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Intelligence Quotient Information & Average IQ Levels

  • Synopsis: Published: 2014-08-06 (Rev. 2016-11-12) - Information on intelligence quotient tests including the average IQ level, and a chart explaining the various levels of IQ classifications. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Ian Langtree at Disabled World.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

A number representing a person's reasoning ability (measured using problem-solving tests) as compared to the statistical norm or average for their age, taken as 100.

Mensa - An international fellowship organization for people with IQ's in the top 2% of the general population, is the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world with national groups in fifty countries.

EQ - A measure of a person's level of emotional intelligence. Some psychologists believe that standard measures of intelligence (IQ scores) are too narrow and do not encompass the full range of human intelligence. Instead, they suggest, the ability to understand and express emotions can play an equal if not even more important role in how people fare in life.

Flynn Effect - The fact that each generation scores higher on an IQ test than the generation before it. Are we actually getting smarter, or just thinking differently

Genius IQ - Generally, any score over 140 is counted as a high IQ. A score over 160 is considered by many to be a genius IQ score.

Main Document

"Critics point out that IQ tests don't measure creativity, social skills, wisdom, acquired abilities or a host of other things we consider to be aspects of intelligence."

An intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence. The abbreviation "IQ" was coined by the psychologist William Stern for the German term Intelligenz-quotient, his term for a scoring method for intelligence tests he advocated in a 1912 book.

IQ classification is the practice by IQ test publishers of labeling IQ score ranges with category names such as "superior" or "average". There are several publishers of IQ tests. No two publishers use exactly the same classification labels. IQ classification labels have changed from time to time since the beginning of IQ testing in the early twentieth century.

Critics point out that IQ tests don't measure creativity, social skills, wisdom, acquired abilities or a host of other things we consider to be aspects of intelligence. Although IQ attempts to measure some notion of intelligence, it may fail to act as an accurate measure of "intelligence" in its broadest sense. IQ tests only examine particular areas embodied by the broadest notion of "intelligence", failing to account for certain areas which are also associated with "intelligence" such as creativity or emotional intelligence.

IQ tests generally are reliable enough that most people ages ten and older have similar IQ scores throughout life. Still, some individuals score very differently when taking the same test at different times or when taking more than one kind of IQ test at the same age. Intelligence test scores typically follow what is known as a normal distribution, a bell-shaped curve in which the majority of scores lie near or around the average score.

Head silhouette clipart with idea in brain
Head silhouette clipart with idea in brain
The current scoring method for all IQ tests is the "deviation IQ". In this method, an IQ score of 100 means that the test-taker's performance on the test is at the median level of performance in the sample of test-takers of about the same age used to norm the test. An IQ score of 115 means performance one standard deviation above the median, a score of 85 performance one standard deviation below the median, and so on. The average IQ is 100. Most IQ tests are constructed so that there are no overall score differences between females and males.

All IQ tests show variation in scores even when the same person takes the same test over and over again. IQ scores also differ for a test-taker taking tests from more than one publisher at the same age.

Health is important in understanding differences in IQ test scores and other measures of cognitive ability. Several factors can lead to significant cognitive impairment, particularly if they occur during pregnancy and childhood when the brain is growing and the blood-brain barrier is less effective. Such impairment may sometimes be permanent, sometimes be partially or wholly compensated for by later growth.

Cognitive epidemiology is a field of research that examines the associations between intelligence test scores and health. Researchers in the field argue that intelligence measured at an early age is an important predictor of later health and mortality differences.

IQ classification is the practice by IQ test publishers of designating IQ score ranges as various categories with labels such as "superior" or "average." IQ classification was preceded historically by attempts to classify human beings by general ability based on other forms of behavioral observation. Those other forms of behavioral observation are still important for validating classifications based on IQ tests.

Simply put, IQ tests are designed to measure your general ability to solve problems and understand concepts. This includes reasoning ability, problem-solving ability, ability to perceive relationships between things and ability to store and retrieve information. IQ tests measure this general intellectual ability in a number of different ways. They may test:

  • Spatial ability: the ability to visualize manipulation of shapes.
  • Mathematical ability: the ability to solve problems and use logic.
  • Memory ability: the ability to recall things presented either visually or aurally.
  • Language ability: Includes the ability to complete sentences or recognize words when letters have been rearranged or removed.
General IQ Level Classifications
IQ GradeIQ RangePercent of Population
Above average115-12913.59%
Higher average100-11434.13%
Lower average85-9934.13%
Below average70-8413.59%
Borderline low55-692.14%

Interested in finding out your own IQ level?

There are a number of websites online that provide free IQ tests, a simple search for a term such as "Online Free IQ Test" should provide you with a number of options to choose from. Please bear in mind though that not all online IQ tests are accurate or reliable.

Related Information:

  1. IQ Tests Special Education Verbal or Non-Verbal - JoAnn Collins - (2009-03-01)
  2. Low IQ Students Learn to Read After Persistent Intensive Instruction - Southern Methodist University in Dallas - (2014-05-29)
  3. Dyslexia Study Uncouples Reading and IQ - Yale University - (2009-12-17)

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