Game show winners are not as smart as we think

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For a typical description the Western view of IQ, look no further than the game show "Jeopardy!". In the show, three above-average people compete in a trivia showdown to amass the most cash, and for a chance to compete again on the next show as the champion. Many Americans would be quick to call a daily winner very intelligent, but when considering the truth of IQ, they may not be smarter than the average viewer.

The main factor behind this point is that, for the most part, "Jeopardy!" is merely a game of trivia. Questions (well, answers) from it, though phrased quite variably, are similar to those that you'd find on a typical "Trivial Pursuit" card. While an IQ test such as the WAIS inventories many different aspects of intelligence, like arithmetic, puzzles and patterns, trivia shows like "Jeopardy!" deal with only one: information. Therefore, many people who score average, or even worse, on an IQ test could be successful on a trivia show, where the only necessity is general knowledge and, well, trivia. Without taking many different standards into account, we can not look at game show winners and immediately describe them as intelligent.

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This is an interesting thought. I agree that just because someone knows a lot of random facts does not necessarily mean that they would have intelligence on all levels. They may score very low on practical intelligence. On the flip side there might be someone who scores very high on practical intelligence, but rather low on other kinds. For example, you might see a mechanic and not immediately think that he or she is incredibly intelligent.

Something else to consider is that you may not need a high IQ to do well at a game like this, but there may be a positive correlation with higher IQs and higher trivia scores. It just seems likely that the "smarter" you are, the more likely you would remember trivial information. I believe our text book said that their is a correlation of .5 for high IQs and good short term memory. Although I don't know what the relation is with high IQs and long term memory.

I agree. Jeopardy is only a trivia game. It does not show overall thinking ability therefore is not an intelligence test. It is however a interesting games so. I can understand why some believe that the people on Jeopardy are more intelligent; Even I sometimes think that a person is intelligent if they know a lot of information on various topics. But then again, they may just be knowledgeable.

I'd never thought about Jeopardy this way, but it does make sense. I think that it's likely that someone who wins jeopardy and knows a lot of trivia is intelligent, as it would take intelligence to retain mass amounts of trivia, but I definitely don't believe that it's a clear indicator of intelligence.

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This page contains a single entry by colpx001 published on May 11, 2012 9:48 AM.

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