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What are the advantages and disadvantages of IQ testing?

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2011-03-27 03:43:30
2011-03-27 03:43:30

IQ tests are very limited. They do not test how people see things. While someone might be a brilliant person they might not be able to paint a simple sunset well. They might be able to postulate the theories of the universe but are so inarticulate they can't carry on a conversation for more than a few seconds. Their mind maybe a fantastic place of formulas and ingenious plans but they're trapped there, unabled to be conveyed to others or vise versa.

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An interesting perspective on intelligence is Howard Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligences". He identifies many areas of "intelligence" in which different people tend to excel in different ways. Some of the intelligences are: musical, linguistic, logical-mathematical, kinesthetic, and spatial. One can see how different disciplines would rely more on one than another, allowing for each individual to find his strength and pursue its corollary field.

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IQ tests are often inacurate. They do not test perception. They also don't account for abstract thinkers. I am very intelligent, but my IQ is around 90 (below average). Some tests are designed for abstract thinkers (like me) and on one like that, I scored 125 (above average). They also don't account for things like dislexia. Einstien had an IQ of about 100 (he was dyslexic).

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Problems with most IQ tests include:

1. It is unclear what they actually test.

2. Coaching can boost scores by 10 points or even more, so to a signifcant extent they test familiarity with the kinds of questions asked.

3. Research undertaken in West Africa (Guinea-Bissau) about 25 years ago suggested that the biggest determinant of all was whether or not kids had gone to school. Kids who hadn't been to school were bewildered by the question-and-answer ritual and only achieved low scores.

4. The so-called 'linguistic' questions are unrelated to ability to learn foreign languages at school.

5. Maturity (now somtimes referred to as emotional intelligence) is extremely important, but it isn't tested in IQ tests. For example, however bright you may be at maths and physics, it may be of limited use if get angry easily. You need to get along with others, stick up for yourself effectively without violence, be sensitive to those around you and so on. Losing your temper easily when you are frustrated will cause no end of problems - and not just with peers.

Having said all this, IQ tests may have some limited uses, but they are only a rough and ready guide and shouldn't be interpeted in isolation . An individual test (as opposed to a group test), given face-to-face by a psychologist, is generally more informative.

________

1. In most states, clinical psychologists or neuropsychologists are authorized to conduct psychological testing such as the IQ test. However, many professionals who conduct this type of testing do not gather supplemental information about the client, which negatively influences the client's test results. For example, none of the examiners have ever ask me, if I suffered from a mental illness, have performance anxiety, depression, or other psychiatric illnesses; these factors have a negative impact on one's IQ score.

2. According to Parnes, A .U. et. al. (2010), these researchers have concluded that mental illness, in fact, does impair one's IQ scores by at least" 3 to 7 points"(p.556). For example, those who have high anxiety levels have a difficult time performing well on an IQ test, because there is so much pressure to do well on these tests and most tests are timed.

3. Another contributing factor is that some clinical psychologists and neuropsychologists not aware of the impact medications(medical or psychiatric ) can impair one's intellectual ability. In fact, anti-anxiety antidepressants and anti psychotics may impair one is ability to perform well on these tests. For example, if a subject was recently given an anti-anxiety medication, while it may decrease their anxiety, it may also increase their reaction time and in many sub-tests are timed; therefore, have a negative impact on the subject's results. However, I could not find a peer-reviewed article that concludes certain medications may impede one's intellectual ability. However, I will conduct further research on this topic.

Reference:

Parnes, A. U., Mortensen, E. L., Saebye, D. and Parnes, J.(2010). Pre-morid IQ in mental disorders : A Danish draft-board study of 7486 psychiatric patients. Psychological medicine , 40, 547-556

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