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Stupid People, High IQs

 by Bennett Gordon

Tags: Science and Technology, Politics, education, intelligence, IQ, rational thought, New Scientist, American RadioWorks,

Intelligent PeopleJust because people are intelligent doesn’t mean they’re smart. Though IQ tests do pretty well measuring intelligence, they don’t test for rational thought, according to the New Scientist. The magazine quotes cognitive psychologist Jonathan Evans saying, “IQ is only part of what it means to be smart.” 

Relying on IQ tests can be especially problematic in education. A new documentary from American RadioWorks details the way that the use of IQ tests reinforced racial inequalities in the United States during the 1950s. According to the show, preschools were developed to close that gap and raise IQ scores for young African Americans. People used the tests again to discredit preschools, after it was shown that the schools didn’t really help people’s IQs  in the long-term. Recent studies, however, have found that preschool has a long-term beneficial effect on people’s lives, even if it doesn’t raise their test scores.

For now, there’s no standard test for measuring people’s capacity for rational thought. The New Scientist highlights the work Keith Stanovich, author of the book What Intelligence Tests Miss, who believes that a test measuring “rationality-quotient (RQ)” could be helpful in measuring how smart people are. The magazine includes a few counter-intuitive questions that measure how smart you are, beyond your intelligence. Here’s an example:

If it takes five machines 5 minutes to make five widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?

Think about it… the answer might not be obvious.

Sources: New Scientist, American RadioWorks 

Image by GIHE, licensed under Creative Commons.