Is the IQ test a good measure of intelligence?
The IQ test is a standard measure of an individual’s intelligence quotient, but the truth is that it does not really encompass everything that is understood in the term “ intellectual potential,” thus leading to the high unreliability of the IQ test results in general. Accordingly, what these tests measure is the individual’s cognitive ability on a standardized scale, which might include:
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- memory exercises, where the individual is required to memorize shapes, numbers, etc.
- mathematical ability, which serves as proof of the individual’s problem solving skills,
language skills, where the individual is required to rearrange sentence elements correctly, recognize words with rearranged letters, etc.
These cognitive abilities are generally regarded to constitute intelligence, thus measuring one’s ability to comprehend ideas and not the amount of knowledge he has. Still, when measuring intelligence like this, we are disregarding the human factor. For instance, if we have a Nobel Prize winner whose personal life is hell, or a doctor who smokes an insane amount of cigarettes every day, or a highly successful corporate executive who has risen to the very top of his company, only to be awarded with a heart attack due to all the nerve shattering experiences on his way there, can we really consider these people intelligent, people who sacrifice one part of their life for the sake of success?
Similarly, the IQ tests do not take into account human creativity, acquired abilities in different, non-cognitive fields, wisdom obtained through time and experiences, social skills and a variety of other human characteristics that can fall under the intelligence category, yet are not being taken into account by IQ tests. Are we to disregard the highly successful artist as intellectually inferior to a highly skilled mathematician, merely because the latter’s ability can be measured by standardized tests? This would be unfair.
Thus, IQ tests can be a good orientation when it comes to measuring a subject’s cognitive abilities, but it is far from being 100% accurate, exactly because it fails to incorporate all the notions that constitute the term “ intellectual ability.”