7 Reasons Why The Concept Of IQ Test Is Flawed

This is not to take away the credit of those who score high on the test and neither is it to console  those who don’t. It is just a collection of  arguments that claim an IQ test can be misleading because it fails to reflect one’s intelligence accurately.

What are the arguments against the most commonly accepted method of measuring a person’s intelligence? Let’s find them out.

1. Criticism by Prof. Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard

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Stephen Jay Gould, an evolutionary biologist, paleontologist, and a historian of science, had spent a considerable amount of time as a professor at Harvard, denied the accuracy of IQ test in his book, The Mismeasure of Man (1981). According to the arguments put forward by Gould, the human intelligence is not just a single entity which could be measured in terms of mathematical number or be graded according to score.


2. Various factors may affect the performance in the test

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An IQ test measures the intelligence of a person based on the result of the performance of the person on a particular day. The very next, the person may not perform well and there could be various reasons behind it such as emotional or health conditions or even the atmosphere of the test room.

Also, a person who is not educated will not be able to take the test the same way as an educated person.


3. There is no such thing as a fixed IQ – the thing about Flynn Effect

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Even if the results of an IQ test are considered as a means to measure a person’s intelligence, the IQ may not remain the same throughout his life. With some practice, the same person who has scored poorly now can score really well the next time he or she appears for the test.

However, the “standardized score” does consider the expected amount of improvement over time and discounts it in the next attempt.


4. Predicting the success of person on the basis of the IQ Test

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Several institutions use the IQ test as a tool to gauge the capabilities of a student and how he or she is going to do later in life. However, in reality, an IQ test is not a very good indicator of vocational and socioeconomic success.


5. The subjects are not enough to measure one’s intelligence

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According to The University of South Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Studies, IQ tests fails to include many subjects which are crucial aspects of intelligence in a human being.

While subjects like mathematicians, comprehension, series and limits are important, an individual’s intelligence depends largely on creativity, social skills, and mechanics which are not included in the test.


6. It is detrimental to one’s growth

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Not only is the test based on arbitrary standards, but representing the entire magnitude of a person’s intelligence into just a number is too simplistic. In many cases, assigning a number to a person’s intelligence can limit his or her aspirations.


7. The role of cultural bias

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Apparently, the IQ test is designed in a manner that  emphasizes on skills that are important to certain societies. For instance, Australian Aboriginal children, raised in the deserts scored well on a test meant to assess visual memory but not in the IQ test.

Visual memory is more important for these people than anything else as they need to find their ways through the desert.

The intelligence quotient test is based on arbitrary standards set by man and is not written in stone.

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