it... (-1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342081)

... there are obvious trends that some people learn more and learn faster then others and I'm certain this can be measured at a gross level. I bet there are methodological flaws with the study that will be debunked soon.

Perhaps spelling and grammar? ;-)

That's Smart! (1)

able1234au (995975) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341653)

You would have to have a high IQ to come up with this study!

Re:That's Smart! (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341731)

You would have to have a high IQ to come up with this study!

Or Dr. Owen is a smart guy that doesn't test very well.

This will come as good news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341659)

...to everyone who's pride was hurt when MENSA rejected them.

Re:This will come as good news... (4, Interesting)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341737)

I am a MENSA member but I hardly consider myself very smart. I mean, I'm kinda smart but I see lots of people that blow me away when it comes to various mental abilities. And none of them are MENSA members.

Re:This will come as good news... (5, Insightful)

steviesteveo12 (2755637) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341865)

There was a good point made that only people who aren't thought of as smart have anything to gain by joining MENSA. For example, if you found out Stephen Hawking was a member of MENSA you might just about manage a "well, figures" but if you found out Sarah Palin was in it you'd go "wow, never expected that".

Re:This will come as good news... (1)

srobert (4099) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341907)

I was a member for a while. I had the same experience that you had with really smart people who told me they couldn't get into Mensa. Additionally, I met many members that I thought were lacking in what I thought of as intelligence. I concluded a long time ago that there is no legitimate way to quantify intelligence. About half the Mensa members I knew agreed with that. The other half were insulted by it.

Re:This will come as good news... (5, Funny)

neiljt (238527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342251)

I was a MENSA member for a very short while. They told me I had an IQ of 158. I didn't know what it meant, so maybe I wasn't that smart. I was smart enough to work out within the first 12 months that the overpriced annual subscription bought me nothing but a mag full of spam, and the opportunity to associate with a bunch of people who like to feel smart.

Re:This will come as good news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342005)

I see lots of people that blow me away when it comes to various mental abilities. And none of them are MENSA members.

To me, I would call that "a clue" about MENSA :)

Re:This will come as good news... (1)

poity (465672) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342185)

None of them ARE, or none of them QUALIFIED?

Re:This will come as good news... (5, Funny)

dylan_- (1661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342063)

.to everyone who's pride was hurt when MENSA rejected them.

Did they refuse you for confusing "who's" and "whose"? ;)

How is this different? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341671)

> Rather, the study determined three factors — reasoning, short-term memory and verbal ability — that combined to create human intelligence or “cognitive profile.”

And IQ tests test 2 of those factors... reasoning (through math), and verbal (through written). They've just discovered that "memory" is important to "cognitive ability."

Saying that IQ is a myth is hyperbole. They've identified that it exists and that it has 3 (instead of 2) components.

Re:How is this different? (1)

WhiteDragon (4556) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342087)

> Rather, the study determined three factors — reasoning, short-term memory and verbal ability — that combined to create human intelligence or “cognitive profile.”

And IQ tests test 2 of those factors... reasoning (through math), and verbal (through written). They've just discovered that "memory" is important to "cognitive ability."

Saying that IQ is a myth is hyperbole. They've identified that it exists and that it has 3 (instead of 2) components.

When I took an IQ test, there was a memory component.

Yeah, again. (5, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341687)

Yeah, again. Seems every five years or so there's a book, article, or study saying that IQ is not a single thing.

Yawn.

The professor in my "introduction to psychology and brain science" course said "IQ is defined as what is measured by IQ tests." So it's not that it doesn't exist. The question is, what is it, and does it matter?

Re:Yeah, again. (5, Insightful)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341803)

I'd mod you up but I want to participate. I see where the study is coming from, and I think you've asked the right question. I think what's measured by IQ tests is the ability to find solutions to abstract problems. In this sene, IQ measures your problem solving productivity. Of course, this doesn't make you the most amazing person ever. As the saying goes, it takes all kinds.

Unfortunately, other types of intelligence are not easily quantified. A social butterfly serves a great role in a production environment that I could never manage to fill without eventually having a breakdown, and there's really no question that their brainpower devoted to this is significantly more refined than mine. So, they have a much higher Social Intelligence than I do, but I may have a higher IQ than they do. Does that make either of us more valuable? No. Just two different cogs for two different parts in the big machine.

Re:Yeah, again. (3, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341945)

'Social intelligence' like 'emotional intelligence' are just examples of political correctness types responding to the possibility that IQ measures something useful. This is why they rail against standardize testing of any kind in schools too. Insecure people don't ever want to be compared by any objective method.

While I think there's a correlation with high IQ and high function, I don't think a single number proves jack shit by itself.

Re:Yeah, again. (2)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342113)

Its not about being PC, its about trying to put a name to a skill that cant not easily be quantified but definitely has real-world implications. I simply can't function at a high level in a social role the way others can, and I've tried and trained myself to do so, even when taking courses and focusing on it for two years. Give me complex data problems all day long, yet they do not tax my brain even remotely as much as coordinating and hosting a work event from start to finish. There is a visible, but unquantifiable difference in my ability to do their tasks. To sit by and say mine is more valuable solely because its quantifiable is assenine. I couldn't get by in my environment without these people, just as they couldn't get by without people like me.

Re:Yeah, again. (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342315)

ah, someone who lacks both social and emotional intelligence.

Re:Yeah, again. (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342321)

Yeah, they'll quit IQ tests in school because stupid people will be offended. But nobody cared how I felt when my scrawny little body failed miserably at strength tests...

Re:Yeah, again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342011)

cogs, machine. Lenin.

Re:Yeah, again. (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341841)

Yeah, talking about whether IQ exists is a bit silly, since it's a metric and definitionally exists. The question is whether it maps to anything interesting outside of itself.

What people are really interested in is whether there is a so-called "g factor" [wikipedia.org] that represents a single major axis of variation in intelligence.

IQ was for finding children with learning..... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342033)

IQ was for finding children with learning disabilities.

That's all.

The US Army are the ones who took it and turned it into a measuring stick and subsequently the US educational system followed suit.

See The Mismeasure of Man [amazon.com] for a concise history.

Re:IQ was for finding children with learning..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342237)

I thought it was a way to find people who would vote Democrat. Oh, that's right - they're the same group!

RTFA (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342203)

The paper doesn't mention IQ anywhere. It's about intelligence. IQ is just a (very bad) way of measuring intelligence. The paper makes the claim that there is not generic problem-solving ability (intelligence), but different people excel at different tasks. It's a much stronger claim than saying that IQ is bullshit.

This isn't new (2)

CasualFriday (1804992) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341697)

I thought this was common knowledge. IQ tests pretty much only measure your ability to do simple math and recognize patterns. It says nothing about how creative you are, whether you can critically analyze a painting or Goethe play, or if you can recognize historical catalysts. It was always just a forced number that seemed to correlate well with intelligent people.

So... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341699)

I give the study a score of 65.

Hmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341701)

Well never having scored a 160 on an iq test their parents & teachers would say that !

This is not new science. (2)

boulat (216724) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341709)

This is not new 'science' that was just discovered. It has been known and taught in Childhood Psychology classes for decades. It is always amazing how these psychology professors venture out into studying a little bit of mathematics and statistics and decide to publish papers on the obvious, padding their resumes and shuffling papers around. You never hear about something really new and groundbreaking from University of Western Ontario, and this is not an exception.

Works for me (5, Insightful)

Jethro (14165) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341713)

When I was a child, I was diagnosed with having a really high IQ. As a result people have been telling me I'm a "genius" for most my life and always pushing me to "achieve my full potential" and crap like that.

It's nonsense. Maybe I'm smart, maybe I'm not. I think trying to measure that is crazy and impracticable. I'd rather be judged by what I do, not what some test says about me.

And frankly I don't really want to be judged at all. I think I'm doing OK with my life, and that's really all that matters. All this unnecessary categorising of people... it's all kind of pointless.

Re:Works for me (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341927)

When I was a child, I was diagnosed with having a really high IQ. As a result people have been telling me I'm a "genius" for most my life and always pushing me to "achieve my full potential" and crap like that.

Well, I had the same thing, except less of it, and I'm grateful because it opened up a few opportunities for me, like learning to speed-read in a classroom context (where, thus, it was encouraged.) Did you ever get anything out of it? I got educational toys out of it too, that was kind of cool.

Re:Works for me (1)

Jethro (14165) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342133)

Hah! Well, I got to take some courses after school, which WERE kind of fun, but we weren't really the kind of family where you got stuff. Hey, you're a GENIUS, you don't need THINGS! I definitely didn't get anything educational. I had to BEG to get my first computer, and when that went obsolete I didn't get another one till I could buy it myself.

Re:Works for me (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342241)

Once upon a time, I was measured as having an IQ over 180. I told the person administering the test (might have been an actual psychologist, might not... it was done through school when that was in vogue) that the result was outright wrong, and happily pointed out how most of the test questions were either tricks of misdirection, or variations on questions I'd already heard. I guess liking puzzles makes one a genius.

He didn't want to hear some kid dispute his vaunted test, so I was pushed to follow advanced courses and held to a standard far beyond my liking. High school was miserable as a result. Now that I'm free from the burden of a single number, I'm also doing okay.

I still enjoy puzzles, and I do pick up on some subjects faster than other people. That makes me different, but certainly no better or worse.

Funny thing about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341715)

If you study this for any length of time you realize that IQ is bullshit, for example the questions were intentionally chosen to favor some groups, e.g. questions that women got right more often than men are removed, (the early tests all showed women to be more intelligent than men and were therefore judged to be flawed) and it's been proven time and time again that if you think you'll do badly you do badly and if you think you'll do well you do well. Then there is the fact that there is 0 correlation between success in life and IQ, again there have been plenty of longitudinal studies that have shown this and you can google it. It's funny because most psychologists learn this in first year, and yet a big source of jobs for psychologists is administering IQ tests!

Re:Funny thing about this (5, Insightful)

gnoshi (314933) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342037)

Then there is the fact that there is 0 correlation between success in life and IQ

Tell that to an intellectual disabled permos (defined as IQ 75 in Australia).
It is a long way from a perfect correlation, but to claim there is 0 correlation is rubbish unless you are choosing some fairly bizzare measures of 'success'.

Re:Funny thing about this (1)

gnoshi (314933) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342045)

*permos = person

That just means IQ isn't a real number. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341727)

Instead, it's complex, a quaternion, or something of a higher order.

Twas always thus. (5, Informative)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341733)

The IQ test was not designed to be an absolute measure. It was developed by Alfred Binet as a way to rank between a group of children in a special education context. It gives only a relative measure between that group and does not give any absolute measurement of intelligence nor is it valid to compare IQs between different groups. The IQs assigned are only valid within the tested group.

The transition to it being an absolute measurement was pushed by the US military to test and measure recruits. This was a colossal screw up.

Google it. It's all there.

Doesn't take a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341739)

...genius to see that one coming.

What is "intelligence"? (3, Interesting)

instagib (879544) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341741)

Let's start with something easy: cats vs. dogs.

Dogs can be trained to do a lot of things, and therefore can be very "useful". So people feed them.

Cats almost can't be trained, they sleep or play around the whole day. An yet people feed them as well.

Which is more intelligent, cats or dogs?

Re:What is "intelligence"? (1)

able1234au (995975) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341827)

B! The answer is B!

No? Damn....

Re:What is "intelligence"? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341853)

Doesn't matter, they're both smarter than the schmuck giving out free food.

Re:What is "intelligence"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341895)

Yet you can train a cat to use a toilet and flush.
BTW, cats became pets for being useful at keeping pest (mice) from grain in ancient Egypt.

Just ask Stephen J. Gould (if he wasn't dead) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341743)

He wrote a book that covered this extensively back in 1981 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mismeasure_of_Man)

Tore the whole IQ thing to pieces BACK then.

So, how correlated are the three factors? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341751)

It's somewhat nonsensical to say that 1 factor is a "myth" because there are "actually" 3! (Which is what they are doing). Every factor you add will explain more and more of the variance in the large suite of tests you are administering, but there is a diminishing return in the predictive accuracy. The choice of how many factors to identify is therefore somewhat arbitrary. I wish the paper wasn't behind a paywall, so we could all see how independent are the factors they selected.

That's something teachers have always known (4, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341767)

'There is no such thing as a single measure of IQ or a measure of general intelligence.'

I once taught a mixture of kids from so called "3rd world environments", who also had very low IQ scores compared to the typical "exposed" American kids.

In my 11 years of teaching, not once did our American kids score better than the "3rd world" kids at all! This was despite the fact that these poor kids had to learn English grammar. Heck, one of them even reminded me of a few math tricks that I employed myself while in school.

I once escorted one such kid to her parent, and it was a shock to hear her switch to some foreign tongue before switching to English in order to introduce me. This particular kid is now at BP in Texas, and still writes to me. Incredible!

Video Games FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341775)

People who play video games performed “significantly better” in terms of both reasoning and short-term memory.

  Take that anti-videogame article!

If we can't judge cars or computers (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341823)

by a single metric, what use is doing to the human brain, other than to have another pointless number to have people boast about. (Nearly every person I met who bought up their IQ almost always claims to have 130+ points.... and I'm too polite to say it to them, but apparently underapplying themselves like crazy).

I almost never see a car rated just by it's mpg nor do I ever see CPUs rated just by their GHz.

I think one of the highest designated IQs belonged to Goethe and couldn't do math beyond some trig iirc for shit. Great writing though. Obviously a different type of intelligence than Einstein.

Re:If we can't judge cars or computers (1)

Win0ver (613215) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342007)

Saying having a high IQ makes you smart is like saying being strong or fast automatically makes you good in sports. It obviously helps but it is one factor amongst many.

Scholastic Aptitude a Myth, Study Says (1)

Mark Trade (172948) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341833)

"Can the entire distribution of scholastic aptitude be accounted for by just one general factor?"

Seriously? I mean: seriously? Are we really debating indexes (as in "statistics") and whether they are meaningful? Whoa. Way to go, folks. Words fail me. And here I thought, at least scientists would get the idea of abstracting a complex construct into a single metric.

Not really new information (2)

Raskolnikov42 (1197829) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341851)

Modern tests don't actually present single-measure IQs anymore, for the most part. Even the old Stanford Binet [wikipedia.org] test is using multiple scales these days, and any more modern test such as the Wechsler [wikipedia.org] scale will use many different measures. Anyone with a moderately reasonable IQ (/sarcasm), would realize that intelligence can't be quantified with a single number.

Processor Speed (3, Interesting)

Dins (2538550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341867)

I've always looked at it like processor speed. I've taken a few "IQ tests" in the distant past, and I've come out to around 130 to 140ish. But that's really subjective and I understand why people think IQ is bullshit. I could be just average, who knows.

But when dealing with most people it just feels like I'm thinking faster. Like they are able to reach much the same conclusions, it just takes them longer to formulate thoughts and ideas. I get impatient that conversations are taking so long when I can already predict where we're going to end up. I sort of feel "overclocked" if you will. When I find someone who seems to think at my speed, it's awesome. We usually have a great conversation - that happens relatively quickly.

Street smart (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341877)

tak3 that book smartz LOL!

Im off 2 by lottary ticks now cuz I CANT LOOSE!!!!!!

Besides (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341881)

IP > IQ

I guess that makes MENSA... (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341885)

..a big bunch of dummies for thinking IQ was a measure of intelligence.

It's a self-proving statement, I guess.

Really? (4, Insightful)

Ardeaem (625311) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341887)

“If there is something in the brain that is IQ, we should be able to find it by scanning. But it turns out there is no one area in the brain that accounts for people’s so-called IQ."

Wow, the study's senior investigator said something this mind-numbingly dumb? Just because you can't find it using a machine that measures blood flow does not mean it isn't a meaningful concept. IQ definitely exists - it is a measurement. The question is whether it measures anything meaningful. But we wouldn't necessarily expect to be able to confirm that by sticking people in a magnet; it's a statistical question, not a question of blood flow in the brain...

Say it ain't so! (1)

mrdogi (82975) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341891)

So, wait. You mean we can't reduce a person's $VAR down to a single number? Color me surprised...

If you can't find it with an MRI it doesn't exist? (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341899)

The scientists also used brain-scanning (fMRIs) on some of the subjects. “If there is something in the brain that is IQ, we should be able to find it by scanning."

That's like saying talent doesn't exist because your brain activity looked like Michael Bolton's. Or watching a traffic jam from space and concluding that the inhabitants of that city are unproductive.

That said, I don't think you can quantify intelligence, because you can't quantify a lack of intelligence. Every time someone tries, we find a new depth we didn't know existed.

Pointless conclusion (3, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341913)

Even the people that "invented" IQ didn't believe in it. It was designed to be a simple and useful measure of relative "intelligence" between people. Intelligence wasn't fully defined at the time, and the test was rigged to try to be fair, even when it was found to not be. Just by changing questions, I can change the relative performance of identified groups (woman and minorities two common groups to target). That was always known, and there are other limitations. This isn't a new position, and I didn't see anything interesting in the article.

Might as well be saying that shoe size is a myth because people have different widths for a particular size. That doesn't make the size a myth.

Re:Pointless conclusion (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342155)

Intelligence is still not fully defined, or even usefully defined.

IQ = weighted average of all 3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341917)

I wonder if having high levels of all 3 make up a high IQ score? Similarly, I wonder if having high levels of all 3 correlate with other things as well as IQ does? Is reasoning without verbal ability very useful? How about without short-term memory to keep you from having to re-reason something?

If so, is there any real difference between measuring all 3 and measuring IQ?

Yeah, useful differentiation in theory, but just as in physics, don't discount the usefulness of a model that might not be completely correct.

So why do FoxNews viewers score 20 points lower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341919)

So why do FoxNews viewers score 20 points lower than average individuals that get their nes from other sources as that post from a few weeks ago mention here on \.?

Re:So why do FoxNews viewers score 20 points lower (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342165)

The tests, like reality, have a liberal bias.

What you talkin bout Willis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341933)

Seems like a single number which represents a composite score of subunit tests is fair enough.

I think someone just got a shitty score on a test,

Could be. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341935)

I've always suspected this, at least to some extent. I've tried taking several IQ tests over the years. They seem to vary widely in the kinds of questions they ask. On IQ tests that focus on mathematical skills, I do not do as well. But on tests that focus more on language skills, I do really well. My scores vary a great deal depending on the test.

Nevertheless, I think IQ tests are good at indicating a general range of intelligence. It is just important to realize that different people excel at different mental aptitudes.

Nonsense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341937)

Of course there's a "'a single measure of IQ or a measure of general intelligence". Take however many measures YOU think are needed to model intelligence. Now form a linear combination of them. Evaluate. Congratulations, single measure. Now, what it MEANS is another matter, but it can be calculated, and thus exists.

hard to measure + subjective != nonexistence (1)

pezpunk (205653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341973)

intelligence is hard to measure and certainly subjective. that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. one might as well say beauty doesn't exist. you could certainly make the argument. and yet for something that doesn't exist, it sure does correlate extraordinarily well with certain types of success.

We here at MENSA strongly disagree (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341993)

IQ is in fact the sole measure of not only one's intelligence, but of social superiority and we have the number sequences and visual diagrams to prove it!

Re:We here at MENSA strongly disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342285)

every Mensa member i have ever met, has been full of themselves to the point where they are downing anyone who is not a Mensa member.

I qualify for you "elite" club, but choose not to be involved because they all are ass-hats.

simple measure of intelligence (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342017)

There's a simple way to identify people of high intelligence: ask them if they think IQ tests are a meaningful measure of it. If they do... they aren't very intelligent.

And I say this as someone who's scored 150, so it isn't sour grapes. Standardized tests just don't tell you very much... at least nothing useful.

I also scored in the 99th percentile on all my college entrance tests (missed three questions on the SAT), scored 92nd-98th percentile on the four GRE tests I took, and I signed up for the LSAT on a whim with no prep whatsoever and scored 90th percentile. None of those scores proved to be a good predictor of my professional success. :/

Bah! (1)

skaralic (676433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342021)

There is no such thing as a single measure of IQ or a measure of general intelligence.

Anyone with a high-enough IQ could have told you that!

freakin yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342043)

yeah man, dude, cool news hehehehe

Reductio Ad Absurdum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342075)

"Jenna, there are many kinds of intelligence practical, emotional. And then there's actual intelligence, which is what I'm talking about.” – Jack Donaghy and IQ tests.

Another criterion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342079)

What's not a myth is my lightning chess ELO number. It's interesting how it fluctuates from 1650 to 1850 from day to day and during the night. Sometimes I can just feel the "mental acuity" and my ELO shoots up. At other times, I make routine, unimaginative moves and lose on time.

Tiredness is clearly a factor that pushes the number down, a little bit of alcohol tends to push it up. The calmness of the surroundings are important.

From 'Introduction To Psychology', Hilgard, 1953 (1)

shoor (33382) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342091)

I found this book in a trashbin. If nothing else, it's got lots of cool black and white photos, some by Weegie. From page 365:

"We can give the following practical definition of intelligence: Intelligence is that which such an intelligence test measures. The statement sounds empty but isn't, for it implies all the careful steps that have gone into the construction of the tests. The tests constructed by different workers all lead to scores with high intercorrelations; therefore they are measuring something in common. What they measure in common defines intelligence."

Bottom line this for me... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342101)

... the bottom line is the whole concept of IQ — or of you having a higher IQ than me — is a myth,' said Dr. Adrian Owen, the study’s senior investigator.

You sound a little bitter there Dr. Owen - if that's your real title!
[ Many people probably have a higher IQ than you; get over it. :-) ]

I"ve been wondering what intelligence is (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342161)

for a while.

What I've come up with is: "The ability to understand complex systems, and have simultaneous different incompatible explanations for a given system". Which was shot down in a number of ways by friends, one stating it is "the ability to adapt".

There several dimension to intelligence: understanding vs doing, logical vs intuitive, mathematical vs verbal... no wonder a single number can't capture all dimensoins of intelligence.

It's a lie (1)

quarterbuck (1268694) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342215)

There is an IQ and I have a full 180 of them. So I know better than the researchers and that's that.

Surprised? (1)

omb (759389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42342223)

Apart from the regularity of this revalation who ever believed the single-number metric anyway?

MFG, omb

Obligatory misinterpretation of quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342231)

'When we looked at the data, the bottom line is the whole concept of IQ — or of you having a higher IQ than me — is a myth,' said Dr. Adrian Owen,

I see what the Dr did. He just declared himself smarter than anyone who read that sentence. Brilliant.

what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342239)

the same set of standardized tests are used to diagnose mental illness too.

If anyone actually wants to read the study. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342303)

Too early for Pubmed, but here's the citiation:

Hampshire A., Highfield R., Parkin B., Owen A. (2012) Fractionating Human Intelligence. Neuron 76, 1225-1237.

IQ is irrelevant and outdated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342329)

All you have to do is be a good test taker, you dont actually have to be smart to have a high IQ.

In nursing school for like chemistry and microbioloy classes I always did poorly but I could recite that damn chemistry book and I could apply everything to the real world, explain everything orally and I knew my material. Id failed a few tests the teacher ended up changing for me because when we discussed it after class she was impressed with my knowledge of the material. While there were plenty of students who didnt know shit but aced all of their tests because they are good at taking them.

If you have someone who is a good test taker they can decipher a test to get a passing grade without knowing the material because most tests have patterns to them and keywords that if you can see them and are very good at reading the questions you can see the answers without really knowing the material.

Hell one girl in my class got almost straight A's the majority of the time and ended up working at the same hospital as me and fired because in the real world she didnt know squat, she could just breeze through the tests.

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