# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: What is IQ? What does it mean?  (Read 39893 times)

#### stana

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##### What is IQ? What does it mean?
« on: 25/11/2007 14:15:08 »
Hey guys i got a few questions about an IQ test i just did.

I go a score of 109. and i read on wikipedia the average score of an adult is 100?? (im only young)

(Not meaning to be modest)

What is this score out of?

Thanks
« Last Edit: 24/06/2011 14:35:10 by chris »

#### SquarishTriangle

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #1 on: 25/11/2007 14:32:29 »
I don't think there is a defined limit, but 100 is always the average IQ score by default...so whatever you get is relative to what is considered the spread of the general population.

#### stana

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #2 on: 25/11/2007 14:40:11 »
There has to be a definite number..If theres a certain amount of numbers and scores =/

#### another_someone

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #3 on: 25/11/2007 14:59:47 »
Firstly, although it is common for IQ scores to be normalised for 100 to be the population average, it certainly is not the case even that every IQ score does that (but the vast majority are).

As SquarishTriangle says, each test has its own numbers.  If you don't know the specifics of the test, the numbers themselves are meaningless.

Mensa, which is an organisation that requires that you have a minimum IQ to join (there are other similar organisations, but as far as I know, Mensa was the first, and certainly is the largest and best known).  Mensa do not ask that you have a particular IQ score, but it merely asks that the score you have places you in the top 2% of the population for that particular test (they themselves administer two tests, and for each of those tests they have a different score, but in both cases, the requirement is that you are in the top 2% of the population for the test).

#### kdlynn

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #4 on: 25/11/2007 15:07:35 »
where did you take the test? i know some of the online ones if not all are not nearly as reliable as a real test. at least, that's what one of my professors told us

#### stana

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #5 on: 25/11/2007 15:14:47 »
I took the test on th internet..from a website..i stil have the link if i can post it?

#### stana

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #6 on: 25/11/2007 15:16:51 »
http://uk.tickle.com/test/iq/intro.html

Thats where i took the test

^^^ Online IQ test
« Last Edit: 25/11/2007 15:22:12 by stana »

#### another_someone

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #7 on: 25/11/2007 15:19:28 »
There is no problem with a pertinent link that fits in with the wider context of an ongoing discussion.  A link out of context, or if the link suddenly finds its way into every single conversation, might be more of a problem, but a single posting of a link pertinent to the discussion (and if you explain what the link is, so people know what to expect when the jump off there) is perfectly ok.

#### another_someone

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #8 on: 25/11/2007 15:54:58 »
http://uk.tickle.com/test/iq/intro.html

Thats where i took the test

^^^ Online IQ test

My score came to 138.

I note that the test is not timed (not all IQ tests are, but most are).

Some of the questions are very cultural in nature (knowledge of many common sayings that one is more likely to know if one is well read, but has no bearing on ones logical thought processes).

There is no indication at all from the test as to how the tests compare on a population wide basis.

On the other hand, they seem to be more interested in selling what they have to offer than in academic thoroughness.

It also does not say whether the scores are age adjusted.
« Last Edit: 25/11/2007 16:21:40 by another_someone »

#### elegantlywasted

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #9 on: 25/11/2007 17:14:04 »
If one wanted to write a genuine IQ test, how do they go about doing so? I mean, the ones online are great funa nd all but I doubt they hold any merit. Does one need to contact their local Mensa chapter or would a school or college be ablet o provide one?

#### another_someone

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #10 on: 25/11/2007 17:33:13 »
If one wanted to write a genuine IQ test, how do they go about doing so? I mean, the ones online are great funa nd all but I doubt they hold any merit. Does one need to contact their local Mensa chapter or would a school or college be ablet o provide one?

Mensa get their IQ tests from outside, so that would not help.

Probably best to talk to the psychology department of some university.

The problem is that writing one is one thing, but normalising it to the population, and verifying that the results meet expectations, is quite another.  Ideally you should test it against a large and varied sample population of whom you know the IQ from other tests.

#### paul.fr

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #11 on: 25/11/2007 17:39:19 »
someone once said "having a high IQ is merely a measure of ones ability to do well at IQ tests". I can't fault him.

#### another_someone

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #12 on: 25/11/2007 17:47:03 »
someone once said "having a high IQ is merely a measure of ones ability to do well at IQ tests". I can't fault him.

Ofcourse it is.  It is like say winning an Olympic 100 metres race is nothing more that proving you can run fast over short distances.  Does this mean that nobody should run an Olympic 100 metres race, because its outcome is meaningless?

One should not overvalue its meaning, but what meaning it has depends on the person.  I cannot run short distances very fast, and have no interest in the fact that other people do like to run short distances very fast, but that is not to denigrate what that might mean for them, its just that it means nothing for me (no, I'm not taking it personally - just saying that we are all different, and we naturally take some pleasure in our own strengths, without denigrating the very different strengths of other people).

#### elegantlywasted

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #13 on: 25/11/2007 17:51:54 »

Done and done.

#### paul.fr

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #14 on: 25/11/2007 17:56:58 »
would you say Hawkins was a genious? Would you like to know what he thinks of I.Q. tests?

Quote

I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.

enough said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/magazine/12QUESTIONS.html

#### rosy

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #15 on: 25/11/2007 18:38:47 »
Quote
One should not overvalue its meaning, but what meaning it has depends on the person.  I cannot run short distances very fast, and have no interest in the fact that other people do like to run short distances very fast, but that is not to denigrate what that might mean for them, its just that it means nothing for me (no, I'm not taking it personally - just saying that we are all different, and we naturally take some pleasure in our own strengths, without denigrating the very different strengths of other people).

Yes and no. Thing is, IQ tests are used as a surrogate for ability to do other things. If you're a hundred metre sprint athelete it's "common sense" that this is unlikely to be predictive (in any but the crudest scale) of ability in competition over say the marathon distance.

An ability to fill in the blanks in common phrases, spot the trick question in a mental arithmetic problem, etcetc, are (given a minimum standard of some combination of native wit and application) going to be quite straightforward to learn. My performance in IQ tests at age 9-10 was a looong way above the normal bands (forget the numbers, they weren't very interesting), but it wasn't because I'm particularly clever... I just happened not to enjoy school playtimes much. My Gran used to send me books of logic problems, verbal reasoning exercises, maths challenges, etc and if I returned them filled in I got a prize. So I spent most of the school breaktimes in my year 3 and 4 sitting on the floor with a pencil, and got very good. Doubt I'd do so well 15 years on, despite the extra experience, knowledge, etc I've gained in that time.

As an exercise like crosswords or sudoku, IQ tests are quite good fun, and I don't have (nuch of) a problem with these online IQ tests. But in the "real world" they worry me because they are culturally specific in rather insidious ways. People tend to regard quantitative data as in some way more authoritative (and easier to use because you can set a specific cut-off point), and IQ tests give them quantitative "answers" without necessarily the error bars that ought to go with any quantitative data if we are to understand what it means and how much importance we should attach to it.

#### another_someone

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #16 on: 25/11/2007 19:25:04 »
would you say Hawkins was a genious? Would you like to know what he thinks of I.Q. tests?
Quote

I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.

enough said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/magazine/12QUESTIONS.html

Agreed - your achievements are what you achieve, not what you shout about.  IQ tests may or may not predict future achievement, but they are not of themselves a record of achievement.

Ofcourse, what is there to boast about regarding winning a 100 metre sprint is another question.

Then again, asking celebrities their opinions on matters outside of their field of expertise, and placing weight upon those opinions greater than the weight you would place upon any other lay persons opinion, merely because they are a celebrity, is just as meaningless as the abuse of IQ numbers.
« Last Edit: 25/11/2007 19:46:12 by another_someone »

#### another_someone

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #17 on: 25/11/2007 19:42:33 »
Yes and no. Thing is, IQ tests are used as a surrogate for ability to do other things. If you're a hundred metre sprint athelete it's "common sense" that this is unlikely to be predictive (in any but the crudest scale) of ability in competition over say the marathon distance.

That IQ is a an inappropriate surrogate is a problem, that that is a problem of people who use IQ (like race, or many other things) as a surrogate for something it is not.

An ability to fill in the blanks in common phrases, spot the trick question in a mental arithmetic problem, etcetc, are (given a minimum standard of some combination of native wit and application) going to be quite straightforward to learn.

There is consistent evidence that good IQ tests do test innate thought processes rather than learned skills (but that is the key difference between a good and a bad IQ test).

I was originally going to write 'innate ability', but then thought to rephrase it, because I think it is more complex than a mere ability.  To regard it as an ability is to assume that people with high IQ are the same as people with low IQ, but with something extra added on.  My own personal observation (including talking to other people) is that high IQ is more about a difference in thought process rather than superiority in thought process, which is why it is not so easy to teach.  Having a high IQ does not mean that you can solve problems better than people with low IQs, but it means you can solve certain types of problem (those suited to people with high IQs) better than people with low IQ, and more specifically, that you think like other people with high IQs (the problem solving skills are more a by-product of a world view - so the fact that you learnt to solve puzzles as a kid was not so much a question of whether you could be taught to solve puzzles, but that you had a mind that felt comfortable solving such puzzles, more comfortable doing that than playing in the playground).

People tend to regard quantitative data as in some way more authoritative (and easier to use because you can set a specific cut-off point), and IQ tests give them quantitative "answers" without necessarily the error bars that ought to go with any quantitative data if we are to understand what it means and how much importance we should attach to it.

This is true - but it is about the abuse of the figures, and is a comment about people rather than the numbers (yes, "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" - but it is still about abuse of numbers rather than the numbers themselves - and IQ is just another statistical measure).

#### JimBob

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #18 on: 25/11/2007 20:13:44 »
IQ tests are just as Rosy said - "full of sound and furry and meaning nothing" in the real world.

Case in point -  my step sister: brilliant woman, former professor of Human Physiology and Pathology at a very prestigious medical school with 2 Ph.D's and a M.D. but has trouble with the most simple tasks of being a human being. Absolutely no common sense. Left her children to raise themselves because she "didn't have time" and cannot have a meaningful relationship with another human being - a very cold, arrogant person and a very lonely person.

I would rather have common sense and 'people skills rather' than just a high IQ. It is why I declined my invitation to become a member of Mensa - the people I found there in 1962 were too overly impressed with themselves, poor socially and just plain boring with their astounding exhibitions of learning and their belief that their opinion was worth more than the common man. Hell, I have seen brilliant people doing menial jobs and wizards at their profession. One was my grandfather. He was a carpenter, never had a day in school, knew nothing about trigonometry but he could build a house and pitch a roof, as well as do complicated gables all by just looking into his mind to see how to do it. He could visualize it. He was also a very loving human being.
We are Human beings, not thinking machines.

I would much rather be know to be a good human being than a good mind.

And to dismiss the opinion of Steven Hawking is the height of arrogance.

would you say Hawkins was a genious? Would you like to know what he thinks of I.Q. tests?

Quote

I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers. [Steven's answer]

enough said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/magazine/12QUESTIONS.html

#### another_someone

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #19 on: 25/11/2007 21:51:06 »
IQ tests are just as Rosy said - "full of sound and furry and meaning nothing" in the real world.

Case in point -  my step sister: brilliant woman, former professor of Human Physiology and Pathology at a very prestigious medical school with 2 Ph.D's and a M.D. but has trouble with the most simple tasks of being a human being. Absolutely no common sense. Left her children to raise themselves because she "didn't have time" and cannot have a meaningful relationship with another human being - a very cold, arrogant person and a very lonely person.

I would say you are arguing against yourself, and arguing more along the lines that I have said above.

IQ does not make you better, it merely makes you different.  That your sister was different seems to be without question, but it does not make her better.

I would rather have common sense and 'people skills rather' than just a high IQ. It is why I declined my invitation to become a member of Mensa - the people I found there in 1962 were too overly impressed with themselves, poor socially and just plain boring with their astounding exhibitions of learning and their belief that their opinion was worth more than the common man.

That depends a lot on the ethos of local Mensa (and again, 1962 was a long time ago - I did not enter Mensa until 1992).  My own experience is that that kind of attitude seems to be more prevalent in Mensa US than Mensa UK (although the US is a large area, and it is unfair to paint all of Mensa US with the same brush).  My experience in the UK is that such people do exist, but they tend on the whole to get jumped on if they start making noises about the superiority of Mensans over non-Mensans.

Hell, I have seen brilliant people doing menial jobs and wizards at their profession.

One of the things about Mensa is that they are not all university professors (in fact, in the UK, I have met relatively few who were).  There are bus drivers, carpenters, lots of computer professionals, a fair smattering of teachers and civil servants, some unemployed, some company directors, some police officers.  It is, to me, the breadth of people within Mensa that is one of the things that make it interesting.

We are Human beings, not thinking machines.

Indeed - just as we are human beings, and not running machines; but that is not to say that we cannot enjoy running/thinking.

And to dismiss the opinion of Steven Hawking is the height of arrogance.

I would no more dismiss the opinion of Steven Hawking that I would dismiss the opinion of a local shopkeeper.  All I am saying is that in matters of psychology, Steven Hawking is no more qualified than a local shopkeeper.  If mentioning that makes me appear to be arrogant, then so be it.

#### paul.fr

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #20 on: 25/11/2007 22:46:42 »
i do not have a problem with mensa members (as such), just mensa.

through careful advertisements, ooh look who our members are, what's your i.q. and so on they have conned people in to thinking that to be the best of the best you have to be a member of mensa, and those that are, are the best of the best.

so many people place emphasis on what their i.q. is, like it's some kind of status symbol...it's all down to clever marketing, and gullible members of the public.

#### ukmicky

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #21 on: 25/11/2007 22:48:21 »
Quote

You've got a very experiential way of learning and a strong mathematical mind and you have mastered the art and science of precision. That's what makes you a Precision Processor. For you, life is a series of equations.

Your brain is naturally predisposed to intense mathematical acuity, so it's second nature for you to cut to the heart of an issue, to discover quick solutions while others get bogged down in unnecessary details. This allows you to communicate a variety of ideas to other people, so don't keep it to yourself

The score is me but the strong mathematical mind part aint.

I always rush tests as i find them boring so i never achieve my true score.
« Last Edit: 25/11/2007 22:51:27 by ukmicky »

#### neilep

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #22 on: 25/11/2007 22:50:21 »
I failed my IQ test because I couldn't spell "IQ"

#### paul.fr

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #23 on: 25/11/2007 22:51:33 »

You've got a very experiential way.......

are you sure that's not your horoscope?

#### paul.fr

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##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #24 on: 25/11/2007 22:52:14 »
I failed my IQ test because I couldn't spell "IQ"

it's easy, there are no "'s in IQ

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Re: What is IQ? What does it mean?
« Reply #24 on: 25/11/2007 22:52:14 »