IQ Tests, Trump, and You (Manthropology #8)

In honor of the recent kerfuffle involving Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson, and IQ tests, I did my newest Manthropology video on the subject of IQ tests: their history, their application, and whether or not they are a legitimate metric.

So a few days ago, the president got into a bit of a spat with Rex Tillerson over his perceived stupidity, challenging him to take an IQ test simultaneously with him. This led to several articles claiming that this very challenge just makes Trump seem even stupider, because “everyone knows” that IQ tests don’t test anything other than your ability to take IQ tests, and besides they were all designed to “prove” white supremacy anyway.

So seeing as studies of human intelligence are still part of anthropology…much in the same way that the Swiss Guards represent the Vatican’s ability to project military power, let’s see if we can’t prove or disprove the thesis those who are, for lack of a better term, anti-IQ, and along the way learn about the history and application of this metric.

Intelligence Quotient tests are defined as a score of total intelligence based upon the performance of one of several types of standardized tests. The first IQ tests as we know them were invented in the early 1900s by French psychologist Alfred Binet, and focused on verbal abilities, which he felt was a problem as it only focused on one sort of intelligence.

To combat this, a British psychologist, Charles Spearman, came up with general factor G, attempting to correlate all forms of intelligence into one factor of total intelligence, noticing that kids who did good in one subject in school tended to be good at most subjects. To put it very simply, Spearman and others since then have defined G as the ability to do abstract reasoning, and this is the closest way you can measure overall human intelligence. And inevitably, some find this controversial…

And that’s just scratching the surface!

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