When researching the information about IQ scores of famous persons, several ambiguous and confusing statements come into light. There are a mass of discussions of Shakira’s IQ that is claimed to be substantially higher than IQs of George Bush and Ronald Reagan. IQ score of Michelangelo is said to be 180, however, he died in the 16th century, while IQ score was invented only in the 20th.
I tried to find an answer to the questions – what actually IQ score is, whether it is an objective measure of intelligence, and can different IQs be compared?
The essence of IQ
The first thing to understand – intelligence quotient or IQ instead of being a special type of test, is a method to score various standardized tests. The tests attempt to measure intelligence, which can be defined as a capability to reason, think abstractly, learn and solve problems.
The concept of IQ is graphically reflected in the most known formula of the term:
IQ=Mental age/Chronological age*100
IQ tests are designed to measure above mentioned mental age or intelligence, which is then divided by the chronological age or real age of a person, and expressed in percentage terms. For example, if a 20 years old person scores 20 in a test that measures mental age, he has IQ score of 100, which is the population average.
Why different IQ scores may not be comparable?
1) Even though the standardized IQ tests attempt to include diverse fields to measure one’s intelligence, they are becoming more and more focused. If a person scores high in IQ tests that is more focused on verbal capabilities, it doesn’t mean that he will also score high in a test that measures mathematical abilities.
2) Modern IQ scores are calculated according to a different scale than the ones from the middle of 20th century. Even though both methods yield similar results for medium IQ scores, for high IQs the old method gives substantially higher results.
3) For different IQ tests standard deviations may also differ – this in turn makes scores of those tests incomparable on the same level.
4) For a part of population there exist an interesting tendency – younger people tend to score higher in IQ tests – thus, intelligence “decrease” with the lapse of time. This trend, however, may not reflect the real possessed intelligence of people.
5) It is widely perceived that IQ tests measure real intelligence, and the score can’t be boosted by trainings. However, there also exists evidence that by purposeful preparation to the test, the score can actually be increased.
Is Shakira more intelligent than George Bush?
In order to prove that Shakira is more intelligent than George Bush or Ronald Reagan one should have some evidence. Shakira should have been taken the same IQ tests that the presidents took. Their scores should be calculated using the same scales and standard deviations. All of them should be at similar age at the time when taking the test.
Moreover, if Shakira was prepared for the IQ test through purposeful trainings – it could partly explain the fact of higher IQ score.
As there is actually no information about criteria of measuring IQs for different famous people – comparisons of IQs are not objective and may give false perceptions.
One question still remains unanswered – how was the IQ of Michelangelo measured!?!