Re: IQ - A cautionary tale (Re: The ways of child prodigies)

From: J. Andrew Rogers (
Date: Tue Nov 15 2005 - 23:51:56 MST

On Nov 15, 2005, at 10:10 PM, Phil Goetz wrote:
> IQ isn't really defined above 140 or so. The tests that are said to
> measure "g" are designed to look at the central range, around, for
> instance, IQ=100. They lack hard questions, and in my experience are
> not effectively "peer-reviewed," so if a person who would score, let's
> say, over 150 IQ, is marked wrong on a question, it's more likely
> because the test-maker made a mistake than because the subject made a
> mistake.

Probably the worst case of this in my experience, and I've taken a
lot of tests, was the US military technical aptitude tests. There
were a few questions on those tests that were premised on patently
false assumptions, yet which made a certain kind of sense if one
could guess the axioms of the ignoramus that put the test together.

A person with significantly above average IQ and knowledge will
notice these defects and answer based on an educated prediction of
the assumptions the test writer was using. It was how people like me
got perfect scores. The truly educational portion of the test was in
discovering how many people get very marginal scores on these tests.
My initial comments on the test series were that it was designed to
weed out the stupid half of the chimpanzee population; an ill-advised
thing to say, as it turns out that the average human did not do
nearly as well as I had assumed, and many did very poorly. Which is
why it is rarely polite (on many levels) to discuss metrics of

But yes, I would agree that above some level of education/
intelligence some very significant defects in standardized tests
start to become apparent. That most people never noticed always kind
of threw me.

J. Andrew Rogers

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