IQ tests were developed to test general intelligence. General intelligence is all about working memory, perception and attentional ability. This leads to better problem solving ability, spatial manipulation, and language acquisition. The whole test is one big complex task measuring many different verbal and spatial skills. Usually if someone scores high on one aspect of intelligence they score high in others as well. It is thought that a higher IQ leads to better life outcomes, including health and longevity, and success. IQ test are commonly used at the elementary school level to test for learning disabilities and what areas a student might need more assistance in.
The problem is IQ scores are not an accurate representation of someone’s intelligence. The traditional IQ test only asks questions related to reading, comprehension, series and mathematical knowledge. The University Of Chapel Hill School Of Social studies claims that there are so many other areas that relate to intelligence. This includes mechanics, social skills and creativity. Howard Gardener was the first to propose that there are multiple intelligences and that people learn in different ways. He claimed that IQ tests were too narrow and don’t consider intelligence like musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic skills.
A study was done in 2012 that found that “there is no such thing as a single measure of IQ or a measure of general intelligence.” The study had 100,000 participants complete 12 online cognitive tests that measured memory, reasoning, attention and planning abilities. The results showed that there was no single test component that predicted how well a person could perform mental and cognitive tasks. However they found that short term memory, reasoning and a verbal component make up intelligence confirming past theories. The researchers also found that training ones bran to improve performance on cognitive tasks did not help people when tested on these three aspects of intelligence. The studies senior investigator said “We have shown categorically that you cannot sum up the difference between people in terms of one number, and that is what is important here.”
Many people believe in this common misconception that IQ is the best representation of intelligence. I found it interesting when I came upon an article about our current president and his consistent comments in regarding to IQ tests. The way President Trump has mentioned IQ scores gives the impression that he believes that they are a measure of someone’s worth and intelligence. It has been revealed by half a dozen of people close to him that he frequently says that the people he likes have genius- IQs. He has even called himself a “very stable genius” on multiple occasions. On top of all of this he said his cabinet has the highest IQ of any assembled in history. In 2013 he tweeted “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q is one of the highest –and all you know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.” This is a good example of the fact that a lot of people don’t understand that IQ scores aren’t the end all be all representation of intelligence. IQ tests just don’t fully represent someone’s capabilities and it needs to stop being used as a way to compete with others or represent intelligence.