What can be said about human intelligence? This question has been troubling experts or ages and not only experts, but anyone who has at least slight interest in the subject.
Human intelligence could be roughly defined as mental ability of human beings to use their learned experience or theoretical lessons and apply them in reality, so that we could adapt to circumstances given.
One of the geniuses of our time has defined intelligence as human ability to adapt to changes. It was Stephen Hawking who have said so.
We could fully agree with the famous scientists. Human intelligence is, indeed, our mean of using the experience and adapting to the world around. Moreover, it is about adjusting the circumstances given to our own needs, by using our intellect, before anything else.
For example if we would like to make our environment more comfortable, more suitable to our needs, we have to think through it, come to certain ideas and then apply those ideas in practice.
In this regard, we should also mention the explanation of intelligence given by Berthold Brecht. He claimed that our intelligence’s main purpose is to make us learn from mistakes, not to prevent us from making one.
This is practical and experiential purpose of intelligence; we use intellect not to repeat the same mistake, but take that same mistake as a lesson. The next time, would know what not to do, even if we have no idea on what to do.
We could definitely agree on the purpose of intelligence, given this loosely. In addition, intelligence must be about invention and creation, not only about learning.
Many experts would agree that human intelligence is about learning, applying what has been learn in reality, creating new ideas from what has been learned.
Of course, the degree of one’s inventiveness would depend on their intellectual capacities that could only partially be measured on an IQ test.
We have many average intelligence persons, as the etiquette tells, and just but a few geniuses. That is, perhaps, the law of Universe and that is what it should be. Geniuses come with inventive ideas that lead to progress; average people rather follow such ideas.
All this is a rough idea on how the world functions by human intelligence; our, human world. There are many other factors to be taken into consideration.
While all these ideas are appealing and plausible, they do not tell much about true nature of human intelligence, except for its intellectual basis. We all agree intelligence is intellect.
However, is it only our intellectual potential? Is intelligence universal category or is it multifold, with the intellect as its common place?
Let us talk more about that. It would help us better understand the advantages and disadvantages of IQ test results.
Complexity of Intelligence
Many things could be said about human intelligence and numerous definitions could be presented, but no one could ever tell that the concept or even the idea of human intelligence was simple.
Intelligence is complex and it is perhaps the best way to observe and approach to it as to a complex. The base of human intelligence is, indeed, human intellect, but the way our intelligence manifests in reality might differ.
This is the reason why it is difficult to take a straightforward view and identify the intelligence with intellect.
That is exactly what Brecht was talking about. Intelligence is not meant to make us smart scholars only; it is not only about academic achievements which is a common place found in non-academic talk about human intelligence.
It is very true that a scholar must be an intelligent person, but he or she is as intellectual as anyone else is.
This is where the theory of multiple intelligences could step in and help us better to understand the complex of human intelligence and, in that regard, the problematic nature of IQ tests and result obtained by such tests.
The multifold approach was proposed by American psychologists Howard Gardner. Gardner claimed there are different types or different aspects of intelligences found in each individual.
According to the theory, each human being presents with the same set of capabilities given, but not each one of us has them all developed to the same degree. These potentials are differently distributed in different people.
If we take into consideration the fact that at least a part of our intelligence was inherited, it could be seen as an important factor in distribution or individual development of certain types of intelligence.
Other factors would definitely play a role in it. Let us see what are these types or aspects of intelligence.
They include verbal or linguistic intelligence, mathematical or logical intelligence, visual and spatial intelligence, musical and rhythmic intelligence, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, physical or kinesthetic intelligence, existential and spiritual intelligence, natural or naturalistic intelligence and even moral intelligence.
Each individual has potential to all of these, but the difference in distribution is what definitely makes us unique. Each of these intelligences could be taken and observed, even evaluated separately.
They all have universal intellect in common, but they prove intelligence cannot be identified with the intellect alone. If we take this multifold approach it becomes very clear why many people are skeptical about reliability of IQ test that, in fact, measure only some of these aspects.
It is true that a person who is great with logic or with words must be very intelligent, but it would be disputable to label a talented artisan an unintelligent person of his score was not that brilliant. This is the main catch about IQ tests and their scores.
They cannot determine one’s life or decide on their actual chances for success, which is what interests people the most. There are people with average scores that have achieved great results in academic circle, thanks to their efforts.
There are also people with high scores that have never been interested into testing their intelligence and they are satisfied with completely an ‘average’ life.
High IQ scores and Classification
However, today we talk about an extremely high IQ score result, so we have to see into classifications and try to figure out what high scores actually mean in reality, what are their advantages and disadvantages, if any.
Since WAIS test is the most widely practiced one, let us talk in terms of its scale first. Common IQ test are more or less similar in classifying IQ scores.
On WAIS scale, IQ scores that are below 50 are labeled as ‘severely retarded’. Those from 50 to 70 are ‘moderately retarded’, while scores from 71 to 80 are considered ‘borderline deficient’. Scores from 80 to 89 are ‘below average’.
Average point on most scales is around 100 and a standard deviation of 15 points has been set. The average scores range from 90 to 109.
Scores from 110 to 119 are considered ‘high average’, according to this scale, while scores between 120 and 129 are of ‘superior intelligence’. Some scales label those with Q 130 or higher as ‘gifted’, while other scales claim those with score 140 and above ‘genius’.
Some mark score of 160 as a definitive point to label one as ‘genius’. IQ score of 170 is most definitely a genius score, according to any scale.
In order to classify exceptionally high IQ scores, additional, specialized tests are required. It is a very sensitive area and it is difficult to understand and measure capacities of rarely extraordinarily intelligent individuals. It is something science has yet to fathom.
There have been specialized tests and scales proposed. According to Paul Cooijmans scale, high scores are classified as following.
IQ scores between 140 and 149 are, according to this scale, ‘intelligent’, while from 150 to 159 are ‘highly intelligent’. Scores from 160 to 169 are ‘very highly intelligent’.
As you can see, these are very fine differences. Scores from 170 to 179 are ‘pervasively intelligent’, while unbelievable scores from 180 to 185 are considered ‘exceptionally intelligent’.
IQ 170 Score Meaning
Score 170 is definitely an exceptional score, whatever it might be called.
It falls under the category of pervasively intelligent and it is higher than scores of renowned geniuses such as Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla and Stephen hawking, who were claimed to have had scores around 160.
It is very hard to tell what such a high score means in terms of real life functioning. Only one in a hundred of high-range candidates score this high, according to statistics.
From the range of ‘intelligent’ and upwards, people are highly capable of scientific work and not only that, these people are very likely potentially inventive. That is what it means to be a genius.
However, many would also say that if ‘unused’, such a high score does not mean anything special. On the other hand, it is unlikely that a rare individual of such a high score would not use it.
It is difficult to understand how does his or her mind actually function, just as it is disputable to talk about reliability of IQ tests. However, a specialized test could definitely give an insight into much wider intellectual capacities of a person with such a high IQ.
If nothing more, theirs is definitely a different and special kind of intelligence. Be it as it may, such a high IQ result definitely qualifies one for Mensa.
Mensa is the largest international society of highly intelligent individuals. Mensa’s mission and goal is to discover more potentials of human intelligence and see how those could be applied for the greater good of overall humanity.
Mensa operates throughout the world and the only requirement to be its part is to have a high IQ score, according to certain scale. With the IQ of 170, you are perfectly qualified for Mensa.
Mensa invests into its most exceptional members, offering valuable stipends and other privileges.
This worldwide society invests into potentials of human intelligence and nurtures its progress.