What is IQ?

By: Chris Anderson Psy.D.

A person’s IQ, short for Intelligence Quotient, is a standardized measure of general intelligence. IQ tests are normed and standardized by numerous age brackets. A person’s IQ number reflects their percentile ranked intelligence relative to those in their own age bracket. The test is measuring four broad areas of cognitive abilities: verbal comprehension which some would say is a measure of book smarts; non-verbal spatial reasoning, working memory, and processing speed.

IQ tests provide a number of scores on each measure as well as an overall, full scale, IQ score. The average score is 100. 68% of people score between 85 and 115. Scores near a low of 70 and a high of 130 represent the highest and lowest 2% of people. Score can be higher or lower than 70 and 130 but represent a very small percentage of the population.

What Does IQ Predict?

IQ results are often a good predictor of academic ability and potential. Those with lower IQ’s may struggle in school, need additional support or tutoring, and possibly special education services. Those with high IQ’s may be bored with traditional material and pace and benefit from gifted and talented curriculum that keeps them challenged.

Some critics argue that IQ is an inadequate measure of intelligence and believe there are different kinds of intelligence. All tests have limits and IQ tests certainly do not measure social or emotional intelligence, common sense or “street smarts”, motivation and drive, or creativity. Some subtests in the IQ test are more culturally specific and may not be a good measure for those for whom English is a second language or were not born in the US. That said, there are a lot of studies that show there are some predictive findings that correlate to IQ. Higher IQ’s tend to predict better academic success, financial and occupational success, better health and longer life. Higher IQ’s can also protect against trauma and PTSD and has been shown to have slower declines in cases of Dementia. Those with higher IQ’s also tend to do well socially and are more well liked by others. As can be seen, having a higher IQ can produce a number of advantages in life.

Can You Improve IQ?

IQ is a complex trait that is influenced by both genetics and environment. Numerous studies have found IQ to be fairly stable and does not change much over time. People tested as a child or adolescent retested decades later, usually score about the same. That said, there are some studies that suggest you can raise your IQ with certain brain training activities around memory and spatial reasoning. Other studies found that each additional year of school beyond high school appears to raise IQ by 1-5 points. Some studies also show moderate to vigorous regular exercise also helps improve cognition.

If you are interested in getting your IQ tested, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an appointment with one of our providers for a more thorough assessment.  Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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