Psychologist Jordan Peterson has studied the subject for many years and has had much to say about it in his public lectures.
There are three points which he has made repeatedly that I’m inclined to believe he is right about:[paraphrasing] 1) The ability to measure general intelligence accurately is superior to the ability to measure any other aspect of an individual’s mental makeup, i.e. personality traits;
2) A person’s intelligence, though imperfect, is the best predictor of lifetime success (second-best is a person’s conscientiousness, but it is harder to measure accurately and is not as reliably predictable);
3) If 20 people were each to be given 20 different tests on any sets of questions that require thinking to answer well, the people who do well on one will be the same people who do well on the others, and the people who do poorly one one will do poorly on the others. The stratification of scores is highly reliable. IOW, the people in the top, middle or bottom of scoring on each test will be nearly the same. If we were to expand the exercise to 100 tests and 100 people, the correlations will be even stronger.
It seems to me that the ability to correctly answer questions on a wide range of subjects is one very good way to define what we mean by the term, “intelligence.” It doesn’t matter much what kind of mathematical system we use to describe a person’s relative ability, but the method about which people are most familiar holds that a score of 100 is the average, and that scores above 130 or below 70 (two standard deviations) are extraordinary.
I think (just an opinion) that there is an imbalance; IOW, no true bell curve. I think there are many more people with IQ over 130 than there are who score below 70.
The US military gives a battery of tests to prospective recruits, and has been doing so for at least 75 years. They have determined that a person who scores below a certain level cannot be trained to do anything that will produce more value to the mission than the various costs of enlisting and training them. Jordan Peterson laments that almost 10% of people score below the military criterion, and he asks what we should do to assist them in their paths through life.
One thing is clear: If such people do exist, and need our help, there needs to be a reliable method of recognizing that they are truly disadvantaged, and not merely lazy. I don’t know what people would suggest who don’t believe IQ testing is of enough value to be used.
If there are people whose difficulties are truly the result of inherent disability, rather than simple laziness, we need a reliable method to identify them. IQ testing comes closer to filling that role well than any other method yet found.
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