Oh boy. This is gonna be a bitter pill to swallow. There are very few subjects that can cause a massive uproar, outrage and hurt the feelings of more than 90% of people (see what I did there?) at once. One of them is the Intelligence Quotient or IQ. Why, you may ask? Well, let’s start from the beginning.
“An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a total score derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence”.
These scores follow a normal distribution (or commonly known as a “bell curve”). This means that the majority of the population falls in the mean (which is 100). As you move one standard deviation (around 15 points) up or down, the fewer individuals you will encounter.
For example, only 2,5% of the population has an IQ > 130 or an IQ < 75. Most of us have an Intelligence Quotient between 95-110, which makes sense.
What exactly does IQ measure?
Intelligence, duh. And what exactly is intelligence? IQ, duh.
OK, if we want to be more precise and not fall for pedantic explanations, an Intelligence Quotient is a predictor. A predictor of Creativity, ability to manipulate abstract concepts, ability to understand novel subjects, to identify emerging patterns, openness to new experiences, processing speed and more.
And now it gets even more interesting. IQ is also a predictor of academic success, wealth and general life success. What, you don’t believe me? Let’s math this up:
Is an Intelligence Quotient important?
- The correlation between an Intelligence Quotient and grades and achievement scores is between .60 and .70.
- The correlation between IQ and job performance is around 0.55 across numerous meta-analyses.
- The average correlation between income and the Intelligence Quotient is about .40 across studies.
- And we can go on and on. There’s even a correlation between health and IQ.
To give you a quite well-known example: If you were given $1 million at age 1 or an IQ in the 5%, you’d be better off with the latter by the time you turned 40.
“Hey, Intelligence Quotient is bullshit pop-psychology”
Sorry, to break it to you, but if you are to dismiss IQ, then go ahead and dismiss ALL modern psychology, as the statistical methods that were used to establish the Intelligence Quotient are used in every aspect of social science today. And IQ is the most well-validated concept in the social sciences, bar none.
Can you increase your IQ?
Unfortunately, no. There have been numerous futile attempts. We could say that increasing your IQ is the holy grail of psychology.
I am sure you’ve stumbled across the very popular mini-games, where you supposedly hone your mind. Well, the only thing you do is getting better at the game itself and the skills or the cognitive progress you “made” are not transferable to other areas of intelligence.
The bad news is that our Intelligence Quotient will start to drop right around 28-30 years old. Or at least fluid intelligence. What we are left with is crystallized intelligence, specifically all the experience, knowledge and the ability to manipulate and capitalize on them more efficiently.
We can minimize the degeneration by exercising though.
The Elephant in the room
Look at me, I have an Intelligence Quotient of 130, I am a genius and clearly more important than you… said every douche bag ever. You went online, typed “IQ test”, answered 12 questions and now you are a mastermind.
Let’s make it clear: you, me and most of the people you know in-person, have an average or slightly above or below average IQ.
Intelligence Quotient isn’t meant to be used as a tool to appear “superior”, rather it should be used as an assessment of your abilities, to aid you in your decisions.
P.S: For that one person that is gonna comment “But EQ > IQ”… wait for my next post.
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