The Numerous Ways in Which Standard IQ Tests Fall Short

Topics: Psychometrics, Intelligence, Intelligence quotient Pages: 7 (2414 words) Published: February 14, 2014
4) Creativity, wisdom and giftedness are not measured in standard IQ tests. Discuss the numerous ways in which standard IQ tests fall short. The various limitations of standard IQ tests can be assessed with reference to validity (whether the tests actually measure intelligence) and reliability (whether the tests produce consistent results). These shortcomings limit the usefulness of standard IQ tests and can have negative socio-political implications when data is extrapolated without taking these limitations into account. Several limitations of IQ testing stem from the attempt to conceptualise, or define, intelligence. Although some evidence suggests that IQ tests may not be measuring the abstract concept that is intelligence, results are extrapolated to suggest that some groups are less intelligent than others. This perpetuates attitudes that lead to stereotype threat, and evidence of tests determining (rather than solely measuring) IQ can be seen, which problematizes and limits certain “strengths” of IQ tests. High predictive validity becomes more problematic when explained in terms of the Pygmalion effect and the high reliability of IQ tests evidence could be challenged by evidence from studies teaching that intelligence is malleable. A lack of agreement on the definition of intelligence means that IQ tests may have limited representation validity. This is the extent to which intelligence, an abstract theoretical construct, can be turned into a practical test. Since psychologists have no universal conceptualisation of intelligence (Neisser et al., 1996), any subsequent operationalization, or attempt to define the measurement of intelligence in a practical test, may be measuring an individual psychologist’s conceptualisation rather than intelligence itself. In this way, tests such as Raven’s Progressive Matrices (RPM) and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) may have limited representation validity as they aim to measure a conceptualisation known as g, a kind of general intelligence, which may be too reductionist to capture the complexity of human intelligence. There is indeed evidence to suggest that intelligence has more multiplicity than tests measuring g allow for. Hampshire, Highfield, Parkin and Owen (2012) have found three distinct components to cognitive ability: short-term memory, reasoning and verbal ability. Furthermore, a person who scored highly in one area may not have done well in the other two. If there were a general intelligence, one would expect that participants would score fairly equally across different areas, however these results suggest separate, more compartmentalised intelligences. This offers strong evidence that tests trying to measure g may be misguided, as it used a large sample of 46,000 men and women from various countries, which means the results can be generalised with some confidence. This shows that standard IQ tests may fall short by not measuring all aspects of intelligence. It is also clear that all aspects of intelligence as defined by other cultures are not measured in standard IQ tests, which can lead to cultural bias. Different cultures offer different conceptualisations of intelligence; Baral and Das (as cited in Maltby, 2010) found that in Indian culture, intelligence is defined as the unity of high levels of thinking, judgement and decision making, as well as politeness, modesty and appreciation of others. Although “culture fair” tests such as RPM and the Cattell Culture Fair III attempt to overcome cultural bias by not testing cultural knowledge or verbal ability, they are still measuring a culturally biased interpretation of intelligence. The Indian conceptualisation of intelligence cannot be measured by the abstract problem solving used by these tests. This means that the tests also fall short in representing all social and ethnic groups, which can have damaging socio-political consequences. Evidence which is...

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