Why Iq Tests Don't Test Intelligence

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The task of trying to quantify a person's intelligence has been a goal of psychologists since before the beginning of this century. The Binet-Simon scales were first proposed in 1905 in Paris, France and various sorts of tests have been evolving ever since. One of the important questions that always comes up regarding these tools is what are the tests really measuring? Are they measuring a person's intelligence? Their ability to perform well on standardized tests? Or just some arbitrary quantity of the person's IQ? When examining the situations around which these tests are given and the content of the tests themselves, it becomes apparent that however useful the tests may be for standardizing a group's intellectual ability, they are not a good indicator of intelligence.

To issue a truly standardized test, the testing environment should be the same for everyone involved. If anything has been learned from the psychology of perception, it is clear that a person's environment has a great deal to do with their cognitive abilities. Is the light flickering? Is the paint on the walls an unsettling shade? Is the temperature too hot or too cold? Is the chair uncomfortable? Or in the worst case, do they have an illness that day? To test a person's mind, it is necessary to utilize their body in the process. If everyone's body is placed in different conditions during the testing, how is it expected to get standardized results across all the subjects? Because of this assumption that everyone will perform equally independent of their environment, intelligence test scores are skewed and cannot be viewed as standardized, and definitely not as an example of a person's intelligence.

It is obvious that a person's intelligence stems from a variety of traits. A few of these that are often tested are reading comprehension, vocabulary, and spatial relations. But this is not all that goes into it. What about physical intelligence, conversational intelligence,...
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