Strengths and Weaknesses of IQ Tests Essay

Pages: 2 (690 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Psychology

IQ tests are in common usage in the United States, in the education system. There have been many criticisms of the reliance on IQ tests as a measure of intelligence, in part deriving from the overreliance and misuse of such measures. IQ tests typically include knowledge, problem solving and adaptive skills. Their strength as a measure of intelligence is that the skills an IQ test does measure, it measures well. The tests typically focus on cognition -- skills such as recognition, categorization, thinking and memory. Students who perform well on IQ tests tend to have a high level of general knowledge, arithmetic ability and vocabulary (Shiraev & Levy, n.d.).

IQ tests also reflect only a segment of intelligence - the cognitive. They do not measure areas of intelligence such as creativity or wisdom. Even within the cognitive, there are a number of weaknesses in IQ tests. The first is that they are often viewed as having a cultural bias. IQ tests, for example, do not reflect between cognitive ability and cognitive potential. Potential is inherent in a person, but ability derives from a combination of potential and interaction with a cultural environment. As a result, IQ tests are said to reflect the cultural language, content and motivations of the group that wrote the test (Shiraev & Levy, n.d.).

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It is, therefore, from the interaction of cognitive potential and experiential operationalization of that potential that one's IQ test is likely to derive. Malda, van de Vijnver and Temane (2010) illustrate this point with a study of South Africans. In their study, they used two different studies, one designed for Afrikaners (with sports questions based on rugby) and one for Tswana (with sports questions based on soccer). They found that the groups scored better on the tests that-based reflected their own culture. The superior performance was noted on the culturally complex working memory and the figural fluid reasoning tests.

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The authors note that Spearman's hypothesis holds that "cross-cultural differences relate to the cognitive complexity of tests." Therefore, tests with a higher cognitive complexity have higher difference in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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