Chapter Nine: Intelligence and IQ

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Intelligence. What is it? How can it be determined? How can we measure it? Chapter Nine takes an in-depth look at the concept of intelligence. The text makes it very clear that there is not set definition for intelligence. In fact it seems as the definition is all relative the person asking the question, making a correct definition nearly impossible to attain. Many of the determinants that are supported include, but are not limited to sensory capacity, abstract thinking, "thinking on ones feet", and ability to attain knowledge. While these ideas all hold true in terms of defining intelligence, determining what makes these things present is a little bit tougher. Many scientists have tried to determine what makes us intelligent by putting them into domains. The Triarchic model, developed by Robert Sternberg, divides intelligence into three parts, analytical, practical, and creative. Lastly, there are many supported biological explanations such as the size and structure of the brain.

The first to questions were answered early in the chapter, however the majority of the chapter goes into deep detail of how to measure intelligence. The IQ is the focus of this chapter which is defined as, "systematic means of quantifying differences among people in their intelligences." While the chapter shares how the test has created and has been evolved into a key part of our society, I found the "influence of genetics and environment on IQ" section the most interesting. Specifically the question "Does Schooling make us smarter?" was asked. I thought it was very intriguing that studies supported this unbelievably, with some surprising evidence. It shows that children who have an extra year of schooling have higher IQs, summer vacations lower our IQs, and dropping out lower ones IQ.

With an election just around the corner, education is a heavy platform for many of the candidates. I think it would be interesting if our country took a focus on developing children's IQs in school in order to ensure them a brighter more successful future. This information in this chapter shows that we can not only determine and test IQ but that we can develop. To me, a more intelligent country is vital to our future in the vastly changing and growing world.
-Spencer Price


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After reading this summary, I'm really looking forward to studying intelligence and IQ in class. One thing that does interest me, however, is the possiblility that the IQ test is biased: how can one truly quantify raw intelligence? Does the IQ test only quantify academic intelligence? What about emotional intelligence? The ability to empathize with others and communicate effectively can be crucial to one's success.
It's also great how the summary tied into current affairs with the election. I'm very interested to see how the candidates address education!

On the subject of measuring intelligence, abdox021 is right in suggesting that the IQ test is biased. I myself have taken an IQ test; though I scored high, I still believe it is biased because I noticed it only tests certain subjects (specifically subjects that have concrete 'right' or 'wrong' answers).

For anyone who is interested, google a "multiple intelligence" test. That test measures what areas you are strong/talented in, rather than just saying whether you're stupid, average, or a genius.

As I was reading this I was going to bring up the question about whether schooling does effect someone's IQ, but I guess I got my answer!
One question I did have though was in regard to brain size. Is there conclusive evidence that people with larger brains have higher IQ's? And is there evidence that as people go to school and "learn" their brains actually grow in response?
Just some thoughts...

Spince, good points.
One thing I find frustrating about intelligence is that there are quite a few people that waste potential, as in they have very high intelligence but don't utilize it to strong capabilities. I wonder if there's any nature/nurture findings on tendencies of "wasted intelligence."

I find this chapter very interesting. I think it is incredibly hard to rate ones intelligence. Someone may be incredibly book smart and know everything there is to know about a topic. Someone else may be incredibly street smart, and have really good social skills. I agree with abdox021 as well. I don't think one can truly base their intelligence off of the IQ testing. There are other kinds of intelligence that are just as important in the real world. What good is it to know everything if you can't interact with people around you and communicate with them and talk about what your discoveries or interests. I also thought it was interesting that having summer breaks can lower IQ scores. I agree with you that it is important when choosing candidates to ask about their beliefs on education. Through education anything can be possible.

The IQ test is sure to be if not become a masterpiece of modern psychologists, it seems like a massive goal to compute intelligence. I'm intrigued by the statistics relating IQ to time spent in school. I wonder if on top of the research surrounding school years' structures, there will ever be a data based method for teaching in school. Personally, I think it all comes down to the teachers ability and passion for education, but I also wonder if through research we can get to the core of human learning and use it as a tool in our schools.

I like that you highlighted that maybe or IQs aren't quite as stable as commonly believed. I have done a lot of intelligence testing, and there are so many factors that could alter how accurate or read of someone's intelligence is. For example, before I give an IQ test i have to ask that person how well they slept the night before, whether they took really demanding tests early that day, and whether they ate. As expected, someone who didn't get enough sleep or is hungry won't perform so well, but that doesn't mean that hey aren't as intelligent as the test dictated

It is also important to point out that while we want our children to perform better and be successful in life a higher IQ is not always an answer . This is only a measure of intelligence, but not a measure of what you do with intelligence. For example, there are people with lower IQ who are quite successful and motivated, while there are people with high IQs who are not successful.

I've always found IQ tests to be a bit bunk. Like you said in your blog, IQ lowers over the summer and tends to be higher with more school. It seems that, if anything, IQ tends to be a measure of how good one is at taking a test rather than a measure of IQ. The Flynn effect is relevant here. The Flynn effect is an increase in IQ scores over time seen in many parts of the world. One possible explanation for this is that each generation is much more familiar with testing. Children taking the same IQ test again generally score around 5 points higher, so nevertheless, it's fascinating how much IQ can change!

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This page contains a single entry by price490 published on January 25, 2012 10:48 AM.

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