You have probably heard the term "IQ" many times, and you probably know it has something to do with measuring intelligence.
The letters "IQ" stand for "intelligence quotient", and an IQ test is widely used as a way to measure intelligence.
The test most frequently used today to measure intelligence is called the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test. The earliest version of it was developed in France in 1905.
The original test has been revised several times over the years, with a major revision completed at Stanford University in 1960. The Stanford-Binet test is not the only intelligence test, but it is probably the best known.
IQ tests are often used by educational institutions to segregate students into categories such as "normal", "gifted", and "challenged".
Children and young people are scored relative to each other on a variety of factors, including verbal and logical understanding, vocabulary, arithmetic and spatial orientation.
A person with an IQ score of 100 is deemed to be of average intelligence, while a person with an IQ above 130 is deemed to be intellectually gifted.
Do you know your own IQ? Do you know what it means?
Although the IQ test is very widely used, and the results are almost synonymous with our idea of intelligence, there has also been a lot of criticism of the test, and of the way the results are used.
Does having a high IQ score guarantee success in later life? No, it doesn't! It doesn't even guarantee success in school.
A Canadian television program recently tracked down some of the people with the highest IQ scores in North America.
One man who has an extremely high genius IQ works as a motorcycle mechanic, hangs out with biker gangs, and is frequently in and out of jail.
Another man interviewed on the program has the highest IQ recorded in North America. He has worked as a bouncer in a bar for ten years, earns minimum wage, and lives in a tiny garage. Clearly, a high IQ is not enough to guarantee success in life.
What IQ tests measure is a certain type of potential. That potential still needs to be developed and nurtured by the person who has it. That person may not have the inclination or desire to do so.
Not everyone who has a potential talent also possesses the desire to do something with it. One person may have a wonderful God-given singing voice, but may have no interest in music, and no desire to perform.
Another person may have the perfect physique to be a high jumper, but may hate sports. You can probably think of other examples. Having potential is just a beginning.
The IQ tests we have now may predict which people have a certain type of intellectual potential, but they don't necessarily predict who will become a good teacher, a good manager, a good president, or a good parent.
Some critics say that the only thing IQ tests can really predict is who will do well on IQ tests.
Qualities such as determination and vision can be more important to your ultimate success in life than the IQ number you started out with. Being creative, optimistic, and flexible are important hallmarks of many successful people.
Common sense, the ability to get along with other people, and knowing a good idea when you see one, may be more useful qualities than having a genius IQ.