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IQ 'a Myth,' Study Says 530

An anonymous reader send this quote from The Star: "The idea that intelligence can be measured by a single number — your IQ — is wrong, according to a recent study led by researchers at the University of Western Ontario (abstract). The study, published in the journal Neuron on Wednesday, involved 100,000 participants around the world taking 12 cognitive tests, with a smaller sample of the group undergoing simultaneous brain-scan testing. 'When we looked at the data, the bottom line is the whole concept of IQ — or of you having a higher IQ than me — is a myth,' said Dr. Adrian Owen, the study’s senior investigator... 'There is no such thing as a single measure of IQ or a measure of general intelligence.'"
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IQ 'a Myth,' Study Says

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  • lemme guess (Score:5, Funny)

    by DECula ( 6113 ) * on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:21PM (#42341631) Homepage

    "If there is something in the brain that is IQ, we should be able to find it by scanning."

    The test group consisted entirely of politicians and the control group was Slashdot readers?

    • Re:lemme guess (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nialin ( 570647 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:24PM (#42341665)
      The whole notion of IQ has been discussed ad nauseam here on the boards. We all know it's bullshit, so there's really no point in discussing it further.
      • by neiljt ( 238527 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:50PM (#42342055)
        No point for you, obviously. Mind if the rest of us carry on without you?
        • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @08:24PM (#42343629) Homepage Journal

          IQ is just as valid as any other indicator of intelligence - such as Slashdot Karma.

          • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @09:25PM (#42344007) Homepage

            Slashdot Karma is not an indicator of intelligence, but of something else - probably sexiness, because my Karma is Excellent.

            • Re:lemme guess (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @09:32PM (#42344053) Homepage Journal

              Slashdot karma probably indicates different things for different people. Some people who post here are IT people, who bring a long history of mixed education and experience to the board. Other people are just interested readers who are excellent thinkers, and bring little more than intelligence with them. Other people manage to maintain high karma based on being funny. Some folk may not be especially smart, and may not offer a whole lot to any particular discussion, but they read much more than they write, so that when they do make a post, it's well thought out, and contributes something.

              A high karma rating really only indicates one thing, when all is said and done.

              You've posted some posts that were liked by more people than disliked.

              • "Other people are just interested readers who are excellent thinkers, and bring little more than intelligence with them. Other people manage to maintain high karma based on being funny."

                Funny doesn't do a thing with Slashdot Karma, it's not a comedy club. (most of the time)

                Just pay up, so that you can get an early access to articles, then check Wikipedia and post 'insightful' or 'informative' posts with the learned knowledge about the subject. You don't even have to RTFA.

              • Re:lemme guess (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:30AM (#42345475)

                I maintain karma by being a snarky ass trying to be funny, but then I get modded insightful for some reason.

              • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )
                In other words, Slashdot karma is an almost perfect reflection of the idea there are lots of different mental capabilities, rather than one singular factor (like IQ, say).
              • Other people manage to maintain high karma based on being funny

                I thought you didn't get karma points just for being funny? That's why you see some hilarious posts modded as "informative" or something instead.

          • by lysdexia ( 897 )
            I prefer user number.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nostromo21 ( 1947840 )

        I knew it was bullshit after I took several online IQ tests & kept getting a result of 130-140 back. I know I'm not THAT fucking smart lol!

      • The whole notion of IQ has been discussed ad nauseam here on the boards. We all know it's bullshit, so there's really no point in discussing it further.

        Yes, but what is stupidity []?

    • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:25PM (#42341679) Homepage Journal

      "Sixteen healthy young participants undertook the cognitive battery in the MRI scanner."

      So, no politicians. Also, this isn't the kind of experiment you use a control group in.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:27PM (#42341707)

      Well shit, the Mensa boys won't be happy to hear that ...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Considering how little is know about the brain, current scanning technologies are more like radio telescopes looking at the sky. You can look, compare, theorize, but can't get any closer for validation.

    • Re:lemme guess (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ugot2BkidNme ( 632036 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @08:59PM (#42343827)
      Honestly I think IQ scores are ridiculous.

      I do have a much higher than average IQ (170+) which is overly inflated due to having a near eidetic memory which inflates my score quite a bit.

      So lets look at what this does for me.

      I am good at puzzles.
      I am good at solving problems.
      I can grasp concepts far quicker than your average person.
      That's about it.

      How does this hurt me.

      I get lazy.
      I get bored easily.
      I am very apathetic to learning through traditional means.

      Does that make me smart? Not really I know people with far lower IQ scores who I consider far more intelligent then myself.

      I look at it like this a high IQ means you have a fast processor. That's it if you have nothing on your hard-drive(knowledge) and no programs(formulas) then what good does it do you.

      I have to say not much.

      So when it comes down to it IQ is just something morons brag about, Otherwise, its useless if you don't do anything with it.

      You can also note that my grammar sucks and my spelling is atrocious. However, I can solve a Sudoku like no body's business.
      • but iq does exist then, right? this study says the entire notion of "having a fast processor" is stupid.

      • Re:lemme guess (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @07:33AM (#42346389) Homepage

        So when it comes down to it IQ is just something morons brag about

        So why did you use an either made up or inflated IQ number?

        With the now normal standard deviation of 16, an IQ of 172 would be 4.5 standard deviation which is around to 1 in a million which would be impossible to calibrate the test for and therefore outside the range of any serious IQ test.

        Of course your number could have been measured using a non-standard standard deviation*, or even without a normal distribution (like all silly numbers you see over 200 are linear instead of normal distributions), but then it is not really what people except as an IQ number.

        * A standard deviations of 24 used to be common in some places, and would put 172 at a more normal 3 standard deviations or 1/1000, this is where many test cut off, which would give you a result ending in a +, indicating you were outside test calibration. Still 1/1000 is "only" an IQ of 148+ using the normal standard deviation.

  • True (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:22PM (#42341637)

    I have an IQ of 150, am a member of a 3 sigma IQ society. But I cannot remember names, and if I had to do manual skilled labor, I would starve to death. There are people with a much lower IQ who I admire greatly for their skill sets and abilities that I will never have

    -- MyLongNickName

    • Re:True (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rakarra ( 112805 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:44PM (#42341963)

      I have an IQ of 150, am a member of a 3 sigma IQ society. But I cannot remember names, and if I had to do manual skilled labor, I would starve to death

      Manual skilled labor doesn't have too much to do IQ. The 'skilled' part, but not the manual labor part. It should be noted that IQ shouldn't determine a person's worthiness or value.

      As for names, I can remember strange stuff. Chatting with my partner in the car, I could remember that Galadriel crossed into Middle Earth with Feanor after Morgoth stole the Silmarils and killed King Finwe. I then confessed that I didn't know what it meant that somehow I was able to remember Finwe's name easily, even though it'd been years since I'd read the Silmarillion, yet I had a hard time recalling names of co-workers I had worked closely with a few years back. What does that mean? How does THAT fit into 'IQ?'

      • Re:True (Score:5, Funny)

        by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:05PM (#42342287)
        Emotions make things easier to remember. It means that your co-workers are more boring than the Silmarillion, if such a thing were possible.
        • Re:True (Score:5, Funny)

          by Macgrrl ( 762836 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:17PM (#42342463)

          Does not compute - nothing is as boring as the Silmarillion. And I think I've read it twice knowing how boring it was.

          Possibly it's the sheer mind piercing borningness of the Silmarillion which burned the information onto the OPs brain, whereas his co-workers are only neutrally boring.

          • Try the US Tax Code.
      • Re:True (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:25PM (#42342561)

        Manual skilled labor doesn't have too much to do IQ. The 'skilled' part, but not the manual labor part.

        I would argue not the skilled part either, but rather how quickly/easily the skill was obtained and mastered. Even then, the individual person and skill probably matter too.

        My wife was a Gifted Education and English teacher (before she died in 2006) and her school district recognizes several categories or areas of "Intelligences" for their students - Math, Music, etc... Gifted students/people often - but not always - have a high IQ or high measurable IQ if also dis/differently -abled and their IQ/Intelligence may only be in one or a few areas of interest, like Math or Music. The same is probably true for everyone.

        In short, one IQ number / measurement is probably insufficient as a true, complete indicator of everything.

        • by girlinatrainingbra ( 2738457 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @12:50AM (#42345055)
          Yes, the idea of multiple intelligences which cannot be captured or conveyed by a single numerical result has been brought up before. I just last year read a book called Frames of Mind by Howard Gardner [] which talks about the Theory of multiple intelligences [].
          In fact, I believe that Gardner came up with the idea of multple intelligences in 1983 when he published that book. Gardner broke down the "intelligences" into:
          -- 1.1 Logical-mathematical
          -- 1.2 Spatial
          -- 1.3 Linguistic
          -- 1.4 Bodily-kinesthetic
          -- 1.5 Musical
          -- 1.6 Interpersonal
          -- 1.7 Intrapersonal
          -- 1.8 Naturalistic
          -- 1.9 Existential
          I am assuming that a "score" can be generated in each of these categories, and thus your "IQ" according to Howard Gardner would actually be a point in 9-dimensional space rather than distributed along just a one-dimensional axis. I've skimmed through the entire book and read the first 5 sections almost thoroughly. I highly recommend it.
      • Re:True (Score:4, Informative)

        by Comrade Ogilvy ( 1719488 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @07:07PM (#42343039)
        Almost. Feanor did not consider Galadriel dedicated enough to vengeance against Morgoth, as measured by perceived willingness to draw swords and chop up fellow elves who refused to hand over their boats. Feanor left her behind. Galadriel led a great host the long way around, across the immense icy expanse to the north.
      • Re:True (Score:5, Funny)

        by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @11:23PM (#42344687)

        I could remember that Galadriel crossed into Middle Earth with Feanor after Morgoth stole the Silmarils and killed King Finwe.

        Sure, isn't that common knowledge?

    • by poity ( 465672 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:00PM (#42342199)

      They should just call it Pattern Matching and Spatial Reasoning Quotient. "Intelligence" is too ambiguous a term.

    • Re:True (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:01PM (#42342213) Homepage Journal
      I have no idea what my IQ is, never cared, and this study shows I was correct in never giving a damn about it.
    • Re:True (Score:5, Funny)

      by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:10PM (#42342343)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I have an IQ of 150, am a member of a 3 sigma IQ society. But I cannot remember names...

      -- MyLongNickName

      It's worse than you think. You also can't remember passwords for websites!

    • Re:True (Score:4, Insightful)

      by icebike ( 68054 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:15PM (#42342417)

      That people have multidimensional interests, and skills, a fact that was well understood by the developers of intelligence tests, does not invalidate these tests for their intended purpose.

      This "new finding" is nothing more than a rehash of the criticism of lQ tests since the Pleistocene.

      But in truth, they were never intended as a single ruler to measure all dimensions of human intelligence, or the ability to learn. And, used as a general guide, they work quite well for their intend purposes .

      Apparently the last people on earth laboring under the misconception of the purpose of these tests were the authors of this study.

    • Re:True (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:26PM (#42342581) Journal
      Not to mention those of us with high IQ scores often did poorly in school because WE WERE FUCKING BORED!!!! Oh God was I bored to fricking tears! Everything was so damned dumbed down it was pathetic,there wasn't any in depth anything at my school because it was a "football school" so the whole place was built around what your average jock could pass (which wasn't much) so I spent I don't know how many hours in Junior HS in trouble because i would just start doing my own thing (like reprogramming their computers to be rude, that was fun) and the only reason I wasn't kicked out or dropped out of HS is because a coach ended up giving me my own class to teach jocks enough to pass the tests, which gave me time to read my science fiction and mess with computers and do other things that didn't want to make me run screaming from the sheer mind numbing BOREDOM!
      • Re:True (Score:4, Interesting)

        by fearofcarpet ( 654438 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @07:39AM (#42346429)

        At my high school we were called "eggheads" (by the faculty) and subjugated by deliberately putting us in situations that were boring and humiliating. My favorite was the policy of always pairing an egghead with the dumbest kid in the class for group projects. One time my forced study partner was arrested (for assault and arson no less) and could not come to class. When I asked for a new partner I was told that it was my responsibility to make up for it, that I should be learning some sort of lesson from this and that perhaps if I had forced this mentally unstable gorilla of a human being to do his work, he would have been too busy to get arrested. They took pleasure in punishing the eggheads for being different.

        I wound up barely completing high school after being suspended for nearly an entire school year. I was so disillusioned by the years of anti-intellectualism that I didn't even want to go to college, but I wound up going to my state school just to be around my friends. Wow, what a difference. Suddenly I was rewarded for all the things that I had been punished for. Years later, at a fancy ivy league university, I met all the other "smart" people that floated to the top and was amazed by how seemingly marginal they were intellectually. The one thing they all had in common was that they went to private/magnet schools and had educated parents. They were nurtured and encouraged and motivated to go to good colleges.

        To this day I am fascinated at how far behind I am and how hard I have to work to make up for those early years. I never learned how to use my brain and apply myself so I wound up a collection of random knowledge that I picked up outside of school rather than the focused and trained--though arguably less naturally talented--minds that wind up doing all the things that we normally think smart people should do (i.e., scientist, engineer, fancy pants professor).

    • Re:True (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @09:46PM (#42344149) Homepage Journal

      What is it with names, anyway? Much of the world feels that remembering names is one of the most important things you can do. You've simply GOT TO remember who is who, right?

      Like you, I'm supposed to be pretty intelligent. When I was younger, I remembered all sorts of important stuff, trivial stuff, things that were both useful and useless. But, names? In one ear, and out the other. Girls, teammates, workmates, officers, shipmates - I'd remember their faces, and what they did, how I felt about them, but forget their names. You could walk up to me, introduce yourself, and promise to pay me 500 bucks if I remembered your name next week, and ten minutes later I'd be kicking myself in the ass. "What was that guy's name? Mike? Mickey? Munster?"

      I guess that I had to compensate for my strengths in some areas by being an utter moron in other areas?

      Needless to say, I'm totally lost when people start discussing celebrities. I only remember a few names - like a Michael Jackson or a Tom Cruise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:22PM (#42341641)

    ... there are obvious trends that some people learn more and learn faster then others and I'm certain this can be measured at a gross level. I bet there are methodological flaws with the study that will be debunked soon.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    > Rather, the study determined three factors — reasoning, short-term memory and verbal ability — that combined to create human intelligence or “cognitive profile.”

    And IQ tests test 2 of those factors... reasoning (through math), and verbal (through written). They've just discovered that "memory" is important to "cognitive ability."

    Saying that IQ is a myth is hyperbole. They've identified that it exists and that it has 3 (instead of 2) components.

    • And I've read that IQ is correlated with memory. I'm amazed at how many otherwise smart people baulk at the notion that intelligence is measurable. Intelligence is based on the structure of the brain. Isn't that measurable? Aren't humans smarter than their ape-like ancestors? How did that happen without some sort of increase in intelligence? And if it increased, why wouldn't that be measurable?

      The objections here seem to revolve around anecdotal evidence regarding people being smart at one thing, and not
  • Yeah, again. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:26PM (#42341687) Homepage

    Yeah, again. Seems every five years or so there's a book, article, or study saying that IQ is not a single thing.


    The professor in my "introduction to psychology and brain science" course said "IQ is defined as what is measured by IQ tests." So it's not that it doesn't exist. The question is, what is it, and does it matter?

    • Re:Yeah, again. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PPalmgren ( 1009823 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:33PM (#42341803)

      I'd mod you up but I want to participate. I see where the study is coming from, and I think you've asked the right question. I think what's measured by IQ tests is the ability to find solutions to abstract problems. In this sene, IQ measures your problem solving productivity. Of course, this doesn't make you the most amazing person ever. As the saying goes, it takes all kinds.

      Unfortunately, other types of intelligence are not easily quantified. A social butterfly serves a great role in a production environment that I could never manage to fill without eventually having a breakdown, and there's really no question that their brainpower devoted to this is significantly more refined than mine. So, they have a much higher Social Intelligence than I do, but I may have a higher IQ than they do. Does that make either of us more valuable? No. Just two different cogs for two different parts in the big machine.

      • Re:Yeah, again. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:43PM (#42341945)

        'Social intelligence' like 'emotional intelligence' are just examples of political correctness types responding to the possibility that IQ measures something useful. This is why they rail against standardize testing of any kind in schools too. Insecure people don't ever want to be compared by any objective method.

        While I think there's a correlation with high IQ and high function, I don't think a single number proves jack shit by itself.

        • Its not about being PC, its about trying to put a name to a skill that cant not easily be quantified but definitely has real-world implications. I simply can't function at a high level in a social role the way others can, and I've tried and trained myself to do so, even when taking courses and focusing on it for two years. Give me complex data problems all day long, yet they do not tax my brain even remotely as much as coordinating and hosting a work event from start to finish. There is a visible, but un

    • Re:Yeah, again. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:36PM (#42341841)

      Yeah, talking about whether IQ exists is a bit silly, since it's a metric and definitionally exists. The question is whether it maps to anything interesting outside of itself.

      What people are really interested in is whether there is a so-called "g factor" [] that represents a single major axis of variation in intelligence.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:48PM (#42342033)

      IQ was for finding children with learning disabilities.

      That's all.

      The US Army are the ones who took it and turned it into a measuring stick and subsequently the US educational system followed suit.

      See The Mismeasure of Man [] for a concise history.

    • The paper doesn't mention IQ anywhere. It's about intelligence. IQ is just a (very bad) way of measuring intelligence. The paper makes the claim that there is not generic problem-solving ability (intelligence), but different people excel at different tasks. It's a much stronger claim than saying that IQ is bullshit.

      • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:13PM (#42342381)
        IQ is an extremely good way of measuring problem-solving abilities, useful in fields such as Computer Science. If your IQ is 100 or under, you probably aren't going to be a good coder, ever. Just like, if you are less than 6 feet, you probably won't be in the NBA, ever.
    • Re:Yeah, again. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by firewrought ( 36952 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:40PM (#42342757)

      Yeah, again. Seems every five years or so there's a book, article, or study saying that IQ is not a single thing.

      Moreover, this whole "IQ is wrong because intelligence can be measured in many different dimensions" idea never seems to hit the other major problem with how we typically think about IQ: IQ is bad because it suggests that intelligence is a fixed, innate quantity.

      Why does this matter? Well, psychologists have found that people who perceive intelligence as an intrinsic personal characteristic have trouble learning new skills and overcoming certain types of obstacles. (Presumably because they are worried about appearing stupid at something.) By contrast, people who think of intelligence as something that is fluid, that can be built, are more willing to throw themselves into a new activity. Of course, the latter group ends up learning more, which makes your views on IQ curiously self-fulfilling.

      As an example, one group of researchers gave elementary kids a reading assignment. The first paragraph contained some really dense material way above their reading level. The remaining paragraphs were accessible and age-appropriate. Kids who believed in fixed intelligence (as determine by a separate test) did very poorly on the reading assignment compared to their peers. Apparently, they got tripped up on the first paragraph and seldom completed the reading.

  • Works for me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jethro ( 14165 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:27PM (#42341713) Homepage

    When I was a child, I was diagnosed with having a really high IQ. As a result people have been telling me I'm a "genius" for most my life and always pushing me to "achieve my full potential" and crap like that.

    It's nonsense. Maybe I'm smart, maybe I'm not. I think trying to measure that is crazy and impracticable. I'd rather be judged by what I do, not what some test says about me.

    And frankly I don't really want to be judged at all. I think I'm doing OK with my life, and that's really all that matters. All this unnecessary categorising of people... it's all kind of pointless.

    • Read the book Gifted Grownups [] (it's available at Amazon) or research Intellectual Giftedness [] or Gifted and Talented [].

      Being smart, gifted and/or talented, ("gifted" people often think differently than just "smart" people), doesn't automatically mean you'll be successful, but you can be happy none-the-less. There are plenty of perfectly happy "gifted" adults washing dishes or waiting tables at restaurants.

      Disclaimer: Before she died in 2006, my wife was a Gifted Education teacher for 20 years, after bein

  • Twas always thus. (Score:5, Informative)

    by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:28PM (#42341733) Homepage Journal

    The IQ test was not designed to be an absolute measure. It was developed by Alfred Binet as a way to rank between a group of children in a special education context. It gives only a relative measure between that group and does not give any absolute measurement of intelligence nor is it valid to compare IQs between different groups. The IQs assigned are only valid within the tested group.

    The transition to it being an absolute measurement was pushed by the US military to test and measure recruits. This was a colossal screw up.

    Google it. It's all there.

  • by instagib ( 879544 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:29PM (#42341741)

    Let's start with something easy: cats vs. dogs.

    Dogs can be trained to do a lot of things, and therefore can be very "useful". So people feed them.

    Cats almost can't be trained, they sleep or play around the whole day. An yet people feed them as well.

    Which is more intelligent, cats or dogs?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:37PM (#42341853)

      Doesn't matter, they're both smarter than the schmuck giving out free food.

    • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @06:13PM (#42342391)

      Dogs can be trained to do a lot of things, and therefore can be very "useful". So people feed them.

      Cats almost can't be trained, they sleep or play around the whole day. An yet people feed them as well.

      People don't feed their pet dog because it can theoretically be "useful". They feed it for the same reason they feed their cat.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )

      Or even more the case: Everyone says that Basset Hounds are a dumb breed, because they can't be trained. But I had a Basset Hound that figured out how to open 2 gates to escape the yard and could recognize about 100 words and even one that could say about 4-5 words pretty clearly, such as "hungry" and "walk", when they wanted something.

      I don't know ANY other dog breed that does stuff like that without training. But if you try to train a Basset Hound, they just glare at you like, "Why in the heck would I w

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:30PM (#42341767)

    'There is no such thing as a single measure of IQ or a measure of general intelligence.'

    I once taught a mixture of kids from so called "3rd world environments", who also had very low IQ scores compared to the typical "exposed" American kids.

    In my 11 years of teaching, not once did our American kids score better than the "3rd world" kids at all! This was despite the fact that these poor kids had to learn English grammar. Heck, one of them even reminded me of a few math tricks that I employed myself while in school.

    I once escorted one such kid to her parent, and it was a shock to hear her switch to some foreign tongue before switching to English in order to introduce me. This particular kid is now at BP in Texas, and still writes to me. Incredible!

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:34PM (#42341823)

    by a single metric, what use is doing to the human brain, other than to have another pointless number to have people boast about. (Nearly every person I met who bought up their IQ almost always claims to have 130+ points.... and I'm too polite to say it to them, but apparently underapplying themselves like crazy).

    I almost never see a car rated just by it's mpg nor do I ever see CPUs rated just by their GHz.

    I think one of the highest designated IQs belonged to Goethe and couldn't do math beyond some trig iirc for shit. Great writing though. Obviously a different type of intelligence than Einstein.

  • Processor Speed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dins ( 2538550 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:38PM (#42341867)

    I've always looked at it like processor speed. I've taken a few "IQ tests" in the distant past, and I've come out to around 130 to 140ish. But that's really subjective and I understand why people think IQ is bullshit. I could be just average, who knows.

    But when dealing with most people it just feels like I'm thinking faster. Like they are able to reach much the same conclusions, it just takes them longer to formulate thoughts and ideas. I get impatient that conversations are taking so long when I can already predict where we're going to end up. I sort of feel "overclocked" if you will. When I find someone who seems to think at my speed, it's awesome. We usually have a great conversation - that happens relatively quickly.

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ardeaem ( 625311 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:39PM (#42341887)

    “If there is something in the brain that is IQ, we should be able to find it by scanning. But it turns out there is no one area in the brain that accounts for people’s so-called IQ."

    Wow, the study's senior investigator said something this mind-numbingly dumb? Just because you can't find it using a machine that measures blood flow does not mean it isn't a meaningful concept. IQ definitely exists - it is a measurement. The question is whether it measures anything meaningful. But we wouldn't necessarily expect to be able to confirm that by sticking people in a magnet; it's a statistical question, not a question of blood flow in the brain...

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @05:40PM (#42341913)
    Even the people that "invented" IQ didn't believe in it. It was designed to be a simple and useful measure of relative "intelligence" between people. Intelligence wasn't fully defined at the time, and the test was rigged to try to be fair, even when it was found to not be. Just by changing questions, I can change the relative performance of identified groups (woman and minorities two common groups to target). That was always known, and there are other limitations. This isn't a new position, and I didn't see anything interesting in the article.

    Might as well be saying that shoe size is a myth because people have different widths for a particular size. That doesn't make the size a myth.
  • [quote]
    Rather, the study determined three factors — reasoning, short-term memory and verbal ability — that combined to create human intelligence or “cognitive profile.”

    Now the important question is: Did they find any correlation between the 3 different areas?

  • by dorpus ( 636554 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @08:28PM (#42343661)

    I've noticed that people who are underachievers in school often compensate with high social intelligence, seeming to know every trick in the book.

  • by Sir Realist ( 1391555 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @09:34PM (#42344065)

    The only consistent correlation of intelligence to IQ has always been that only idiots believe that intelligence can be measured by a single number.

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @10:05PM (#42344241) Homepage

    The original idea wasn't vacuous. The researchers who coined the term, particularly Spearman, honestly thought they had found statistical evidence for a single common factor that could be called "intelligence." But I thought that had all been thoroughly exploded by the 1950s.

    There was a guy way back in the 1960s who worked out a sort of abstract block diagram, 6 by 6 by 6, of 216 different "thingies" that represented some aspect of intellectual performance. What was it called? "Structure of Intellect." Google, click click, J. P. Guilford. So he spent a chunk of his career devising psychological tests that ought to detect each of those 216 intellectual abilities and then doing the correlations to show that each of the tests was really, truly measuring something different from the others. When I encountered his stuff, he had successfully demonstrated the existence of about 150 of those 216 skill or talents. In other words, intelligence isn't one thing, it's at least 150 different, independent, things.

    And that was in the 1960s. I'd have hoped that by now IQ was lost and gone forever, dreadful sorry, Spearman. Whatever was keeping it alive? Racism? The standardized testing industry?

    I don't quite see how this goes much beyond what was known a half-century ago, though it's helpful to see it confirmed. But if the officials want to test intelligence, they will just go on testing intelligence, whatever the science says.

  • by samantha ( 68231 ) * on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @10:58PM (#42344551) Homepage

    It is an undeniably obvious fact that some people are smarter than other people. So any study that says intelligence differences between people are a myth is obviously flawed and contrary to obvious everyday data.

  • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:27AM (#42345465)

    - is not so much about the existence of intelligence, but the idea that we have understood it well enough to have pinned it down some 100 years ago, or that it would be a feature that could easily be seen in a brain scan. I didn't bother to read the article - it hardly seemed worth the effort - but I somehow doubt that any serious study of intelligence or brain funtionality would be as superficial as this; it is probably an artifact of whoever popularised the results.

    What one has to understand is, that the concept of intelligence is an abstraction - a measure of 'ability'. But the human brain has a large number of abilities, most of which we don't know, and we don't have any clear picture of which ones are 'fundamental' and which ones are derived from a combination of fundamental abilities.

    If I were to guess at what the study actually looked at, I would say that it highlighted the fact that our current IQ concept is useless because it does not produce consistent results. The right way forward, if we want to define IQ, is to first understand what we mean by 'ability', which ones are fundamental and how we can measure them. Once that is in place, we can start defining any number of reliable IQ measures.

  • by jsepeta ( 412566 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @03:06AM (#42345571) Homepage
    there's a shit-ton of stupid people out there, the dumbest of whom enter the Darwin Awards contest; the non-qualifiers usually end up in the "news of the weird. or in my home state, Indiana.

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll invite himself over for dinner. - Calvin Keegan