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Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Today's Big Idea: Intelligence Quotient

The Big Idea for Sunday, December 16, 2012

IQ scores are derived from several standardized tests and used as predictors of future success in school, job performance and income. It is therefore critical that these tests give us an accurate measurement of general intelligence.

In today's lesson, Satoshi Kanasawa argues that an IQ score is just that: a pure measure of intelligence. It measures someone’s ability to think and reason in various contexts and situations, such as numerical manipulations like arithmetic, verbal comprehension like reading, and mental visualization like spatiovisual rotation. Believe it or not, all these cognitive abilities have something in common, and that something is general intelligence. So intelligence is precisely and exactly what IQ tests measure. Intelligence is what allows us to perform on all kinds of cognitive tests.


  1. 1 Common Misconceptions About Intelligence II: Nobody Knows What Intelligence Is, Because Intelligence and IQ Are Not the Same Thing
    Satoshi Kanazawa
  2. 2 Daniel Goleman Reframes the Intelligence Debate
    Daniel Goleman
  3. 3 The Importance of EQ over IQ
    Bill George
  4. 4 Intelligence Tests Aren’t Dumb, We Are
    David Shenk

Today's Big Idea: Intellige...

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