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Haiku on IQ March 13, 2009

Posted by baldricman in General.
Tags: , , ,

The Average IQ

Is One-Twenty, so I heard

I also heard, Haiku’s have seventeen syllables in the last line


Nnnyyaaaarggh!!!! It shouldn’t bother me, I know it shouldn’t. But it does. It REALLY does. (See? Its forced me to use CAPS)

I can live with the legion of adverts telling me that Paris Hilton’s IQ is 120, as is Donald Trump’s. George Bush’s is even higher, apparently. Who knows, maybe its true?

I can also accept the multitude of free “IQ tests” on the web, as I understand that there is an element of fun in taking them, and I do believe they can’t hurt when it comes to mental exercise…

What drives me nuts, however, is when the adverts and online tests make outrageous claims on what the average IQ is, say, in your country. (And whats worse, people believe it!?) Now, this is not a complaint that South Africans supposedly have an average IQ of 97 or 113 (it changes daily apparently) – I just hate the willy-nilly spread of ignorance. Now, I know I’m no expert on the matter, but there are a few basic things I understand about it.

Most importantly, the “average IQ” is 100. One-hundred, ok? In principle, this does not change. It’s a quotient, a comparison if you will, not a concrete measurement for pete’s sake.

(If you don’t believe that it’s 100, then yours might be below it)

Granted, there is a standard deviation and if you are anywhere between, say, 85 and 115, I understand you’re “pretty average”. Also remember that there are numerous IQ scoring tests/systems, some of which account for ethnicity etc, so taking a test in one country will probably not score the same as taking it in another. (As far as I know, they all take into account sex). There have been numerous attempts at creating culture-irrelevant tests (I believe the “Raven” test is one? Not sure of the name, let alone spelling, so please correct me here…), but as far as I know these have had very limited success (and how would you verify it anyway??)

Also, IQ is integrally linked to age , although the observations are that it doesn’t really change as you get older (I have a problem with this, but thats another story!)

Think of  IQ as  your [Mental Age] / [Actual Age] * 100. The calculation of your mental age is totally dependant on the test. (As in, a real test. Not a free internet test) In short, it is a ratio of Mental Age to Physical Age. This should hopefully explain why the average is 100. (The average 9-yr old is as smart as the average 9 yr-old… get it?) 

Now that I have done my part in enlightening a few (Cecil would be so proud), I can move on with my day.


1. Deems - March 13, 2009

See, it’s a good thing we have these daily coffee-breaks to chat about arbitrary stuff – it enables you to have more things to blog about.

Your reference to Raven refers to Raven’s Progressive Matrices.

baldricman - March 13, 2009

Thanks for commenting. The Raven thing: thats the one, thanks for linking. If you read the comments in that article you’ll see there is still debate on its “fairness”, geographically speaking, even though the point of the test was to avoid linguistic and cultural nuances.

2. Allen - March 13, 2009

Here I come again with my “One point”‘s:

An IQ of 100 is average BY DEFINITION. Being average means you have an IQ of 100, so the “Average IQ” can’t be anything but 100. Which you plainly meant, but the average intelligence of a country doesn’t have to be the same as the global defined average. If we all eat our veggies and play maths games during our tea breaks, then our average will be higher than a group who watches soap operas all day.
It’s irrelevant, of course, since their tests will of course be bogus. They might even have bothered with a little “This is just for fun” disclaimer

baldricman - March 13, 2009

Another interesting point about “relative average” (which I didn’t go into) is that (if I recall the figures correctly) IQ is “rising” about 3 points a year… it doesn’t mean any specific person’s IQ is going up by 3, but it does mean that your IQ now is probably “worth more” than it would have been a few years ago. (Not a great example, but I think you catch my drift)

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