The Big Thing People Get Wrong About Their IQ Scores
Author David Shenk explains how we frequently misinterpret the meaning of IQ scores.
How many brilliant people do you know who are nonetheless capable of making ridiculous mistakes? Maybe that’s even you. The thing is, intelligence is complicated. There are different kinds: Someone who’s a genius at music may be be a total washout in social circumstances, a brilliant philosopher may not be able to remember actors’ names, and so on.
There are tests with which we measure different types of intelligence, and the IQ test towers over them all. “So-and-so has an IQ of this or that,” we hear, as if it's (a) a literal measurement of that person’s mental potential, and/or (b) a fixed value that can never change. In fact, this isn’t how the tests work at all.
It seems like most people only get tested once, at school, and then carry their IQ scores as badges of pride — or embarrassment — the rest of their lives. But, as David Shenk says, for those who do get re-tested and remain in the same percentile, it doesn’t mean the entire percentile hasn’t gotten smarter — nor does it mean it has. It just means it’s still in the same position relative to the rest of the tested population. And downward movement doesn’t mean you’ve gotten dumber in your old age.
Jonathan Zimmerman explains why teachers should invite, not censor, tough classroom debates.
- During times of war or national crisis in the U.S., school boards and officials are much more wary about allowing teachers and kids to say what they think.
- If our teachers avoid controversial questions in the classroom, kids won't get the experience they need to know how to engage with difficult questions and with criticism.
- Jonathan Zimmerman argues that controversial issues should be taught in schools as they naturally arise. Otherwise kids will learn from TV news what politics looks like – which is more often a rant than a healthy debate.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.
- SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
- A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
- A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.