The history of IQ tests dates back to 1905 when a group of French psychologists introduced the Binet-Simon test to identify children with intellectual deficiencies. 

As time went by, psychologists around the world polished and refined the Binet-Simon test to develop what we call the IQ test today. A test to quantify the general intelligence of the individuals.

Now, do IQ tests actually measure intelligence? Well, history tells us that it certainly didn’t start that way.

But what about now?

Let’s find out!

What is the IQ Test?

The IQ tests were developed to evaluate a person’s cognitive abilities. Although multiple types of intelligence tests are available today, their main goal is to reveal a score that would measure your intellectual abilities and potential.

You need to understand that there are no universal IQ tests. The exact content of the tests can vary greatly, depending on the test takers’ culture, age, and the tests’ purposes.

You can take tests from renowned organizations, such as Mensa, to measure your IQ with pinpoint accuracy. However, tests like these come at a cost.

But if you just want to have a general understanding of your intelligence, you can also try taking an online IQ test at no cost. These free IQ tests can still provide you with a relatively accurate IQ score and show where you stand in the standard IQ classification.

Do IQ Tests Actually Measure Intelligence?

The tests give you a score that helps you understand how you performed compared to your peers on the standard intelligence scale. 

However, do IQ tests actually measure intelligence?

The answer is yes, they do. But only if you know how to interpret your IQ score correctly. Let’s find out the real meaning of your IQ score and these tests’ limitations.

The Real Meaning Behind Your IQ Test Score

What we call IQ or intelligence quotient is a measurement of our fluid and crystallized intelligence. In other words, the IQ tests measure your overall logical reasoning and problem-solving capabilities in general.

When performed in the presence of a licensed psychologist, an IQ test consists of a collection of several subtests. Those tests are specifically designed to analyze your processing speed, mathematical abilities, as well as visual and lingual interpretation capabilities.

At the end of the test, the psychologist combines the results to determine your IQ score.

Lisa van Gemert, the educational ambassador of American Mensa, said that individuals with a high IQ score are capable of processing, interpreting, and manipulating information faster and at a deeper level than average people.

The numerical value of your score can vary, depending on the test you take. But in general, an IQ score just tells you how you performed on the test compared to the other individuals of your age group.

The average IQ score is 100, and around 50% of the global population scores anywhere between 90 and 109. So, a higher IQ score just means you have better analytical and logical processing capabilities than most people.

IQ Tests Can’t Quantify Your Imagination and Emotional Readiness

The problem with the IQ scores is that they are almost like a snapshot. It just shows how you performed on the test on a particular day, with a particular psychologist.

Richard Nisbett, a psychologist and a professor at the University of Michigan, said that IQ tests cannot measure your practical intelligence. The tests cannot determine your creative abilities, your level of curiosity, or imaginative qualities. 

They cannot measure your capability of understanding how to make things work.

IQ score also doesn’t represent an individual’s emotional readiness. 

Sure, a 5-year-old child with a high IQ might easily read and interpret the content of the New York Times. But does that mean the child is emotionally and psychologically ready to handle the burden of reading the stories of bloody wars, murder cases, and detainment?

Of course not!

No matter how intelligent children are, their minds are not equipped to deal with this kind of information as well as an adult.

So, let’s get back to our previous question again. Do IQ tests actually measure intelligence? The answer is yes – only if you know how to interpret what kind of intelligence these tests are measuring.

Conclusion: Ready to Measure Your IQ Score?

The modern IQ tests focus on measuring your mathematical skills, information processing speed, logical reasoning, and language abilities to some extent. These days, organizations often use IQ tests for various purposes, including but not limited to:

  • Cognitive research
  • Educational assessment
  • Job candidate assessment
  • Diagnosis of intellectual disability

Now that you know how the IQ tests measure intelligence, you can contact a licensed psychologist and measure your IQ under his or her supervision. You can also measure your IQ score for free using the tests available on several websites online.

So, just go for it and see how you fare on the standard intelligence scale.

Categories: Psychology

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].