What is human intelligence? How would you define it? Is it simply our intellectual capacity of reasoning and rational thinking or is it something more?
The question of the essence and capacities of human intelligence has been a subject of numerous debates and disputes since long time. Even today, academicals could not agree on a single definition that would describe intelligence.
According to some, intelligence should be taken as our intellectual capacity and it refers to our logical thinking, our reasoning, our working memory, task processing speed and mostly parameters that would tell about someone’s capacities in terms of learning. However, it mostly applies to learning in its common form, it relates to science, education et cetera.
However, common IQ tests cannot reveal full capacities of an individual, as they do not tell about additional talents and skills a person may possess.
Of course, they are intertwined with logic, reason, and intellect as a whole, but they do, at the same time, represent something different. Experts are in dispute over the question of whether talents would be enlisted amongst parameters of intelligence or not.
Another important question is whether the intelligence was inborn and if it was, to what degree and could it be improved with practice. Studies have proved that at least some part, a half even, is passed down through genetic material.
People who have spent whole lives away from their biological parents, separated at birth and who have never met their real parents, seem to present with the same level of intelligence as their parents.
Possibly, they present with similar tendencies towards certain interests. The other part of intelligence could be self-developed or acquired. It means that outer surroundings, socio-cultural background, living conditions and other elements could affect someone’s intelligence.
Personality traits must play a big role as well. Emotional and social intelligence are some of the major factors to consider.
There is no unanimous definition, but some pretty simple ones could be useful to note. The most famous world’s astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking, defined intelligence very simply. He claimed it is our ability to adapt to changes, which is entirely true. We do use our intellect to adapt to changes in the surroundings. Moreover, we create changes ourselves.
It means that we also use our intellect to adjust the surroundings to our needs. We do these things consciously, although our instincts, of course, tell us if something do not suit our physical body.
Our mind is also in need for adjusted environment, not only or body. It is a curious and a complex thing that leads us to another interesting approach to human intelligence.
Human Intelligence as a Complex
While definition proposed by the famous genius is something we would agree on, there is an approach loudly argued by many experts, that of multiple intelligences.
This theory is often criticized as too broad, while the author of the theory claims IQ tests and theories they are based on are too limiting. The American psychologist Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences.
This theory claims human intelligence is not simply an intellectual ability of human mind, but that it is a complex of different types of intelligences. We would rather call the aspects.
According to the theory, each individual has all of the aspects. The differences between people come from different distribution and development of these aspects.
You could imagine it as a some kind of chart with columns divided into ten rows each, for example. Each column is labeled after one type of intelligence. We start with the same set of columns, with the same chart.
However, the image will be different in each individual, since not all the rows will be equally filled in all people. Even those blank rows still mean we have them.
Therefore, we have verbal-linguistic intelligence, mathematical-logical intelligence, physical-kinesthetic intelligence, visual-spatial intelligence, musical-rhythmic intelligence, natural-naturalistic intelligence, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, later added and debated, spiritual and existential intelligence, and moral intelligence.
See what we meant with the chart example?
One could be an incredibly intuitive, spiritual person, with natural ‘gift’ to see better through things and people than others. However, the same person could be bad at mathematics and also at the same time, say, an agile person who is also a good spokesperson or a writer.
Another one could be clumsy and not particularly artistic, yet brilliant logician, a genius scientist.
These are only colorful example. The point is that this theory definitely challenges the reliability of common IQ tests. We are going to talk about IQ test and their scales. However, it always good to observe things from different angles and not to take a sensitive subject, such as IQ result, for granted.
IQ test could be very useful, but they do not determinate one’s future, as people like to think about them.
IQ Tests and Scores
There have been different versions of IQ tests and Acores throughout history. The first IQ test was developed at the beginning of the previous century in France, for the purpose of children education.
The most popular and still in use is WAIS test; to be more precise, WAIS-IV, the fourth edition of the original test. Probably all of IQ test set the average point at 100, with 15 points standard deviation. Roughly, about 70% of population gets an average score.
According to WAIS-IV classification scale, here are the ranges. Results that fall under the limit of 69 are considered of extremely low intelligence.
Scores from 70 to 79 are considered borderline; those from 89 to 89 are low average. Scores from 90 to 109 are labeled as average, scores from 109 to 119 are high average and those from 120 to 129 are superior. Scores starting from 130 are considered very superior.
One could notice that this scale’s ranges are quite neutrally labeled in comparison to some old ones that used terms as ‘morons’, ‘imbeciles’, ’idiots’ for low scores and ‘bright’ and ’precocious’ for high ones.
We could all agree that the former ones are quite more suitable. In any case, most of the scales stick to 100 as average and range from 90 to 109, with slight differences. What means the average score?
The average IQ score alone does not tell much. It means one has the same level of intelligence as majority of people. IT means a person has average reasoning, average problem-solving skills, average comprehension and logic and that is all.
Average score, however, cannot make one an ‘average person’, since a person with an average IQ score can present with certain above average qualities that IQ test does not take into account.
IQ 109 Score Meaning
This IQ score is literally in between ranges. It is the highest in the average range. It is always difficult to understand such borderline scores, since people are perplexed with whether theirs score is more like the lower range or the higher one. There is no straight answer.
Score of 109 is definitely a ‘good’ score, in common terms. A person with such a score is self-aware, perfectly fit to get higher education, capable to work in senior position, make important and responsible decision, efficiently solve problems et cetera.
However, it all depends on personal desires, personal expectations, interests and all. The advantage of this score that is still labeled as average but is, in fact, high in the range is that such an individual could fit well in any environment and understand people around him or herself.
We do not talk about understanding in terms of being smart or stupid, but about sharing experiences, tolerance, respect and everything that consist human relations, besides mere rational talk.
On the other hand, such an IQ makes a person very self-aware and ready to pursue their goals. To make it simply, although it is not the happiest choice of words and phrases, this individual is ‘smart enough’, but not ‘too smart’ so that he or she does not fit.
However, other factors would definitely affect the actual real life functioning with 109 score (just as with other similar scores).
Attitude towards yourself, the people and life in general matter a lot. Emotional intelligence is a factor many would emphasize as even more important than the IQ. When people ask if their IQ score is good, they would mostly love to know if they could be successful in life, regardless of how vague the term successful is, in itself.
With IQ 109, one could make him or herself a good and pleasant life, by learning and working with no specific problems.
Of course, other factors in their lives would affect that. However, most would agree that it is attitude that matters greatly, if not more, if we talk about (career) success. In other areas of life, personality traits would play a big role.
If you are a kind and good person who treats others well and is, at the same time, aware of their own needs and maintains their integrity, it really does not matter if your score was 101 or 109 or maybe even 120.
People use to say that being within the average range is easier than being in the high range. It means that you would probably worry less than those above, who tend to be over-thinkers.
People within the average score are more likely to feel good about themselves and who they are. Of course, the test does not score your ambition, competitiveness or else.