Have you ever done an IQ testing, be it a conventional one or some of the online versions? Well, results may have surprised you. Online tests, of course, are not considered reliable, since they are usually very short, founded upon different and inconsistent principles, though fun to engage with. Official tests are considered reliable, but only to certain degree.
Many argue they are too narrow and that they provide insufficient data for evaluating, let alone measuring the level of an individual’s intelligence.
What is an individual’s intelligence anyway? What is human intelligence? These are questions no one could give a straight answer to. Human intelligence is in itself a complex idea, since abstract. There have been many attempt on trying to define intelligence as a whole and at least explain some of its functions and purposes.
However, the question of measuring human intelligence is even more complex. It is a thin ice to thread on, since it is our own intelligence that entraps us, while we trying to define it.
Evaluating levels of intelligence and, prior to that, forming systems to measure those levels are difficult tasks. Such attempts all undoubtedly raise suspicion, since grounds on which they are based remain questionable.
Should we measure intelligence according to basic logic, reasoning and problem-solving capacities or talents and skills should be enlisted amongst parameters? Do we possess only inherited intelligence or acquired knowledge is additional intelligence?
Could intelligence be further developed and one’s IQ level improved? No one can tell for sure, although many daring attempts have been made so far. Let us get back to the idea of intelligence for a little while.
We have long been thinking about how it happened that we are the only intelligent beings in the universe and, of course, why would it be so. What is our purpose, with such intelligence? Perhaps this direction of thinking is not good.
What if there are other types of intelligence, higher levels of intelligent existence? Some futuristic ideas go in this direction. Such hypotheses are very brave and very intriguing.
Perhaps there are, indeed, other forms of intellectual being, with intelligences so high that we cannot even en-think them, to say so. Simply, our own intelligence is limited. Perhaps one day in future we will ‘level-up’ our intelligence and enter completely new realms of perception.
This complex and daring theory proposes stages of intelligent existence. According to this approach, we still have a long road until reaching some higher points of intelligence and perception. A romantic theory, we could say, though quite inspiring, even hopeful.
Let us get back down to earth and the intelligence we know something about. Let us try to organize our ideas about human intelligence and give at least flexible definitions.
Defining Human Intelligence
Defining human intelligence would be of great help into trying to understand what certain IQ scores mean and what do IQ tests propose. From what we know about, human intelligence is a useful thing to have. Intelligence definitely plays a practical role in human life. We could even take it as our specific defense and survival mechanism.
Well, individuals that are more intelligent have less chance to get into trouble or to be unable to resolve a problematic situation. This would also depend on the nature of the problematic situation itself.
One of the simplest approaches to human intelligence says it is our ability to adapt to changes. We would add, mental ability of course. Learning from mistakes plays an important role in here.
Intelligence is not what people commonly identify it with, being smart, in terms of educational capacities etc. Intelligence is learning from experience, as well. Memorizing skills, logic and reason prevent us from making the same mistake over again.
At the same time, it helps us learn something from it and turn it into our advantage, taking it as a lesson. You have certainly experience this in your life and you very likely know people who keep repeating mistakes, until they learn the other way.
Needles to say, it is not simply logic and reason that would play a role in here, but it is one’s personality, character, emotional self. Nevertheless, we could agree on this learning adaptive purpose of intelligence.
There is more to it. Intelligence is associated with one’s creative ability, ability to invent and create. Therefore, not only that we are able to adapt ourselves to changes, but we could also create new conditions. We affect our surroundings by using our intellectual abilities. It helps us re-model conditions.
Thus, we do not only adapt to changes, but also make new ones. One would say it is a curse; the other would call it progress. Well, it is always something in between.
You could associate inventiveness with higher IQ scores and lack of ability to adapt to certain condition to lower scores. However, none of this reveals the whole image.
It also does not tell about all capacities of an individual. It tells about the practical and wonderful purpose of general intelligence or, at least, a part of it. Let us approach intelligence from another angle. There has to be more than general intelligence.
Intelligence as a Complex
The theory of multiple intelligences is something to think through. It claims we do not only possess some general intelligence, general intellectual ability. Our intelligence must be a complex of different aspects or types of intelligence.
This theory argues that IQ tests and parameters they are based on are too narrow and too strict, while those who support the latter claim theory of multiple intelligence was too wide and vague.
Nevertheless, it is worth of mentioning and very useful to know, especially since we are going to talk about specific IQ score meaning. Theory of multiple intelligences claim that we all have same predispositions or, more precisely, we all in fact possess all types of intelligence.
The differences come from different distribution of each aspect. These intelligences are eight, with too possible additional ones.
Multiple intelligences are verbal-linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, visual-spatial intelligence, physical-kinesthetic intelligence, musical-rhythmic intelligence, natural-naturalistic intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, spiritual-existential intelligence and moral intelligence.
The last two are not amongst the originally proposed. As you can see, this approach counts aspects one would associate with talents and not intelligence.
At the same time, these have commonplace, which, indeed, is general intelligence. However, each could be seen separately. Of course, in practice, these are usually intertwined. No one is 100% brilliant logician and 0% spatially ‘intelligent’.
However, this theory speaks up about aspects of one’s capacities that are not measured at common IQ tests. The question is whether these should be taken as parts of the intelligence in the first place.
If we take they are all connected by the common denominator of general intelligence, the theory seems plausible. Why it is important?
It is important because it ‘allows’ one to be ‘intelligent’ even if he or she does not score brilliant result on certain IQ test or if he or she shows exquisite talent in certain areas, but these were not acknowledged as something of great value to their life and life success, even.
For example, you could be talented writer, but bad spokesperson, you could be an exceptional visionary painter, but not good with numbers, you could be brilliant athlete, but not musical.
Of course, a line could be drawn between all of these and there are various combinations.
The point is, one could be average and even below average is some aspect and above average in another. Therefore, to label him or her as, say, ‘average’ does not sound convincing.
Things get even more complicated if we involve factors such as emotional and social intelligence, personality traits, the idea of inborn, genetic intelligence and many more. Not to mention risky categories such as cultural or national background, race or even gender.
These are all categories one should be extremely cautious about and we will not discuss them; we leave it to experts. However, some things could be said about the first ones.
Emotional intelligence seems to play an important role into real life manifestation of someone’s IQ score. We are familiar with historical examples of people who were exceptional thinkers or genius artists or whatever else, but they definitely lacked emotional intelligence or social intelligence or their personality was very turbulent, so they actually did not achieve much in their own lifetime.
One’s attitude towards him or herself, towards people and life in general would play a major role. IQ tests are usually taken as some kind of life success predictors. Well, an exceptionally high IQ score does not mean much if the person was emotionally instable.
This is just a plastic example, but it does have a point. In life, things rarely go by the book. Another question is whether our inborn intelligence could be improved with practice.
Some claim it could and IQ scores could get higher if one is willing to work hard, invest time and practice. It is questionable whether their inherited IQ actually rises up or they in fact use its full capacity, by investing effort in it. Be it as it may, it confirms that attitude matters a lot.
Let us now discuss IQ classification scales, see how ranges are distributed and finally talk about IQ score 120, which is an exceptional one.
The history of IQ testing is old about a century. The first test was developed for the purposes of education system in France and it was intended to test children. The first test was based on three parameters that of memorizing skills, task processing speed and the level of children’s attention.
The results led to proposal of metal age category instead of physiological age one. Test created a bit later was the one that is still in use.
It is WAIS or Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Needles to say, WAIS is one from the WIS family of tests and WAIS-IV is the active one. The fourth edition of the test is widely practiced, while WAIS-V is to be released in 2020, after finishing the data collecting process.
Here, we are going to use WAIS-IV scale, mentioning some additional score evaluations. The average point is set at 100, as in most of the tests, with standard deviation of 15.
Range from 70 to 79 is classified as ‘borderline’, while everything below is ‘extremely low’. Range from 80 to 89 is considered ‘low average’, while range from 90 to 109 us ‘average’. Range from 109 to 119 is ‘high average’, while 120 to 129 is labeled as ‘superior intelligence’.
This is where our score 120 falls under. Score of 130 and up is ‘very superior’. Let us discuss the superior intelligence range and the score 120.
IQ 120 Score Meaning
IQ score 120 is exceptional, though it does not qualify one for Mensa membership. On Paul Cooijmans scale that refers to IQ scores and real life functioning, score 120 falls under the category of ‘above average’, which is WAIS-IV ‘superior’ range from 120 to 129.
This score makes one an intellectual who has great opportunity to succeed in the academic career. An individual of score 120 or other from the range should have no difficulty in obtaining a Master degree.
Individual of score 120 is perfectly capable not only of learning from complex theoretical materials and understanding ideas proposed, but also of inferring their own conclusions and ideas. They are high range test candidates.
Some of careers that could be associated with this high score are that of an executive, an attorney, a chemist. It is indeed a score of academicals.
IQ score 120 places one above the average and above the majority of population, in terms of intelligence as perceived from the point of IQ tests. It does mean that one has better problem-solving skills, sharper perceptual reasoning, and better understanding of the world around.
Many claim that a high score is a gift just as it was a curse; highly intelligent people tend to think ‘too much’ and thus worry more than others.
However, it would greatly depend on how you employ your intelligence. The way you are going to employ it will depend on your personality, emotional, social intelligence in the first place.
They have to be taken into account. In other words, your personal success would greatly depend on what you want to achieve and what a satisfying life mean for you.
High scorers tend to dream big, though not all have equal capacities to make it come true, which is not dependant of the IQ score alone.