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IQ test myths debunked by Western University profs

A new study released Wednesday suggests IQ tests aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

“I think IQ tests are a massive over simplification,” said Adam Hampshire, one-half of the team of researchers who debunked the IQ myth. “I would be incredibly skeptical of their results.”

Traditional IQ tests favour one type of intelligence, said Hampshire, however people can be smart in multiple ways.

Hampshire and his partner Adrian Owen, from Western’s Brain and Mind Institute created a new test that was able to gauge a person’s intelligence in a variety of streams.

It was posted online and gathered tens of thousands of hits in just a few weeks.

“The day the initial trial went live thousands of people signed on and they broke it,” said Hampshire. “People started emailing their scores and putting them on Facebook challenging their friends and it went viral.”

“It was exhilarating and remarkably stressful,” Hampshire said.

The massive response gave the duo a broad sample of information with people from around the world aged 12 to 70.

The study found that there are three main types of intelligence. One relates to short term memory, another deals with reason and logic and the last shows a person’s strength at variable testing.

“It shows that you really can’t capture the spectrum of human cognitive ability using just one number like on a traditional IQ test,” said Hampshire. “There are different types of intelligence and that intelligence has its place in different parts of the brain.”

Because of the wide demographic sample, the study also managed to address strengths of different types of people based on age and interests.

For example, people who play video games were at a massive advantage when it came to short-term memory and reasoning.

“You have to be careful not to jump to causal conclusions,” Hampshire said, “but this could be because playing video games is like a form of brain training.”

An updated version of the intelligence test went live Wednesday and includes 14 brain teasers asking you to identify patterns and retain information.

“The tests are based on the classic intelligence literature, but I’ve changed them in a number of ways,” Hampshire said. “I’ve tried to make them more dynamic and more entertaining. And we’ve integrated facebook so you can challenge your friends.”

The findings from the landmark study were published in the science journal Neuron.

Who’s who of high IQs

The average person scores between 70 and 130 on an intelligence quotient test.

Albert Einstein had a score of 160 and was a member of the high IQ society, as is Stephen Hawking, with the same score.

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