An intelligence quotient (IQ) test attempting to measure intellectual abilities was developed by Hans Aizenk in the 1940s. The test became hugely popular in Europe in the 1950s. The people would measure their IQ scores both in offices and at parties. The phrase “he’s got a low IQ” would be often used as a euphemistic description of somebody believed to be a plain fool. The verdict is far from being the ultimate truth because IQ is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to measure intelligence. Therefore, the tests are designed to determine a special skill or “group factor” such as verbal ability, spatial visualization, or mathematical reasoning.
Myth No 1: The final score you get after passing an IQ test reflects your intelligence and abilities
The Aizenk test has a number of sections of subtests designed to determine scores for different areas e.g. language fluency, verbal or three-dimensional thinking etc. The results of the subtests add up to produce the average IQ of an individual. In other words, a person who is very good at imagery but rather poor at logical thinking is likely to end up within the lower general IQ range.
Myth No 2: The higher IQ, the brighter an individual who has it
Those who score high on the Aizenk test are jokingly referred to as the ones with a knack for passing IQ tests. There is no smoke without fire. The IQ scores actually show a person’s ability to find something new. The scores display a range in which a person can observe and understand things that take place at a given time. However, the scores have nothing to do with practical thinking or creative abilities.
Myth No 3: An individual with a high IQ has more chances of succeeding in life
In the foreword to one of the editions of his IQ test, Aizenk wrote that those who wished to succeed in live should have a great deal of persistence and high motivation to back up their high IQ scores. A person endowed with high intelligence but without determination to succeed may spend all his life waiting for the sound of “starting gun.” No matter how sad it may sound, a combination of persistence and motivation is likely to pay off, even though a high IQ may be missing.
Myth No 4: A person with IQ above 170 is a genius.
The highest score of professional IQ tests is 144. The results measuring above the level are not subject to detailed specification, they normally fall within the range “from 150 to 160” or “from 160 to 170” etc. However, the Aizenk tests posted in the Internet usually produce accurate results.
Myth No 5: A person can take an IQ test in the Internet to find his IQ score
All tests posted in the Internet are the simplified versions of the Aizenk questionnaire. Do not rejoice at the news once you score 171 on your Internet test. Please bear in mind that your “extremely high range” has been measured against the mean IQ of ten-year-old children. Professional tests are renormalized occasionally on the basis of the so-called Flynn effect, named after a scientist who discovered that IQ scores worldwide appear to be slowing rising at rate of around three IQ point per decade.
Myth No 6: IQ is a permanent value.
First, real intellectual abilities and IQ test scores should not be confused. Real abilities may vary depending on mood swings, health factors and even self-esteem. A person who takes an IQ test should always remember that the circumstances under which he is being tested are somewhat artificial. A person may either fail to understand the tasks due to a variety of reasons (a poor quality of translation being one of them). Likewise, a person may lose his concentration in the middle of a test and skip a certain part of it. On the contrary, a person may become a professional tester and score highly on a regular basis. In both cases, a person’s IQ will not either decrease or increase.
Myth No 7: There is a secret organization whose members have IQ scores above 170
Members of that mysterious organization are said to belong to the cream of society, all of them are either CEOs or powerful politicians or prominent public figures. Rumor has it that you are bound to join the organization sooner or later if you happen to have a very high IQ yet your social status is rather low. Needless to say, your life is going to change dramatically for the better after that.
In fact, the myth is not even worth dispelling. There is a pretty democratic organization supported by those with high IQ levels. It is called Mensa International (htpp://www.mensa.org/). The organization is not by any means involved in some murky dealings or international brinkmanship. It was set up to deal with various educational projects.
Translated by Guerman Grachev