(definition further explained in this post if you still aren't satisfied)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

IQ Scores Are Overrated

How do you know if someone's smart?

I mean, some people seem smart and some don't.

That's the flawed way of thinking that I used to have, but it's slowly metamorphasizing (how the heck do you spell that?  is that even a word?) into a better way of thinking.  And by that, I mean that I realized about thirty minutes ago that I've had it wrong this whole time.  (I actually said it was a process because I think it took some experience to come to that realization.  Plus, that makes me sound more philosophical and deep.)

Why isn't my answer legitimate?  Because I've been going mostly by academic standards to classify someone as "smart".  And that's totally wrong.

I mean, I got a good score on my ACT, so I like to think of myself as smart.  But I know next to nothing about fishing or hunting or hard drives or mathematical theory.  There are some things I'm not very good at learning, like math (because I hate it and it should die a horrible painful death and then we'd never be able to use money again and would have to go back to a barter system but would that really be so bad?  because I think it might be worth it...).  Some things I'm just ignorant of, like the way some plants have water inside them if you cut them open or the way that the temperature of water can change from one spot to another.

And sometimes, being smart isn't about learning at all.  It's about the fact that perspective changes with every mind.  I could analyze something from every angle I know how to look from, and then someone else can come along and effortlessly point out something that I'd never seen before.

By talking to people in their unique way of seeing things, I can learn about everything from relationships to constellations.  I can see a different person behind every familiar smile.  I can see a new night sky the millionth time I look up at it.

I'm really not that smart at all.

image found using Google


The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

In my own experience the smartest people I know have street smarts combined with some intelligence!

Deidra said...

Yes, it takes all types!

erin said...

Sometimes the scoring confuses the person more than the test itself. Or screws them over.

My accumulative lifetime I.Q. is 132. My SAT verbal score was 780. So I'm a genius right?


My Math SAT score was 420. And I took it three times.

I was denied entry into the honors section of the college I had planned on going to since I was 10 because of it.

I hate them.

And I kind of hate you for bringing up this horrific topic.


Deidra said...

See? Math IS evil!

Hate me if you want, but it's good for you to face your failures so don't shoot the messenger! ;)

Ethan said...

Different perspectives are good.
IQ only measures fragment of what is perceived as intelligence. I once heard that there was a debate over having a complementary "IQ" test that measured Social IQ. But all the intelligence models that are used today are flawed. two reasons come to mind as to why.
1. The people that take an interest in such things as studying the human psyche probably are naturally gifted in some types of intellect that puts them in that field to begin with. this lop sided intellect is especially prevalent with those high enough in a field that they have respected theories.. the powers that be, in that field so to speak. This couples with the fact that everybody likes to think of themselves as something special, like they are better some how then everyone else. Just as people usually sympathize with the protagonist in a story, people also tend to sympathize with themselves. this is why people seldom are wrong in an argument when telling others about it later. Any way... this causes the scholars to over emphasize the types of intelligence they have and under emphasize or ignore the types of intellect that they don't have. (there is a reverse where you emphasize on what you don't have but this is coupled with low self esteem and is seldom found in High level academics.)
2. If the human brain was simple enough for us to understand, then we would be too simple to understand it. In short we're never figure it out by looking at ourselves.

Of course my IQ is only 115, so I may be totally wrong about everything.

Jamie Evans said...

Personally, I have decided not to find out my IQ score. At least, not in the foreseeable future.

If I found out my IQ, one of two things would happen. Either:
1. My IQ score would be lower than expected. I would be depressed. I would lose faith in my abilities. I might stop achieving and the score would hold me back.
2. My IQ score would be higher than expected and I would get a big head.

I prefer to live in the comfortable assumption that I'm a pretty intelligent guy, and let my achievements and the things that I plan to achieve speak for themselves, without being backed up by what I consider a semi-arbitrary number.

Just saying.

A lot of this stems from my conclusion that, as a human-designed calculation of intelligence, IQ scoring is inherently flawed.

Deidra said...

Ethan--Good points, as always. The problem you're talking about with intelligence tests could be avoided if the creators could be unbiased (which we both know is impossible but it's a point worth making).
I find your second statement much more profound. There's a wisdom in it that makes your IQ score completely and absolutely irrelevant.

Jamie--Agreed on all points!