I previously talked about how scores on an IQ test are developed, and what they mean mathematically. Now, I’ll look at what they can mean for individuals.
IQ could be described as the BMI of the mind. Although both numbers can provide useful information for a typical mind or body, they should still be regarded with caution especially in an atypical mind or body. BMI is near-useless for athletes, who will often score as overweight or obese due to their increased muscle mass. Similarly, IQ measurements may be helpful to understand a neurotypical person in a familiar situation, but they are flawed for people with neurodevelopmental disorders, or people who are unfamiliar with standardised testing.
3) IQ tests cannot always measure someone’s ability accurately. Health conditions and neurological differences result in people having uneven patterns of ability, which confuse IQ tests.
The Intelligence Quotient- or IQ- is one of the most popular subjects in psychology. Yet despite us often using IQ as a shorthand for intelligence, and even using it to define others, misconceptions about IQ are often louder than explanations.
So how do IQ tests work, and what does an IQ score mean?
1) An IQ test does not directly measure your ability. It uses maths to estimate your ability in relation to other people.
Today’s topic of choice is another group of people with amazing memories- Mnemonists. Unlike the people with developmental disorders that I talked about a few weeks ago, mnemonists don’t often have physical brain differences to explain their memory abilities (apart from a small difference in the area linked to memorising long lists of numbers, which seems more of an effect than a cause).
Instead, their memories are so strong due to practice, and the use of Mnemonic techniques. Almost everyone has used some kind of mnemonic before; for example, SOHCAHTOA (for remembering when to use sin, cos, and tan in a triangle), or Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (for remembering the colours of the rainbow).However, the method used by mnemonists are much more detailed and involved than this.
The title of this might sound a little unexpected, but to clarify,when I say genii, I’m not talking about very smart people. Rather, I’m on about polymaths – people who are experts, and even innovators, in many different areas. The obvious example for most people is Da Vinci, and it’s very difficult to name anyone recent who is like this- my question is, why is that?
Using my random theory from a few weeks ago, one idea for why less people are innovators and polymaths today is that we are forced by our culture and education to specialise what we want to do way too early in life. The idea of the connections is that as soon as we start narrowing down what areas we focus on, we increase the strength and regularity of the connections dealing with it, which makes connections for other areas weaker as they are used less. The fact they are weaker then means it is more difficult to use them, so they are used even less.