Is it time to rethink the traditional IQ test?

ABC Radio National

By Fiona Pepper and Bec Zajac for Life Matters

 Posted Tue 5 Feb 2019 at 6:00amTuesday 5 Feb 2019 at 6:00am, updated Wed 6 Feb 2019 at 12:44pmWednesday 6 Feb 2019 at 12:44pm

 5 Feb 2019 at 6:00amTuesday 5 Feb 2019 at 6:00am, updated Wed 6 Feb 2019 at 12:44pmWednesday 6 Feb 2019 at 12:44pm

Aerial view of students completing an exam.
The IQ test is held in high regard — but is it a genuine measure of intelligence?(Getty Images: Chris Ryan)

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For over 100 years, the intelligence quotient (IQ) test has been considered the quintessential marker of who is “smart” and who is not.

But a dip in IQ scores worldwide has researchers questioning if it’s time to broaden how we understand intelligence.

“My particular theory is that scores really haven’t gone backwards, but the IQ test hasn’t kept up with the way we’re using our brains,” says Tony Florio, a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at the University of NSW.

He argues the test measures only a certain kind of intelligence, and is therefore of limited use.

Tony sits on a bench under a tree looking at the sky.
Tony Florio is a clinical psychologist who specialises in IQ, but he believes the test doesn’t measure everything.(ABC RN: Farz Edraki)

Dr Florio suggests that the IQ test might help us see who will be successful in a traditional school system, which was its original purpose, but that it is not the be all and end all about who’s smart and who isn’t.

Dr Florio has studied the test for decades and says a typical IQ test is divided into ten subsets including vocabulary, general knowledge and problem solving.

In Australia, he says, these tests are conducted by psychologists either clinically, in schools or very occassionally for organisational psychology testing — for example when selecting members for executive committees.

An IQ score of a 100 is considered a score of average intelligence, 130 and above is defined as gifted, and a person scoring below 70 is interpreted as having an intellectual disability.

Not the first time the test has been criticised

Dr Florio has several criticisms about the breadth of the IQ test, which, he says, measures linguistic and logical-mathematical abilities and not motivation, personality or creativity.

“It’s gone down a narrow pathway,” he says.

He’s not alone in criticising the test.

He says there has been a perennial debate about whether there is one general intelligence.

Is there more to being smart than IQ?
Is there more to being smart than IQ?

Dr Florio argues that the IQ test doesn’t necessarily accommodate that “individuals are complicated with many aspects to them” — pointing to similar concerns raised by the test’s very founder.

He explains that French psychologist Alfred Binet, who developed the IQ test over 100 years ago, feared the test — initially designed to help measure the ‘mental age’ of a child — could be too limited.

Binet stressed that intelligence was far too broad a concept to quantify with a single number; however, he designed the test as a way to help identify children with learning difficulties.

France was the first country to introduce universal education and needed to work out who would struggle with learning and might need extra help, Dr Florio explains.

He says it’s much easier to compare people as children because there are different educational milestones that they reach at different ages.

If children were reaching them at a younger age they were seen as gifted and if they were reaching them later they were seen as delayed.

In 1916, Dr Florio highlights, an American psychologist adapted the IQ test for use in the US Army and since then the test has been adopted by many institutions other than schools.

The impact of the ‘Google effect’

Since the test first began in 1906 there has been, until recently, a steady increase in IQ score test results worldwide, a trend dubbed ‘the Flynn Effect’.

Dr Florio says factors that led to the Flynn Effect were improved nutrition and maternal health, and increasing access to education.

Even the reduction in the average size of families was a contributing factor, says Dr Florio, as “there’s less children per family so more attention per child”.

Now, however, Dr Florio says research shows a decline in scores occurring specifically throughout Europe where most of the relevant research has been conducted, and this is being branded the ‘reverse Flynn Effect’.

Research seems to suggest that worldwide our IQ scores in developed countries have been dropping over the last decade, Dr Florio says.

Davina Bell standing in hallway.
Davina Bell is a children’s author whose most recent book is called ‘All the Ways to be Smart’.(ABC RN: Fiona Pepper)

“You’d think logically that it should’ve just plateaued but it seems to have in fact gone backwards.”

According to Dr Florio, there are several theories to explain this.

“There’s a theory that’s been dubbed the ‘Google effect’,” he says.

“Because we now outsource a lot of things like our memory and doing cognitive tasks to machines, we don’t develop general knowledge retention which is something that is measured on IQ tests.”

Dr Florio says another explanation could be “that we can’t improve forever”.

But do the decreasing results point to a decreasing intelligence?

Dr Florio isn’t convinced.

He says it may be that it’s not useful to have that kind of general knowledge memory any more, which means that the IQ test as we understand it may need to change.

More than one way to be ‘smart’

Children’s book author Davina Bell, who has researched alternative approaches to intelligence, sits firmly in the camp that argues there is more than one way to be intelligent.

She says she has long felt that creative pursuits were undervalued in traditional intelligence tests, an idea she’s explored in her latest children’s book, All the Ways to be Smart.

An illustration of students sitting in a classroom
Davina aimed to create a children’s book that celebrates all the many ways someone can be ‘smart’.(Supplied: Allison Colpoys)

While researching for this book, Bell discovered the work of Harvard psychologist Howard Gardener and his theory of Multiple Intelligences.

“Gardener said that rather than seeing intelligence as dominated by a single general ability we should see it as a series of modalities or abilities,” Bell says.

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Gardener describes nine categories to measure intelligence, including bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, such as good hand-eye coordination, interpersonal intelligence, such as the ability to effectively communicate, and musical intelligence.

Bell wanted to create a book that honoured all nine ‘ways of being smart’, for example being ‘smart’ at drawing, interacting with others or being physically coordinated.

“The book offers a kind of validation,” Bell says.

“If you weren’t a traditionally smart person or if you had intelligence in other areas that perhaps weren’t recognised, maybe it provides a validation of your identity outside those traditional intelligences,” she says.

Dr Florio supports Gardener’s broader approach to intelligence, but says the academic community’s response to Gardener’s theory is mixed.

Illustration of two children doing craft at a desk.
Bell’s book highlights creativity as one of the nine ways of being smart.(Supplied: Allison Colpoys)

“I think Gardener’s theories are valid, there are lots and lots of other abilities,” Dr Florio says.

Although Dr Florio explains Gardener’s critics say his definition cannot be quantified and in the academic community some say it is not backed up by enough data.

Dr Florio believes there still is a place for the traditional IQ test when it comes to diagnosing conditions like autism, dyslexia and intellectual disabilities.

But, like Bell, he sees approaches like Gardener’s as offering a broader and more modern understanding of intelligence.

“Gardener was pointing out the limitations of the IQ test and the problems of focusing on one aspect. We are complex individuals,” he says.

Posted 5 Feb 20195 Feb 2019, updated 6 Feb 2019

The Funny Man Volodymyr Zelensky

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Ukraine’s Hero President Z.

The funnyman who became a warrior and founded a new Europe

BY

BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY

MARCH 01, 2022

Courtesy the author

Volodymyr Zelensky meets with Bernard-Henri Levy, 2019COURTESY THE AUTHOR

Idon’t know if, by the time this article appears, Volodymyr Zelensky will still be alive.

We do know that he is in Kyiv, surrounded by his generals, in a bunker that the Sukhoi fighter jets seek.

And we have just seen him in a video where he appears helmetless, outside, like a young Churchill walking in the poor neighborhoods of London during the Nazi Blitz of September 1940.

But I also know that he is at the top of the Kremlin’s kill list, according to the English-language press.

His recent farewells come to mind—on Friday, Feb. 25, to his counterparts over Zoom during a special meeting of the European Union: “This is maybe the last time that you will see me alive.”

What is greatness?

True greatness, as taught by European chivalry?

Perhaps it is that.

That heroism, calm and proud.

A touch of Allende the night before the assault of the Moneda by Pinochet’s death squads.

The way he told President Biden, who offered up an exfiltration—“I need weapons, not a taxi”—and Putin, today’s Pinochet: “You can try to kill me, I am ready for it, since I know that the idea lives in me and will survive me.”

The first time I met him was on March 30, 2019, the night before the first round of his stunning election, in a seafood restaurant near the Maidan.

I had just performed, at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Looking for Europe, the theatrical monologue that I was bringing then to the European capitals. My friend Vladislav Davidzon, one of the last American journalists still in Ukraine—reporting for Tablet—had arranged the meeting.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

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Ukraine’s New President Is a Jewish ComedianTablet’s Vladislav Davidzon gained special access to Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s enigmatic new leader who once played the president on TV. Here, Davidzon shares his impressions of Zelensky and his predictions for Ukraine’s political future.

BYVLADISLAV DAVIDZON

Volodymyr Zelensky was, at the time, a very young man. Looking like a paper boy in jeans, old sneakers, and a black T-shirt with a worn neckline, he had spent the night celebrating the final performance, in an old Kyiv skating rink turned café-theater, of “Servant of the People,” the one-man show that had made him famous.

We talked about Beppe Grillo, that other cabaret actor, and founder of the Five Star movement in Italy, whom Zelensky hated being compared to.

About French Coluche, whose story he didn’t know well and whose final pirouette, a decision to retire from the presidential election, he did not quite understand: “Maybe because there was now a great man in France, François Mitterrand, so his service was no longer needed?”

About Ronald Reagan, by contrast, he knew everything; hadn’t he just done—for the Ukrainian TV channel 1+1, which belongs to the Israeli-Ukrainian Igor Kolomoyskyi, Zelensky’s sponsor—the voice-over for a docudrama on the destiny of this actor in bad Westerns who became a great president?

We also spoke about Putin, the other Vladimir, about whom he had no doubt: If he would come face to face, he would make Putin laugh, just as he had made all Russians laugh. “I act in the Russian language, you know; the kids love me, in Moscow; they double over with laughter at my sketches; the only thing is …”

He hesitated …

Then, over the table, in a low voice: “There is one thing … this man does not see; he has eyes, but does not see; or, if he does look, it’s with an icy stare, devoid of all expression.”

The other subject of our conversation was his Judaism.

How could a young Jew, born into a family decimated by the Shoah, in the oblast of Dnipropetrovsk, become president of the country of Babi Yar?

It’s simple, he answered, with a hoarse laugh: “There is less antisemitism in Ukraine than in France; and, above all, less than in Russia where, hunting for the Nazi mote in thy brother’s eye, they end up missing the beam in thine own eye; wasn’t it Ukrainian units of the Red Army that liberated Auschwitz, after all?”

Our second meeting took place at the annual Yalta European Strategy conference, the Ukrainian mini-Davos created by the philanthropist Victor Pinchuk.

Like every year, there were distinguished geopoliticians, American officials, NATO representatives, acting or former European heads of state, and intellectuals.

Zelensky, now president, gave a strong speech in which he laid out his plan for combatting corruption, the scourge of his country’s economy.

The time came for the traditional closing dinner, where the host would, over pears and cheese, offer a “surprise” to anchor the event: one year, Donald Trump, candidate … another, Elton John or Stephen Hawking …

This time the surprise, arriving on the stage, in front of the tables, is the troupe of actors who had performed with the new head of state, up to his election.

One does an impersonation of Angela Merkel.

Another plays a supposed WhatsApp exchange, hilarious and salacious, between Trump and Hillary Clinton.

And here was a third, made up like Zelensky, playing a rustic Ukrainian who speaks poor English searching for someone to interpret for him and pointing, as if by chance, at the real Zelensky, who without being asked twice, bounds out of his chair to join his comrades on stage.

That was the situation.

A fake Zelensky, playing the real one.

The real Zelensky, playing the interpreter of the fake.

The fake, translated by the real, offers up howlers that the other is forced to translate, which make fun of him.

In short, an incredible show.

The room, faced with this quid pro quo, this joyful blurring of original and copy, faced with the self-effacement of a president swallowed by his avatar, hesitates among laughter, uneasiness, and amazement.

That night, Zelensky was Woody Allen inviting us, like in The Purple Rose of Cairo, into his film, or, better, into his TV series.

When the show was over, I went to ask him what Putin, in Moscow, might think of this enemy disappearing behind his mask and allowing himself to be silent within his simulacrum. He told me this: “It’s true! The attitude is surely unheard of in the main repertoire of the FSB! But laughter is a weapon that is fatal to men of marble! You shall see.”

We met again, once more, last year.

I was coming back from reporting in the Donbas, where I had run the front lines from Mariupol to Luhansk, with elite troops of the new Ukrainian army. And while my photographers, Marc Roussel and Gilles Hertzog, had laid out some of their best shots on the coffee table in the room where we were being received, a whole other Zelensky revealed himself.

In one of the photos, taken at Novotroitske, Zelensky recognized Major General Viktor Ganushchak, the leader of the 10th Battalion of the Alpine Chasers brigade, mildly paunchy in a chicane jacket straight out of frozen Verdun.

About another photo, taken in the Myroliubovka zone, near Donetsk, he commented to Andriy Yermak, his close adviser, to his right, on the vulnerability of three 155 mm cannons, positioned like prehistoric iron monsters in the middle of a field.

About a third, taken near Donetsk, on a gutted road in the ghost town Pisky, he knew the exact number of brave souls who, dug into the mud and snow, held the line.

And then, in Zolote, not far from Luhansk, in a maze of trenches made from an assembly of planks planted in the black earth, he knew by name, having just inspected them, most of the overequipped Rambos, their faces muddy or hooded, who stood guard every 30 feet and seemed hypnotized by the no man’s land before them.

Did Volodymyr Zelensky already know, on that day, that Putin had decided he’d had enough of the Ukrainian democratic exception, and of his clowning?

Did he understand that he would never, after all, laugh with the cold-eyed man with an assassin’s soul?

At that moment, things became clear.

I understood that this former artist of the LOL and the stand-up, whose true nature I thought I had found at the gala dinner in Kyiv, had transformed himself into a warrior.

I saw him join the exemplary company of the men and women that I’d revered my whole life—from republican Spain to Sarajevo and Kurdistan—who are not made for the part that befalls them, but who take it up with panache and learn to make war without loving it.

And in his silhouette grown heavier, on his features once young like French republican drummer boy Francois Joseph Bara, now resembling the French revolutionary Georges Danton, I saw the resistance fighter whose courage amazes the world today.

This man prefers to die fighting than to suffer the dishonor of forced surrender.

Marie Curie Quotes

https://weddedwonderland.com/the-best-quotes-from-the-worlds-most-influential-women/

Marie Curie

Marie Curie founded the concept of radiology, creating the most sophisticated cancer-treatment protocols in the world. She went on to be the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and succumbed to leukaemia after decades of daily radiation exposure.

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.

ABC Roundtable Debates Melania Trump’s “I DON’T CARE, DO U?” Jacket: What Did She Mean?

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/06/24/abc_roundtable_debates_melania_trumps_i_dont_care_do_u_jacket.html

Ihis is what the president writes  in Twitter:

“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!

I say good on her if she truly no longer cares what the Fake News Media writes. The question should be whether she cares about the children!

I think about this all the time. Do we for instance truly care about the children on Manus Island and Nauru? If we all wore jackets with some writing on the back: “We really care about the children on Manus Island and Nauru” – That would be utterly false, wouldn’t it? So what should we write on our jackets? Just ” WE REALLY DONT CARE” or what?

Melania Trump, CNN and other members of the media were at a facility with children aged 12-17.

Link to my post from 7th of December 2017

Here is the link and what I wrote yesterday after reflecting on a quote by  Noam Chomsky.

https://auntyuta.com/2017/12/07/december-diary-2017/

. . . .  the expression “diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable” demands my attention. As a pensioner in Australia without major assets (except for owning own house), I would have to count myself to the bottom half in the population. And yet I must say I lead a comfortable life with most medical expenses covered by Medicare. Is it because the general population in Australia is “diverted to consumerism”? Or is it “hatred of the vulnerable” especially hatred of so called illegal migrants that makes us prosper in Australia? Well, this is something to contemplate. If we stop being “apathetic and passive” does our good life end then? How important is it to have a “good ” life at the expense of the vulnerable? Would the vulnerable have a better life if we stopped consuming so much?

So, the powerful think they can do as they please. They may think they can do it, but surely eventually this must lead to some kind of disaster. I mean some major disasters like wars are affecting the vulnerable already, but maybe it is only a matter of time when major disasters hit everyone on this planet. So should there be any survivors, they are going to have a lot to contemplate . . . .

Today, Friday, I want to reflect a bit more on Chomsky’s quote. He speaks about the powerful and that they “can do as they please”.  I ask myself why do they seem to think that they “can do as they please”? Does anyone know the answer to that?

Here is Chomsky’s quote again:

DSCN3541

 

Conflict Resolution – The Psychology of Conflict

In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Peter Hartcher

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-one-bright-spot-amid-the-worlds-problems-20171023-gz67gh.html

I found the following about Sharia law:

” . . . an international group of psychologists interviewed some 80 men who had fought with or lived under Daesh and published their conclusions last month in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.Daesh, they said, “has imbued a generation of young Sunni Arabs with a strict belief in Sharia law as the only way to govern society; and this is a value they are willing to fight and die for. They described strict Sharia as the only way to eliminate oppression and corruption, and many believe that ISIS’s foreign fighters truly fought for this.” Unless governments can show their people a better way to wipe out oppression and corruption, the appeal of Islamist extremism will live on.”

To my mind the key words were “oppression  and corruption”.  I googled these two words and ended up reading this article:

http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/oppression-power

“Overcoming Oppression with Power” was the heading. It was interesting what was said about Nelson Mandela’s  strategies. Some very interesting, mind boggling details were mentioned. The article was written by Morton Deutsch.  Here is what it says about Morton Deutsch’s work in the field of conflict resolution.

http://www.beyondintractability.org/contributors/morton-deutsch

“Morton Deutsch is one of the founding fathers of the field of conflict resolution, specializing in the psychology of conflict. Currently Professor Deutsch is the E.L. Thorndike Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He founded and is still active in Columbia’s International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution. He is the author of countless articles and books, including the 1973 Resolution of Conflict, which is still in use today.”

All this shows me that in academia people know so much about such subjects like “oppression and corruption” as well as conflict resolutions.

Why is it that most people are not much aware of that knowledge? Should not at least the people in power be made aware of all that knowledge?

What leads to Writing about my Experiences?

Doing a ‘Proust.’ published by Oosterman Treats Blog

https://oosterman.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/doing-a-proust/

The above was published on the 2nd of October 2017. It fascinated me to find out about the importance of Marcel Proust. I researched on the internet a bit about Marcel Proust and published here the things I found of special interest:

https://auntyuta.com/2017/10/04/source-marcel-proust-biography/

The following write-up I found very interesting:

“French novelist Marcel Proust was one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. His books abandoned plot and dramatic action in favor of the narrator‘s descriptions of his experiences in the world.”

Well, it says that Proust’s books “abandoned plot and dramatic action  in favour of the   narrator’s description of his  experiences in the world.”

I reckon this is  exactly how I would like to be  able to write. I very much long to write about my experiences in this world. And I always only wanted to write for the followers of my blogs but also for my family and future descendants. I like the idea that family members, that come after me, can perhaps make themselves a picture of me as a person and the experiences in my life. I am 83 already. I published in my blogs whatever I have written so far. I hope my desire to write a bit more is strong enough to discipline me to actually do some  more writing during the time that is still left to me.

http://www.notablebiographies.com/knowledge/Marcel_Proust.html