28 Jan 2010
I find Intelligence Quotient, or IQ, scores incredibly fascinating. When my wife and I learned that my daughter (39 months old at the time) would be required to get hers tested as part of the required application process to Dallas area private schools, I decided to educate myself on the subject.
The concept of measuring the IQ of an individual is credited to either German psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Stern in 1912, or to Lewis Terman in 1916 (sources vary). Prior to these dates, large scale testing was done by psychologist Alfred Binet in 1904 as part of a commission by the French government to create a system to differentiate intellectually normal children from those who were inferior (wow – that’s harsh). Binet created the Binet-Scale and sometime later, Dr. Terman revised this scale to become the Simon-Binet IQ Scale. That scale classified the scores as:
Over 140 – Genius or almost genius
120 – 140 – Very superior intelligence
110 – 119 – Superior intelligence
90 – 109 – Average or normal intelligence
80 – 89 – Dullness
70 – 79 – Borderline deficiency in intelligence
Under 70 – Feeble-mindedness
You can find lists of typical IQ scores by profession on the Internet and I’m not vouching for their credibility but the part that is the most interesting to me is how these scores can be used to measure the relative capabilities of the individual in a real world environment (i.e. what kind of job would you be capable of as the most valid predictor of future performance is general mental ability). To think that the intent of measuring one’s IQ is to determine to capability and capacity of an individual and that no amount of effort or preparation will allow someone with a 110 IQ to work a job that typically requires the capacity of a brain measuring something higher.
Top civil servants, Professors and Scientists – 140
Surgeons, Lawyers and Architects/ Engineers – 130
School teachers, Pharmacists, Accountants, Nurses, and Managers – 120.
Foremen, Clerks, Salesmen, Policemen and Electricians – 110
Machine operators, Welders, and Butchers – 100
Laborers, Gardeners, Miners, Sorters and Factory packers – 90
If you decided to have your IQ measured, the tests are most likely to use the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) or your child (like mine) would be tested with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. I have had my IQ tested twice in my life; once when I was a child in the second grade and again when I was in my early thirties and interestingly enough, the scores of the two tests, almost 25 years apart were virtually identical.
All that having been said, having a high IQ doesn’t mean all that much to the unmotivated individual and success is relative and not a indicator of happiness (unless of course you are only measuring it against failure). Click here for a list of estimated IQ’s of famous people past and present.