New study finds: ‘IQ a myth’

The multidimensional nature of human intelligence is fascinating. We humans can be so smart and yet so dumb all at the same time. I have always felt that “EQ” or emotional quotient has greater impact on one’s life success than book-smarts or “IQ” numbers. Now a new Canadian study out of the University of Western Ontario finds that the idea that intelligence can be measured by a single number — your IQ — is simply wrong.

The study, published in the journal Neuron on Wednesday, involved 100,000 participants around the world taking 12 cognitive tests, with a smaller sample of the group undergoing simultaneous brain-scan testing.

“When we looked at the data, the bottom line is the whole concept of IQ — or of you having a higher IQ than me — is a myth,” said Dr. Adrian Owen, the study’s senior investigator and the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at the university’s Brain and Mind Institute. “There is no such thing as a single measure of IQ or a measure of general intelligence.”

Rather, the study determined three factors — reasoning, short-term memory and verbal ability — that combined to create human intelligence or “cognitive profile…

The researchers advertised their tests through New Scientist magazine and on Word quickly spread around the world, far surpassing the expectations of researchers, who expected only a few thousand participants. It became the largest online study on intelligence, allowing them to gather data across demographic, age and gender lines.”

Researchers have posted their tests on line here at and are hoping to collect data from more than 1 million subjects worldwide. Login and be part of the study.

One of the study findings apparently, “people who play video games performed “significantly better” in terms of both reasoning and short-term memory.” Oops this will not help my cause in my on-going argument with my son to “get off screens!”

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3 Responses to New study finds: ‘IQ a myth’

  1. rolling stall says:

    Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. Empathy trumps the intellectual every time.

    By the way, it looks like the cliff is going to take us over it, so I hope you have your cash levels at wisely prudent levels. Wait until the last body gets pulled from the rubble at the bottom before you commit a dime. You want to make sure there are no survivors. One thing is for sure though. The sun will shine on January 1 somewhere and life will go on for most of us. God bless America (Canada too!)

  2. Paul Murphy says:

    Let’s not lose our perspective here. IQ always was just a number that gave you a clue in the range of determining “hasn’t got a clue”, “average” and “has something on the ball”. These new yokels have just new, different tests. Hey, they’re on the web and guess what, “They find that people who can use the net do best on them.” Well what do you know! If I’m not on the net, I just suddenly got stunned. And they are advertising these tests so……, I guess they may someday be merchandising them to people who want to know who’s got a clue or not, eh? Want the cheap answer? Talk to people for awhile. It’s a great testing format. Unfortunately it doesn’t give you an ego-trip number, but it works.

  3. dave says:

    Bill Bonner writes about an even bigger cliff

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