Are IQ tests ‘fundamentally flawed’?

December 21st, 2012 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

As stated yesterday in the ‘Independent’ the largest single study into human cognition found that the notion that intelligence can be measured by IQ tests alone is a ‘fallacy’. The research by Highfield and Owen suggests that IQ tests fail to take into account the complex nature of human intellect and its different components.

Instead of IQ, the research which involved an online survey of more than 100,000 individuals from around the world indicates that there are several different circuits that contribute to intelligence.

By analysing these results and the brain circuitry of 16 participants with an MRI scanner the research identified three separate components which corresponded to three distinct patterns of neural activity in the brain. These three distinct components of cognitive ability were: short-term memory, reasoning and a verbal component.

According to the authors these findings have shown that we can no longer distinguish between people or populations based on the idea of a general intelligence. That IQ is not enough. They go further by concluding that their research has shown IQ to be a ‘meaningless’ concept.

Within Zircon, we agree that IQ is not enough to distinguish between people or populations. Our Psychologists have been using IQ and aptitude tests as part of assessment and development methodology for the past 12 years. We therefore concur with Highfield and Owen that IQ should not be tested in isolation, and agree that other factors like EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and SQ (Social Intelligence) also come into play. We do however believe that IQ has a place in assessment and testing, however we should not place too much emphasis on IQ to the detriment of other factors.

Written by Will Thomas and Dr Amanda Potter, 21st December 2012

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