Intelligence is an “I know it when I see it” phenomenon
Researchers at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science at the University of Gothenburg in Göteborg, Sweden, have created a computer program that can score 150 on standard non-verbal IQ test questions.
Intelligence is an “I know it when I see it” phenomenon, but psychologists have formed no consensus on what abilities combine to produce the appearance of great intelligence. Despite this, the lure of condensing a person’s “intelligence” into a simple “intelligence quotient” (IQ) has proven irresistible to many in the field.
The first IQ test was introduced by Alfred Binet in 1905. While in principle an IQ score is meant to be 100 x (mental age)/(chronological age), this definition only applies to children, as mental abilities tend to stabilize at about 16 years of age.
IQ tests for adults are developed so that their scores fall on a bell curve, the peak of the curve being defined as an IQ of 100.
The standard deviation of the test results is then evaluated. One standard deviation equals 15 IQ points, so that a person scoring one standard deviation below average will be assigned an IQ of 85, while scoring one standard deviation above average yields an IQ of 115. In this way the results from competing approaches for the measurement of IQ can be easily compared.
Of particular interest is development of IQ tests which are free of cultural, linguistic, and other biases – tests that can cut to a “pure” IQ. Such tests are generally based on questions which are based on pictures or on numbers, these being thought to be relatively constant from culture to culture.
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