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March 22nd, 2010
10:00 AM ET

Are You Smart: What is intelligence?

Editor's Note: Think you're smart? That depends on what it means to be smart. And how do you become smart – if you're not there yet? This week, in our special series "Are You Smart?" our Alina Cho takes an in-depth look at all aspects of intelligence. Tomorrow on American Morning, we'll examine the "other" smart: emotional intelligence. Some educators say it's a much better indicator than IQ tests.

By Alina Cho, CNN

(CNN) – The most famous measure of intelligence is the IQ test, but how many people have actually taken it? And does it really tell us if we're smart? What does it mean to be smart? And what does a "smart brain" look like?

It's happening all over the country. In some cases, kids barely out of diapers are being tested at 27, 30 months to determine whether they're gifted and talented…smart.

But are these tests accurate measures of intelligence?

"Good God. A kid tested when they are barely over 2-years-old somehow doesn't pass muster and that kid goes down an entirely different track from a more precocious 27-month-old. That is insane," says Daniel Pink, author of "A Whole New Mind."

For adults, the IQ test is the standard. Clear-cut, right and wrong answers. The average score is 100.

But researchers say IQ, your intelligence quotient, is only 25 percent of what makes you successful. IQ misses the other 75 percent.

“So what we have here is we have mechanisms that measure an important part but an incomplete part of what it means to be intelligent,” says Pink. “This ought to alarm us more than it does. Imagine getting into an airplane where the pilot was getting only 25 percent of the data she needed to fly the plane.”

If that's the case, what does it really mean to be smart and how do you get there? Can you make yourself smarter? Or are you born with it?

We went to the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. Dr. John Gabrieli is a professor of neuroscience there. He showed us computer images of two brains: a composite of a brain with a relatively high IQ and one with a lower IQ.

The lower IQ brain showed lots of activity.

"They're using a lot of their mental resources,” says Dr. Gabrieli. “They're pushing the gas pedal really hard to do well on this task."

The higher IQ brain, not so much.

"They're trying smarter, not harder, because it's easy for them, relatively speaking."

Smarter brains, simply put, are more efficient.

“We think in many ways, the magic of the brain is in the wiring; that our brains are really made up of millions of little brains all working together,” says Dr. Gabrieli. “We think that's a huge part of the secret of smartness. But part of smartness, we have this magical sense, the brilliance, you know? And genius, we just really don't understand. … You can be pretty smart and none of us are Einstein, except Einstein, right?”

But there is hope, and it's a new frontier in brain science.

A mental exercise can help raise your IQ score by about five points in a relatively short amount of time: 30 minutes a day, five times a week, for about a month.

What's significant about the test is that it shows adult brains can change. And a few points on IQ test can change your life.

“Every few points you get increases your chances of a better paying job, a healthy future, more stability in your family life,” Dr. Gabrieli.

Which is why so many kids are starting so early.

Filed under: Are You Smart?
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. snacktastic

    "I have found that most people complaining about IQ tests scored poorly."

    I scored well on my IQ tests and other similar test that measure academic ability. I think Jack Shaft doesn't really understand the critique of the IQ tests, a testament to what he is lacking. IQ tests–Standford Binet, Wechsler, etc. are not useful as these absolute measures of ability but rather guide us to the relative strengths and weaknesses in particular subject areas. An IQ score overall tells us little about a person's abilities. It's also quite culturally biased, which is always a consideration, especially for people who administer the test. Now I will say that IQ tests are useful for some insight into a person's strengths and weaknesses. As some broad measure of character, intelligence or ability, it's lacking.

    April 4, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  2. Marcia DJ

    What is teaser! How about the link/reference for the Memory Exercise/s !!

    March 27, 2010 at 7:15 am |
  3. Jack Shaft

    I have found that most people complaining about IQ tests scored poorly. Not only that but people with a low IQ can't possibly fathom what it's like to have a higher IQ. (This article sites brian activity that proves there is a real difference). Just like ugly people can't fathom what it's like to be attractive. They do however know when someone is more attractive than them. The point being is that there is a baseline for determinig anything that all of us can agree on.

    March 24, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  4. Hannibal

    I have taken several IQ tests, many of which have knowledge-based questions on them, IQ tests should not have any questions that require knowledge. You can be very ignorant and still highly intelligent.

    March 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  5. babykiller425

    The "Intelligence Quotient" is the quotient of "mental age" over chronological age.

    In general, IQ peaks around 15 years of age and tends to decrease with age. We all get older but we don't much more intelligent.

    There are many different kinds of IQ tests and some use different methods. In general, a score of 100 (a quotient of 1.0) is about the mean, median, mode or "average."

    Every 10 points up or down, is one "standard deviation" (approximately).

    IQ = 80 / 2 std. dev. below mean / 2nd percentile
    IQ = 90 / 1 std. dev. below mean / 16th percentile
    IQ = 100 / mean, median, mode, average / 50th percentile
    IQ = 110 / 1 std. dev. above mean / 86th percentile
    IQ = 120 / 2 std. dev. above mean / 98th percentile

    values outside this range are possible but indicate that another test may be better suited to the individual.

    IQ, by itself, isn't that important. we all know examples of very intelligent "under-achievers" and we all know examples of not-so-bright "over-achievers."

    For that reason, intelligence tests are usually one of many tests administered so that many different aspects of the individual are measured.

    It's also important that children be tested several times during their developing years. some kids are "late bloomers" and other kids may be "precocious," as test results, over years, may show different developmental routes.

    no one familiar with IQ testing, or any psychometric testing, is so focused on IQ that this number alone dictates their decisions.

    March 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  6. Ben Franklin

    "i was bored last night, so curiosity got the best of me and i decided to see if there was a correlation between %bush voters and %college grads by state (nerd!). so i found out each state's %Bachelor's degrees from the census and ran it–indeed there was a negative linear relationship between %bush voters and %college grads (R = -0.71)– which means, the less % of college grads, the more % bush voters. DC had the highest % of college grads (42.5%) and the lowest % of bush voters (9%); West Virginia had the lowest % grads (16.1%) and a relatively high % (56%) bush voters...... Interestingly the last 14 ranking states in grads (&lt22%) were all bush winners (many 55-60+% voted for bush), and 11 of the top 14 ranking states in grads (>30%) were kerry winners."

    March 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  7. Jack

    As a retired psychologist with 40 + years of experience, I am surprised this is still news. There are many factors that are in play to determine how successful a person is in life. Tested IQ is but one, albeit small, factor. There are so many skills, abilities, personal, social and experiential factors that also are in play.

    I hated and still do hate the concept of IQ because so many people think they know what it means. I would rather talk about the person's strengths and liabilities that go into making the score than the score itself. Three people with an IQ of 100 can and usually will have completely different skill sets.

    March 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  8. Darrinlane

    I feel it's stupid to judge by IQ. I have always regestered around a 156. High I know. I can do cal, phys, and organics well. I can do langish but I stink at it. Its all about if you use it in my opinion. I have the IQ near genious level but have never used it. It happens to do with drive, environment, and the conditions you are in. I didn't use mine....uggggg

    March 24, 2010 at 4:00 am |
  9. George

    IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient but should I.Q. be changed to Intelligent Questions?

    The first step in discovery is knowing the correct questions to ask even if the first 100 questions are the wrong questions.

    March 24, 2010 at 3:41 am |
  10. George

    IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient but should I.Q. be changed Intelligent Questions?

    The first step in discovery is knowing the correct questions to ask even if the first 100 questions are the wrong questions.

    March 24, 2010 at 3:40 am |
  11. Dan Slack

    What is this new frontier in neuro science? What exactly are these mental exercises? Can you find these exercises online somewhere???

    March 23, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  12. Lawrence

    Interesting CNN topic. Basically it was a discussion on fluid intelligence. The whole topic gets obfuscated because IQ testing in lay speak is not really the topic being addressed in the latter part of the CNN piece. The CNN piece references neurological and psychological variances in intelligence and its affects on brain activity.

    Most people, when they hear the term "IQ" think in terms of Einstein, Newton, Mozart, or Da 'Vinci.

    In the study of psychology, on theory is that intelligence can be weighted by looking at an individuals fluid and crystalized intelligence. Fluid intelligence is a measurement of problem solving abilities, as well as one's ability to learn and ascertain relationships. It is independent of knowledge.

    Crystalized intelligence is a measurement of one's skills, knowledge, experiences. It's not the specific facts that matter, but the ability to revise one's knowledgebase through learning.

    Generally speaking, the better one is at abstract reasoning (e.g., problem solving), the better they are at revising and adapting their skill sets and knowledge. When these two factors are combined, total intelligence is measured.

    As for a test example, try going to They have a program you can download for a fee. You can also look online for similar exercises that are free.

    March 23, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  13. John B

    A good deal of individuals are recognized early on by taking some sort of standardiized test such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, based on their performance they might then be asked to take additional IQ tests. Most people, if recognized as "gifted" or with a higher I.Q. will continue to test strong throughout their education. I.Q. tests certainly account for more than what you have learned, contrary to what one reader posted, they test your ability to learn.

    March 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  14. Michele

    As my husband is finally discovering, IQ only takes you so's EQ (emotional intelligence) that's far more important. Not having any EQ makes IQ almost pointless.

    March 23, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
  15. Bill

    Chris said: "I prefer Gardner's 7 Intelligences theory to heavy reliance on IQ tests. It better explains the math genius who can't drive a car."

    There is no empirical evidence to support MI theory.

    March 23, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  16. Bill

    Bobby said: "I know several "geniuses""

    No, you don't.

    March 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  17. Lemnibus

    As a kid, my sister tested out at an IQ of 70 and was told not to worry too much about school, but to focus on becoming a good wife and mother (early 1960s). Today, she's one of the most brilliant and cutting-edge alternative medicine rsearchers and practitioners I know of. My IQ is 135, so according to IQ test I'm in a fair position to judge.

    IQ only tests how well you take that particular test. It says little to nothing about your ability to do life. And if you take tests poorly because of test phobia (like my sister), you're not getting a fair shake. I hope researchers read this comment and understand the implications.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:52 pm |
  18. jack

    I believe many factors add up to your IQ, not just a simple test. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Some people seem backward but have certain abilities that they thrive at and some seem intelligent and speak well but are backward at other things. I believe most people generally are good at what they study or are interested in.

    March 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  19. Brian

    "I'm smart...not book smart, or street smart, but–somethin'."

    March 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  20. Scott

    IQ tests are norm-based tests and like all tests sometimes miss what they are trying to measure. Intelligence is not the only good predictor of success (see Einstein's early school life for example), and since intelligence, especially genius level intelligence is so poorly understood, it is highly likely many super-intelligent individuals are not "measuring out" on IQ tests.

    If we spent more time fostering our children's unique gifts and interests on a case by case basis rather than concentrating on measuring and classifying and labeling, our children would be much better off.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  21. Nissan

    Read the comments by Gabor above. Gabor is correct in that few people understand what intelligence is and is not. IQ has nothing to do with your SAT scores, gpa, income, etc.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  22. me

    IQ isn't defined as the intrinsic potential of humans, it's just a measure of intelligence. It doesn't try to measure passion. I don't think any scientist would make that claim.

    March 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
  23. Nissan

    I'm a member of Mensa. To be in Mensa, your IQ score must be within the top 2% of the population. I can tell you that there is no correlation between IQ and the amount of money you make. We have doctors, lawyers, Ph.Ds, mechanics, cab drivers, and sales clerks in Mensa. There is a positive correlation (but not a strong one) between IQ and Grade-Point Average. People often confuse IQ with knowledge...two different things. A well-read person with a good memory and an average IQ will do better at Jeopardy (and probably in school) than a person who doesn't read much, has an average memory, but an above average IQ.

    Many people who don't score well on IQ tests often downplay the significance of having a high IQ. This is expected and is much like those without an advanced education questioning the value of college. IQ is nothing more than a natural ability to complete some mental tasks easier than others. It is not unlike world-class athletes who can perform a physical task easier than most of the population.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  24. Jay

    Larry Daniel is testing your IQ by asking people to drown themselves. Good stuff, Larry! Bravo.

    March 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  25. CM

    Have any of you seen the movie Idiocracy?

    March 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  26. Brandon

    Labelling ANYONE at a young age is a stupid idea. Why put people in boxes before they know what boxes are? There are as many kinds of intelligence as there are ways to be successful in life. I have no idea what my IQ is, nor do I care: I'm a research astrophysicist. I will tell you this, though, for me to be successful in my career, I have to work HARD, something entirely different than intelligence and honestly more important, though I still struggle with it.

    March 23, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  27. Elizabeth Fletcher

    I, too, would love to know exactly what mental exericse could increase one's I.Q. by 5 points.

    Thank you.

    March 23, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  28. frak

    I took an IQ test once...the results came back "negative".

    March 23, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  29. Chris

    Calvin Coolidge gave a great comment about how innate intelligence, genius, etc mean nothing without hard work, and how society is full of exceptionally smart people who coast by with relative ease, never getting their hands dirty, and never realizing their potential.

    I'd bet the farm that I have a higher IQ than my brother-in-law, but the boy does astonishing things with cars. He was told from the very beginning that he'd be lucky to get through grade school, and now he earns more than I do, doing landscaping, auto repair, and so on. IQ tests don't take into account alternate wirings of the brain, so to speak.

    I prefer Gardner's 7 Intelligences theory to heavy reliance on IQ tests. It better explains the math genius who can't drive a car.

    March 23, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  30. Gabor

    Data is what you learn, intelligence is the brain's ability to manipulate the data you have learned. IQ measures the latter. Intelligence is what you are born with, smarts is what you learn. The overall outcome is the combination of the two. Very few people knows and understands the difference.

    March 23, 2010 at 9:49 am |
  31. T. Smith

    What is the fixation the number of children, and how are you proposing this relates to I.Q.? I run a very successful business. I have never asked for any kind of hand out. It's called work people. I am the mother of seven children and my I.Q. is 154. What has that number meant to me day to day? Nothing, until now.

    March 23, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  32. David

    That's a very stupid idea!! Children should be taught to work together in groups. What this "EQ" thing does is single out the popular kids as popular and make the less popular kids even more depressed. Imagine how you would feel if you didn't get selected by any of your peers. It may even reinforce bad behavior such as "class clowns" being viewed as funny by their peers.

    March 23, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  33. Matt W

    im sure lowering the intelligence bar to emotions would make everyone happy!!! Now we all get to be super smart high selfesteem strippers and McDonalds workers....I would totally prefer my doctor be a super happy person over a smart one anyday.

    March 23, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  34. Sue Bowlin

    "street smarts" are best taught by by using exercises to teach children, around age 7, how to listen and hear, such as is done in acting technique classes. The exercises can be very simple and fun.

    March 23, 2010 at 8:00 am |
  35. sometimesee

    The only thing the IQ tests accurately measure are your ability to take IQ tests. We must not forget this fact.

    March 23, 2010 at 5:16 am |
  36. Dr RatstaR

    There is a lot of research going on about intelligence and autism, specifically Asperger's Syndrome.

    Innate IQ is a result of brain structure, not learning. IQ is a function of heredity.

    A high IQ is like being seven foot tall. A very tall teenager might be good at basketball, but it is not assured. If you are tall, everyone can see it. If you have a high IQ, better not to talk about it lest someone think you a braggart. Having a high IQ does not assure you will be smart; it just means you have the talent if you want to be. A shorter kid might be really good at basketball if he really tries. The tall kid does not have to work at basketball so hard.

    It is true that many people with very high IQ's don't have very much common sense, or streetsmarts.

    The movie "Trading Places" brought up many good points about intelligence, common sense, heredity, and environment.

    Why would anyone work to raise their IQ by 5 points? The score could vary by that much from test to test.

    Learning piano at an early age is the best way to make the parts of the brain coordinate more efficiently, in my estimation. Left brain, right brain, working together and independently, harmony, melody, all multi-tasking at once. Get your little one into piano at four years of age. It is not too soon. Exercising the mind is like exercising the body.

    It is true that we subsidize dumbness. Smart people have limited their reproduction, but the religioso are intent on seizing power through propagation, and everyone pays for this. Why should people get tax breaks for having more and more children in a world that cannot feed them now? Limit tax deductions to two children per adult, lifetime. Tax excess numbers of children and use the money to improve education.

    Google Asperger's. The Wired article, "The Geek Syndrome" is especially good.

    Dr RatstaR, Viet Nam Era Vet, '72-'76, Aspy

    March 23, 2010 at 1:35 am |
  37. DirkDiggler

    Larry Daniel.... dry off and try exercising too will increase the amount of oxygen reaching your wet noodle.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:18 am |
  38. Nancy Nelson

    I also want to know what the mental exercise 30minutes/day 5 days/week for a month is and where you find it.

    March 22, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  39. Joe Macrell

    I know adults who say they aced their SAT/college entrance exams, but they couldn't "keep it together"–drink a lot as if to self-medicate their brains that are racing too fast and doing postal worker/hardware store jobs. Why do they revolt against using their high IQs to do something great for society? Instead they dumb themselves down to live with the average IQ folks-guess they couldn't take the pressure once their high IQ was revealed in school. Such a shame that society losed the benefit of their "brilliance" –need to round them all up into a literal "think tank" to sit around inventing stuff or solving problems in a non-pressure setting where they can bring all their excentricities and be free to be SMART!

    March 22, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
  40. Nancy M. B.

    Whenever I read comments that have been offered in spaces like this, I notice, across the board, how poorly Americans write, spell, and punctuate.

    I wonder if that is an indication of lesser intelligence.

    March 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  41. Blackbull

    Now, now, don't tax your little brain.

    March 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  42. Blake

    While having a high IQ definately has a huge beneficial impact on an individual's life anyone who is actually concerned about knowing exactly what their IQ is, doesn't get the point and is not at the top of the spectrum anyway.

    March 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  43. John Zee

    Intelligent people, those with much higher I.Q. then other people around them tend to limit the number of children they have for various reasons. But dumb people have been breeding like cockroaches for quite a while now. The average American citizen's estimated I.Q. is between 63 to 70, which is right around where you used to be defined of being of limited intelligence or diminished capacity.

    And the problem is getting much worse. Public schools are far more concerned with teaching a child how to obey then actually being able to muster enough willpower to have an completely original thought. Intensive pharmaceutical rehabilitation of millions for various mania inducing mental illnesses severely threatens our capability to produce the type of people that society has utilized for thousands of years to produce incredible and amazing leaps in science, technology, art, and commerce.

    The attention spans of most Americans isn't even half of what the "Greatest Generation" of the Depression and World War 2 era had. And each day the average Americans ability to concentrate on one thing gets less and less.

    The people that are celebrated by the masses, mainly actors and musicians, have seldom had enough education to successfully pass a GED test. And when they do spend any time doing any reading that isn't job related, it's usually some B.S. semi-religious conman guru motivational crap.

    And if you thought that television was going to make Americans dumber, then you should be crapping yourself over the amount of people that the internet has turned into compete blithering idiots. Besides hours and hours spent playing mind numbing online games, there are actually a ton of people that think they can increase their intelligence by relying on internet search engines like Google. Not realizing that the vast number of internet search engines produce results/answers based by ranking the popularity of each answer and neither how factual or how truthful that answer may be.

    Throw in a bit of Judeo-Christian religion enforcing a strict "Do not question what does not make sense, and blindly believe whatever we tell you to believe" mentality in all of their followers and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that pretty soon most Americans will be so stupid that opening up their front door of their house will be a difficult operation to only be attempted with at least some technical support.

    And that's when I show up doing my best Frank Sinatra impersonation from his role at the end of the classic Twilight Zone episode "The Eye of the Beholder". Explaining to a large group of drooling idiots that the large busted semi-intelligent blonde just couldn't exist and live in mainstream society. And that her only option was for me to take her away where she could live with other intelligent people like herself, exiled away from the morons that now made up the world.

    March 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  44. brian

    When asked "can you point to the picture of the season", the 3-year-old pointed to 'the pumpkin'.

    How is that the correct answer? Pumpkins don't only grow in fall. It seems to me that the snowman is equally related to winter (I realize geography is a factor)

    Anyone else troubled by this puzzle?

    March 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  45. Larry Daniel

    I have an IQ of 180. I went to Ga Tech and we did drown proofing which improves IQ. The only well know IQ increase is to sit under water for long periods of time. This increase the arteries to the brain in diameter which increases oxygen and thus brain function thus higher intellegence. The other IQ increasing technique I know is called consious streaming which is like contemplation.

    Good Show,
    Larry B. Daniel

    March 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  46. mike johnson

    A high IQ score is misleading. Your IQ does not determine if you are dumb or smart. My father worked for years with IQ testing at a major university. He explained it to me this way. A high IQ is not a indication of being smart. All a IQ test measures is YOUR ability to learn. A higher IQ usually means its easier for that person to learn something vs someone with a lesser IQ. It doesn't mean they are smarter. Someone with a lower IQ who mentally challenge's themselves a lot can be much smarter then someone with a higher IQ who doesn't use their ability. IQ also doesn't have a thing to do with common sense. I've known people with both high and low IQ's and more then a few of the lower IQ people had better common sense then the some of the higher IQ people

    M Johnson

    March 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  47. surfdog

    IQ and scholastic achievement only account for 20% of a person's success in life. This is well documented research (see Hay McBer, Goleman, et al.) You can be "brilliant" and have no social skills (IT professionals, lab research MDs, etc.) Emotional Intelligence is the measure of what it means to be truely successful in life. Because we function on and react to outer stimulae to make decisions (fight or flight) we are purely emotional animals. Everything we do in life impacts others, so knowing how to use that influence is truely intelligent to get what you want and need. That's what you will find in the brain cases of Fortune 500 bosses. You can't control anything in life...except your reaction to it.. then you will learn to lead.

    March 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  48. Ray

    This IQ quotient seems to be questioned every year. I remember a high school project/study from 35 years ago (yes, I remember this and I am that old) that proposed 4 main factors of intelligence: Academic (IQ), mechanical, creative, social. I'm sure the labels have evolved over the years but the study remains the same. What is the history to that? Are we just trying to make people feel better about themselves or actually trying to measure intelligence? Do they just roll over an older study change the labels and decide to redo the study based on the 'newer' names? Emotional intelligence? What is the progression of this measure of intelligence over the last 35 years? Or, 50 years? There is data out there. Generational data for that matter. There are no new surveys that need to be taken.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  49. Mike in NYC

    Many intelligent people aren't successful, but virtually no dullards are.

    As for the point that the poor and ignorant are out-reproducing the intelligent, this is true. You get more of what you subsidize. Expect this to continue.

    March 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  50. Al Schroeder

    Could someone post the link to start doing this exercise 30 minutes a day that could raise one's IQ 5 points?

    March 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  51. David Kimball

    "a few points on IQ test can change your life." as a closing comment on an article that was all about how IQ tests are not meaningful. It doesn't take much intelligence to see that there is a disconnect.

    IQ measures what we have learned in the past – not how efficiently we learn. IQ tests only test two intelligences – language and logic. There are several other intelligences which are not tested like music, kinesthetics, inter-personal, intra-personal, discernment. If a composite one number for two intelligences is meaningless, think what a composite of seven intelligences would give you.

    March 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  52. Bobby

    Suppose you feel bad on the day of the IQ test and you do poorly! You may obtain an IQ number that is 15 points below your true level. One usually takes an IQ test once and so there is no chance to improve the number. Fortunately, IQ as mentioned in other posts is not the true nature of intelligence. I know several "geniuses" that can't walk and chew gum at the same time so perhaps the age old "common sense" is a better intelligence indicator?

    March 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  53. M. Wynn

    "A mental exercise can help raise your IQ score by about five points in a relatively short amount of time: 30 minutes a day, five times a week, for about a month."

    More information is needed.
    Is this "mental exercise" available on line? Is it an application that is downloaded onto a computer? Is only available at this particular university?

    What exactly is this "mental exercise" and where do we get it????

    March 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
  54. Peter

    Ever hear "Ignorance is bliss?" I don't believe that IQ is everything and the statistics Dave mentions are true. But the points used to measure "Success" could certaintly be modified to favor the lower IQ group. Its all perspective. If you desire to do complex math in your head a high IQ would make you happy. If you desire to live a basic and happy lifestly then perhaps an average IQ is best.
    One mans success and happiness is anothers torture. Besides those who talk about IQ are selfcentered dip $hits anyway. How egocentric.

    March 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  55. El Kababa

    They say that the fate of people with 140 IQs is to work for people with 115 IQs. Studies of the entrepreneur suggest that being obnoxious, lacking in compassion, and indifference to ethical considerations often lead to success.

    The social Darwinist believes that cream rises to the top of society, but the poor and ignorant are reproducing at a much faster rate and seem more likely to pass their genetic inheritance to the future.

    Being smarter does not necessarily mean being happier or more successful. It helps in some endeavors but not in others. Perhaps the most successful leaders are men or women who gather much smarter people around themselves and use their brains much as a freight company CEO hires men stronger than him to load trucks.

    March 22, 2010 at 11:41 am |
  56. nick

    what about practical inteligence, its well enough to know about something but putting the knowledge to use is another thing, emotions cloud judgement that cant be good for making choices

    March 22, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  57. Dave

    One problem with this report. First, they talk to people who complain that IQ tests don't give the whole picture, but then they report the (well documented) fact that people with higher scores on IQ tests do better in essentially every area of life.

    If IQ tests are so deficient, why are people with higher measured IQ generally more successful?

    March 22, 2010 at 11:22 am |
  58. Khalique Ahmed

    Interesting story but I think to reduce the intrinsic potential of a humans to a number like IQ is the reductionist approach to the understanding of the most marvelous human mind. The recent scientific evidence points to the fact that although humans vary greatly in their abilities, all humans can be successful in the areas of their passion. The total human intelligence need to be revisited in the light of the new facts and should include variable of many facets of human endeavors.

    March 22, 2010 at 11:10 am |