IQ testing history and the best known IQ tests

Terms like IQ, IQ test or intelligence quotient are now quite common. But only one hundred years ago that was not the case and the word intelligence had a slightly different meaning. How did intelligence testing develop and what are the best known IQ tests? You shall find out in this article.

Emergence of psychology as a science and first ideas relating to measuring human intellect

People have naturally always noticed that some people are more and other less clever. However, for a long time they did not have a need to measure this.. Why should they? So there was no term "IQ" nor "intelligence" as some properly measurable characteristic. The term "intelligence" comes from Latin and originally it referred not to the ability to solve tasks but to the brain as such and to its ability to deal with mental topics.

The situation changed in 19nd century that strongly believed in human progress the tool for which were sciences. Suddenly, there was a large number of new scientific disciplines and one of those was psychology. And as with other sciences, psychology is also obsessed with trying to define, classify and measure everything. And what else should psychology measure than the level of person's braininess, i.e. intelligence? And in what other way than by testing? And so James McKeen Cattell used ifor the first time the word test in connection with human intellect in 1890.

From Binet and Simon to Stern IQ definition

The real intelligence testing only came 15 years later. At that point Simon and Binet were looking for a practical solution to a problem: How to identify individuals with above average abilities in a group of children so that they could receive extra teaching? They solved this by asking the children to complete a series of standardised tasks and then dividing them according to the results.

This was the first Binet-Simon test that is so important for the history of measuring intelligence. Not only was it first, but ts amended format from 1916 (Binet-Simon Test Stanford version by L. M. Terman) became the source for many tests used today. Work by Binet and Simon was in 1912 developed further by German psychologist William Stern who in addition to the mental age started to include the chronological age and introduced the term "intelligence quotient" defined as: IQ = mental age / chronological age x 100. And that is how the term IQ arrived.

US Army attempts to measure IQ and Wechsler Test

Another milestone in development of IQ testing was the WWI. When the US Army tried to establish how quickly identify more able recruits suitable for officers training, they decided to amend the new tools that was at the time used in education and psychology consultancy. Yes, we are talking about IQ tests. This resulted in famous Army Alpha (verbal test) and Army Beta (non-verbal test).

While the army tests did not fully meet the expectations, their impact was a significant one. A part of the Army Beta test was used by the US psychologist David Wechsler to set up his own IQ test that he published for the first time in 1955. Later known as WAIS (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale), the test became the most frequently used method of measuring intelligence worldwide. A new version for children was also developed (known as WISC: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children). Wechsler scales are being continuously improved and new versions are issued, the latest one being WAIS-IV.

IQ testing in the Czech Republic

If you are interested to know which IQ tests are used in the Czech Republic, the answer is simple: Most of them are based on Binet-Simon and Wechsler tests. For example, Mensa or SCIO base their tests on the Standford-Binet intelligence scale. Clinical and school psychologists also often use tests based on Wechsler. These find practical uses mainly in diagnostics of children intellect outside the normal range (both higher and lower).

As you see, while the IQ testing history is only 100 years old, it covers quite a lot. Intelligence testing has spread worldwide and the understanding of "intellect" has also changed. It is therefore only appropriate to say that while knowing one's IQ is very exciting and interesting, the person should not overstate the result, for example by getting upset if he gets a low score. Didn't a test work for you? Try another one! Wasn't that one better? Try some mental training or learn a new thing, for example how to play chess. The main thing is to develop those abilities that are important for your life, for your career and for your happiness. After all, that is what really matters.

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