Friday, May 29, 2009

I.Q. is Overrated

We are easily impressed by I.Q.
Personally, I am a skeptic of I.Q. as a final measurement of a person’s intelligence. Here are some points why I doubt: 
a.) Most I.Q. tests are multiple choices. Thus, even if we don’t know the answer we can pick from the choices by random. Maybe, the odds are low that you’ll get the answer, but it’s still a chance! (Another thing that doesn’t impress me are odds… so what if it is 1% chance against 99%? The 1% is still a chance nonetheless. It could still come up, no matter how low the chance.) So, you may “luck” yourself to a high score. 
b.) Can I.Q. tests measure these aspects of intelligence: linguistics, musical, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic, and spatial? Based on the questions in I.Q. tests, it seems that the only thing that they might obtain is intelligence in logical-mathematical aspect. 
c.) Sometimes I.Q. tests have questions that require information/trivia knowledge. Example, there is a set of groups of letters and you should rearrange them first to form them to words, then find the odd-man out. Let us assume you get London, Paris, Tokyo, and Sydney after rearranging them. Of course, it’s easy. Sydney is out. The others are capitals. But assuming this is a hard question and would require special knowledge. Assume there are two who took the test, and the first have just read about it recently (again, we are assuming that the determining Sydney as a non-capital requires special knowledge and not general knowledge). The second have not. Thus, the first knows that Sydney is not a capital. Is it a point against the second’s intelligence because he does not have this information or trivia in his knowledge? If you look at it this way, this could be unfair to the second since it is not his fault that he had not have the chance or had the circumstance to encounter it. 
d.) Can intelligence be really measured?  I am (a bit of a) skeptic that something complicated and abstract as intelligence can be measured at all. 
e.) I don’t think I am a genius, but I always get a high score in these tests. (Now, why is that?) That is why I’m a skeptic, I doubt I am that smart.
Here is a result of one of those tests I took on the net:
127. Hmmm. Can it really be that high?  However, I think, it’s the best test I took (that almost convinced me that this I.Q. thing may really work). Here are the points why I think this is almost the closest thing to a perfect test to measure my I.Q.: 
a.) no information/trivia knowledge required (though, I would not mind if there were. I am king of irrelevant facts, but, if there were, that would be an “unfair” advantage on my part). 
b.) it’s under a time pressure of 20 minutes (I finished it in 18 minutes). 
c.) no multiple choices in the number problems. Choices were only on abstract problems.  Thus, picking answers randomly are minimal. 
d.) In all the tests that I had taken, it is the lowest score I had so far, thus, more believable (believe me, I’m saying it without arrogance at all).
The highest score I had was in high school (many items, and also under a time pressure. It was good in its own right) and I got a 144. Yah, I think I answered well, but I also made a lot of random choices in that test. So, maybe I got many of those random picks right because of luck. 144 was unbelievable for me. 
I am not showing off. I am just saying that I don’t trust the results. Yeah, maybe I can say that God gave me an intelligence above average. But I don't think I am that smart (I could stomach 127, but 140s are unbelievable) as I.Q. tests make it. Not a super genius.  If I am, I could have understood quantum theory and all that other difficult  concepts of Physics. 
I conclude that I.Q, tests are imperfect. And I.Q. is overrated. It can’t really measure one’s intelligence. Maybe only a small part, but not something definite. There are other things to consider. Talents, skills, E.Q., leadership, how you deal with people, experiences, and other factors. Intelligence is too complex to be measured by a mere I.Q. score.
Besides, I believe that the true measure is not at all about how intelligent you are. It’s how you use your intelligence. How you handle situations with what’s in your head, and to what end you’ll use it. As Doc Ock said in the movie Spider-Man 2: “Intelligence is not a privilege, it's a gift, to be used for the good of mankind.”

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