IQ stands for intelligence quotient, a term you’re bound to come across often. To be more specific, ” What IQ means when it comes to a person?” is the score that a student scores on an intelligence test, which is often graded on a curve in comparison to the rest of the class.
Simply put, you would be judged for your intelligence level as you are ranked against your peer group.
It may shock you that the US government used IQ tests to select potential candidates for the US ARMY during world war 1. The Germans did even worse – with Hitler and his nazi regime misusing the tests to bolster their skewed Aryan racial superiority. Of course, it was later proven to be wrong.
These test results were often utilized in Nazi propaganda and were even used to identify mentally deficient children so that the nazis could exterminate them.
Soon, the query, “what IQ means when it comes to a person?” made everyone fearful for obvious reasons. This particular example only goes on to show you how these tests had been and can be misused again.
IQ and intelligence tests have been around for more than a century. They have taken on various formats with differing objectives. And since you are keen to learn more about IQ, it is only fitting to take a closer look at some of the popular formats, some of which are still in use today.
Worthwhile contributors to IQ testing format –
• Sir Francis Galton:
Sir Francis Galton was one of the first to devise an intelligence test in 1886. He developed questions designed to test a person’s reaction to various stimuli – from sight to sound. And naturally, the subject was tested for his reaction time. At best. Francis Galton devised a rudimentary way of measuring a person’s intelligence.
• James McKeen Cattell:
Contrary to what most assume, Binet was not the first to devise the intelligence test, though its current format is mainly due to him. James Cattell came up with an Intelligence test around 1890.
This intelligence test was unique because it basically consisted of tasks. Most of the tasks were repeated, but these tests were designed more to test a person’s speed and perception than intelligence.
• Alfred Binet:
Alfred Binet was credited for developing the first version of modern IQ tests, still in use today but with more than a few modifications. The French government had contracted Binet to develop a series of tests to identify and help students needing educational assistance.
The government of the day had discovered that not all the school kids were of the same mental age, so school performance often varied. They decided to get an IQ test developed to enable the teachers to identify kids who need more help in school and to provide them with the required assistance. Binet did just that and a lot more.
• William Stern:
Regarding the term “Intelligence quotient”, you can thank William Stern for devising a method that measures intelligence as a “quotient”. Rather than subtracting a person’s actual age from their mental age, William Stern proposed that the latter being divided by the former.
In simple terms, Mental age/ Chronological age – which is why most people refer to intelligence tests as IQ tests. While the method to measure intelligence remains rudimentary, especially compared to the modern variants, it enabled scientists to refine and devise a better format to measure intelligence.
• Lewis Treman:
Lewis Treman finally devised an intelligence test based on Binet’s work. He refined it further, made a few modifications that included a revised scale – and termed the new method the Stanford Binet Model.
This particular variant is still in use today as an intelligence test – with more than a few modifications. Lewis Tremain also decided to multiply mental age/ Chronological age by a factor of 100. It presented better results and made it possible to compare the subject’s score with his peers.
On the downside, the Lewis Treman method works well only in Children. That may be why you may want to consider other formats to measure a person’s intelligence level.
• David Wechsler:
David resolved the adult dilemma by devising a simple method to calculate a person’s intelligence level. David revised the older formats by comparing the subject’s performance to the average mean of intelligence scores. To that end, this particular method allowed you to test an adult human being for his intelligence.
And now, you can see what IQ is all about and the process of quantifying intelligence in a human being. To that end, you can now quickly test your IQ and compare it to the average mean, which should give you a clear picture of the person’s intelligence.
It must be pointed out that recent studies have indicated the effect environmental factors can have in the development of a person’s intelligence. And that’s why the current IQ tests are long overdue for some changes.