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Are IQ Tests Accurate?

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People these days live in an era that perceives intelligence as part of an individual’s value. Smart people get into the best universities, get the best jobs, get the highest salaries, and are the leaders and models everybody else must follow. Being smart nowadays is a vital aspect of success, and being one is measured through IQ tests. Nevertheless, are these tests accurate? 

IQ tests are meaningless and inaccurate, as it does not precisely replicate intelligence, according to Dr. Roger Highfield. He is a broadcaster, science journalist, author, and Science Director at the Science Museum Group in London. He was able to observe one of the biggest online surveys ever performed on this topic. Part of a research he co-authored, regarding the IQ score is now published in the journal Neuron.

An Intelligence Quotient is normally categorized as a representation of a person’s raw intelligence. But what makes IQ tests accurate? Are there any factors that can back it up? In this post, we are going to debunk why IQ tests are inaccurate and back it up with facts. 

Why is the Idea of IQ Tests Significantly Inconsistent? 

This section isn’t intended to take away the credit of those people who score high on IQ tests, and neither is it to comfort those people who do not. It will only serve as a series of debates claiming IQ test could be ambiguous, as it fails to mirror a person’s intelligence precisely. 

What are the top opinions against the widely accepted way of calculating the intelligence of an individual? Let’s discover them all below! 

The role of cultural bias 

Obviously, an IQ test is created in a way that emphasizes skills, which are relevant to specific societies. A good example of this is the Australian Aboriginal kids. Did you know that these children were raised in the deserts? They score well on a test that is intended to evaluate visual memory but not in the IQ test. 

Visual memory is far more essential for these individuals than anything else is. That’s because they need to locate their ways through the desert. 

When the first IQ tests launched, the concept wasn’t to utilize test results for scholastic advancement to make new teaching methods, which could work to enhance various modes of education. The goal was to safeguard the “survival of the fittest.” What we mean of the fittest here were the smarter people who got the highest score. 

Cognitive science sustained evolutionary theories in the past, which opened the way for eugenics. Psychologists Terman, Simon, and Binet considered the mindsets of people and psychological profiles, circumstances in the same gender, class, and race to know how intellectual capability works. However, can we tell that their tests are accurate and impartial? 

The concept of individuals of different races having various levels of mental capability was predominant during that moment. That mistaken belief influenced the way such tests were made and applied. Such debates are proven indefensible and false today. 

It is harmful to the growth of a person

Not just IQ tests play a role in cultural bias. However, signifying the entire greatness of an individual’s level of intelligence into a mere number is very naïve. In the majority of cases, allocating a number to the intelligence of an individual could limit his or her aspirations in life

The subject is not enough to measure a person’s intelligence 

IQ tests fail to cover different subjects that are necessary elements of intelligence in a human being. That claim is based on the University of South Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Studies.

Subjects such as comprehension, limits, series, and mathematicians are relevant. Nonetheless, the intelligence of a person massively depends on mechanics, skills, social, and creativity that aren’t covered in the tests.

Forecasting the success of an individual based on IQ test  

Various organizations utilize an IQ test as a tool to gauge student’s abilities and determine how he or she is going to do later in life. Nevertheless, in real life, an IQ test isn’t a good indicator of socioeconomic and vocational success. 

There’s no fixed IQ

An IQ might not stay the same throughout a person’s life, especially even if the results of the test are considered as a way to measure an individual’s intelligence. With a bit of practice, the same individual who has scored poorly today can score well the next time he or she takes the test. 

Nonetheless, the “standardized score” does determine the anticipated quantity of improvement in the end and discounts it in the following attempt. 

IQ tests aren’t about numbers, but they are about individuals. Individuals who are given these tests are assessed for a reason. No one has even been referred for testing due to terminal goodness. 

There is normally a real-life question to be resolved when there is a test, asking for intervention and attention. No matter the nature of the concern, it cannot be fixed by measuring a global IQ. 

Different factors might impact the performance in the IQ test

You will find various factors that might influence the performance of a person in an IQ test. Keep in mind than an IQ test calculates the intelligence of an individual according to the results of the performance of him or her on a specific day. 

For instance, you might not do well the next day, and there could be different reasons behind it. That might include health conditions, emotional conditions, or even the ambiance of the test room. On top of that, an uneducated person won’t be able to take the exam in a similar way as an educated individual does. 

The IQ of a person is a multifactorial and is categorized by a plethora of factors: nature and nurture work hand in hand in distinguishing human intelligence. Different modifiable environmental factors such as diseases, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, pollution, nutrition, premature birth, and education, among others, could have an impact on a person’s IQ.

Human intelligence isn’t a mere entity that can be measured 

Do you know Stephen Jay Gould? You might not be familiar of him, but he is an evolutionary biologist, a historian of science, and a paleontologist. In addition to that, he had also spent a huge amount of his time working as a professor at Harvard. In his book The Mismeasure of Man, he denied the accuracy of IQ tests. 

He explained that the intelligence of a human isn’t a mere single entity that could be measured when it comes to mathematical order or be graded based on score. 

You will find various kinds of intelligence. However, they are all affected by one, overarching, and general intelligence. That’s what professionals essentially measured using something like an IQ test. This sort of testing is not enough in measuring a person’s intellect because it does not consider different factors and capabilities – various types of intelligence. 

That is what the research led by Adrian Owen of the Brain and Mind Institute at Western concluded. Their study is composed of over 100,000 participants from across the world, asking them to do twelve different cognitive tests. It discovered that a simple IQ score is misleading when evaluating an individual’s intellectual capacity. 


What they performed in their research is to try to know what the structure of intelligence is, which has been different from what has been performed before. The researchers do that by taking into account how the brain is structured into specialized functional systems. 

As part of their study, researchers utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging methods with a group of participants to present those differences in cognitive abilities correspond to the individual circuits within the brain. 

Bottom Line 

The IQ test has produced solid debates against and in support of its application since its inception. Both borders are concentrated on the peoples, which have been damagingly influenced in the past by the use of intelligence tests for eugenic reasons.

The application of IQ tests in an array of surroundings, as well as the sustained dispute over their rationality as well as morality highlights not just the substantial worth the society puts on intelligence. It also highlights our desire to know and measure it. 

To sum up, intelligence was never, and it will never be fixed. You should be doubtful of any media report arguing that a new research overturns the study highlighting that it is. Keep in mind that the development of intelligence is one of the most thrilling and critical research subjects in psychology.

Every person enters the testing session for a reason. Every person has his or her unique set of traits and life experiences. The answer here is not to identify the one true IQ score of a person. Rather to explore as much as possible about that person to help him or her thrive in life. 

Found this interesting video by SciShow Psych. Check it out:

Here’s some free IQ tests I found if you want to take it: