Talk:Intelligence quotient

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I will be adding numerous references and bibliography entries.[edit]

Last year I began a major revision of a working paper project (begun in 2006, based on shorter research notes I began compiling as early as 1993) largely on this Wikipedia topic. As the talk page templates note, "This is a controversial topic that may be under dispute." As a courtesy to the editors who have long been here, I will note that I will begin adding the dozens of books and articles I have at hand for my non-Wikipedia project (a literature review for popular audiences interested in the primary source literature on IQ testing) to this Wikipedia article. At first I will add books and articles from various points of view to the bibliography. Then I will add more references to verify the statements that have already long stood in the article. (I hope to add specific page numbers to both the references I add and the existing references that I am able to look up here.) At some length, I expect to expand sections with additional facts, perhaps add a few subsections, and from time to time do substantive edits under the NPOV principle, as the sources report various points of view. Thanks to all of you who have already worked on this very detailed article. I am lucky to have access to a very comprehensive academic library at which I have circulating privileges, so I am delighted to add some V and NPOV to various Wikipedia projects. WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 03:42, 1 June 2010 (UTC)[]

That sounds like a great job. I'm looking forward to reading your additions. Good luck to you! :) Lova Falk talk 08:19, 1 June 2010 (UTC)[]
Here is an update on that project. You may find it helpful while reading or editing articles to look at a bibliography of Intelligence Citations, posted for the use of all Wikipedians who have occasion to edit articles on human intelligence and related issues. I happen to have circulating access to a huge academic research library at a university with an active research program in these issues (and to another library that is one of the ten largest public library systems in the United States) and have been researching these issues since 1989. You are welcome to use these citations for your own research. You can help other Wikipedians by suggesting new sources through comments on that page. It will be extremely helpful for articles on human intelligence to edit them according to the Wikipedia standards for reliable sources for medicine-related articles, as it is important to get these issues as well verified as possible. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 17:22, 30 June 2010 (UTC)[]
I have begun substantive edits to this article based on sources that other Wikipedians can check in the Intelligence Citations list. All of you are encouraged to suggest new sources for that list, which will be useful for editing quite a few articles on Wikipedia. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk) 15:48, 28 July 2010 (UTC)[]
As editor discussion of this article has renewed, I should remind new editors here about the Intelligence Citations bibliography in user space, which is due for another revision of its own. I look forward to digging deeply into the best reliable secondary sources and updating this article to Wikipedia good article status. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (Watch my talk, How I edit) 20:12, 27 May 2016 (UTC)[]

Really enjoying your article. Thanks from Dallas Edmund Teaford 1-7 facebook acct or (nick name Jim Teaford 2 facebook acct) APOLLOTHESUNGOD (talk) 06:00, 9 October 2017 (UTC)[]


A recent edit by User: changed the definition of IQ from:

An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a total score derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence.


Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a relative measure of a persons ability to reason in comparison to the same-aged population. It is usually derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence.

I fixed the grammar mistakes, but I'm not sure the definition is accurate, as I understand age is not adjusted when calculating the IQ from a normal distribution. Instead, the population covers all ages, which allows you to track normal development over time (measured as increasing IQ during developmental years). I also deleted the "usually" because I think that by definition the score is derived from a standardized test, otherwise it would have no purpose. Does anyone have an opinion on this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Agucova (talkcontribs)

I reverted. It needs sourcing. Either version does. One can look on Google Books for sources. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 08:11, 20 January 2020 (UTC)[]
I suggest the former is much closer and more appropriate for the lede, as the latter presumes that g is real (which this article later addresses the dispute over). I'll look through the existing sources and see if I can find one with a clear definition to cite. Bakkster Man (talk) 14:50, 21 January 2020 (UTC)[]

Discussion at Talk:Race and intelligence#Requested move 4 March 2020[edit]

 You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Race and intelligence#Requested move 4 March 2020. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 04:39, 7 March 2020 (UTC)[]

Cleaning up Criticism and views section[edit]

Hi all, I've been doing a bunch of editing on this article and related topics in the past few days so do not want to overstep, but it seems to me that the Criticism and views section is rather messy. I'll be happy to apply what seems to me to be a judicious eye and try to reorganize it unless there is significant objection or someone else beats me to it. First, though, I'd like to invite comment from the community. How, in your view, can this section be improved? What are the key criticisms (and views)? Is "Criticisms and views" even the right heading? See in particular the essay WP:CRIT. Thanks! Generalrelative (talk) 02:55, 23 June 2020 (UTC)[]

@Generalrelative: Thank you for working on improving this article. Here are my comments/opinions on the section "Criticism and views", organized by subsection:
Criticism of IQ. I'd replace worthiness by value. The quote from The Mismeasure of Man reads badly, but I think it can be fixed by just deleting the first few words of the quote and starting it with "its quantification". The Jensen quote is too long. The first sentence (before "Well-known...") is sufficient. I'd suggest removing Eysenck entirely, since we don't want to give undue influence to fringe views and what he says makes no logical sense anyway (and Jews are not a race). In the following paragraph the word "persistent" doesn't belong.
Systematic exclusion of threshold effects. I'd delete systematic from the subsection title. I'd also cut out everything after the first two sentences (and split the first run-on sentence into two sentences, delete "are not gradually variable", and shorten the end of the second sentence to "at threshold numbers of connected neurons"). The rest of the long paragraph is barely comprehensible, too detailed, and gives too much coverage to one viewpoint.
Test bias. This section should start with the evidence of bias (the last sentence of the first paragraph and the second paragraph) and then go back and include the earlier material that raises doubts about test bias (but I'd delete Hunt's comment, which doesn't add anything). I'm also bothered by the apparent contradiction between the California court decision and the APA statement. Perhaps part of the explanation is that there's about 2 decades between them, and it's likely that the most obviously biased questions were usually weeded out once IQ test designers realized that they had to respond to the criticisms. So more recent tests might be much freer of obvious cultural biases than earlier ones.
Intermingling cultures and IQ classification fairness. I'd be tempted to remove this subsection entirely. It deals not with a general criticism of IQ but with how it's used to define retardation, and it's poorly written, mixing up different concepts in a way that the reader cannot easily decipher.
Outdated methodology. This has to be either explained (that is, expanded upon) or else deleted.
Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns. Much of this section can be omitted, but perhaps the first 2 sentences of the 3rd paragraph could be incorporated into the earlier discussion of the APA's views in the "Test bias" subsection. There should be a wikilink, since there's a whole article about the APA report, Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns.
Dynamic assessment. How important is Vygotsky? This section probably is too long, and should be cut roughly in half, perhaps deemphasizing Vygotsky but keeping most of the 2nd paragraph.
These are just a layperson's comments; I have no specialized knowledge in this area. Thank you. NightHeron (talk)
IMO the section could be most improved by dispensing with it altogether, and distributing the content throughout the rest of the article. I don't think "criticism of IQ" is the right way to present it, as if IQ is something one can be "for" or "against" (like a political position), or something to be "praised" or "criticized" (like a film). I think this article should have two major parts: the first part covering the history of IQ that discusses its origins, how it's been used and abused in the past, how it's evolved over time; and the second part setting forth modern views on IQ and placing it in the context of other types of intelligence. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 03:53, 26 June 2020 (UTC)[]
@NightHeron: and @Levivich: Thank you both for these thoughtful suggestions. I agree on all counts. The only qualm I have with the suggestion of an overhaul of the whole article is that I wouldn't be comfortable doing it on my own. But I would be more than happy to contribute to a group effort toward that end. Generalrelative (talk) 20:38, 26 June 2020 (UTC)[]
@Generalrelative and Levivich: I don't think a complete overhaul is needed. I still think a (much shorter) criticism section is appropriate, perhaps retitled Methodological criticisms. Certainly the "test bias" subsection could be moved to the main section that discusses the need to remove cultural and other bias (with that section retitled Test bias rather than Test bias or differential item functioning). That would also clarify the historical issue I raised that in the 1970s the California court found IQ tests to be biased, but the APA statement in the 1990s said they are not. In other words, early tests had problems that were later largely removed. I also suggested removing much of the criticism section that is undue or unclear. The section could explain (i) the objections to reification of intelligence (i.e., describing it by a single number) of Gould and others; (ii) the threshold objection, that is, that the scale is shoehorned into a bell curve; (iii) the dynamic assessment theory, which says that it's more meaningful to measure facility at improving mental ability rather than some supposedly fixed level of mental ability; and possibly (I'm not sure) (iv) the critique of Denny Borsboom in Measuring the Mind, but that would require more than the one throw-away sentence we have now. NightHeron (talk) 21:17, 26 June 2020 (UTC)[]
Although I'm advocating going further than what NightHeron has laid out here, I agree with the changes NH has laid out. Overhauling the entire article would be a very large task; I can see it might be better to make more incremental changes, and revising the Criticism section (rather than dispensing with it altogether) seems like a good place to start. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 21:49, 26 June 2020 (UTC)[]
Done! Once I got going it became clear to me that it was easier to move appropriate content to other sections because almost everything worth saying had a place elsewhere. Obviously there may be disagreement about my choices so I tried to give detailed summaries along the way. Happy to revisit if anyone has opinions on how this could be further refined, or if my edits should be rolled back in any way. Thanks again for your suggestions! Generalrelative (talk) 01:47, 29 June 2020 (UTC)[]
I think it's much improved. Thank you for cleaning it up! Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 16:59, 29 June 2020 (UTC)[]

Something is wrong here.[edit]

I don't thing that an average 50yo person scores better on the IQ tests than an average 25yo person. However, according to the formula, if a 50yo person obtains the same score as an average 25yo person then their IQ is 50, right? But IQ 50 means moderate mental retardation. (talk) 14:41, 29 June 2020 (UTC)[]

The original formula you refer to was the ratio of the "mental age" (in months) to the chronological age, multiplied by 100. An older person was expected to have a higher mental age than a younger person, as evidenced by responding to more test items correctly. Theoretically a person whose intelligence was exactly in the middle of the average range would have an IQ of 100 regardless of age. The formula had a lot of problems, however, because of the lack of precision in the test. Today the formula is a moot point as it is no longer used. As the article explains it has been replaced by the deviation IQ, which is much more sophisticated statistically and psychometrically. Sundayclose (talk) 15:12, 29 June 2020 (UTC)[]
The deviation IQ is described in IQ classification, but I am still not satisfied. Anyway, thanks for your response :-) (talk) 13:15, 30 June 2020 (UTC)[]
IQ is a specific number. IQ classification refers to ranges of IQ scores. Sundayclose (talk) 15:14, 30 June 2020 (UTC)[]

A key question.[edit]

Where is the formula or table that converts IQ 100 to raw scores for each age group? I suppose that a standard raw score increases with age up to the age of 16, and is constant up to 60, and then starts to decline. (talk) 14:58, 30 June 2020 (UTC)[]

Every test has conversion tables either in print or software. The conversion is the other way around: raw scores to IQ (or "standard score" for some subscales). Average raw scores do increase with age but not necessarily evenly. Some tests include different subtests at different age groups, so there is no clear pattern of increase in raw scores. The statistics that convert to IQ adjust for this so that the average IQ is always 100 for each age. These technicalities are too advanced for general discussion on a Wikipedia talk page. I should also comment that talk pages are for improving articles, not general discussion of the topic, although I'm sure you ask these questions in good faith. Sundayclose (talk) 15:12, 30 June 2020 (UTC)[]
But my questions are absolutely fundamental to understand what IQ really is. And I do want to improve the article. You wrote about "too advanced technicalities". But what is complex in a simple table that shows correlation between age and scores? It would be easy to understand even for 8-year-old children. After all, they all take tests in school and surely understand what the word "score" means, let alone "age".
PS. I understand that my questions are uncomfortable for professional psychologists which want to be real scientists or at least to be perceived as such. (talk) 17:31, 30 June 2020 (UTC)[]
Your questions don't make me uncomfortable; I've been a university professor, psychologist, and physician for decades; I deal with technical questions and challenges on a daily basis. By "too advanced" I refer to the statistics to create the conversion tables, not the simple process of looking at a table. If you want to improve the article, tell us specifically what is not addressed with reliable sources in the article. If you want the entire process of test construction and psychometrics in the article, that is not within the scope of this encyclopedia article since there are many books and journal articles devoted to the process. You won't find it in any broad-spectrum encyclopedia such as Britannica. You certainly can learn about these statistical and psychometric issues either in university courses or on your own with the right sources. But Wikipedia is not the place to try to teach statistics. I don't want to judge your intentions, so no comment about your statement "want to be real scientists or at least be perceived as such" except to say that if you want to critique the field of psychology, the best place to do that would be Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Psychology, but again keep in mind every post should relate to improving articles (with reliable sources), not a place to express your personal likes or dislikes. But again, I am assuming good faith on your part. All the best. Sundayclose (talk) 19:37, 30 June 2020 (UTC)[]

A disputed phrase about eugenics[edit]

The phrase by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior and promoting those judged to be superior was recently added to the definition of eugenics by an IP-editor and then reverted by User:Sundayclose as "unsourced". It's actually the identical phrasing to that in the Eugenics article (where a source is given for the phrase, although I'm not sure how accurately the source is being represented). I think that either the phrase should be restored here, or else it should be removed from Eugenics, so that we're consistent. NightHeron (talk) 18:46, 5 July 2020 (UTC)[]

Another editor has restored it with appropriate sourcing. Sundayclose (talk) 18:48, 5 July 2020 (UTC)[]
Yup, thanks to you both. The source is indeed accurately represented. The citation (which I borrowed from Eugenics) helpfully quotes a passage on Galton's ideas of "positive and negative" forms of eugenics and notes that "the practice of eugenics referred to everything from prenatal care for mothers to forced sterilization and euthanasia", which is precisely what the added clause refers to. Generalrelative (talk) 18:52, 5 July 2020 (UTC)[]

Discussion at Talk:Nations and intelligence[edit]

 You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Nations and intelligence. Generalrelative (talk) 17:58, 18 August 2020 (UTC)[]

Discussion at Talk:Heritability of IQ#Claims of "scientific consensus"[edit]

 You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Heritability of IQ#Claims of "scientific consensus". Generalrelative (talk) 18:23, 25 August 2020 (UTC)[]

Style of article is both revealing and problematic[edit]

Nearly every section of this article that mentions a study that could suggest that 'g' is anything other than a perfectly inherited single entity is met with a curt closing counter point.

The style of writing in almost the entire article is basically this: "DISCUSSION POINT: such and such replicable respected study found that certain factors appear to influence, to some degree, scores. CURT COUNTER POINT: This is wrong because another study which is not replicable done by persons historically invested in g-factor research said it was wrong. END OF DISCUSSION NEXT SECTION."

The problem with this style of writing, apart from what it obviously reveals to anyone with "social" intelligence and "critical reasoning", is that each study and point is presented with equal weight. Which is very interesting when one considers the main and mathematically strongest criticism laid at the feet of strong 'g' proponents, which is that by arbitrarily manipulating the weights of certain factors, without changing the factors, one can arrive at a desired conclusion quite easily.

This article does not read like an encyclopedia article, it reads as a posturing defense of theories that strongly support a 'g' model of human intelligence. A lay person, after reading this article would be better prepared to argue why a 'g' view of intelligence is the accurate view of human intelligence rather than explain what 'g' or and intelligence quotient actually is. (talk) 21:34, 25 September 2020 (UTC)[]

You're raising an important point. Could you be specific about which passages are biased in favor of the claims for a reified 'g' factor and how you'd propose to fix those passages? Thanks. NightHeron (talk) 21:51, 25 September 2020 (UTC)[]
And since you claim that "nearly every section of this article that mentions a study that could suggest that 'g' is anything other than a perfectly inherited single entity is met with a curt closing counter point", we would need you to point out how each of the "other studies" used for the "curt closing counterpoint" is not reliable. I also would like to see your evidence that g is "perfectly inherited". We need a lot more than your opinions. We need reliably sourced evidence. Sundayclose (talk) 22:00, 25 September 2020 (UTC)[]
While I don't think the IP editor's comment is fully accurate, I do think there's room for cleanup. On a quick look through, some particular areas:
  • General factor (g) - Could use better sourcing and removal of WP:WEASEL use of "still accepted, in principle, by many". I'd also suggest we should move the three-level theory out of the 'g' section and leave it in the Cattell–Horn–Carroll theory section where it belongs (which is well written, apart from perhaps odd wording and needing sourcing on the 'g was earlier often subdivided into only Gf and Gc...' sentence). If this is cleaned up, I'm not convinced a direct rebuttal is needed if the final paragraph is cleaned up to indicate that Spearman's g, as he defined it at the time, is somewhat antiquated. Basically, direct the reader to the following sections.
  • Reliability - ends with a critique of the scores (I updated this section, could use further improvement), and I think is reasonably fair.
  • Validity as a measure of intelligence - I think this section is the best example of the original comment, as the end of a long list of critiques about whether IQ measures intelligence is a single WP:WEASEL sentence, suggesting the test "generally" has "sufficient statistical validity for many clinical purposes". Which purposes? What exceptions to that general rule? Are any of them directly related to IQ's measurement of intelligence (g or its sub-components), or is this sentence better suited to the Reliability section? Is there more or less validity for aggregate use on a cohort than individuals? I'm tempted to just move that sentence to the previous section and improve it from there, if not removing it entirely.
  • Test bias or differential item functioning - Thoughts on moving this section underneath Reliability and validity and moving the "A 2005 study found that..." paragraph from the above section into this one?
  • Flynn effect - Any reason not to include a quick summary of the Flynn effect in the Reliability section with a wl to the main article?
  • Age - Suffers from some issues, IMO. Per the original comment, this is a section that reads clearly assuming that IQ = g. It's written that if IQ scores, despite all the variance issues listed in previous sections, can only exhibit age variance due to fluid/crystal intelligence. Which of course is silly, since IQ tautologically is normalized by setting 100 to the mean score for a given age. IMO, this section should describe the variance of IQ scores with age, not the variance of underlying general intelligence with age, but it currently reads as the latter. I also removed a 'however' which seemed to be trying to phrase the r correlates as 'good'. Should probably place meaningful context around these numbers, though. I'm an engineer that's reasonably comfortable with math and stats, but have no idea how to analyze these naked r-values.
  • Health - Two cn tags from 2012, and fitting the criteria of the original comment. As above, I think it's worth trimming down to how health affects scores and how IQ tests are used in cognitive epidemiology, then direct readers to those specific articles.
  • Crime - Wanted to point out this section as one that I found well balanced, and would suggest is a good example for the other sections. Shows historical links, but ends on modern critiques of causality.
  • Group-IQ or the collective intelligence factor c - Doesn't seem to fit this article, as there's no Collective Intelligence Quotient test that I can find linked here. Let the main article be linked to from the articles on g et al.
  • Group differences - Another section I think is written well, speaking specifically to IQ, not g while linking to articles where that association would be appropriate.
I made a handful of edits along my way. I think I'd like at least a little consensus (or at least, lack of disagreement) before I make some of the suggested changes. I also wouldn't claim to be qualified to make some of the edits. Bakkster Man (talk) 16:06, 29 September 2020 (UTC)[]
This seems to me to be a super thoughtful agenda for improving the article. Specifically with regard to folding "Test bias or differential item functioning" and "Flynn effect" into the "Reliability and validity" section, I'd been thinking along similar lines when doing a round of edits a few months back but didn't want to rock the boat too much all at once. Same goes for getting rid of (or straightening out) the weasel language in "General factor (g)" and "Validity". Since you've come to similar conclusions, that may be a good indication that the changes are indeed warranted. Generalrelative (talk) 19:53, 30 September 2020 (UTC)[]
I began some updates, starting with the history section. Mostly just removing duplicate information, actually. Even the weasel wording in the g section ended up being cited in the CHC section so that was nice and tidy. I also did the grouping of all the error sources, tagging the comments above which I can't easily remedy. I'm wondering if Sources of error or Accuracy and precision would perhaps be a better title for the section. On the other hand, I suppose reliability and validity generally are just being given more specific examples in the added sections. Also tagged the old health tags and removed group-IQ (the latter I recognize may be contentious). Bakkster Man (talk) 15:48, 1 October 2020 (UTC)[]
Looks great. I'd tend to agree with your "on the other hand," that issues related to accuracy, precision and sources of error are best presented as specific examples under the heading of reliability and validity. Generalrelative (talk) 22:04, 1 October 2020 (UTC)[]

Stephen Gould doesnt accept Iq tests![edit]

"Some scientists have disputed the value of IQ as a measure of intelligence altogether. In The Mismeasure of Man (1981, expanded edition 1996), evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould compared IQ testing with the now-discredited practice of determining intelligence via craniometry, arguing that both are based on the fallacy of reification, “our tendency to convert abstract concepts into entities”.[84] Gould's argument sparked a great deal of debate,[85][86] and the book is listed as one of Discover Magazine's "25 Greatest Science Books of All Time".[87]"

His personal opinion is not of any value to the subject, and should be removed!Cynthia BrownSmyth (talk) 08:04, 13 December 2020 (UTC)[]

Gould's argument was that IQ tests are not a valid measure of human intelligence broadly construed. This is entirely consistent with current scientific understanding. See for example the quote from Wayne Weiten in the same subsection: "IQ tests are valid measures of the kind of intelligence necessary to do well in academic work. But if the purpose is to assess intelligence in a broader sense, the validity of IQ tests is questionable." Note that Weiten's statement is WP:RS/WP:TERTIARY because it is from a recent, respected textbook, not an individual study, and therefore can be taken as representative of the field. Generalrelative (talk) 09:01, 13 December 2020 (UTC)[]

Discussion at Talk:G factor (psychometrics)[edit]

 You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:G factor (psychometrics). Generalrelative (talk) 18:17, 29 December 2020 (UTC)[]

"Online IQ Test Validity" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]

Information.svg A discussion is taking place to address the redirect Online IQ Test Validity. The discussion will occur at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2021 March 20#Online IQ Test Validity until a consensus is reached, and readers of this page are welcome to contribute to the discussion. Kokopelli7309 (talk) 14:59, 20 March 2021 (UTC)[]