History and Information about the IQ Test Part 2 What is Intelligence

About the intelligence quotient or IQ test used to gauge people's smarts, history and other information on the famous tests.

Inside the IQ Test

What Is Intelligence? Galton, Binet, Simon and other creators of intelligence tests were trying to measure something that still has no satisfying definition. What is intelligence? Is it the ability to make judgments, to remember, to reason things out? If a person can interpret verbal analogies and see spatial relationships, does that mean he is intelligent? Many psychologists would answer, "Yes, but--"

But--what about the "idiot savant" who is severely retarded, yet has the ability to add incredibly long strings of large numbers? What about the fact that people with the same IQ scores may excel in entirely different areas? One might be a virtual dummy in handling verbal material but perform at genius level in making designs out of blocks. A 2nd may have almost the same average in all abilities. How can these 2 minds be equated, despite their having identical scores?

But--what about other, less "intellectual" abilities? Anthropologist Carlos Casteneda states that much of our perception of the world is distorted by an agreement made long ago in our rational European heritage to perceive some things and not others. Because we perceive things according to this agreement, whether we know it or not, certain aspects of reality are filtered out. Our ability to see relationships, and thus our intelligence, is then forever skewed. Should not intelligence tests measure those abilities neglected in our culture--extrasensory perception, photographic memory, synesthesia (cross talk of the senses)?

But--what about creativity? Studies have shown that children with highly creative minds and average IQs do as well in school as high-intelligence, low-creativity children. Creative children often solve problems in highly original ways, give wrong answers for right reasons, and go off on mental tangents that show a high degree of sophistication. Are they not "thinkers" even though what they do is not presently being measured favorably on intelligence tests?

Development on a Schedule. Intelligence is not fixed and stable for life. Instead, it is constantly changing, according to what happens to the brain at various stages.

A baby's brain starts evolving before it is born. Some intellectual abilities are innate but will deteriorate if they are not developed. These include eye-hand coordination, conservation, and the ability to perceive objects as solid.

In one experiment, babies between 16 and 24 weeks old were shown 3-dimensional, non-solid images made by movie projectors. When the babies tried to touch the images, their hands went through them, and they began to cry. Somehow, the infants "knew" that things are "supposed to be" solid. Similarly, when babies saw a moving object go behind a screen, they showed signs that they expected it to come out on the other side. They "knew" that things have permanence in the real world, that they don't just disappear into thin air. Where do little babies "learn" these concepts? It seems they are either inborn or developed very early in infancy.

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