An Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, test is designed to measure a person’s intelligence relative to other people. A score of 100 is average, and correlates with having average general intelligence relative to other members of the same age cohort, while scores above 100 are above average and below 100 are below average. A score of 70 or below is generally associated with mental retardation, while scores above 140 are generally labeled genius-level.
History of IQ
The first IQ test, the Binet-Simon test, was designed to identify mentally retarded schoolchildren. The test produced a mental age for each child tested. Shortly after its development, psychologists realized they could use it to test intelligence in the general population, and it has been used in a variety of contexts since that time.
Use of IQ Testing
IQ tests have a wide variety of uses. School systems may use them to test problem areas in students. The military historically used IQ tests to eliminate some recruits. IQ tests are still frequently used to test for mental retardation and to measure its degree of severity.
Criticism of IQ Testing
IQ tests have been heavily criticized by a variety of groups. Many IQ tests may show some degree of racial, gender, and class bias. For example, math questions on the test might ask children to calculate items that middle class white children are familiar with, but which poor children might never encounter. General knowledge questions might really test general knowledge that white, middle class males have. IQ tests have historically been used to prove the lesser intelligence of women and minority populations, and some psychologists–such as the authors of the controversial book The Bell Curve–have continued to attempt to do this.
There is also conflicting evidence about whether or not general intelligence is a real entity. People’s IQs can go up with education and training, indicating that IQ is not a stagnant number that absolutely represents a person’s capabilities. Intelligence encompasses a broad array of capabilities, and test takers may excel in one area, such as verbal skills, and do poorly in another area. Traditional IQ tests have not tested for things such as social competence, musical skill, or physical capabilities. Psychologist Howard Gardner proposed a theory of multiple intelligences and has argued that traditional IQ tests do not test for many critical areas of intelligence.
- Colman, A. M. (2006). Oxford dictionary of psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
- Harwood, R., Miller, S. A., & Vasta, R. (2008). Child psychology: Development in a changing society. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons
Last Updated: 08-11-2015
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chan yoonApril 9th, 2015 at 3:48 AM
I need to test my iq and eq
iqck.comApril 12th, 2016 at 1:58 PM
Nice read. Thanks!
timothy tylerMay 6th, 2016 at 3:06 AM
how do I take a Iq Test with whom and is there a -number I mat call for more info
Dave AJanuary 9th, 2017 at 11:06 AM
I did not know that an IQ test was a way to measure your intelligence compared to other people. An IQ test seems like a way to be able to make sure that you are average and if not to be able to work harder to gain more knowledge. I think that it would be a good idea for people to take an IQ test to be able to see how they are progressing.
DarleneMay 12th, 2021 at 12:50 PM
DarleneMay 12th, 2021 at 12:51 PM
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