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Gene Found That May Affect IQ in Males

deli_llama Re:IQ tests are severly flawed (660 comments)

If only we could agree on a perfect definition of intelligence first, then maybe we could come up with a better way to measure it.

Ah, there's the rub.

The problem with testing for intelligence is that we're really not quite certain what we're looking for. Spatial reasoning? Problem solving? Mathematical calculations? Reading comprehension?

It's nearly impossible to test "smarts" in any consistent way because of the varied background and education of each individual. Worst-case scenario, you actually end up testing a person's memory.

Take my family for instance. I'm a 145... which seems high enough, you'd think. My oldest sister scored a 175 and wasn't really taking the test that seriously (which is just as well, since scores in that range are wildly inaccurate anyway). Everyone else in the family is somewhere in between; I, with my "genius" IQ, am actually the slowest of the bunch. The net result is that none of us really put much stock in IQ tests.

My sister is definately a genius by any definition. She's a master of all disciplines: an artist, physicist, linguist, mathematician, writer, everything. Not only can she compete in every field, she excels. She, with less to work with than the average McGuyver setup, could conquer the world in an hour.

She was followed by a brother with similar capacity and opportunity. The two of them made being smart not only cool, but reachable for the rest of us. The opportunity for learning for the rest of us was immense. Every curiousity could be satisfied, and even the most complicated concepts can be taught if you have a highly-capable teacher.

So now, while I don't personally think I measure up to the mental level of all the great minds of our day, all the "intelligence" tests I take tell me that I do. Compared to a history exam, IQ tests seem easy--like I'd studied for it. In a sense, I guess, I have. I have an uncommonly strong educational background that gives me a noticable edge.

So what does that mean? Are IQ tests really worthless? If you could create an IQ test for which the results weren't affected by prior education, would it be useful? Would the results be different?

more than 8 years ago

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