How much weight can you place on IQ's ability to influence your life? While perusing Lilienfeld's Psychology textbook, I found Chapter 9 to be of particular interest, as it addresses this very question. Although IQ testing intends to quantify an individual's level of intelligence, there are several aspects of overall smartness that the test fails to quantify. Perhaps their biggest failing is that they tend to focus on Analytical Intelligence, but ignore the other two forms of intelligence, Practical and Creative. This omission makes the results of such a test fairly useless in predicting life outcomes outside of academics. Perhaps the most relevant example of this given in the text is of Chris Langan, a man with an estimated IQ of 195 who has accomplished relatively little in life due to an inability to tolerate the intricacies of higher education and poor interpersonal skills (pictured below). There are some merits to IQ testing, however. Langan may not have accomplished much in the academic arena, but he won $250,000 on NBC's 1 vs.100 and wrote a book in his spare time titled, Cognitive-Theoretical Model of the Universe.Another example of how IQ can be misunderstood and abused came with the Eugenics movement of the early 20th century, in which a low IQ score could be used to prohibit a person from procreating, or obtaining certain occupations. The rest of the chapter goes on to examine in depth the different ways of measuring various sorts of intelligence, and how they can be quantified, but this portion regarding how a simple number can affect your life grabbed my interest.
The Value of an IQ
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