Scientists Debunk the IQ Myth

(I’m not surprised by this at all. I myself had middling experiences with IQ testing as a child. One year I was flagged as “gifted”, and then a few years of trouble at home and problems fitting in at a different school and suddenly I was in need of “special education”. – Editor)

Via ScienceDaily:

After conducting the largest online intelligence study on record, a Western University-led research team has concluded that the notion of measuring one’s intelligence quotient or IQ by a singular, standardized test is highly misleading.

The findings from the landmark study, which included more than 100,000 participants, were published Dec. 19 in the journal Neuron. The article, “Fractionating human intelligence,” was written by Adrian M. Owen and Adam Hampshire from Western’s Brain and Mind Institute (London, Canada) and Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, Science Museum Group (London, U.K).

Utilizing an online study open to anyone, anywhere in the world, the researchers asked respondents to complete 12 cognitive tests tapping memory, reasoning, attention and planning abilities, as well as a survey about their background and lifestyle habits.

“The uptake was astonishing,” says Owen, the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging and senior investigator on the project. “We expected a few hundred responses, but thousands and thousands of people took part, including people of all ages, cultures and creeds from every corner of the world.”

The results showed that when a wide range of cognitive abilities are explored, the observed variations in performance can only be explained with at least three distinct components: short-term memory, reasoning and a verbal component.

No one component, or IQ, explained everything. Furthermore, the scientists used a brain scanning technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to show that these differences in cognitive ability map onto distinct circuits in the brain.

Read more at ScienceDaily.


2 Comments on "Scientists Debunk the IQ Myth"

  1. TennesseeCyberian | Jan 5, 2013 at 3:57 pm |

    The headline is a bit misleading. The idea that general intelligence goes beyond what can be registered on an IQ test has been a commonly held view among cognitive scientists for some time. “Social Intelligence” and “Emotional Intelligence” are both important aspects of a human’s ability to navigate his or her environment. But that doesn’t negate the importance of IQ tests in predicting a person’s ability to navigate certain environments, such as STEM fields, or complex financial markets.

    The article does not discredit IQ testing so much as discredit the idea that one IQ test fits all purposes. The researchers’ division of IQ into short-term memory, reasoning, and verbal abilities is compelling, not nullifying.

  2. Ted Heistman | Jan 5, 2013 at 10:59 pm |

    My height is….
    My Weight is…
    My IQ is…

    “one of these things is not like the other….”

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