ARTICLES BY WACEK KIJEWSKI

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# 3  Is IQ the Metric Unit of Intelligence and - Stupidity?

Date: 19/10/2006

“Can human intelligence be measured?”

“Yes, I think so… Different tests could be used to investigate several kinds of abilities (excluding skills) and the subject’s overall ability, call it intelligence, could be determined”.

“If I want to express it in the SI unit, which metric unit could be used to measure these abilities?”

“Actually, you may call intelligence a unitless and autonomous quantity which is not part of any measuring system as it is expressed by Intelligence Quotient or IQ. A test, consisting of a series of questions, is administered to large samples of different age groups (usually teenagers). Then, the average score at each level is determined, the result being the so-called Binet (a French psychologist) scale. The score of an individual is compared with the group average score giving a quotient called IQ.”

“Aha, I think… I think…I understand. Please, can you explain then, what is the meaning of IQ=200 or IQ=10?”

“ Hmm…hmm… let me think how to answer best…”

“Now, I have an idea for a unit of intelligence!”

Oh, really?”

“An experiment was conducted with a predatory fish, a pike, in a pond. The pond was divided into two parts with a glass barrier between them. On one side of the barrier there was the pike and on the other, a group of fish, roach. The pike tried to attack the roach, hitting the glass each time. It gave up after, on average, twenty attempts. What about introducing the SI unit “the pike” which will represent twenty tries? If somebody learns in a lower number of repetitions, he/she should be regarded as more intelligent”

“Well, well, that’s interesting idea! However, wouldn’t “the pike” be better utilised as a unit of stupidity? In order to understand something, an individual requires a certain number of repetitions of an activity and, consequently, an individual requiring a higher number of repetitions is less intelligent than one requiring a lower number of repetitions. The problem is to allocate a certain percentage which will indicate lower intelligence associated with each repetition.”

“Perhaps we should leave this problem to the intelligent members of MENSA!”

 
 

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