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Psychological test. 1990.0034.173.

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When I started work in September 1968 one of the first things I was taught was that intelligence testing had a long history, and that many of the subtests in the Wechsler assessments I had been taken from previous research. Kohs’ blocks (1920), I used to mutter, when people talked about Block Design. I was also taught something about the Stanford Binet tests that I would not be using, because some clinicians still used them, and there was historical data I would need to know about. In hearing about skilled Binet testers I learned about dynamic testing: going from one domain to another as quickly as possible, just to establish general levels efficiently. I also learned that such procedures were only possible once one had achieved a very good knowledge of the test.

I was required to know my material almost by heart so that I could concentrate on every aspects of the patient’s behaviour. After 200 test administrations I began to feel confident I had seen it all, and knew all error types intimately. On my 201st test administration I encountered an entirely new error on Block Design, a scope and size error which was highly unusual. Even psychologists can learn something.

Does history matter? I think so. The early history of intelligence testing allows us to test the idea that IQ items are “arbitrary” and have no relevance to real life problems.

First publication of subtests in the Stanford-Binet 5, WAIS-IV, WISC-V, and WPPSI-IV. Aisa Gibbons, Russell T. Warne. Intelligence, 2019, Volume 75, July–August 2019, Pages 9-18.

The authors discuss the pre-history of intelligence testing from 1905 onwards. The period up to 1920 was extremely productive, and testing was popular, perhaps because of its widespread use in the military. Binet was interested in the lower levels of ability, Terman in the highest levels. Test have to cater for the entire range, all 7 tribes of intellect. Not only that, they have to maintain discriminatory power throughout the whole range, though that is hard to do at the extremes.

Wechsler favored test formats and items that (a) showed high discrimination in intelligence across much of the continuum of ability, (b) produced scores with high reliability, (c) correlated strongly with other widely accepted measures of intelligence, and (d) correlated with “pragmatic” subjective ratings of intelligence from people who knew the examinee—such as a work supervisor (Wechsler, 1944).

That is a good summary of what an intelligence test item must achieve: discrimination, reliability, validity with other tests and, most importantly, with intelligence in everyday life.

Gibbons and Warne show that many tests go back a long way, and are earlier than generally realized. Their list of tests is an excellent way to understand all the tasks which have constituted the core elements of intelligence testing.

I learned a great reading through this section of the paper. For example, I did not know that Binet said of his early reasoning test that it was the best of the lot:

“the 1908 scale (of reasoning) has three images, each containing at least one human figure. The child then was asked to describe the picture, and more complex responses based on interpretation (rather than simply naming objects in the image) were viewed as indicative of greater intellectual ability. Binet found this subtest so useful when diagnosing intellectual disabilities that he wrote, “Very few tests yield so much information as this one.. .. We place it above all the others, and if we were obliged to retain only one, we should not hesitate to select this one” (Binet & Simon, 1908/1916, p. 189).

Intelligence goes beyond the obvious.

Here are some historical points which were news to me:

Jean Marc Gaspard Itard was the first to use a form board-like task when he studied and educated a young boy found in the wild (named the “wild boy of Aveyron”) in 1798.

The very similar visual puzzles and object assembly subtests have an origin in the puzzles used for entertainment and geography education, which were first created in the 1750s in England and were in wide-spread use in the early 20th century when the first intelligence tests were being created (Norgate, 2007).

One discovery that we found striking was the diverse sources of inspiration for subtests. While the majority did have roots in the creation of cognitive tests, others have their origin in games (the delayed response subtest, the object assembly subtest), classroom lessons (the block design subtest), the study of a feral child (form boards and related subtests), school assessments (vocabulary subtest) and more. To us, this means that items on intelligence tests often have a connection with the real world—even when they are presented in a standardized, acontextual testing setting. Additionally, this undercuts the suggestion that critics of intelligence testing often make that intelligence test items are meaningless tasks that are divorced from any relationship to an examinee’s environment (e.g., Gould, 1981).

On the other hand, one criticism of intelligence tests seems justified from our study: subtests that appear on popular intelligence tests have changed little in the past century (Linn, 1986). While one could argue that the enduring appeal of these subtests is due to their high performance in measuring intelligence, the fact remains that many of these subtests were often created with little guiding theory or understanding of how the brain and mind work to solve problems (Naglieri, 2007). While sophisticated theories regarding test construction and the inter-relationships of cognitive abilities have developed in recent decades (e.g., Carroll, 1993), it is often not clear exactly how the tasks on modern intelligence tasks elicit examinees to use their mental abilities to respond to test items.

One way to test this criticism is to think of new tests more suited to the present age. Of course, others have already had that thought, and have created computer games which measure intelligence. Fun, but is this a big advance? It is only a gain if the results are more accurate, better predictive of real-life achievements and more speedily obtained. That is a hard bar to clear, since reasonable overall measures can be obtained in a few minutes. More likely, corporations are measuring our intelligence very quickly and surreptitiously by noting our google searches, Facebook likes, and perhaps even commenting histories.

A more pressing problem, to which the authors allude in passing, is that some new-fangled tests are launched each year, and most fall out of use. The reasons is that Wechsler testers have now become highly pragmatic, and do not take kindly to complicated administration procedures, not to test materials which are difficult to assemble and present quickly.

The reality appears to be that any puzzling task taps ability, and there are diminishing returns when using new psychometric tasks. This is the familiar “indifference of the indicator” which Spearman proposed in 1904. This does not exclude finding that individuals have strength and weaknesses in specific domains, but simply that all tasks lead to g, either quickly or slowly, to slightly varying degrees.

• Category: Science • Tags: General Intelligence, Intelligence, IQ 
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  1. dearieme says:

    What’s been the most satisfying part of your career in IQ, doc?

  2. dearieme says:

    Irresistible to those who used to take donkey-rides on the beach.

  3. Lot says:

    “though that is hard to do at the extremes.”

    Isn’t making IQ tests extend to the highest range simple to do by taking an existing test that goes relatively high, and then having the perfect or near perfect scorers repeat it, or repeat it with a stricter time limit?

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @EH
  4. Anon[152] • Disclaimer says:

    “though that is hard to do at the extremes.”

    Isn’t making IQ tests extend to the highest range simple to do by taking an existing test that goes relatively high, and then having the perfect or near perfect scorers repeat it, or repeat it with a stricter time limit?

    Speed is one, but not the only component of intelligence. I think the recent paper that found that smarter brains have more sparsely connected neurons relates to speed. But the size of different brain parts is also a factor, and other things as well.

    So to test an extreme right tail person, you could speed up certain tests. But for instance, with vocabulary, you simply test a lot of words and include more difficult words in the smart person test. This is one area where the test maker doesn’t have to be as smart as the test taker.

    For things like Raven’s matrices, it almost seems like smart people would have to come up with the new test questions, although trial and error may also produce new patterns.

    For digit span and block tap span type tests, they are easy to scale since they are scored from a true zero on up in integral steps.

    Validating tests for the right scale is almost impossible given the few people you could test them on.

  5. res says:

    Validating tests for the right scale is almost impossible given the few people you could test them on.

    That does seem to be the trouble. This page might be worthwhile for those interested in high range IQ tests.
    Uncommonly Difficult IQ Tests

  6. Cortes says:

    “Nine times out of ten it’s your imagination. It’s the tenth that’s the killer.” recently read about advice for special forces guys.

    Everything’s ok until it’s not and alertness keeps one alive. The terrific wartime diary “With The Jocks” has numerous examples of sanctions against the platoon members (country boys by and large) going out on patrol against the Wehrmacht without ammunition or helmets etc. And that was in a military environment with geographic intake – KOSB. Imagine if drafted into a vast war machine where nobody cared…?

  7. EH says:

    About 15 years ago in the Ultranet/Mega SocietyEast mailing list I proposed a way of extending regular IQ tests up to 4 sd beyond their usual range by a calibrated reduction of the subjects’ capabability using variable concentration anaesthetic gasses and choice reaction time tests. This is based in Rasch measure theory; the likelihood of getting an answer correct is the ability divided by the difficulty, so to get the likelihood into the maximally informative 50:50 range, one can not only increase the difficulty, but reduce the ability. (Terse since typed on phone.)

  8. @EH

    Thanks. Up to 6 sd achievable for the last 4 decades by giving a hard Maths test designed for 18 year old to 13 year olds. SMPY. Neat, not expensive, highly predictive.

    • Replies: @EH
    , @prime noticer
    , @Bruno
  9. EH says:
    @James Thompson

    Nice to hear from you, hope you’re enjoying the conference.

    I’d like to ask a favor – does anybody there have any pull with Riverside Publishing? I’d really like to get a graph of the Rasch / SB5 CSS / WJ W scores and s.d.s for a full test similar to this one for the block rotation subtest I mentioned to you a few years ago. Kevin McGrew, who made the original, said he thought Riverside would consider it proprietary, but I think it would give a better understanding of the meaning of their Rasch measures, of intelligence itself, and would encourage the use of Riverside’s tests. A table of the means and s.d.s for different ages would be nearly as useful.

    Thanks again for your enlightening articles.

    • Replies: @res
    , @res
  10. Well, I met Woodcock for the first time, and had a good conversation with him, but I don’t have any contact with Riverside, or know the best person on this. Perhaps Prof Nathan Kuncel, University of Minnesota, a specialist in occupational selection is in fact the best person to approach.

    • Replies: @EH
  11. res says:

    Not exactly what you are looking for, but have you seen this?
    Figure 3 has some growth curves by age for individual subtests.

    This (389 page!) document:
    discusses age-equivalent scores which seems relevant.

    Calculation of Age- and Grade-Equivalent Scores
    In the WJ IV, bootstrap-based smoothed curves from the entire age range for a test or cluster were used to generate the age- and grade-equivalent scores that are reported by the online scoring program. An age-equivalent score was obtained for each W score (from the y-axis of the fitted curve) by identifying the corresponding age (in months) along the x-axis. Grade-equivalent scores were obtained in the same manner, except that the smoothed curves were based on bootstrap samples of norming study participants sorted in order by grade placement (to the tenth of each grade). Points along these curves represent the median W score (REF W) of students at each tenth-of-grade placement. A grade-equivalent score was then obtained for each REF W score (from the y-axis of the fitted curve) by identifying the corresponding grade (in tenths of a year) along the x-axis.

    Pages 136-142 including Figures 5-3 through 5-8 looks like a nicer version of the plots in the first document. These are expressed in “W Score Difference From Age 6” which maps nicely into your plot IIUC. The figures contain a wide variety of factors and composites, but only the means. The other big issue I see relative to your plot is these cover ages 0-90 so childhood is fairly compressed and much harder to extract accurate numerical estimates for.

    That graph of yours is very informative. Thanks for creating your version (it is easier to read than the original, the y-axis grid is especially helpful). I don’t know what process you used to create it (i.e. how hard my request would be to do), but would it be possible to merge in the following slide with ages after 25? The y-axis looks like the same scale. Having those both (so ages 2-100) on the same graph would be even more interesting.

    I hope you are able to find the data you are looking for. The graph you have in mind would be a valuable addition to the (accessible) literature.

    P.S. The SB5_ASB_3.pdf link in your blog post is broken now. Here is another:

    • Replies: @EH
  12. res says:

    This paper might also be of interest. Again, means only. I had a little trouble finding the PDF, but it is buried in the linked journal issue. See page 590 for Figure 2. Curve of mean W-scale Broad Cognitive scores by month of age for the WJ-R normative sample (ages 2.21).

    If you want the SDs I think the thing to look for is the Woodcock Johnson Standard Scores computation. Here is an excerpt from page 83 of the WJIV Technical Manual linked above.

    Calculation of Percentile Rank and Standard Score Norms

    The WJ IV standard scores are calculated using a special procedure that combines features of both area and linear transformations of the distribution of scores (McGrew et al., 1991; McGrew & Woodcock, 2001). The percentile rank and standard score norms for the WJ IV were constructed as follows.
    1. The WJ IV, as in prior editions of the test, employs a unique procedure for maintaining the real-world skew of score distributions. Different standard deviations (SDs) are estimated for the two halves of the score distribution (High SD and Low SD value) above the median REF W at different ages.13
    2. For each normative comparison (age- or grade-based) for each test and cluster, the mathematical algorithms representing the REF W score equations and either the High SD or Low SD are used to calculate the percentile rank and corresponding standard scores for each individual’s obtained score.14 The standard score scale is based on a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15.

    OK. I think Appendix B has the mean/SD information you want (for subtests only) in table form. See pp. 253-277
    And similar information for clusters (e.g. General Intellectual Ability) is in Appendix C. See pp. 279-305.

    P.S. Do you know if your plot is actual +-1/2/3 SD values or did they just plot multiples of the overall SD (or low/high SDs, as discussed above)? From looking at the plot I would guess either low/high SD multiples or discrete measurements (probably the latter given the differences in curve slopes).

    • Replies: @EH
  13. EH says:
    @James Thompson

    The Woodcock? I’m impressed, not many can drop a name like that. Even Taki, a name-dropper with decades of professional experience, would wear steel-toed boots before dropping one that solid. Thanks for The suggestion of Prof. Kuncel, and I’ll also try Deborah Ruf.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  14. EH says:

    Wow! Thanks, res. The first link’s fig. 3 is a bit difficult to make out the labels, but the W-score vs. age curves for different clusters vary far more than I would have expected and often show more decline with age as well. The WJ technical manual in the second link is an amazing goldmine that I’ll be spending months if not years exploring. The SEM (error of measurement) vs. difficulty graphs in particular are fascinating, I would have thought the error would rise much earlier than ~550, which is close to +5 sd for block rotation (if I recall correctly 510 mean, 8.5 s.d), and some items seem to have difficulties of over 600!

    I think I have the remake of the older range of the block rotation score graph on my HDD, but my laptop ist geborken (water spill). I did them in using layers to overlay Bezier curves over the original lines and the measurement tool to lay out the axis scales. GIMP or Photoshop would do just as well. When I can get my password file off the HDD so I can log in to the blog I’ll update the broken link.

    Thanks again for your amazing research, res, I’ve been at a standstill for years but now it’s as if there were no time lost.

    • Replies: @res
  15. res says:

    You are very welcome. I look forward to hearing about what you discover! Your block rotation post and graph have been a useful resource for me to help understand how growth by age compares with SDs within peers.

  16. EH says:

    Yes, Appendix C of the WJIV technical manual starting on page 279 is almost exactly what I’m looking for, though as you note it doesn’t give the spacing of all the s.d.s at each age – I think the McGrew graph does, looking at the 5-10 age range, particularly the +/- 2 and 3 s.d curves. The means and s.d.sfor general intelligence are substantially larger in the technical manual than for the block rotation subtest, e.g. about 517.5 and 12 for ages in the 40s.

    Thanks very much again!

  17. @EH

    An agreeable man, with whom I discussed the Wechsler/Woodcock divide, and the rise in the use of his tests.

  18. James, if I wanted a relatively quick, accurate estimate of my IQ, what would you recommend?

    • Agree: Macumazahn
    • Replies: @Anon
    , @James Thompson
  19. @James Thompson

    this tests mathematical ability though, which is related, but not exactly the same thing being tested on intelligence tests.

    many genius ability level mathematicians are surprisingly not very smart the moment they leave the math room. math ability like that seems to be highly specialized. many math geniuses are not solid all around thinkers.

    sort of like testing near superhuman reaction times. it’s related to intelligence, but the fastest guys aren’t going to be physicists. their reactions are much faster than physicists, but they’re used for sports or war. or, today, video games.

  20. Anon[424] • Disclaimer says:
    @Yapius the 2nd

    You can Use the Wilson test , or the Kent test , or both , they are short , they have an aproximate equivalence with the WAIS .

  21. Guys, what do you all recommend for an IQ test? One that is good for as many people as possible. I am gonna try to get my nephew to take one just to see how well he does.

  22. @dearieme

    Presumably watching all the high-IQ whites and Jews deconstruct and dissolve the social fabric, the nation, and the very idea of what it means to be human. But, hey, whites are smarter than José Olé. With so few victories to celebrate in Weimar Amerika nowadays even a pyrrhic one must be savored!

    Yes, the Mexicans, blacks, and Muslims are violent, dumb, etc.—but they also are not consumed by a barely concealed desire to genocide themselves. Whites, especially the high IQ ones, certainly are, leading all of us into the depths. Or am I mistaken and it is the beaners, moon crickets, and falafel-jockeys that are the ones aggressively proselytizing the Gospel of trannies, poofters, vaccination avoidance, sexualization of children, junk culture, drug addiction, and self hate? Because “social justice”, “safe spaces”, and the perennial wailing about “toxic masculinity” originated in Ghana and Pakistan, right?

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
    (A) Intelligence: is the ability to solve problems that you have never seen before.
    (B) Creativity: is the ability to come up with something new.
    In a sense (A) always involves (B), because in (A) you have to come up with something “new to YOU”. Nevertheless, (B) usually implies “new to EVERYONE”.
    Creativity: the ability to create.
    Create: Etymology: from Latin creātus, “to beget, give birth to”.

  24. My autism has detected a missing “had” in line 3. Nothing personal, doc. To me, trivial literals that a normie would skip are like having grit in my eye. Luckily I miss quite a few.

  25. @Yapius the 2nd

    Oh dear, a good question, and I may have to give a long answer.
    If you look at my recent postings, there is a series I have done on very quick tests. Getting the material might be difficult but you might find a psychologist who could administer some of those.
    Getting someone to give you Raven’s matrices would be a good option. It will be 40 minutes but will be reliable.

    • Replies: @EH
    , @jack daniels
  26. The very similar visual puzzles and object assembly subtests have an origin in the puzzles used for entertainment and geography education, which were first created in the 1750s in England

    What were these puzzles? Any modern equivalents?

  27. padre says:

    This IQ tests seem to me like statistics or opinion or opinion polls, they tell you nothing about nothing!You can bend them and twist them till they suit your purpose!

  28. EH says:
    @James Thompson

    For someone with a verbal tilt, the Miller’s Analogies Test is a good option with lots of top. Old (early ’90 s) “10 SATS” practice books and online IQ conversion table is also a good option. Though not normed as well as a proper IQ test, being made for teens of 25 years ago, it’s a much better test than the Ravens’ in most ways. Come to think of it, the fastest estimate of IQ would be from past standardized test scores, hardly anybody hasn’t taken a bunch of these already. Wonderlic is worth a mention, too.

    • Replies: @Aft
  29. Bruno says:
    @James Thompson

    6sd is one in a billion. It’s not testable yet. Even 5 sd, around 1 in 3 millions is not testable.

    In my opinion, math test, when they are not knowledge intensive, are one of the best IQ test – but it’s a sufficient and not a necessary condition of g – when they are tricky like math Olympiad math problems, wich is the highest range IQ test available.

    But contrary to Derbyshire, I don’t think the threshold is anywhere 1 in 1 million. The average candidate presented (a bronze medalist) would be around 145 and the average gold medalist around 150 IQ.

    But the perfect scorers – 2 or 3 each year – are probably around 165 in g and 4.3 sd is the highest you can seriously go from what I have seen.

    The Vanderbilt test and Duke test – Sat score at 12/13 – wich allowed them to track 1 in 10 000 scorers (would be a 155 IQ) have not re tested the children as adults. I guess they would regress around 140. That’s why they are a brilliant group but nowhere near geniuses.

    IQ would need a Bill Gates giving 1 billion to have a team of people really trying to identify and measure differences in abilities.

    It’s possible that the GCHQ test – very amusing but biases toward teen geek culture – could have a 160 IQ discrimination level.

  30. @padre

    Maybe you have the good fortune for it not to matter for your welfare that you haven’t learned how to get something out of statistics, opinion polls or IQ tests or even that other, smarter or better educated people do. Good luck to you.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  31. IQ tests intelligence, but it does not test for he most important feature of humanity:


    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    , @CanSpeccy
  32. GMC says:

    LOL – What good is a high IQ , if you work as a yes man or woman for some NWO government ? Granted you may be able to come up with fantastic ways to screw your countrymen but is that the IQ talkin or your severely flawed – personality. IQ tests should test common sence, and if you know how rebuild an Engine, build a house from scratch, keep 50 men on a job working together , flying airplanes, sailing ships. College boys/girls with daddys big money – all can have big IQs but ain’t worth a shit – in normal life. Unless you work for the Governments, Corporations or MSM.

  33. Tim too says:

    “Physician, heal thy self…” an existential IQ test.

  34. @Wizard of Oz

    You are so stupid you don’t even get what padre said. And we don’t need an IQ test to know that.

    • Replies: @Anon
  35. Schmedly says:

    Why is it NO ONE has any problem admitting “Asians” have higher IQs. But just imply blacks have lower ones, and you’re labeled a RACIST ???

  36. Anon[341] • Disclaimer says:

    You, on the other hand, being only moderately stupid according to the archive, charitably interpreted, can make sense of what padre was saying in this

    “This [sic] IQ tests seem to me like statistics or opinion [sic] or opinion polls, they tell you nothing about nothing!You can bend them and twist them till they suit your purpose!”

    Is he saying that whatever you read of statistics or the results of opinion polls you [i.e. the reader] can somehow alter the appearance of what you read so they suit your purpose? Presumably not, despite the loose language which it may take someone of equally limited intellect to feel he understands.

    So you think he is conveying that he doesn’t know how to get hold of statistics, the questions, answers and analysis of opinion polls or the details of IQ tests and the results so that he can check any interpretations or conclusions that others may have drawn? And you obviously sympathise. Well poor you. Warning, you do have to stretch your brain a bit beyond the length and style of your typical comment to do any better than sad little padre.

  37. @Common sense Joe

    Very like what my nanny used to say! Perhaps knowing when to keep your mouth shut is another worthwhile observation, assuming you don’t want to use the high IQ for psychopathic purposes.

  38. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @Nicolás Palacios Navarro

    Yes, the Mexicans, blacks, and Muslims are violent, dumb, etc.—but they also are not consumed by a barely concealed desire to genocide themselves. Whites, especially the high IQ ones, certainly are, leading all of us into the depths. Or am I mistaken and it is the beaners, moon crickets, and falafel-jockeys that are the ones aggressively proselytizing the Gospel of trannies, poofters, vaccination avoidance, sexualization of children, junk culture, drug addiction, and self hate? Because “social justice”, “safe spaces”, and the perennial wailing about “toxic masculinity” originated in Ghana and Pakistan, right?

    LOL and well said.

    And Europeans have higher IQ’s than most other groups only because they underwent industrialization and economic development before other human groups. Europeans of a generation ago scored only 85 relative to today’s Euro and white American population, and Europeans of your grandparents generation scored on 70 relative to today’s Euro and white American population.

    Why is that? According to James Flynn, of the Flynn effect, the main reason is a transition from concrete thinking to the scientific outlook, a transition that Flynn illustrates by the IQ test question: “in what way are rabbits and dogs similar.” To those stuck in the concrete mode of thought characteristic of earlier generations, the answer might be, that “both have four feet,” or “both are warm blooded,” whereas someone with the scientific mentality will say “because both are mammals.” This change in thinking, is, according to Flynn, evidence of enhanced intelligence. Moreover, it is enhanced intelligence in a high g-loaded capacity.

    But in fact it is merely evidence of enhanced education. It is a transition from reliance on practical experience to reliance on book learning. It is, in fact, a transition to a modern form of scholasticism. It is precisely because scholasticism tells you nothing about reality that good physicists, the only three we know of, anyhow, namely Feynman, Shockley and Alvarez (Nobelists all) have only modest IQ’s. They are, in other words, very bright individuals whose minds focuse on the concrete not the uselessly abstract. Feynman explained this as the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.

    Furthermore, it is clear that the transition to the high IQ, scholastic mentality from the low IQ, concrete mode of thought explains why it is so easy to induce the European nations to commit suicide. Make political correctness part of the school and university program of so-called education and self-genocide automatically ensues.

  39. anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:

    wwebd said: To be fair – when people tell me that von Neumann had a high IQ I reflect on the fact that he had no idea of why Hamlet is a better play than the average Shakespearean play. Look, I get it that he had the ability to get into publication 50 or more really good “scientific papers” but he was, to tell the truth, a specialized slave, someone with deep focus, but clearly not a person with a deep understanding of this world, as I said a few moments ago the poor guy had no idea why Hamlet was better than the average Shakespearean play.

    When people ramble on about how smart Einstein was, I wonder if I should tell them that I know he had no real idea what Godel was saying in those long conversations, heart to heart, they allegedly had on those long walks in New Jersey.
    And to tell the truth one of the funniest things you can find on the internet is the Feynman worship from people who think that saying Feynman was a genius will give them credit points. Einstein, as focused as he was, merely built up, in a limited way, the insights of Mach, and poor Godel, sadly an almost schizophrenic caricature of someone who understood logic (he was not schizophrenic and he did not really understand logic – and I care about him and I pray for the good of his soul – he walked a hard road – trust me) – poor Godel hoped Einstein would understand him but the two of them, in their long talks, were just talking, in their fantasy worlds, of things beyond their comprehension.

    You know I am right.
    I am humble, and humility is a wonderful thing to behold, trust me.

    • Replies: @jack daniels
  40. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @Common sense Joe

    IQ tests intelligence

    It does?

    How do you know?

    What is intelligence?

    Give us your definition.

    Or by intelligence do you just mean IQ, in which case your statement that “IQ tests intelligence” is a merely a tautology: an IQ test tests for IQ.

    Fact is, the IQ testers never have defined intelligence. Instead, they came up with a set of puzzlers and declared the result to be the measure of intelligence. Trouble is, the IQ-ists have never attempted to show how IQ test results relate to what is understood by the term intelligence as manifest by, say, the creative work of a poet, a painter, a composer, an architect, or a scientist, or the practical work of a politician, a policeman, a prostitute or a peddler of illicit drugs. The best they can do is show that IQ test results correlate with “career success”, except as anyone who looks into the matter will find, the correlation is trivial.

    The best that IQ tests can do is provide an indication of academic aptitude, but even in that case they don’t work very well, not even as well as traditional academic exams, which is why Harvard and other such places use the SAT test, which has a mathematical component and a verbal component, the results of which are by no means closely correlated. Better still, obviously, would be to break things down further, e.g., SAT Physics, SAT Biology, SAT English, SAT music, etc. But that would be giving up, since it would be an acknowledgement that the whole idea of intelligence as unitary feature of mind measurable as a number on a single linear scale is nonsense.

  41. @James Thompson

    How do you compare IQ across cultures? It seems to me that the difference is language would be a problem. Also, immigrants may be smarter than average members of the societies they come from. Also different cultures may prize different strengths, even different speeds. In quick-chess the best player at one time limit is not always the best at another.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  42. @anonymous

    Godel did not understand logic? What do you mean?

  43. @EH

    This sounds suspiciously like some parties I heard about but did not personally attend when I was in college.

  44. @padre

    Found the guy with the low score.

  45. @CanSpeccy

    Not the person to whom you are replying, but I could not let this go by.

    The brain is a computer. Intelligence is its information-processing power. We see what it makes possible in many places, all of which lead back to it–everything from memorization and recall to abstract reasoning to reflex speed.

    And we see the differences between high-IQ populations and low-IQ populations. One of these puts a man on the moon. One of these never invents the wheel and sits around scratching its ass and demanding ever-larger handouts from the other group. Noticing this difference is called “racism.” Failure to notice this difference is a feature of low-IQ populations, and individuals. See also, Dunning-Kruger Effect.

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  46. @CanSpeccy

    Regret that nothing I post about has any impact on your views.

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  47. @jack daniels

    Usually by using non-verbal tests, sometimes maths tests with language translations, or much simpler tests like choice reaction times.

  48. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @James Thompson

    Regret that nothing I post about has any impact on your views.

    On the contrary, your post led me to read James Flynn’s “What Is Intelligence,” wherein it is made clear that neither Flynn nor Arthur Jensen, among others, have or had any idea what intelligence is. (See also the comment of Pepe the Frog, who can define intelligence only in terms of IQ test results reinforced with various bigoted remarks about people of populations that score low on IQ tests — score low, that is, compared with today’s Western populations though not low compared with Western populations contemporaneous with Pepe the Frog’s grandparents’ generation.)

    Moreover, Flynn’s explanation of the Flynn effect, i.e., a transition from thinking rooted in the concrete to thinking in ways modified by abstract conceptions, what Flynn calls misleadingly, the scientific outlook, nicely explains why the only three Nobel-prize-winning physicists whose IQ test scores are known all had relatively modest IQ’s, i.e., in the top one to ten percent, not the top 0.00?%.

    From these observations two things follow.

    First, that the 30-point rise in IQ test scores of Western populations since our grandparents’ generation does not reflect a real change in mental capacity, merely a change in mode of thinking.

    Second, that thinking dominated by abstract concepts, as for example taxonomic classes of organisms versus the actual definable differences among particular organisms, does not represent an advance in intelligence, simply a difference in mode of thought, one that is counterproductive in the world of physics. Feynman actually noted this as a lesson he learned from his father on the importance not of terminological abstractions but of actual knowledge of the things from which abstractions are drawn.

    But as for regret, I have to say that I am sorry that nothing I have said here seems to have had the slightest impact on your convictions, namely:

    (a) That although IQ test scores are subject to massive generation to generation change unrelated to any credible genetic change you assume that differences in IQ test scores among racial groups no larger than those between generations of Westerners must be genetically based, despite the obvious educational and cultural differences among the groups compared, differences at least as large as those between the last three generations of Westerners.

    (b) That if a genius such as Richard Feynman or Luis Alvarez achieved only a modest score on a IQ test, then the IQ test scores must have been misreported. Your reaction, in fact, is rather like that of some scholars at Heidelberg University who, on learning that Carl Gauss’s brain proved, on autopsy, to be of no exceptional size, concluded that perhaps he was not such a great mathematician as had generally been supposed.

    • LOL: Aft
  49. Aft says:

    This is quite good for 12 minutes and free:

    No idea the exact norming for this specific form, but it’s probably not too far off of 20 mean, 7 or 8 sd

  50. Factorize says:

    Dr. Thompson, what confidence bounds would you estimate your IQ evaluations might have had? For instance, might it have likely been a range of say 5 points? or 10? Did you cross-validate your assessments with other psychometricians? If so, how closely would they correspond? Are psychometric evaluations consistent across English speaking nations (e.g., the US, Australia) or might certain provincialism emerge?

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  51. CanSpeccy says: • Website
    @Pepe the Frog

    The brain is a computer. Intelligence is its information-processing power. We see what it makes possible in many places, all of which lead back to it–everything from memorization and recall to abstract reasoning to reflex speed.

    What you say is a perfect example of the foolishness of IQists.

    The brain is a computer. LOL. A computer is:

    an electronic device for storing and processing data, according to instructions given to it in a variable program

    And an electronic device is:

    one having or operating with the aid of many small components, especially microchips and transistors

    So that’s what the brain is, eh!

    And what kind of a computer, analog or digital?

    As for intelligence, it is, you say:

    information-processing power

    Brilliant. Except you have no measure of this processing power? Megaflops per second? Milliflops?Decaflops?

    And how many units of “processing power” does it take to compose a symphony, or for a soccer player to spoof a goalie?

    There’s the IQists real problem. He has no definition of intelligence except that it is what his “IQ” test measures.

    But how does he know that that is what his tests measure?

    He doesn’t, because he has no measure of this processing power you talk of, and he can have no measure of this processing power you talk of because he cannot say what it consists in or what units it is measured in.

    All he can say is: “my test measures life success,” i.e., how much money you get, which unfortunately it does not. At best, it identifies mental incapacity.

    What you need to understand is that intelligent debate is not a matter of mouthing plausible-sounding but ultimately meaningless assertions, but in drawing logical inferences from supportable premises.

  52. Miss England 23-year-old Bhasha Mukherjee
    2 medical degrees and speaks 5 languages.
    IQ of 146

    She aint white.

    • Replies: @acementhead
  53. @Igor Bundy

    She aint white.

    Looks white to me. If being Born in India makes one “Indian”, then Cliff Richard and Joanna Lumley are “Indian” which is absurd. Hard to imagine anyone more “white”.

    My mother was born in China; does that make her Chinese and me half Chinese(I have no objection to being Chinese; the New Zealand Chinese, here for several generations, not the recent imports, are the best people in the world.).

  54. @Factorize

    Wechsler test-retest about 4 point either way.
    General intelligence found in almost all nations, not just English speaking. Raven’s matrices pretty good international test. Real test bias is detectable, and can be reduced considerably, and probably minimal on Raven’s.

  55. Factorize says:

    It would be a tremendous public service for humanity if a demonstration of Jensen’s observation that a person’s IQ is as reproducible as their height could be more publicly and transparently documented. For the non-psychometrician this point can take years (if not an eternity) to accept; it has required a considerable length of time for me to acknowledge its validity.

    If a line-up of 80, 100, 120, 140 IQers could step up to the plate and one after the other time after time consistently demonstrate their expected IQ performance, then the endless argumentation could finally be brought to a conclusion. If necessary, this could continue day after day, month after month, and if necessary, year after year. Those who dismissed psychometric science would eventually simply have to give up. I am unclear what we could talk about on the thread without the near endlessly recycled negations of basic psychometrics by some of the posters. The 100 IQ children, who became 100 IQ highschoolers, who became 100 IQ college students, who became 100 IQ workers, and finally 100 IQ elders would presumably provide irrefutable evidence of the steady ticking of the intellectual metronome.

  56. @Factorize

    Well, there has been a 66 year followup. That should have an impact. I was struck more by Jensen’s remark that a Wechsler test score was within 4 points of the retest for most people most of the time.
    Mostly, some people don’t want to accept that the results replicate, because they don’t like the results.

  57. @Factorize

    …who became 100 IQ college students…

    There shouldn’t even be any 100 IQ college students, and up until the end of the ’60s there weren’t. IQ 100 (and even 90) come courtesy of the US Supreme Court.

  58. Factorize says:

    acementhead, thank you very much for responding! I am glad that we have a psychometrically literate poster on board. Many posters to this blog have a social justice perspective: they post comments according to how they want the world to be instead of how the world is. Unfortunately, applying such equality by decree policies has time and time again created socioeconomic disasters.

    Yes, it is true that I inserted the comment about 100 IQ college students to see if anyone were paying attention. Yet, I also believe that it might be a reasonable strategy for the 21st Century; here’s why. It should be no great revelation to those with psychometric awareness that global IQ has been falling possibly for the last 20 years. This is a simple summation of IQs (or the summation of the IQs of the smart fractions) with especial focus on the highly industrialized societies. Given the fertility collapse in many of these nations over the last 50 years, it is highly likely that such a collapse in human intellectual potential is, in fact, now underway. One plausible strategy to counteract this decline in the short term is to more fully optimize the development of cognitive resources in the community. In particular, research has repeatedly found that even people 2-3 SD EDU PGS born into the most socially disadvantaged groups typically never attain socioeconomic success.
    Perhaps if people with 100 IQ were enrolled in college, then it might make it easier for any of their high IQ children to access a path to success.

    Tasmania offers us a possible preview to the future of humanity. Tasmania due its extreme geographic isolation underwent a similar regression in their state of human development. When European explorers arrived there a few centuries, the Tasmanians they encountered could best be described as Paleolithic. These people had culturally devolved by thousands of years because of the limitations of their demographics/density. This example should serve as a forewarning for where we are now heading.

    The collapse in human civilization that we have seen over the last few decades is not an aberation; it is not some freak happenstance, but the inevitable output of a highly predictable psychometric process. It is frightening to observe that the process of decline that we are experiencing, can be predicated with high certainty to continue ( more realistically to accelerate) over the next few decades.

    At any other time in human history, people would be panicking to board the life rafts and escape the impending collapse of empire. However, this time it will be different. No, really, it will. Once people have had enough of the endless decline of humanity, which a casual perusal of any newspaper will amply demonstrate, then the road back to progress can happen quite rapidly. We have been on a demographically turbocharged trajectory of science, technology, and prosperity for centuries beginning with the scientific revolution. If we want to get back on track, then embryo selection is a technology that is even more powerful than sheer numbers.

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