The task of trying to quantify a personís intelligence has been a goal of psychologists since before the beginning of this century. The Binet-Simon scales were first proposed in 1905 in Paris, France and various sorts of tests have been evolving ever since. One of the important questions that always comes up regarding these tools is what are the tests really measuring?
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Are they measuring a personís intelligence? Their ability to perform well on standardized tests? Or just some arbitrary quantity of the personís IQ? When examining the situations around which these tests are given and the content of the tests themselves, it becomes apparent that however useful the tests may be for standardizing a groupís intellectual ability, they are not a good indicator of intelligence.
To issue a truly standardized test, the testing environment should be the same for everyone involved. If anything has been learned from the psychology of perception, it is clear that a personís environment has a great deal to do with their cognitive abilities. Is the light flickering? Is the paint on the walls an unsettling shade? Is the temperature too hot or too cold? Is the chair uncomfortable? Or in the worst case, do they have an illness that day?
To test a personís mind, it is necessary to utilize their body in the process. If everyoneís body is placed in different conditions during the testing, how is it expected to get standardized results across all the subjects? Because of this assumption that everyone will perform equally independent of their environment, intelligence test scores are skewed and cannot be viewed as standardized, and definitely not as an example of a personís intelligence.
It is obvious that a personís intelligence stems from a variety of traits. A few of these that are often tested are reading comprehension, vocabulary, and spatial relations. But this is not all that goes into it. What about physical intelligence, conversational intelligence, social intelligence, survival intelligence, and the slew of others that go into everyday life?
Why are these important traits not figured into intelligence tests? Granted, normal standardized tests certainly get predictable results where academics are concerned, but they should not be considered good indicators of general intelligence because of the glaring omissions they make in the testing process. To really gauge a personís intelligence, it would be necessary to put them through a rigorous set of real-life trials and document their performance. Otherwise the standardized IQ tests of today are testing an extremely limited quality of a personís character that can hardly be referred to as intelligence.