High Range IQ Tests : Science or hoax? Some thoughts.
September 30th, 2018
High range IQ tests, almost as in their current form, exist since late 70s (April 1979, Langdon Adult Intelligence Test). Most of them, however, started being published throughout the 90s.
There has long been a controversy whether high range tests can be evaluated as “sober” intelligence tests or as just some kind of mental exercises. The truth is that, despite keeping more or less the same form, high range tests evolved a lot since their birth.
To begin with, one may find a lot of interesting ideas in high range tests. A lot of different noetic patterns – verbal, numerical, spatial or of abstract nature, within a wide range of complexity and difficulty and requiring a great variety of mental procedures. That’s the good part, that’s what makes them unique and attractive. On the other hand, several issues have been proposed now and then, that provide a big “Yes, but”.
1.Diversity of scores among different tests on the same individual: Well, even if high range tests were the most appropriate tool for measuring one’s IQ without any doubt, here’s a totally natural phenomenon that, due to many tests’ incomplete statistics or rough norming, surfaces as a drawback. What’s natural is that performance and potential do not necessarily go together, as in various aspects of our everyday life. The fact that someone can complete some task (potential), doesn’t mean that someone will be able to perform equally each time one repeats this task. In case of high range tests, besides one’s potential, other virtues are needed, too (usually some spare time, patience and motive). Other distracting factors do get through, such as mental, social or other type of issues one may face at the time (in general) of test taking.
On the other hand, the fact that some mental puzzle is named high range IQ test, doesn’t necessarily make it one. Norms out of nowhere, no correlations with classic IQ tests are a common phenomenon, unfortunately. So, some scores may be significantly different due to the fact that some tests may not assess the same ability with the same “intensity” or may not assess the same ability at all.
So, if not taken as a free time activity, a possible solution for someone pursuing psychometric assessment, would be the following : Trying tests that show high correlation with classic IQ tests, using a respectable sample at its amount (such as WAIS) and trying each of them under same conditions, regarding : effort, motivation, at a state of emotional – and mental in general – well being. Anything other than that would, by definition, be experimental and unpredictable at its results.
2.Correlation with everyday life’s achievements: Here comes the fun part. “He or she scored an incredible X or Y but, look, they are not even school graduates”. Well, does having a height of 215cm guarantee by itself and only that one will be world-class basketball player? Of course not. And anyone will come up with dozens of dozens of reasons why not. It surely raises one’s chances, but far away from guaranteeing anything. No human trait by itself alone, hereditary or acquired, can guarantee anything. Even classic IQ tests don’t – they just show some positive correlation, why should high range ones? Reasons? Personal, social, economical, cultural or according to several circumstances.
Despite its theoretical relevance as a question, this issue is totally out of topic. Of course, leading a life exactly as one wants to, is much more important than any score or any test.
3.Knowledge – dependence of tests’ items: That used to be a problem mostly back when access to information was not that easy. Anyway, relying a lot on information acquiring decreases a test’s difficulty and reduces the range of noetic procedures examined.
4.Adequacy or inadequacy of tests’ authors: Results are sometimes questioned, according to author’s professional ability to create and grade such a test – or not. At this point, it has to be mentioned that the ones acquainted by profession with psychometrics are psychologists, medical doctors and in some cases people involved in educational or social sciences, with some extra relevant studies. However, a lot of beautiful tests come from authors that have nothing to do with psychometrics by profession. After all, throughout human history, there are a lot of cases of “amateurs” that offered a lot to science and humanity, much more than many professionals. This, in its whole, is an issue that has to be evaluated according to one’s views and on a case-by-case basis.
To sum up, high range tests has been a pleasant free time activity for me. Thinking, trying, solving; the whole procedure. And that’s how I would suggest anyone to face them; to keep the fun and excitement above all. At the end of the day, If I was asked whether I prefer a fully recognized and respected IQ of 250 or a glass of wine with my girlfriend, I would offer any IQ points I possess (until it reaches the necessary 100, of course!) and share as many moments as I can with my girl.
I wouldn’t regard them as a hoax, never. They are true pieces of logical art, after all. They could become science; this needs a lot of data, observation, revision and effort. Possible, but difficult. Currently I think that the best among them (by statistics, not necessarily the most creative, attractive or innovative) are able to decently approximate one’s real potential.