Folks from all walks of life have attempted to set themselves apart from fellow humans by touting their perceived intellectual superiority. One deeply flawed way that such people have attempted to prove their case is by citing a high intelligence quotient — or IQ — score.
A staggering list of problems
While it’s pretty easy to find an IQ test that will produce some type of result, it’s nearly impossible to find one that does so accurately and consistently. That’s because this is an extremely subjective realm of pseudoscience that doesn’t do much at all to reflect a person’s actual intelligence.
Here’s why we should ditch the idea that IQ can gauge how smart someone is:
- IQ tests reward those who are better at answering questions quickly, not those who favor deeper problem-solving skills.
- They don’t take into account that intelligence isn’t a zero-sum concept — people can and do increase their intelligence over the course of their lives.
- Getting a low IQ score can cause serious and long-lasting psychological problems for people and convince them they aren’t as smart as they actually are.
- The same person can achieve widely different IQ scores depending on the time of day, how much sleep he or she has had, and any number of other external factors.
What should we look at instead?
Rather than allow the results of one test to determine which people among us are geniuses, it’s much better for all of humanity to take a more holistic approach. There are countless ways that individuals can showcase their intelligence — and only a handful can be assessed in a typical IQ test.
Instead, do the things that really help make you smarter: read, study, solve problems, learn new skills, and figure out how your brain was designed to work best.