Why do people make irrelevant comments about IQ?

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starkid
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03 Jul 2020, 2:08 pm

Every time there is a topic on IQ, people make comments about the supposed limitations of IQ testing and how meaningless IQ scores supposedly are. Not just on WP; I've noticed this on other websites.

There's always someone saying "IQ isn't everything, "IQ isn't the same thing as achievement," "Multiple Intelligences is a better system," "everyone is smart in their own way," and similar things, even when those comments have nothing to do with the topic.

It's like there's a mass of people who are worried that other people will misuse, misunderstand, or overvalue IQ. But very few people take (real) IQ tests. Very few people have ever earned an IQ score. Very few things in society are based on IQ scores. No one is being denied jobs, welfare benefits, or a college education because of IQ. Nobody decides who to date or marry on the basis of IQ scores. And it seems obvious that IQ doesn't necessarily predict grades, professional achievement, or politeness (yet people still bother to mention that it doesn't predict these things).

So what is all the fuss about?


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bee33
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03 Jul 2020, 2:55 pm

I think it's because people don't like to feel like they're being judged, and they also don't want other people to be judged or feel judged.

Because it's a test, it has a scientific aura to it, so it gives the impression of being a definitive judgement on how smart someone is. So it makes sense that people want to point out that it's not really that accurate.



HeroOfHyrule
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03 Jul 2020, 3:05 pm

starkid wrote:
Very few things in society are based on IQ scores. No one is being denied jobs, welfare benefits, or a college education because of IQ. Nobody decides who to date or marry on the basis of IQ scores. And it seems obvious that IQ doesn't necessarily predict grades, professional achievement, or politeness (yet people still bother to mention that it doesn't predict these things).

You just answered your own question. This is why people always make those comments. People generally do often overvalue IQ, even if they haven't gotten an IQ test themselves, and may assume that single score is definitive of someones actual abilities. If you're average or above average intelligence it genuinely doesn't mean crap, and people feel the need to mention that since in general people put too much emphasis on having especially a high IQ score. This doesn't happen much on here, but I've noticed in other autism circles "higher functioning" people can often have this weird fetish with emphasizing the IQ scores they got during their assessments and bragging about higher IQ scores.



starkid
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03 Jul 2020, 3:12 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
starkid wrote:
Very few things in society are based on IQ scores. No one is being denied jobs, welfare benefits, or a college education because of IQ. Nobody decides who to date or marry on the basis of IQ scores. And it seems obvious that IQ doesn't necessarily predict grades, professional achievement, or politeness (yet people still bother to mention that it doesn't predict these things).

You just answered your own question.

How did I answer my own question? I gave a list of things that show that IQ is not a big deal, and my question is about why do people make such a big deal out of it.
Quote:
People generally do often overvalue IQ, even if they haven't gotten an IQ test themselves, and may assume that single score is definitive of someones actual abilities.

What is the evidence that this happens "often"? I never see this happening.

Quote:
If you're average or above average intelligence it genuinely doesn't mean crap

It does mean something; in the context of a neuropsych evaluation, it means that intellectual disability can be ruled out. It means that a child likely won't qualify for special education services in school. In the U.S. legal system, it means that someone who has been convicted of a capital crime is eligible for execution. But these are very niche circumstances that prove my point: IQ is rarely used in life.


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HeroOfHyrule
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03 Jul 2020, 3:22 pm

starkid wrote:
How did I answer my own question? I gave a list of things that show that IQ is not a big deal, and my question is about why do people make such a big deal out of it.

Those are all of the reasons why people make those "irrelevant comments", so you technically did just answer your own question. All of the reasons you listed are reasons people list for IQ not being a huge deal.
Quote:
What is the evidence that this happens "often"? I never see this happening.

I've seen it on a lot of other forums and websites. Just because you haven't seen it happening doesn't mean there's not a lot of people that still overvalue it and that there's not other people that notice that.
Quote:
It does mean something; in the context of a neuropsych evaluation, it means that intellectual disability can be ruled out. It means that a child likely won't qualify for special education services in school. In the U.S. legal system, it means that someone who has been convicted of a capital crime is eligible for execution. But these are very niche circumstances that prove my point: IQ is rarely used in life.

That is what I'm talking about, it doesn't mean crap in life. That's why I didn't include people with below average intelligence because it does mean something in that regard. So you basically just agreed with me.



Dear_one
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03 Jul 2020, 3:29 pm

I had heard about alternate kinds of intelligence from about 1960. Aborigines were averaging 80, but we couldn't fathom their navigation or other traditional skills. Various alternative tests appeared in the 80s, but it was not until '05 that I read about formative experiences in emotions, and realized I had missed most of them. It took another five to ten years for me to finally understand that my IQ is at least twice my EQ, and that all my life I had been overestimating the intelligence of the socially adept and talking over their heads.



eyelessshiver
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03 Jul 2020, 4:04 pm

Psychometrics: it's controversial, it's theoretical. Is an IQ score really someone's IQ, even if it's "official"? In other words, can you decisively measure how smart someone is compared to others (many of whom have never taken a test and never will), with that kind of purported statistical accuracy and objectivity? The truth is no, you cannot. Intelligence is not something that IQ test companies/authors/designers (whoever they may be, and there are many) have the right to "copyright" and have a monopoly on determining (it's farfetched to claim you've scientifically "measured" something which is itself an abstract product of cultural biases and values). What is intelligence? I think ultimately IQ testing is right next door to eugenics (which is problematic for obvious reasons). As a rough estimate of someone's potential (as tested on a given exam, which will be limited in what it can truly assess) I think it's probably okay, but if taken too seriously and literally, it can be destructive to individuals and societies. We do not all have some unchanging "set IQ" that can be scientifically unveiled by an "official" test designed by a team of infallible professionals. This is truly a myth of certain cultural niches and parts of society, and is not scientific fact. This is judging people's innate value based on limited and subjective measures, and this is not morally right. Caveat emptor (buyer beware, the IQ test is a product that is selling you something, and what they want you to believe it is may not match up with what it really is). Those are my opinions anyway, feel free to agree or disagree.



timf
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03 Jul 2020, 4:48 pm

Charles Murray is a scholar on the subject of IQ. When he shows up (usually on college campuses) he is often attacked and prevented from speaking.Few people have an academic interest in the subject and most are triggered by anything that suggests people are not all the same. It is surprising that someone has not yet invented a rubber yardstick so we can all be the same height.

What would be interesting would be to hear of the various components that are measured (memory, spatial, language, and other factors and how they were selected) Unfortunately we will never have a public exchange as the thought police will shout down anyone attempt to discuss things intelligently.



eyelessshiver
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03 Jul 2020, 6:34 pm

Your analogy with one's height is inappropriate. Does one generally believe that the higher one's height, the better? Because this is what IQ testing implies (is not higher intelligence equated with superiority?). IQ is not an objective, physical quality to be measured. These tests are flawed, subjective, and biased, and should be exposed for what they are. To do otherwise is unscientific and immoral.



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03 Jul 2020, 10:08 pm

In short, the answer is insecurity.

Often times that insecurity is someone's feelings of not being smart enough and then feeling the need to defend their ability, i.e. saying the tests are inaccurate or citing other more important qualities.

That said, IQ tests can be bogus depending which version we're talking about (the culturally unbiased ones are the only ones in my opinion that are worth something), but to a degree it's not the test that's at fault but the idea of what's actually being measured. Intelligence is important but not an end all. An IQ test measures intelligence roughly defined as one's ability to recognize and solve patterns in relation to time. It's more about speed than anything and what people forget is that even though someone with a higher IQ may be able to learn something faster that doesn't mean they will. Hardwork and persistence are more of an indicator of success.

There's also the other group of people that use their scores to defend their intellectual abilities. It is something a portion of our community can be at fault for doing often when we fail at something socially generally obvious to others. To NTS that's can be a sign of not being smart (again no one really did a good job at culturally defining intelligence in a constructive way), and so sometimes some of us may try to compensate by saying something 'smart' - or by bringing up IQ.

Just a couple examples, there are many more, but in the end, if someone is referencing IQ it's about insecurity.



eyelessshiver
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03 Jul 2020, 11:00 pm

I've had lots of friends with high IQ scores...and they often (but not always) have a healthy skepticism about their scores. My philosophy is: if you're smart enough to score highly on an IQ test, you should be smart enough to see why the score can't be fully trusted (by learning to question and not just take things on faith). I see one's orientation towards their own scores being more an issue of what might be called mental maturity or balance (not intelligence), because believing IQ results too firmly shows a significant degree of naivety and black-and-white thinking ("x is smarter than y as proven on this test", "your IQ is x whereas mine is Y, end of story,", "look what this test proves" without realizing it doesn't actually prove that, etc, and other examples of lazy thinking, often filled with biases, despite the potential for intelligence in areas shown on a test). This is because of what IQ tests are selling to people -- the illusion that they're having their intelligence measured as if it were as simple as stepping on a scale. So people turn off their thinking and let the authorities do it for them (in this case, the psychologist, test authors, etc). It can be easier that way, to see the world in black and white ways (to have the answer told to you rather than figuring it out for yourself). Really what they're looking at are intellectual puzzles, but the product (in this case, puzzles) is being taken to mean far more than it intrinsically does. It's the kind of thinking that drives cults as well (taking things for granted without really questioning them). IQ test companies thrive on this. If no one believed their tests were really measuring something objective, and were just intellectual puzzle compilations (basically contests) being sold and administered with scores being calculated, they'd lose business. There's a huge marketing aspect to the whole thing based on jargon which is...something else in and of itself. These companies claim to be backed by a lot of correlations which start to crumble if you really do the math.

I've seen people score really highly and take the scores seriously, and I've seen people score really highly and not take them seriously. So it goes both ways. A test can show intelligence, but doing well on a test doesn't prove anything in particular beyond what the test measures, and potentially correlated alternative aspects, which can be extremely hard to know and study anyway...and it's definitely not the only kind of intelligence out there by an absolutely massive long shot (this should all go without saying). IQ tests are about "hide and seek" -- the test designer hides something, and you as a testee have to figure out what it is. It may be remarkable to do so, but ultimately this is about getting inside someone else's mind and following someone else's logic based on items they have designed. Playing hide and seek is just a game. IQ tests are games (puzzles). How well one plays may indeed be impressive, but it should not be overvalued. This is a way of measuring pattern recognition and logical reasoning, and this can also be developed to a significant degree. There are so many myths about IQ that it makes me laugh, but then again...I think I've earned the right to laugh, having studied them as in-depth as I have, and seen how things go.

Garry Kasparov scores 135 on an IQ test...Richard Feynman scores 125...But all the Nazi leaders scored 140 or higher. Keep in mind these were on different tests. And that's just it...there is no true objectivity here. Probably the first two guys (clearly geniuses) didn't care much how they did and were too busy distracted thinking about other things, probably playing chess games in their minds or coming up with new physics theories...whereas the sociopaths were so focused on proving their superiority, that they obsessed over the test and performed better...just a theory.



naturalplastic
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04 Jul 2020, 8:27 am

starkid wrote:
Every time there is a topic on IQ, people make comments about the supposed limitations of IQ testing and how meaningless IQ scores supposedly are. Not just on WP; I've noticed this on other websites.

There's always someone saying "IQ isn't everything, "IQ isn't the same thing as achievement," "Multiple Intelligences is a better system," "everyone is smart in their own way," and similar things, even when those comments have nothing to do with the topic.

It's like there's a mass of people who are worried that other people will misuse, misunderstand, or overvalue IQ. But very few people take (real) IQ tests. Very few people have ever earned an IQ score. Very few things in society are based on IQ scores. No one is being denied jobs, welfare benefits, or a college education because of IQ. Nobody decides who to date or marry on the basis of IQ scores. And it seems obvious that IQ doesn't necessarily predict grades, professional achievement, or politeness (yet people still bother to mention that it doesn't predict these things).

So what is all the fuss about?


Probably for those very reasons.



kraftiekortie
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05 Jul 2020, 5:07 am

IQ is not as relied upon as it was in, say, the 1950s—but in the vernacular culture, it still carries much significance.

IQ tests are certainly biased towards people of middle-class socioeconomic status and “above,” and towards people who are part of the mainstream academically (i.e., those in more affluent school districts).



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05 Jul 2020, 5:28 am

For some of us, high IQ is just about the only thing we have going for us.
Unfortunately, though, pointing out to people how smart I am on paper has not won me any friends.
So maybe people are kind of trying to brag about their IQ without seeming like bragging, so as not to alienate everyone?



kraftiekortie
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05 Jul 2020, 5:31 am

If an IQ test is only verbal, I would do pretty well.

If it’s primarily visual, I would be deemed to have an intellectual disability.



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05 Jul 2020, 5:36 am

What strikes one as being “irrelevant” strikes others as eminently relevant.

A messy room is irrelevant to me, but quite relevant to my wife.