the-ugly

anonymous asked:

What is your opinion on IQ tests? Do you think scientists should use IQ tests as a valid method of quantifying human intelligence in studies assessing cognitive deficits and exposure to neurotoxins, for example? Do you think the use of IQ tests in research hinders, helps or has no effect on the progression of science and understanding the world?

I hate IQ tests and frankly the entire concept of IQ. 

The whole notion of measuring human intelligence (or at least the single metric of analytical intelligence that is measured by an IQ test) dates back to the eugenics movement around the turn of the twentieth century, which you will recognize as a horrible racist and anti-semitic ideology that hid behind the notion of “objective science.” And IQ as a concept reflects that.

IQ is based on the idea that human intelligence is completely (or nearly completely) innate and that people can’t be taught how to think more analytically, and historically it has been used to justify excluding groups like people of color and women from higher education. There’s a vicious cycle where oppressed minority groups lack access to education, and thus test lower on IQ tests and similar assessments, which are them used to argue that they aren’t as intelligent as, say, white men, and thus should continue to be excluded from access to education. It’s a fun game.

IQ also completely erases the fact that the types of analytical skills used to calculate IQ are not the only type of intelligence and aren’t the only type of cognitive skill. Pretty much the only way to be quantified as a genius is through your IQ score, but don’t we all also recognize musical geniuses? or creative geniuses? or people who innately understand human emotion on a very deep level? or just people who are exception at any given skill?

And even aside from these very big issues (honestly I think the eugenicist origins of IQ should be enough to disqualify it as a useful concept and yet) IQ just sets up a bad paradigm where we rank people and place value on people’s humanity based on one very limited parameter. Which, especially in the way that it is employed, has very ableist implications (and has been and is used in a very ableist manner).

So yeah, I really dislike pretty much everything about IQ and IQ testing, and think that it’s probably not particularly useful for things like cognitive assessment anyways. I’m not an expert on any of this, but more knowledgeable people than me have talked about this issue extensively. 

tldr; IQ is not only racist and ableist but also pretty much useless as an actual metric and maybe we shouldn’t be trying to quantitate human intelligence because any time we apply a quantitative measure to something we implicitly assign value to that thing, which is maybe not something we should be doing wrt our own humanity