IQ tests, intelligence and Modern Humans

In life, humans have always found a desire to validate their self worth. Being a part of the human species, I have always preferred empirical data more than taking something on faith. Solely accepting that you are a certain way, is much more difficult than accepting these beliefs on hard facts. There are many reasons for qualifying who we are as individuals. Intelligence, which is the subject of this paper, is just one of the strategies for qualifying our intellect. Also in society, we use many diverse types of hard data to prove our sense of worth in numerous manners.

In this essay, I would like to pecifically focus on IQ tests, which provide a means for us to validate our intelligence. This composition will begin by stating an overall idea of what intelligence is and how we perceive intelligence in others. Then, we will continue by exploring the basic structure of IQ tests. This will provide a general understanding of the “when, what, how and general reason for” IQ tests. Building upon these facts, this paper will then discuss our understanding of memory and the structures involved in memory retention.

I would like to then expound upon these ideas by moving on to the pitfalls of IQ tests and closing by summarizing these thoughts into one, overall idea. Though intelligence is subjective in nature, we can broadly define it by splitting it into two distinct categories. The first being acquired knowledge, which is often referred to as “book smarts”. This type of intelligence focuses more on how knowledgeable an individual is in a general discipline. The second category, fluid intelligence, deals with a person’s ability to adapt to new and foreign challenges.

Sometimes referred to as being “quick on your feet. ” (Kamin 28-29) In recent history, intelligence quotient tests have gained fame for heir capability to measure these two categories. However the idea of Intelligence Quotient Tests is not a new thing. People have been measuring intelligence since the inception of the tests in 1887 by a SE Chaill. Though IQ tests have evolved in many forms over the years, Dr. Chaill’s original formula is still used today in many, albeit different, forms. Kamin 16-18) |Intelligenc|= |Mental Age |X |100 | |e Quotient | | | | | | | |Chronological| | | | | |Age | | | Later, a French psychologist, Alfred Binet, used this same formula, ut simply changed the criteria for what the value of Mental Age was. For example, determining the mental age of a child, for example, involved whether or not the child could count the fingers on his hands and repeat six syllable sentences. (Devin 23) However, evolution has not completely passed by our previous IQ testing methods.

Presently, IQ tests are usually administered in group tests, as opposed to the one-on-one tests given by psychologists. Also, most of these tests now focus on three broad categories: Verbal, Mathematical and Visio-spatial. Following with our previous definition of intelligence, most IQ test questions attempt to mold fluid intelligence and acquired knowledge together. (Kamin 23-25) In an ideal question, a person must use both forms equally to produce a correct answer, “like a symphony, all parts must function as one to produce an aesthetic value. (Devin 34)

In the best circumstances the questions would work this way, but what happens when an individual cannot formulate a correct response? Let’s explore how memory could affect this. To begin with, let’s get a basic understanding of how memory works. From what is understood of memory, the mind has two different but very homologous types of memory, short-term and long-term. It is believed that short-term memory is stored in the hippocampus of the brain. It is here that we temporarily store all the inconsequential things we experience every day.

What exact time it was when you woke up: whether or not you put your socks or pants on first: what you ate for lunch last week and even that girls phone number, all these memories are here. (Milikan 136-138) Conversely, long-term memory is much less clear and even more ragmented in definition. Many of the experiments in the publications I reviewed involved shocking sheep or tying rats to poles. (ex. Kimbel 240- 291, Devin 56) It seemed that most of these experiments offered minimal data, if any, and allowed researchers a sort of leeway in what the true conclusion is.

However, it is accepted in a general sense that these memories are stored in multiple parts of the brain. These parts of the brain focuses more on long-standing thoughts such as what 2+2 is, what your mother’s age is and what your name is. This is the part of the brain elieved to store the information you would use on an IQ test. Now we witness our first failing of IQ tests, ambiguity. We don’t exactly know how memory functions, but we boast to be able to accurately measure it.

It would be akin to someone professing that they could precisely measure the distance to their car with their eyes closed. Thomas Devin stated this difficulty when he said, “we can only define this concept in terms of the ways in which you measure it and the measurements achieved. ” (Devin 25) Another challenge presented by IQ tests lies in the mathematics of the rocedure itself. If an infant of 2 were able to pass an IQ test with a mental age of 4 their IQ would be represented as 200, which is 87 points above the national average.

This child would, supposedly, be a genius. As well, with the dual relationship of short and long-term memory, a participant may be able to use facts from their short-term memory to solve problems. Like when a college student crams for a mid-term, most undoubtedly the information they gain in those two hours will be gone in a matter of weeks. Elderly people are also at risk of being misrepresented by these xaminations. While studies have shown (Kamin 38) that the intelligence level rises evenly until the age of 20, tested intelligence drops off gradually every year after.

Do humans become less gifted as we age? With my own personal experience, I have found that when I am presented with a problem in life, the best council that you can keep is that of an older person. Whether or not I take this advice is another thing… but, through experiencing life, we cannot help but learn consistently and become, at the very least, fluidly intelligent if not achieve more crystallized intelligence. We have now examined problems in three, general age levels, in the previous paragraphs. Let’s move on to another category, gender.

Generally men are more inclined to be skilled at Visio-spatial abilities than women. This skill generally includes, “the ability to organize and manipulate visual inputs in their spatial context. ” (Kamin 43) With women, studies show that females tend to be superior in their verbal abilities. Girls learn to talk earlier than boys and have tested better at all age levels than males. These inherent problems between genders pose a definite threat to the rocess of intelligence identification. The two topics discussed above are to of the three major categories present in IQ testing.

While gender is something that can’t be avoided, it seems that there should be some consideration for the disparity between these two diverse groups. It may seem incorrect of me to use data to attempt to disprove something else that has been proved through data as well. While I have done this, the context of the subject being proven is different. While intelligence quotient tests try to represent human intelligence as a one- imensional property, I have only been using data to articulate separate themes in the human psyche.

Although a means to define our place and who we are on this planet may never be reached, humans will always search for it. It has been, and forever will be, my belief that we make who we are inside and maybe it’s meant to be ambiguous. Trying to find that solace on a piece of paper will only be as good as the amount of credence we place on those printed words. Though we may see a high number on our tests when we get one back, you will never find “you are an amazing human being” printed across the top.


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